The addition of RF elements horns to a PTP550 link

In a previous series of articles we talked about a new Cambium 550 link and the noise challenges we had.  You can start your reading in Part one and Part two.

Due to the frequency challenges, we decided to upgrade the dishes to RF Elements Ultra Horns.

If you recall our spectrum looked like this before.

After the horns. While not a night and day difference you will notice several improvements across the band.  Less red and yellow on the scan and sharper drop-offs. We saw the most improvement in the 5160 area and the 5720 ranges.  And this is with the horns pointed right at the source of most of the 5GHZ noise.   Not much you can do if you are pointed right at the noise.

What did this mean for the link? It meant we were able to find a 200 meg increase because we were able to obtain better modulation on the link.

So while we were not able to filter out all of the noise we wanted, we were able to increase our MCS rates on a very noisy link to increase bandwidth and increase the reliability of the link.  Before the horns, the MCS rates would be in a constant state of flux dealing with noise.

WISP Teamwork to make signals better

This post is a huge shout out to Tasos Alexiou from RF Elements.  This story started out at WISPAPALOOZA Vegas this year.  I had a few clients who have been fighting noise issues. While working the Cambium booth we would go over the benefits of ePMP for noise mitigation.  This would naturally lead to an antenna discussion. You can’t have an antenna discussion without mentioning RF Elements and their horn design.  As with anything, clients are skeptical to things outside the conventional way of doing things.  It’s not that the client is closed minded, but change becomes a little harder when revenue and cash outlay are involved.  I am a very visual guy so I walked several of these clients over to the RF Elements booth so they could see the product and have it explained by the folks themselves.

These clients were getting it, but I could tell they were a little hesitant to make the leap.  This is where the teamwork of the story really comes into play.  Tasos could sense the same thing I was seeing, and came up with a plan.  In the shipment of their gear to Vegas, they had some extra gear.  After some negotiation, he told us to stop by after the show and he would see what he could do to get some gear in the hands of both of these clients.  After the show, I was able to send both of these clients home with some 30 and 45-degree horns.   Not only that, but these clients were able to talk about their specific situations, draw diagrams, and get a great understanding of how to get the best fit out of the equipment.

I am happy to say we have the first results from these horns.  Mohave Broadband was able to put up a 30-degree horn in an area where they were having clients with signal and interference issues. By adjusting their 90/120 sectors, which even have beamforming,  they were able to have the horn fit in their most troublesome area.  Some of the troubles were customers who could not connect on a certain frequency very well, but others could.  If the frequencies were changed the good customers became bad and vice versa.  Once the horn was in place we noticed a couple of things.

The first was customers in the 30-degree beam of the horn were able to connect at good signals and data rates. These were customers who were pointed right at the sectors before, not ones on the fringes.

Secondly, due to the nature of the horn we were able to select from more channels due to the lack of sidelobes from the horns.

Customer links on the AP.

We could go on and on how the ePMP 2000 APs with their noise filtering, and the “clean” pattern of the horn make the difference but that is not the focus of the article.  The focus is how many separate pieces of the WISP community came together to help.  From WISPA putting on the show to the willingness of Tasos and RF elements to help these customers, and the ability to sit down and draw out diagrams and antenna placement to get the best place to place antennas. For those of you who don’t attend tradeshows, this is one of the success stories with a few more to come on this blog.


MTIN Family of Sites
https://j2sw.com
https://indycolo.net
https://mtin.net
https://startawisp.info