Redline Communications AN-80i Review

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

1.0 Introduction 2.0 The Equipment 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 AN80 Connection 3.4 Setting up the Radio Interface 3.5 User Administration 4.0 Alignment and Service Statistics 5.0 Upgrading the AN-80i 6.0 The Bandwidth and Latency Tests 7.0 Product Support 8.0 The Conclusion 8.1 Updates to Product Since Review 9.0 Product Review Rating

1.0 Introduction This week, I have been testing and reviewing a few pairs of Redline AN-80i 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-80i unit is their new PTP and PTMP wireless access and backhaul product, which is part of Redline's RedCONNEX™ and RedACCESS family of products.

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 108Mbps The AN-80i uses OFDM radios with TDD, on 10 MHz, 20MHz and 40MHz channels. With using TDD with 40MHz channels, Ethernet throughputs of up to 90Mbps (With the 108Mbps Key) can be achieved. The AN-80i is available in 5.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz radio band configurations and can be ordered with over the air AES or DES encryption ability. For more information, click here for the Redline AN-80i data sheet located at the Redline Communications website. 2.0 The Equipment Now it is time to open up the box and have a look at the equipment within. Various boxes with part numbers. Couple of cable boxes, lighting arrestors, two POE/transformer adapters and two ODUs. 2.1 The ODU (Out Door Unit) Unlike the AN-50e type units, the AN-80i only has an outdoor unit with POE forpower. The package also includes the integrated POE adapter, cables, lighting arrestor and mounting equipment. It is preferred that you use the Redline Communications supplied ethernet cables for the installation.

The ODU unit is painted white, with a metal casing and heatsink fins. Which should make it resistant to hail, wind related damage and a good heat sink for hot days. 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 needed to get access to the units. 3.1 Getting Access

Access to the AN-80i backhaul 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 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-80i 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. Enter the IP address, netmask and gateway address in the logical fields. Flow control should be off and Ethernet mode set to the required duplex/speed.

3.3 Setting up the AN80 Connection Once you have your network interface configured, you will need to set one unit to the PTP Master mode and the other as a PTP Slave under System Mode. Encryption Type should be set to 64-bit, and the "Peer MAC" is the MAC address of the other radio pair. The Link Measurement and 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 18 dBm and Antenna Gain to the gain of your antenna. Tick the ATPC Enable option and the Adaptive Modulation option in the web form.

Set the channel width to 20Mhz and Uncoded Burst Rate to 54Mb/s (With the 54Meg Key in the AN-80i). Also, set the DFS field to your countries requirement. 3.5 User Administration To access this administration section, just click on the User Management item in the side menu. Adding, removing and changing user passwords is easy in the AN-80i 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.

4.0 Alignment and Service Statistics For alignment, the easiest option is to select the Antenna Alignment Buzzer Enable in the configuration section of the menu. This produces a high pitched tweet that gets louder as you get the alignment closer. 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 Upgrading the AN-80i To Upgrade the AN-80i 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.

6.0 The Bandwidth and Latency Tests Our test was using AN-80i units in PTP mode, 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 two test units located at tall towers, with good line of sight to each other. The antenna's being used are the Redline Communication panel antennas. 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 45Mbps 32Mbps 0.977 0.932 22dBi Panel 28dBi Panel

AN-80i (Unit 1) 5KM AN-80i (Unit 2) 25KM

7.0 Product Support Redline Communications support and sales for the AN-80i 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.

8.0 The Conclusion The AN-80i unit works well with our equipment and seemed to do a good job as a back haul for meshed systems or a dedicated last mile client connection. 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-80i going on the bench. The web interface on the AN-80i unit is much better then it's kindred, the AN-50e. Installation on the tower is pretty simple as well, generally only requiring the supplied mounting brackets and since it is only the ODU, no rack space is required. 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-80i lose a link during bad weather. The ODU is a painted white, metal case with heatsink fins. Which makes it resistant to hail, wind related damage and a good heatsink for hot days. But I am still testing the resistance to sea salt. Redline Communication's product support is good, with competent technicians and sales staff giving worth while service. The only downsides are problems with getting the Ethernet cable in/out of the AN-80i plug hole (due to some bad clearance) and problems with towers about 100m tall or taller (Ethernet standards shortfall, not the radio). Pros: • • • • Cons: • Ethernet cable length to the unit can become an issue for large towers. • Cable ends into radio can have problems [ updated see reference (1) ]. 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. 8.1 Updates to Product Since Review (1)Ethernet Cable Removal Tool Beginning in May 2009, newly manufactured AN-80i units do not have the metal tab used to release RJ-45 connector installed in the Ethernet access port. Instead, a separate Ethernet cable removal tool is shipped with every unit. Please see image and check release announcement for more details. Simple to set-up and get going. Minimal equipment at the tower. (only one unit) Web interface is much better than the AN50. Cost effective upgrades with keys. (9 to 108Mbps)

To minimize any potential service interruption, please ensure that you have read the updated AN80i user manual and the installation guide for a complete description of these features. Peak Information Rate Peak Information Rate (PIR, or maximum information rate) feature is now supported on RedACCESS AN-80i in addition to the already existing Committed Information Rate (CIR) feature. PIR monitors the amount of data transmitted over each connection and enforces per service bandwidth limits. Uplink and downlink PIR settings for each connection -- 50 Kbps to 50,000 Kbps. Additional Management and Security features Additional Management and Security features offer performance monitoring via remote element manager, a new point-to-multipoint planning and provisioning tool and additional security through centralized RADIUS user authentication. In addition there are multiple improved usability features including: • • • • Notification of temporary key expiration Link Status Summary page displays information for all wireless links including: link ID, name, and uplink/downlink statistics New statistics and CLI commands

9.0 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: