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Author Topic: Remotely mounting Radarbox hardware  (Read 3077 times)

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Remotely mounting Radarbox hardware
« on: March 21, 2010, 04:09:48 AM »

I would like to share my success with remotely installing my radarbox hardware while being able to "directly" connect from home.

Firstly the background.... I live in at the foot of a reasonably sized hill. I get great coverage from 180-360deg but the direction of the hill, 0-180 is significanly reduced. I miss out on quite a lot of traffic as a result. The hill is around 900M ASL whereas my house is 400M ASL. On top of the hill is a large communications site which i have other equipment, I already have established a wireless data link back to my shack at home.

Firstly I ran my box up the hill on an embedded 1.6GHz Atom based system running xp pro (due to unreliable mains, all equipment is powered from DC site battery) which I accessed via remote desktop or VNC. While this was acceptable for the 2D map, I found it painfully slow for 3D.

Next, I ordered a second radarbox, hoping to have a standard 2D box on the hill, feeding the radarbox network. I then upgraded my home subscription to Realtime-tracking and used my oringinal box at home, therefor getting the best reception from both sites on one map. However...even with real-time tracking I was only able to get position updates every 20 or so seconds... Not enough updates and too slow.

Now I have found "KernelPro - USB over Ethernet" Software. I have installed the server component on the "hill" computer and the client on my PC back at home. The software sets up a tunnel from the USB port on the hill to a "virtual USB port". My PC is setup to automatically connect to the hill at boot. The radarbox appears in device manager just like it is physically plugged in!

Unfortunatly the data rate of the USB over Ethernet tunnel is around 10Mbits, therefor it would not be practical to network over the internet. However, my wireless data link to the hill is more than capable.

Now...what to do with the 2nd box?

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« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 04:20:54 AM by fil »


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Re: Remotely mounting Radarbox hardware
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2010, 05:22:09 AM »
Glad it works for you fil. What antenna and how many aircraft do you see in MyFlights at any one time with that location?

You mention the data rate of USBoE being 10MBits therefore not practical to access over the Internet but have you actually tried?

You might be surprised...I for one would be interested in the results.

The reason I ask is the data rate fron the RB should be much less than 10MBits so it might be worth a try connecting via the WAN and see how it costs nothing but your time and you seem to have invested enough of that already so a little more won't hurt! ;^)

I can get a remote connection to my ANRB via the WAN using the Lantronix UBox which works well until it drops the connection intermittently for no reason that I nor Tech Support can figure out...both via the LAN & WAN and it seems to be a timing issue as the UBox should easily handle the data rate over the wired Gigabit LAN.

I tried the Kernel Pro USBoE software some time ago and while it has by far the cleanest, prettiest interface I found it would often blue-screen showing various ftdi* errors.

Their Tech Support was not much better with requests for help going unanswered.

I ended up uninstalling it from three machines here, each time listing the reasons why but still had no response.

Finally I wrote a tongue-in-cheek email which did get a reply but by then it was too late.

I have also tried the Eltima USB to Ethernet which worked of a fashion and am currently working with Fabula-Tech on their USB over Network solution.

As I said earlier I have also been down the hardware road with the Lantronix UBox showing the best promise so far.

TBH I have tried so many hardware & software solutions that I am going giddy trying to remember which was which!

I was also trying to get all of these solutions to work with the WiNRADiO G305e but nothing works with that!

And people wonder why I keep harping on about a proper ethernet interface...I'd gladly stump up an extra hundred quid to have an embedded ethernet interface or even more for PoE which would negate the need for a PSU.

Kind regards,
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 05:24:39 AM by GlynH »


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Re: Remotely mounting Radarbox hardware
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2010, 07:21:15 AM »
A big "Here Here" for the ethernet interface (with PoE too) from me. Surely the biggest pro for this approach would be to keep the position updates constantly flowing back to Airnav, for the benefit of other users, even when your own computer is switched off. Most people are more than happy to leave thier internet router turned on 24/7.... however (after looking at the "network statistics graph") it appears that more than 60% of ANRB users switch thier PC's off at some time of the day.

I did try the USBoE via my mobile broadband but it didn't work. The radarbox showed in device manager, but ANRB software showed is as not connected. My mobile BB speed is  5Mb down/1.3Mb up and my wired net connection on the server is 20Mb/2Mb. It did try very hard to connect but the data rate was still not good enough (it smashed 50MB thru in a couple of minutes trying).

I haven't committed to a permenant installation yet. Just weighing up the pro's and cons of all aproaches. At the hill I used the standard supplied whip on the roof of the equipment shelter, which gave the normal "maple leaf" pattern with tips extending out to 220NM. There is significant trees on the top of the hill in most directions, therefor I'll need to get some height to clear them before any records are broken!. Adjacent to the shelter I have a 25M free standing tower, with a spare LDF-450 feeder which will be more than suitable. A local company, ZCG scalar, have designed me a 9dB stacked colinear (i currently use one on my 8M AGL mast at home). I will purchase another if I decide to permenantly install an RB up at the hill. 

I did try a few USBoE hardware solutions but like you...found they are very poor performers in this application. Most are designed for asynchronous (interupt, polled or bulk transfer) USB modes rather than the isochronous mode that the FTDI driver apparently uses.

Winradio probably uses isochronous USB mode too....


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Re: Remotely mounting Radarbox hardware
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2010, 03:15:56 PM »
I have to turn off or restart my pc periodically, but I would be willing to leave the router (and the ANRB) running continuously if there were a way for that to be useful.


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Re: Remotely mounting Radarbox hardware
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 12:43:32 PM »

I have also tried the Eltima USB to Ethernet which worked of a fashion and am currently working with Fabula-Tech on their USB over Network solution.

@GlynH does the Fabula Tech USB over Ehternet works for you? Which version do you use?