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RF/UHF : Alfa Network

Introduction

It's a long range (up to 2km LOS), low bandwidth (up to 15Mbps) radio link, with the ease of use of Wi-Fi and the robustness of RF/UHF.

It's in open frequencies, so if you need reserved frequencies, you should use a licensed solution (like Domo/DTC, SATEL modems, etc.).

Features

Tube AH

Halow U

Typical use cases

  • on RCP side, on a switch, acting as access point
  • on a IP camera, acting as a client, powered by battery
  • on RIO side, plugged on USB
  • on a USB battery to act as a hop for mesh network

Features

  • connectivity: passive PoE Ethernet (12-36 V DC)
  • data rate : up to 15Mbps
  • size : +/- 30cm x 4cm
  • frequencies (based on country):
    • 847MHz (TW)
    • 866MHz (EU)
    • 915MHz (US)
    • 922MHz (KR)
    • 924MHz (JP)
  • bandwidth : 1/2/4 MHz
  • antenna : Type-N
  • connectivity: USB-C
  • data rate : up to 6Mbps
  • size : +/- 9cm x 5cm x 2cm
  • frequencies (based on country):
    • 847MHz (TW)
    • 866MHz (EU)
    • 915MHz (US)
    • 922MHz (KR)
    • 924MHz (JP)
  • bandwidth : 1/2/4 MHz
  • antenna : female SMA

Compatibility

  • RCP : yes
  • RIO : yes
  • IP camera : yes
  • Mac : yes
  • Linux : yes
  • Windows : yes
  • RCP : yes
  • RIO : yes
  • IP camera : no (not working with FX6, RED Komodo, BM URSA, etc. even if they have a USB-C connector)
  • Mac : no
  • Linux : yes
  • Windows : yes
info

You can put the tube-AH on your RCP switch in AP. But you can also put it directly on a IP camera (like a FX6 or RED Komodo) in client.

This will work because the protocol is IP and usually, the camera will handle the latency and jitter.

For non IP cameras (serial/USB), even if CI0 "could" maybe work, it's not recommended as the latency and jitter could be an issue (not for the CI0, but for the camera itself). So we recommend to use a RIO instead.

Also note that in this setup, as the RCP/RIO link is local and not through the cloud. The REMI will work with any RCP and any RIO-live. You don't need a full RIO, except if you want to go 4G or serial UHF.

info

You can put your laptop on the same switch as the tube-AH. But you can also (if you have a windows/linux computer) plugs a halow-U to access every device on the "wireless" network.

Wiring

In this example, we control:

  • 2 x FX3 in wireless
  • Each camera has a RIO (USB to RIO, data)
  • Each RIO has a Halow-U (USB to RIO, power + data)
  • 2 x RCP with a single Tube-AH acting as access point

You could also:

  • use a Halow-U on the RCP side, but you would need 1 per RCP and it has lower power and data rate
  • use tube-AH on the RIO side, but you would need to power it with passive PoE (you could get power from D-TAP with a passive poe injector)
  • put them in mesh and put some Halow-U or Tube-AH in between to extend the range / coverage.

Setup

Every device has a web interface, so you can configure them using a web browser.

Tube-AH

  • connect to the Tube-AH to the poe injector provided in the box
  • put your laptop and the tube on a switch isolated from the rest of your network (for initial setup, because by default it has a DHCP server)
  • the default IP of the device is 192.168.100.1/24 (ensure to have a compatible IP on your computer like 192.168.100.254 with the netmask 255.255.255.0)
  • the default login is admin
  • the default password is admin
note

Even if by default you will receive a DHCP address by the device, as we will desactivate this after, ensure to have a static IP compatible with the device on your computer before going further.

open a browser and go to http://192.168.100.1 and login (using admin/admin).

You should the see the dashboard:

First step, disable the DHCP server:

  • In Network > LAN
  • Change DHCP Server from Enable to Disable
  • Click on Save (top right)

Second step, configure the static IP:

  • In Network > LAN
  • You can keep this 192.168.100.X range
  • But ensure that every node has a different IP
  • Click on Save (top right) after the change

It should look like this:

Last step, configure the wireless network:

  • In Dashboard, click on EDIT (top right)
  • Select adequate mode (usually AP)
  • Configure the SSID (this is the name of your network and will allow other devices to connect to it), like Cyanview
  • You can change the Channel if you have some interference. Just ensure that it's a free channel and that all your devices are on the same channel at the end.
  • You can keep Security to No Encryption

It should look like this:

Halow-U

  • connects the Halow-U to the USB port of your computer (Linux, Windows, if you're on a mac, use a Windows VM because the driver is not supported)
  • once properly plugged in your computer, you should see a new network interface
  • the default IP of the device is 192.168.100.1/24 (ensure to have a compatible IP on your computer like 192.168.100.254 with the netmask 255.255.255.0 on this new network interface)
  • the default login is admin
  • the default password is admin
note

Even if by default you will receive a DHCP address by the device, as we will desactivate this after, ensure to have a static IP compatible with the device on your computer before going further.

open a browser and go to http://192.168.100.1 and login (using admin/admin).

You should the see the dashboard:

Now you can follow the same steps as for the Tube-AH to configure it:

  • Disable DHCP server
  • Setup a static IP for the device (not in conflict with the other devices or your computer or other equipment)
  • Configure the wireless network (SSID, channel, security)

IP setup on halow-U

For the tube-AH, as it's a RJ45, you will usually use the existing/onboard network inteface.

But once plugging a halow-U on a RCP/RIO, it will create a new network inteface (like any USB/Ethernet dongle).

Once plugged it should appear like that:

note
  • the network name USB_00c0cab3d86f is the name of the halow-U interface
  • the status is red (and it's normal) and just reflect the fact there is no real "ethernet carrier".

You can:

  1. Either configure a static IP on this interface
  2. Bridge it with the onboard ethernet

Using a static IP (with physically separated networks) has some benefits:

  • allows you to properly separate the networks and don't mix them
  • reduce the impact of the traffic (a FR7 webpage with video) on the wireless network

But has some drawbacks:

  • You need to define a new network for both RIO and RCP
  • No access to IP devices webpage behind the RIO
info

It is important to realise:

  • Your RIO now has two network interfaces
  • Physically separated (USB/halow and onboard)

Don't put overlaping IP range on both interfaces. Always ensure they're separated:

  • like 192.168.60.X/24 for halow and 192.168.50.X/24 for onboard
  • NOT 192.168.70.X/24 for both

Also note that you could use the same network than the halow/tube (192.168.100.X/24) but it's not mandatory and it's better to take something else to avoid any conflict.

If you bridge both interface (onboard and halow-U), you will have a single network and you will be able to access every device webpage.

warning

Ensure you understand what it means and the implications.

Don't:

  • put halow-U on your RIO
  • with your RIO on the same network switch as your tube-AH

Because you will then have a "loop" (halow - tube - RIO - halow) and it will create a network storm.

What you can do instead:

  • put halow-U on RIO
  • connect your laptop directly on RIO Ethernet onboard
  • from there, you can access it's factory IP (http://10.192.50.2 for example).
  • from there, you can activate the bridge without any risk of loops
  • then unconnect your laptop from there and connect it on tube side
  • you should then be able to reach: rcp, tube and halow, rio

Don't be afraid of "bridging" (it's probably the best option in 90% of the cases), but ensure to follow the steps properly to avoid any issues. In case you mess up, unplug the halow-U, isolate the RIO from the network (plug your laptop directly to it) and you should be able to get back to normal.

Ensure to:

  • read the above paragraph before going further.
  • if you're still sure you're going to the bridge way
  • have a halow-U on your rio usb
  • your laptop on your rio ethernet directly

Then, from your RCP/RIO webpage:

  • click on IP Connections
  • scroll the right panel to the bottom to find Bridge section
  • click/check Auto Bridge USB Interfaces

You can now from any location access RIO, RCP, tube and halow-U webpages.

Update

Each device can be updated. Current version is 1.3.

step 1 : Download update files

You can download the files:

step 2 : Login

Open a browser to your device webpage (like http://192.168.100.1) and login:

Then on the top right, click on admin and select System Upgrade:

step 3 : Upload and upgrade

Here, drag and drop the adequate file (check the code name of the device matching the codename in the file).

After a couple of seconds, the file should be uploaded and checked and you can confirm/start the upgrade with OK button:

The upgrade should start:

And at the end, the device reboots:

note

If you reach 100% here and the page is not refreshing automatically, refresh the page manually.

step 4 : Check

You can now check again in the admin > System Upgrade that the version is now 1.3:

Troubleshooting

Checks

Once every tube-AH and Halow-U is properly setup:

  • with unique static IP
  • with DHCP server disabled
  • with the appropriate channel, SSID, security

In my example, I have:

  • 1 tube acting as an AP on my RCP switch
  • my laptop on the same switch as my tube and RCP
  • 1 halow-U acting as client on my RIO (USB)

My devices have the following IP's:

  • 192.168.100.1/24 for the tube
  • 192.168.100.2/24 for the halow-U
  • 192.168.100.254/24 for my laptop

I can reach my tube and RCP as they're local. But I can also reach my halow-U and the RIO as it's acting on L2, like a "wireless" switch.

warning

It's convenient, but pay attention that it's really like a wireless ethernet cable, so ensure to avoid:

  • IP conflicts
  • network loops

You should see the status on the dashboard of every device:

You can see here the dashboard of the halow-U (from my laptop connected to the tube/RCP side):

  • the mac address of the local node (00:C0:CA:B6:3F:6C), my halow-U
  • the mac address of the remote node (00:C0:CA:B3:D8:70), my tube
  • the signal power of this link (-3dBm)
  • the link rate (6Mbps for Tx and Rx)
  • cnx time of the link (59s)

You can also monitor the whole network from your laptop using pings:

You see here that the tube (192.168.100.1) is quicker (5ms) than the remote halow-U (13ms).

Loops

Pay attention that they're acting like a "switch" (L2), so if you have 2 tubes-AH (one in AP and one in client) on the same switch, you create a loop.

IP conflicts

They're working on L2, so RIO and the RF modules don't have to be on the same IP range. But ensure that each module has it's own IP, not in conflict with anything else.