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Ubiquiti 3 GHz Equipment

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KE6CD
Ubiquiti 3 GHz Equipment

I am considering getting a couple Ubiquiti M3 Rocket units to experiment with.

Does anyone know whether units produced in 2014 have the WX boards?  I am looking a couple NOS units that have a June 2014 inspection date but haven't been able to get further details.  Unfortunately, the units aren't local to me so I can't read them or otherwise inspect them.  It is unlikely that I can get the person who has them to read them for me.

Thanks.

Fred Bray
KE6CD

WU2S
WU2S's picture
2014 M3 boards

I recently purchased 4 Rocket M3 units with test dates of 15 January 2014. All of them had the XM.v5.5.6 boards and firmware.

KG6JEI
While the M3 is based off the

While the M3 is based off the 5.8GHz radio it is still a unique product with its own development line and to my knowledge XW is only a 5.8GHz issue not a 3.4 GHz issues.

kg9dw
kg9dw's picture
M3 for mesh or for backbones?

I'm curious...are you looking to use the M3 devices for meshing or for use as backbones to connect islands of meshes?

KE6CD
Ubiquiti 3 GHz Equipment

I was thinking of it mainly for backhaul.  It also could work for mesh in situations where 2 and 5 GHz is heavily congested and can't be adequately deconflicted.

I take it from the prior posts that 2014 M3 units aren't likely to experience the boot loop bricking problems that M2 and M5 devices are subject too?

Thanks.

K5DLQ
K5DLQ's picture
You still need to downgrade

You still need to downgrade them to AirOS 5.5x before applying AREDN firmware

KE6CD
Downgrading M3

That is why I was concerned, although if the units are below 5.5.8 they may be "AREDN ready" without downgrading?

K5DLQ
K5DLQ's picture
yep

yep

kg9dw
kg9dw's picture
backhauls

If you're going to use them for backhauls, you may not want to use the AREDN software. With airOs one node has to be the AP making redundancy harder, but the performance benefits of airOS may be attractive to you.

K7OPA
K7OPA's picture
This brings up a point for us

This brings up a point for us non networking types - the need for documentation, instructions, how to, etc. for many of these setups.  For me I am looking to set up a backhaul node with 3ghz units but know little about airOS and how to use it to peak the signal between 2 dishes, what setup parameters to use, etc.  If someone who has done this could write up a procedure it would be way helpful.  

K6AH
K6AH's picture
Don't use AirOS without network experience

If you don't have data network experience, then I would not recommend using airOS for the backbone.  Simply connect the backbone dtd to the downlinks and let the AREDN software worry about the configuration details.

Andre

K7OPA
K7OPA's picture
So are you saying that the

So are you saying that the performance gain by staying with airos is really not that great if we don't understand the networking stuff?  Sorry but if their is a big difference (36 mile backbone link) we will seek out network experience in order to get the best results - was just hoping that since folks on here had already done it they would be helpful - oh well.

KE2N
KE2N's picture
air os vs mesh

The performance advantage of UBNT AirOS WDS link (versus a pair of mesh nodes) is substantial for a point-to-point connection. Its at least 4:1 throughput advantage, in my experience.

Configuring the UBNT nodes is simple, if you select the "simple configuration" option in UBNT.  You manually assign addresses for each node. You enable the AirMAX mode, make one an access point, one a station, and you run in transparent bridge mode. If the link is long, you select the Long Range PtP option. 

There are various options for the interface between AREDN mesh and AirOS - not all of which I understand.  But I did do some testing more than a year ago and got it to work.  One way is basically to make the AirOS nodes be your "WAN" connection at each mesh interface point and check the AREDN mesh gateway box at each end of the backbone. The addresses on the backbone need to be a different network than 10.x.x.x and you manually enter the appropriate WAN address at each mesh end setup.

As I recall, there was an issue with tunnel connections when I first tried this, but I believe it was fixed in the next release.

In this arrangement, no Internet connection is needed. Note that non-mesh nodes on the backbone (if any) cannot access the mesh, without more work. 

Subsequent to this testing, I have been operating both mesh and backbone networks, but have never implemented a production mesh-to-mesh connection, so I was a bit hesitant to respond to your original note. Nor am I likely to be a technical resource for advanced questions (but others on here are!)

Ken   

 

K0SPN
If I understand correctly,

If I understand correctly, using the AirOS for networking brings issues of ID compliance; without special setup, the nodes will not meet part 97 ID requirements.
Especially relevant to 3GHz, as it's a licensed band.  I know we use "export" nodes for 3GHz, but do they work on the correct frequencies in AirOS by default?
 

KE2N
KE2N's picture
ID

Yes that's right.  You can operate part 97 frequencies on 3 GHz (and other bands), but have to ID properly.  The Access Point unit can be said to ID adequately if you use a call sign for the SSID.  But the Station node probably does not meet FCC requirements.

Its a shame that AREDN dropped the point-to-point configuration option of the AREDN software, but they had their reasons.

To use AirOS, it has been suggested that you can run a program on the station node which sends a beacon message periodically to meet the requirement.  The problem with that is the newer versions of AirOS get all excited if you try to start them up with a foreign program of some sort (or any other change) in the boot up sequence.   What I have tried was to change the MAC address so that the pairs of numbers, interpreted as ASCII characters, spell out my call sign.  If you use a wireshark program (or something similar) on the data being sent by the Station node, the call sign will be very obvious and I think that means it is an OK ID.   You are limited to 5 character call signs since you cannot change the first pair of digits.  And you have the same issue with more recent versions of AirOS because any program you run to change the MAC will be objected to by UBNT.  That means you have to do the change with an external computer or terminal.  There are various ways to do this and which ones are supported by UBNT may depend on the version of AirOS that you are running.

If anyone else has experience in this area I would be interested to see what they did.

K0SPN
The issue with that method is

The issue with that method is you must make sure you don't get two units on the network with the same MAC address.

Wouldn't be too bad if you had a 1x2 or 2x1 callsign as you could set one octet as a serial number; everyone else is out of luck and gets one unit per network.

Vendors usually have several ID blocks but I have 9 units and only 4 different ID blocks; they cross over product lines too, so not all NanoStations (for example) have the same ID block

KE2N
KE2N's picture
upgrade

yes - it is an incentive to upgrade your license!

But with a big backbone you probably are a club operation and only the sponsor of the club call sign would need the extra class license.

I would point out that non-printable characters could be appended to the 1x2 or 2x1 call to generate more than 100 MACs that all have the same call sign when displayed as text. And you only need to do it on the station nodes not the access points (which may be half of the nodes). The FCC allows many transmitters to use the same call sign (think of field day or a multi-multi contest station).

I like the option of using netstat to send a beacon message from the station(s) to the access point since no fiddling with the node firmware is needed. The only downside I can think of is that you really need to turn off the node if the computer sending the beacon stops for some reason.

 

K0SPN
Whether you are already, or

Whether you are already, or upgrade to, Extra, there aren't many available, and there's usually a lot of competition for them, so not an easy thing to get at all, let alone if you want one for a specific district.

Does allow a lot of options for a prefix number.  Leaving out A, K, N, & W, leaves you about 250 possibilities.

Certainly doable, just difficult.

K7OPA
K7OPA's picture
Ken - thank you so much for

Ken - thank you so much for the information.  It seems that there are so many advantages to the 3gig units running AirOS (except cost!) that they would get more attention.  But I do understand the time and energy constraints the small team has and the much greater complexity involved - they have done a wonderful job in making all this capability possible.  
Couldn't an external file tansfer, say via MeshChat, with the ID in the text be setup to transmit periodically from the Station node?

K5DLQ
K5DLQ's picture
write a simple script to

write a simple script to beacon out your callsign via netcat and schedule it with a cron job every 10 mins...
 

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