Thursday 3 April 2014

802.11 Networks on Radio Mobile (Part 1) (Step-By-Step)

14:03 Posted by Jurgens Krause , , , , , 3 comments
Before reading this tutorial, you might want to take a look at Introduction to Radio Mobile

This tutorial will cover the creation of your first 5.8 ghz network with a single point to point link. You will learn how to create units, set network parameters, and create a point to point link profile.

1. Creating your first network:

Let us start with a brand new blank network: Click on File->New Networks
You will be prompted to erase the current network, since this is the first run you can proceed.

You will be presented with a "New Net initialization" screen. For now, let us stick to the default values.

Once the new network has been created, save it on your hard drive: Click on File->Save Networks As, and choose your save location. This will be the location where any additional files related to your network will be saved as well. I use c:\radiomobile\networks for mine.

2. Creating Units

Each unit is a single wireless radio/antenna combination. So in order to map a full highsite, you will have multiple units at a specific set of coordinates. For now we will start with a simple Point-to-Point link and expand from there.

For the sheer fun of it, we will be plotting links for the fictitious WISP, SaharaNet. You can download the Google Earth file HERE.

Type: Ubiquiti Bullet M5 with 27db Grid Antenna
Lat:   24.612162°
Lon:  8.088472°

Type: Ubiquiti Bullet M5 with 27db Grid Antenna
Lat:    24.675089°
Lon:   8.144723°

To create the units, click on File->Unit Properties 

  1. Select Unit 1 and enter the name SN-Grid-1
  2. Click on "Enter LAT LON or QRA" alternatively you can copy the placemark in Google Earth and simply click on "Paste"
  3. Enter the Latitude an Longitude for SN-Grid-1.
Do the same for Unit 2 with SN-Grid-2

Click OK all the way out of Unit Properties

3. Configure the Networks

3.1 Network Parameters

Click on "File->Networks Properties"

Give this network a name, I will use "Point-to-Point" because it makes sense in this tutorial. In production you would want to give it a name that makes it uniquely identifiable.

Minimum Frequency: 5180mhz (this is where the licence free band in my country starts)
Maximum Frequency: 5800mhz
Polarization: Vertical (the antenna profiles in the installer are all vertical)
Mode of variability: Spot (I won't pretend to understand this, but the people who know assure me this is good)
% of situations: 70% (again as above, this should give you a decent error margin)
Climate: Desert (Obviously you would need to choose the appropriate one)

3.2 Network Topology

On the Topology tab:

Visible: On (this means the links in this net will be plotted on your map)
Data net, star topology (Master/Slave): This makes the most sense for WiFi networks
Tick the bottom boxes, they are self explanatory.

3.3 Network Systems

We will skip ahead and come back to Membership later.

On the Systems Tab:
  1. Select System 1 in the left hand pane.
  2. From the dropdown select UBNT BulletM5 - 27db Grid

3.4 Network Membership

On the Membership Tab:
  1. Make sure that the two units we created earlier are selected.
For SN-Grid-1:
    • Role of SN-Grid-1: Master
    • System: UBNT BulletM5 - 27db Grid
    • Antenna height (m): 10m
    • Antenna Direction: SN-Grid-2
For SN-Grid-2:
    • Role of SN-Grid-2: Slave
    • System: UBNT BulletM5 - 27db Grid
    • Antenna height (m): 10m
    • Antenna Direction: SN-Grid-1

3.4 Network Style

On the network style tab:
  1. Draw green line if RX relative(dB) is >= : 30dB
  2. Draw yellow line if RX relative(dB) is >= : 15dB
  3. Leave the rest on default settings.

4. Creating a Map:

  1. Select SN-Grid-1 to center the map on.
  2. Tick "Adjust units elevation"
  3. Adjust the size (pixel) so that you know it will fit on your screen, and the Size(km) so that it will include both units.
  4. Click 'Extract"
If this is the first time you are creating a map, it will proceed to download the map data from the online sources.

When the download completes, you will get a very nice topographical map of the area around your units:

To display your units on the map click the Show Networks icon on the toolbar:

You will now see the link plotted on the map. The settings we applied in "Network Style" determines that the link color will be green since it is above the threshold.

5. Plotting a point to point link profile

Click on the Radio Link toolbar icon:

You will now be presented with a beautiful radio link profile, it will provide you with all the details re. the link. In this case it estimates that you will have a SNR of 41.1dB provided that there are no buildings or other obstacles in the way, and that it is a zero noise environment. Since this is out in the middle of the desert, I think it is safe to assume that these estimations are very accurate. Remember that link modelling does not replace a good old fashioned site survey.

Remember to save your project.

Check back soon for more RM tutorials!


  1. Hi,

    could you share the mikrotik ant patterns? could not find any .ant or msi file from mikrotik site


    1. I have contacted Mikrotik to get some antenna pattern files, if they cannot supply, I will try to make my own.

  2. Hi again! From your installer provided there are no systems to choose like Ubiquti or Mikrotik, there are just the deaults UHF and VHF. How can I get also the other systems you mention? thanks