Redline Communications AN-50e Review

Author: Benjamin Luck – Synworks Development Group Synworks DG Website Email:

1.0 Introduction 2.0 The ODU (Out Door Unit) and The IDU (Indoor Unit) 2.1 The ODU (Out Door Unit) 3.0 Setting up the Units for Deployment and Testing 3.1 Getting Access 3.2 Setting Up Remote Access 3.3 Setting up the AN50 Connection 3.4 Setting up the Radio Interface 3.5 User Administration 4.0 Alignment and Service Statistics 5.0 User Administration 6.0 Upgrading the AN-50e 7.0 The Bandwidth and Latency Tests 8.0 Product Support 9.0 The Conclusion 10.0 Product Review Rating 11.0 Notices

1.0 Introduction

This week, I have been testing and reviewing a few pairs of Redline AN-50e radios. The Redline Communications company is the leading supplier of the world’s most advanced, performancedriven, scalable, and reliable fixed and mobile wireless broadband access and backhaul solutions.

The Redline Communications AN-50e unit is their PTP and PTMP wireless access and backhaul product, which is part of Redline's RedCONNEX™ and RedACCESS family of products. The AN50e uses OFDM radios, with TDD on 20MHz channels. The units I am testing for this review are set with software keys, for a 54Mbps over the air data-rate and for point to point operation. Keys are available for both PMP and PTP and for data rates up to 54Mbps Using TDD with 20MHz channels, ethernet throughputs of up to 49Mbps can be achieved. The AN50e is available in 5.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz radio band configurations and has over the air encryption ability (AES or DES). For more information, click here for the Redline AN-50e Datasheet located at the Redline Communications website.

2.0 The ODU (Out Door Unit) and The IDU (Indoor Unit)
The AN-50e IDU and ODU are simple to set-up and install. The cables are pretty self explanatory, with the ODU and IDU connected by a long length of coaxial cable.

The IDU plugs directly into your switch or router interface for the data link and radio management services. Power to the ODU is 120/240 mains voltage by a standard IEC power connector. The ODU connects via coaxial cable to the antenna and has a couple of earth wires to connect up.

3.0 Setting up the Units for Deployment and Testing
Our next steps are to review the set-up process and get the units into the field for testing. First, I need to get access to the units. 3.1 Getting Access Access to the AN-50e base station interface can either be done by the web interface or by telnet

(Console). To get the unit ready for configuration, I hooked it up to our laptop, with the IP address set to Then I powered up the unit and after a few seconds, a link on the ethernet status appeared.

Configuration is best done by the web interface. You can use Firefox or Internet Explorer to connect to the unit's default IP address of Once connected, a password prompt will come up. Just enter into the field the username and password of admin (default setting). Then a few things need to be set in the AN-50e ODUs before deployment. 3.2 Setting Up Remote Access After clicking on the "Configure System" link in the side menu, a selection of configuration options will appear. Configure the IP, netmask and gateway address in the logical fields. Also, fill out the System Name and System Details.

Flow control should be set to off and the Ethernet mode statically set to the required duplex/speed of the connecting interface. 3.3 Setting up the AN50 Connection Once you have your network interface configured and saved, make sure the AN-50e unit is in PTP mode under the Software Version selector. You will need to reboot the unit to apply this change

before you continue with the configuration.

You will need to set one unit to the PTP Master mode and the other as a PTP Slave under the Master Mode selection. The Encryption Key should be set to the MAC address of the other radio pair. Link Length Mode should be set to auto and the Radio Enable selection ticked. 3.4 Setting up the Radio Interface To configure the radio interface, you will need to set the desired frequency and tick Auto scan if the unit is in Slave PTP mode. Then set the TX Power to 20dBm and Antenna Gain to the gain of your antenna. Tick the ATPC Enable option and the Adaptive Modulation option.

Set the Uncoded Burst Rate to 54Mb/s (With the 54Meg Key in the AN-50e). Also, set the DFS field to your countries requirement. 4.0 Alignment and Service Statistics For alignment, the easiest option is to select the General Antenna Alignment buzzer in the configuration section of the menu. This produces a high pitched tweet that gets louder as you get the alignment better. Remember to turn the tweeter back off after alignment.

Then under the side menu option called System Status, various wireless and ethernet statistics are available for review. The most important for the initial setup, being the SINADR and the RSSI values. The higher the SINADR and the lower the RSSI the better 5.0 User Administration To access this administration section, just click on the System Password item in the side menu. Changing user passwords is easy in the AN-50e web interface.

There is no HTTPS support, so just keep that in mind when setting passwords across untrusted networks. The users accounts and passwords can also be managed from the console interface. 6.0 Upgrading the AN-50e To Upgrade the AN-50e firmware, click on the Upload Software menu option. This will display a simple web form with details for a FTP session for the upgrade.

To update, copy the firmware to the FTP server, then fill out the relevant details in the AN-80i web form. Then just hit Upload File and wait until the transfer has finished. Once this is completed, you can then go to the Configure System option in the menu and select the Software Version you want. Then you will have to press the reboot button to complete the firmware

loading into the unit.

7.0 The Bandwidth and Latency Test
Our test was using AN-50e units, with 20Mhz channels in the 5.4Ghz spectrum. This apparently allows for a maximum raw data throughput of 54Mbps over the air. I have the three test units located at tall towers, with good line of sight to each other. For our test, I used an FTP server located at one end of the wireless bridge and a FTP client on a laptop at the other end. The programs used for the client side test are GNU WPUT and WGET. For the server side, I am using the open source FTP server, Proftpd. The data being transferred is a large compressed file.

The Test Results Unit Type Distance Avg Throughput Avg Latency Antenna Type 44Mbps 44Mbps 32Mbps 0.590 0.594 0.973 22dBi Panel 22dBi Panel 33dBi Dish

AN-50e (Unit 1) 5KM AN-50e (Unit 2) 10KM AN-50e (Unit 3) 30KM

8.0 Product Support
Redline Communications support and sales for the AN-50e product is done by their various regional headquarters and product distribution partners. Through their RedCare™ Support program, Redline offers various base services. • RedCare Warranty • RedCare Protection Services • RedCare Deployment Services Their technical and sales staff are helpful and quick to resolve any issues and handle any requirement requests. There is a lack of public forums and blogs on the product, but that is not to say that makes good product support.

9.0 The Conclusion
The AN-50e unit works well with our equipment and seemed to do a good job as a back haul for data. The average latency is less than 1ms and the over the Ethernet rate is pretty close to the over the air rate. Set-up is simple and only takes a few minutes to get the AN-50e going on the bench. The web interface on the AN-50e unit is very slow at best, which can make troubleshooting better via the console. Installation on the tower is pretty simple as well, generally only requiring the supplied mounting brackets and some rack space. The auto modulation and the adaptive TX power controls work well. During rain/hail/cloud, they adjust well to changing conditions. I am yet to have an AN-50e lose a link during normal bad weather. I have lost it once as a storm producing tornados and 10cm hail falls, pass between the units. These units were 30km apart. The ODU is metal, which makes it resistant to hail, wind related damage and a good heat sink for hot days. The ODU seems very resistant to sea salt in the air with no visible corrosion. Redline Communication's product support is good, with competent technicians and sales staff giving worth while service. The only downside is the slow web interface. Pros: • Simple to set-up and get going. • The coax cable allows the ODU to be used on a tall tower installation. Cons: • Web Interface is very slow to work with. • No interface for QOS ability for different traffic (only 802.1p). • Requires rack space as well as tower space. I would have liked to have done some more tests with the unit in PTMP mode, but due to the limited amount of radio equipment, I was unable to give a good test of this topology.

10.0 Product Review Rating
This is a rating from my in-house and field testing. With a rating out of 5 stars. Reliability: Ease of Setup: Performance:

11.0 Notice
The AN-50 product has now been discontinued as a unit available from the Redline Communications. All AN-50 firmware updates have also been discontinued. All support will be withdrawn as some point in the future. Though, 3rd parties maybe still selling and supporting the

AN-50. Please check with Redline Communications for more information.