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Version 2.6.

Aster
User Manual

AS261_UM_E0
AS261_UM_E0

Aster 2.6.1 User Manual


Release: AS261_UM_E0 (July 2018)
© Copyright 1997-2018 Forsk. All Rights Reserved.
Published by:
Forsk
7 rue des Briquetiers
31700 Blagnac, France
Tel: +33 562 747 210
Fax: +33 562 747 211
The software described in this document is provided under a licence agreement. The software may only be used or copied under the terms and conditions of the licence agreement.
No part of the contents of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.
The product or brand names mentioned in this document are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective registering parties.
Third party services that are not part of Atoll are governed by the terms and conditions of their respective providers, which are subject to change without notice.
The publisher has taken care in the preparation of this document, but makes no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.
No liability is assumed for incidental or consequential damages in connection with or arising out of the use of the information contained herein.
Aster 2.6.1 User Manual
AS261_UM_E0 Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Aster User Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


About Aster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
About Atoll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
About Forsk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Getting Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Printing Help Topics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
About Atoll Documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Contacting Technical Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
................................................................................... 7

1 Installation and Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


1.1 Installing the Aster Propagation Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.2 Configuring the Aster Propagation Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.3 Managing Aster Licenses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


1.3.1 About Floating Licenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.3.2 Sentinel LDK Run-time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.4 Using the Sentinel Admin Control Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


1.4.1 Opening the Sentinel ACC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.4.2 Sentinel ACC User Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.4.2.1 Sentinel Keys page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.4.2.2 Products page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.4.2.3 Features page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.4.2.4 Sessions page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.4.2.5 Update/Attach License page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.4.2.6 Access Log page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.4.2.7 Configuration page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.4.2.8 Diagnostics page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.4.3 Displaying Custom Names in the ACC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.4.4 Disabling Broadcasts during License Searches. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.4.5 Updating Protection Keys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

2 Aster Model Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


2.1 Digital Terrain Model (DTM). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

2.2 Above Surface Object Digital Model (ASODM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

2.3 ASODM Model Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


2.3.1 ASODM Model with both Clutter Heights and Clutter Classes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.3.1.1 Clutter Heights with Higher or Same Resolution as Clutter Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.3.1.2 Clutter Classes with Higher Resolution than Clutter Heights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.3.1.3 Multiple Clutter Class Layers with Different Resolutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.3.1.4 Partial Clutter Heights Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.3.2 ASODM Model with Only Clutter Classes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.3.3 ASODM Model with Only Clutter Heights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

2.4 ASODM Model with Vector Layers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

3 Using the Aster Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


3.1 Assigning the Aster Model Transmitters and Cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

3.2 Creating a New Instance of Aster. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

3.3 Configuring Aster. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20


3.3.1 Specifying Aster Configuration Parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

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Aster 2.6.1 User Manual
AS261_UM_E0 Table of Contents

3.3.2 Selecting Configuration Parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22


3.3.3 Propagation Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.3.3.1 Deterministic Propagation Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.3.3.2 Statistical Propagation Classes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
3.3.3.3 Mapping Clutter Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
3.3.3.4 Mapping Clutter Heights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
3.3.3.5 Mapping Vector Layers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.3.4 Enabling Indoor Calculation without Indoor Losses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3.3.4.1 Enabling Indoor calculation without Indoor Losses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.3.4.2 Calculating a Service Level Map. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.3.4.3 Calculating Clutter-based Indoor Loss from Atoll. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.3.4.4 Calculating User-defined Indoor Loss from Aster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
3.3.5 Ray Tracing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
3.3.5.1 Enabling Ray Tracing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
3.3.6 Geoclimatic Settings for the mmWave Propagation Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
3.3.7 Advanced Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

3.4 Antenna Outdoor Relocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29


3.4.1 Configuring Antenna Relocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
3.4.2 Performing an Antenna Relocation Audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

4 Calibrating the Aster Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


4.1 Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.1.1 Preparing Atoll for Calibration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.1.2 Collecting CW Measurement Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.1.3 Preparing the Data in Atoll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.1.4 Planning Calibration of Aster. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

4.2 Initial Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32


4.2.1 Initial Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
4.2.1.1 Configuration Parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
4.2.1.2 Indoor Calculation Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
4.2.1.3 Clutter and Geo Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
4.2.1.4 Ray Tracing Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
4.2.1.5 Advanced Calibration Parameters (Inputs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

4.3 Initial Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34


4.3.1 Analysing Aster’s Performance from Atoll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
4.3.2 Analysing Aster Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

4.4 Calibration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
4.4.1 Creating a Calibration Copy of Aster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
4.4.2 Calibrating an Aster Instance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
4.4.2.1 Advanced Calibration Parameters (Inputs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
4.4.2.2 Calibration Algorithm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
4.4.2.3 Calibration Method. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
4.4.3 Verifying Calibration Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
4.4.3.1 Calibration Results Indicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
4.4.4 Manual Calibration Adjustments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
4.4.5 Committing Calibrated Parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

4.5 Validation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

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AS261_UM_E0 Aster 2.6.1 User Manual

Aster User Manual


Aster is a ray-tracing propagation model based on a new concept of implementation for ray tracing and is particularly designed
for dense urban environments with high resolution geo raster data.
The purpose of this User Manual is to provide general information about using the Aster propagation model with your Atoll
documents. It contains the following chapters:
• "Installation and Configuration" on page 9
• "Aster Model Overview" on page 15
• "Using the Aster Model" on page 19
• "Calibrating the Aster Model" on page 31
In addition to this manual, the Aster documentation package also includes the following items:
• Aster Model Calibration Guide
• Aster Technical Reference Guide
• TN031 - Aster License Management
You can also download manuals from the Forsk web site at:
http://www.forsk.com/MyForskAccount/

About Aster
Aster is a fast, accurate, and easy to use radio propagation model and is fully integrated with Atoll. It is provided with pre-
calibrated parameters, can auto-calibrate, and supports all wireless technologies.
Aster can be used with Atoll version 3.2.1 and later, as well as the Atoll distributed calculation server.

Aster can also be partially used with Atoll 3.1.2, i.e. only matrices and profiles can be calcu-
lated with the Aster propagation model. For information, contact Forsk Support.

The Aster propagation model has the following features:


• Ray tracing: Aster is based on two major components:
• Vertical diffraction over rooftops based on Walfisch-Ikegami model and multiple knife-edge Deygout method.
• Horizontal diffraction based on ray tracing.
Aster can use geographical data such as vectors for ray tracing, but it can also perform ray tracing with raster data only.
• mmWave support: Aster supports extremely high frequencies also known as millimetre wave or mmWave, which
makes Aster compliant with all wireless technologies and frequencies from 150 MHz up to 60 GHz, including 5G net-
works.
• Extremely fast: Aster uses a unique high-speed ray-tracing technique, based on the raster sampling of building angles.
For example, 5 seconds are enough to calculate a 1,500 m radius cell with a 5m grid on an ordinary laptop.
• Highly accurate: Aster can take all the main radio propagation effects into account, leading to highly accurate
coverage prediction results. Its accuracy applies to antennas above rooftops (where signal levels are mainly due to
vertical diffractions) as well as antennas under rooftops (where signal levels are mainly due to horizontal diffractions).
• Ready & Easy-to-use: Aster is fully integrated in the Atoll environment and there is no need for a special database or
for any type of data pre-processing.
• Compatible with high resolution (less than 25 m) raster data and with all types of clutter data. It is also compatible
with vector data (ESRI Shapefiles SHP and MapInfo TAB formats are currently supported).
• Supplied with pre-calibrated parameters using more than 1.5 million measurement points. The standard deviation
from measurements is typically less than 6.5 dB. Model configurations are intuitive and easy to access.
• Auto-calibration: Aster supports measurement-based auto-calibration. The standard deviation can drop to less than
6.5 dB in scenarios and environments with high-resolution geo data and good-quality measurements.

About Atoll
Atoll is a 64-bit multi-technology wireless network design and optimisation platform. Atoll is open, scalable, flexible, and
supports wireless operators throughout the network life cycle, from initial design to densification and optimisation.
Atoll Microwave is a complete backhaul and microwave link planning solution based on the leading Atoll platform, which
includes a high performance GIS and advanced data and user management features. Atoll Microwave can share its site data-
base with Atoll radio planning and optimisation modules, thus allowing easy data consistency management across the oper-
ator organisation.

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Aster 2.6.1 User Manual © Forsk 2018

Atoll’s integration and customisation features help operators smoothly streamline planning and optimisation processes. Atoll
supports a wide range of implementation scenarios, from standalone to enterprise-wide server-based configurations. Atoll
has become the industry standard for radio network planning and optimisation.
If you are interested in learning more about Atoll, please contact your Forsk representative to inquire about our training solu-
tions.

About Forsk
Forsk is an independent software company providing operators and vendors with wireless network design and optimisation
products. Atoll, Forsk’s flagship product, is the market-leading wireless network planning and optimisation software on the
market; it allows operators to streamline planning and optimisation activities by combining predictions and live network data.
Forsk distributes and supports Atoll directly from offices and technical support centres in France, USA, and China as well as
through a worldwide network of distributors and partners.

Getting Help
The online help system that is installed with Atoll is designed to give you quick access to the information you need to use the
product effectively. It contains the same material as the Atoll 2.6.1 User Manual.
You can browse the online help from the Contents view, the Index view, or you can use the built-in Search feature.
You can also download manuals from the Forsk web site at:
http://www.forsk.com/support/

Printing Help Topics


You can print individual topics or chapters from the online help.
To print help topics or chapters:
1. In Atoll, click Help > Help Topics.
2. In the Contents tab, expand the table of contents.
3. Right-click the section or topic that you want to print and click Print. The Print Topics dialog box appears.
4. In the Print Topics dialog box, select what you want to print:
• If you want to print a single topic, select Print the selected topic.
• If you want to print an entire section, including all topics and sections in that section, select Print the selected
heading and all subtopics.
5. Click OK.

About Atoll Documentation


The following PDF manuals are available to customers with a valid maintenance contract for Atoll and Atoll Microwave and
can be downloaded from the Forsk web site at:
http://www.forsk.com/support/
• Atoll User Manual
• Atoll Administrator Manual
• Atoll Licensing Guide
• Atoll Data Structure Reference Guide
• Atoll Technical Reference Guide
• Atoll Task Automation Guide
• Atoll Model Calibration Guide
To read PDF manuals, download Adobe Reader from the Adobe web site at:
http://get.adobe.com/reader/
Hardcopy manuals are also available. For more information, contact to your Forsk representative.

Contacting Technical Support


Forsk provides global technical support for its products and services. To contact the Forsk support team, visit the My Forsk
web site at:
http://www.forsk.com/support/
Alternatively, depending on your geographic location, contact one of the following support teams:

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AS261_UM_E0 Aster 2.6.1 User Manual

• Forsk US
For North and Central America, contact the Forsk US support team:
• Tel.: 1-888-GO-ATOLL (1-888-462-8655)
• Fax: 1-312-674-4822
• Email: support_us@forsk.com
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (Eastern Standard Time)
• Forsk China
For Asia (except Japan), contact the Forsk China support team:
• Tel: +86 20 8557 0016
• Fax: +86 20 8553 8285
• Email: atollsupport@forsk.com.cn
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi.
• Forsk Head Office
For all other regions, contact the Forsk Head Office support team:
• Tel.: +33 562 747 225
• Fax: +33 562 747 211
• Email: support@forsk.com
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (GMT +1:00)

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AS261_UM_E0 Aster 2.6.1 User Manual

1 Installation and Configuration


The following operating systems are supported by Aster:
• For Atoll 32-bit: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7/8/8.1, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012.
• For Atoll 64-bit: Windows 7/8/8.1, Windows Server 2008/2012.

The setup program of the Aster propagation model is supplied in both:


• a 32-bit version for Atoll 32-bit: "Setup-Aster-<version>-<build>ia.exe", and
• a 64-bit version for Atoll 64-bit: "Setup-Aster-<version>-<build>-x64-ia.exe"
Before installing the 64-bit version of Aster, make sure that Atoll 64-bit is installed
correctly. For more information, see the Atoll Administrator Manual.

1.1 Installing the Aster Propagation Model


To install Aster:
1. Run the setup program.
2. Select an installation folder. By default, the installer proposes an Aster directory at the same level as Atoll.
3. Click Next. The automatic installation procedure begins.
4. When installation is complete, click Finish to exit the setup. The Aster Propagation Model entry is added in the
Parameters explorer under Propagation Models.
To check that Aster is properly installed, when Atoll is running, select Help > About Atoll. In the About Atoll dialog box verify
the following items:
• Under List of components, verify that "Aster Propagation Model" appears in the list.
• Under Version, verify the version and build numbers.
• Under File, you can see where Aster was installed.

1.2 Configuring the Aster Propagation Model


The main configuration settings for Aster are defined in the Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog. For more
information, see "Configuring the Aster Propagation Model" on page 9.
In addition, advanced settings can be configured in the Aster configuration file, which is located in the installation folder:
• For the standard Aster propagation model: Aster.ini
• For the mmWave Aster propagation model: AsterMmWave.ini
If the configuration file is not found, the default configuration parameters of the model are used. For more information, see
the Technical Reference Guide.

1.3 Managing Aster Licenses


Aster can be used in the following configurations:
• Computers with fixed Atoll protection keys plugged in to USB slots on the computers themselves, or
• Computers connected to a license server with a floating Atoll protection key plugged in to a USB port on the server.
An Aster license allows to run the following tasks simultaneously:
• Any interactive task (e.g. profile calculation, measurement, calibration, etc.)
• 4 calculation threads (e.g. path loss calculation launched by the same user)
Each Aster license grants the following:
• Aster session: always one token per session.
• Aster calculation: 1 or 2 tokens per calculation.
• 1 token covering the rights for a 4-thread calculation (default)
• 2 tokens if the number of threads to be used per calculation is increased (up to 8) via one of the options prefixed
with "NumberOfThreads" in the [RemoteCalculation] section of Atoll.ini (see the Atoll Administrator Manual).

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If only one token is available and the number of threads to be used per calculation is
defined to be larger than 4, then the token will be used by the first 4 threads and the
remaining threads will use that token afterwards.

1.3.1 About Floating Licenses


Aster can be used with fixed and floating licenses for Atoll. However only floating licenses for Aster are currently supported:

Aster License SafeNet Protection Key Protection FrameWork


Net HASP for current Atoll customers (1)
Floating Served by SafeNet Sentinel LDK Run-time (2)
Sentinel HL for new Atoll customers

(1)
For current Atoll customers:
• Only owners of a floating license dongle for Atoll can have it updated with Aster protection.
• A single owner of a fixed license dongle for Atoll must acquire an additional dongle for Aster license(s) and plug it
locally or in another host computer accessible on the local network
• Several owners of fixed license dongles for Atoll must acquire additional dongle(s) for Aster license(s). These licenses
can be shared on the local network.
(2) The
Sentinel LDK Run-time must be installed on every host computer where an Aster protection key is plugged. For more
information, see "Sentinel LDK Run-time" on page 10.
A floating protection key can be used when users work with Aster on computers on a network. In a floating license
environment, protection keys are not plugged in to each individual user’s computer, but a shared protection key with multiple
tokens is available to users through a server.
A floating license server is a computer, accessible to other computers on a network, on which the floating license management
software has been installed and a floating protection key plugged in. However, a server-type operating system is not required.
The floating license server can be any user’s accessible local computer where the protection key is plugged.
The floating license management software and the floating protection key control the number of potential Aster users. A
floating license system has a defined maximum number of tokens available. This is the maximum number of computers on
which Aster can be run simultaneously. Each computer that runs Aster takes one token from the floating protection key, even
if more than one Aster session is run on the same computer. The token is released and made available for other users when
all the Aster sessions on the computer are closed.
Depending on the number of Aster licenses you purchased, you may find it useful to be able to authorize specific users to use
an Aster license and block others from using one. To that end, the following lines must added in the Atoll.ini file:
[License]
ASTER = 0

1.3.2 Sentinel LDK Run-time


The way the Sentinel LDK Run-time is installed depends on how Atoll, Aster, and the Atoll protection key are deployed:

Use Case Dependencies User Action


None (LDK Run-time is
Atoll protection key on computer, and
- Sentinel LDK Run-time installed automatically by
Atoll and Aster on same computer
Aster setup)
None (LDK Run-time is
With Windows update Sentinel LDK Run-time installed automatically by
Atoll protection key on license server Windows Update)
connected to the internet, and
Atoll and Aster on other computers LDK Run-time must be
Without Windows update Sentinel LDK Run-time downloaded from Forsk
Support site

The Sentinel LDK Run-time software includes the following:


• Dedicated drivers
• A Windows service called Sentinel License Manager
• Sentinel Admin Control Center (ACC): web console accessible from any computer on the local network (accessibility
can be configured).

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1.4 Using the Sentinel Admin Control Center


The Sentinel Admin Control Center (ACC) web console can be accessed from any computer connected to the local network.

1.4.1 Opening the Sentinel ACC


To open the Sentinel ACC:
1. Open a web browser from any computer connected to the local network.
2. Go to the following URL:

http://<server>:1947

where <server> is the name or IP address of the individual computer or license server you want to monitor.

1.4.2 Sentinel ACC User Interface


To manage Aster licenses from the Sentinel ACC, open the Sentinel ACC as shown in "Opening the Sentinel ACC" on page 11.

Only some of the columns displayed in Sentinel ACC pages are described in this section.
Click Help in the left-hand pane of Sentinel ACC for information on the other columns.

1.4.2.1 Sentinel Keys page


The Sentinel Keys page enables you to identify which protection keys are currently present on the network, including locally
connected keys.
• Vendor: indicates the default ID or the customised name of the vendor associated with the protection key.
For information on how to customise the vendor name, see "Displaying Custom Names in the ACC" on page 12.
• Key Type: indicates the type of protection key. If the key is an HL key (hardware-based), the specific model of key is
displayed, together with a picture of the key.
• Sessions: indicates the number of open sessions for the protection key (e.g. Atoll point analysis or Aster calibration).
• Actions: Enables you to access additional information for the specific protection key. The buttons that are displayed
depend on whether a key is locally or remotely connected.
• Features opens the Features page, which displays information related to the features of the specific key only.
• Net Features enables you to display the features of the specific remote key that are accessible from this machine.
• C2V opens the Create C2V file for Key page. This page enables you to generate a file containing information about
the key. Forsk will require this C2V file to generate the ALIC file it will send you for a remote update of your key.

1.4.2.2 Products page


The Products page lists all the products available on all accessible Sentinel License Managers on the network.

1.4.2.3 Features page


The Features page enables you to view a list of the features that are licensed in each of the protection keys currently present
on the network, including locally connected keys. In addition you can see the conditions of the license, and the current activity
related to each feature.
• Vendor: indicates the default ID or the customised name of the vendor associated with the protection key.
For information on how to customise the vendor name, see "Displaying Custom Names in the ACC" on page 12.
• Product: indicates the default ID or the customised name of the product associated with the protection key.
For information on how to customise the product name, see "Displaying Custom Names in the ACC" on page 12.
• Feature: indicates the default ID or the customised name of the feature associated with the protection key.
For information on how to customise the product name, see "Displaying Custom Names in the ACC" on page 12.
The icon ( ) means that the feature is locked to a protection key.
• Access: indicates the type of machines from which access to the feature is allowed:
• Loc denotes that access is permitted from local machines.
• Net denotes that access is permitted from remote clients, via the network.
• Display denotes that access is permitted from remote clients, via the display on a terminal server.
• Counting: indicates the basis on which logins to the feature are counted:
• Station denotes that all login requests for a single machine count as one login.

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• Login denotes that each login request is counted.


• Logins: indicates the number of users currently logged in to the feature on the protection key.
• Limit: indicates the maximum number of users that may concurrently log into the feature on the protection key.

1.4.2.4 Sessions page


The Sessions page lists all sessions of clients on the local machine, and of clients remotely logged in to the local machine. The
Sessions page enables you to view session data and to delete sessions.

1.4.2.5 Update/Attach License page


This page is not used in Aster license management.
For information on updating existing licenses on a protection, see "Updating Protection Keys" on page 13.

1.4.2.6 Access Log page


The Access Log page enables you to view a history of log entries for this server. You can select to show 20, 100, or 1000 entries
in the log file by clicking the appropriate button.
You can enable/disable the access log in the Configuration page by selecting the Write an Access Log File check box.
The Access Log file is located in the same directory as the hasplm.ini file. The path to this file is displayed across the bottom
of the Configuration page.

1.4.2.7 Configuration page


The Configuration page allows you to configure Basic Settings and define access log parameters.
The Detachable Licenses and Network tabs of the Configuration page are not used in Aster license management.

1.4.2.8 Diagnostics page


This Diagnostics page enables you to:
• View and extract operating information for the Sentinel License Manager to which you are currently logged in.
• Assist in diagnosing problems.
• Generate reports (in HTML) for technical support, by clicking the Generate Report button at the bottom of the page.

1.4.3 Displaying Custom Names in the ACC


To display custom vendor, product, and features’ names in the Sentinel ACC:
1. Log in with administrator privileges to the machine running the Sentinel ACC.
2. Stop the Sentinel LDK Licenses Manager service.
3. Create the 62733.xml file with the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>


<vendordescription>
<vendorid>62733</vendorid>
<vendorname>Forsk</vendorname>
<feature><id>21</id><name>Aster Session</name></feature>
<feature><id>210</id><name>Aster Batch Computation</name></feature>
<product><id>1</id><name>Atoll</name></product>
</vendordescription>

4. Copy the 62733.xml file in the relevant directory:


%SystemDrive%\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Aladdin Shared\HASP\vendors\
%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Common Files\Aladdin Shared\HASP\vendors\
5. Restart the Sentinel LDK Licenses Manager service.

1.4.4 Disabling Broadcasts during License Searches


To disable broadcasts when Aster performs a license search:
1. Log in with administrator privileges to the machine running the Sentinel ACC.
2. Close all Atoll sessions.
3. Create a hasp_62733.ini file with the following content:

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AS261_UM_E0 Aster 2.6.1 User Manual

errorlog = 1
requestlog = 1
broadcastsearch = 0
serveraddr = IPADDR_OR_HOSTNAME

Where IPADDR_OR_HOSTNAME should be replaced by the IP address or the hostname of a computer running an
instance of Sentinel LDK License Manager service.
4. Copy the hasp_62733.ini file into the Atoll installation directory.

Alternatively, if you want the hasp_62733.ini to be specific to the current user, you can
copy the file into %LocalAppData%\SafeNet Sentinel\Sentinel LDK. This location takes
precedence over the Atoll installation directory.

1.4.5 Updating Protection Keys


The process to update a protection key is the following:
• Customer generates a Customer-to-Vendor file (C2V) containing information about the key and sends it to Forsk.
• Forsk generates an ALIC file containing Vendor-to-Customer (V2C) information and sends it to customer.
• Customer uses the received ALIC file with a recent version of lic.exe and remotely updates his protection key.
To generate a C2V file:
1. Open the Sentinel ACC from a web browser. The Sentinel ACC opens on the Sentinel Keys page.
2. On the Sentinel Keys page, click C2V under Actions for the relevant key. The Create C2V file for Key page appears.
3. On the Create C2V file for Key page, click Download C2V File. The Open <VendorID_KeyID>.c2v dialog box appears.
4. In the Open <VendorID_KeyID>.c2v dialog box, select Save file and click OK. The <VendorID_KeyID>.c2v.xml file is
generated in the following directory:
%LocalAppData%\Temp
5. Send the generated <VendorID_KeyID>.c2v.xml file to Forsk without modification.
<VendorID_KeyID>.c2v.xml has the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>


<hasp_info>
<haspscope>
<hasp id="1762214078">
<vendor id="62733"/>
</hasp>
</haspscope>
<c2v>
...
</c2v>
</hasp_info>

Where:
• <vendor id> corresponds to <VendorID>
• <hasp id> corresponds to <KeyID>

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AS261_UM_E0 Aster 2.6.1 User Manual

2 Aster Model Overview


The Aster propagation model is optimised for urban areas but it can also be used for suburban and rural areas. For accurate
propagation modeling, above-surface objects (e.g. buildings, trees, etc.), streets, and open areas must be properly described
in the geographical database. Aster requires at least the following geographical data:
• Digital Terrain Model (DTM)
• Above Surface Object Digital Model (ASODM):
• based on raster layers: clutter heights and/or clutter classes
• eventually completed with vector data
By default, Aster provides two calculation modes:
• The standard Aster propagation model for frequencies from 150 MHz up to 5 GHz.
• The mmWave Aster propagation model for frequencies from 5 GHz up to 60 GHz.
Aster supports various geo data configurations. This section details the requirements and the process used by Aster to build
its internal geographical representation.

2.1 Digital Terrain Model (DTM)


DTM represents the terrain altitude. It is normally retrieved from the Digital Terrain Model layer of Atoll and does not require
a specific resolution. The recommended maximum pixel size is 100m.
For information about using DTM data in Atoll, see the Atoll User Manual.

2.2 Above Surface Object Digital Model (ASODM)


In the Aster propagation model, the Above Surface Object Digital Model (ASODM) represents the distribution and
composition of objects found above the ground.
ASODM is similar to Clutter Classes and Clutter Heights in Atoll and it can also be defined with vector data.
The ASODM model has two components:
• ASODM types describe the objects or the terrain. These are derived from the Clutter Classes layers in Atoll, but they
can also be defined from high-resolution clutter heights or vector files.
• ASODM heights describes objects’ height above the ground. These are typically retrieved from the Clutter Heights
layers in Atoll, but they can also be defined from the clutter classes default heights in Atoll or from vector files.
Since the Aster propagation model is specially tailored for urban environments, it is important that the ASODM type and
height are accurate enough to represent buildings and vegetation that create obstructions, as well as streets and open areas
where radio signals can propagate freely.
Aster applies either of the following ASODM propagation classes depending on the precision in the clutter class description:
• Deterministic propagation classes: Aster uses deterministic propagation when the ASODM description is precise
enough to accurately model a terrain. They are typically determined by correspondence with the clutter class layer in
Atoll or from a vector file.
• Statistical propagation classes : Aster uses statistical propagation when the ASODM description is rough and not well
geo-referenced. They are determined by correspondence with the clutter class layer or from a vector file.
For a list of deterministic and statistical propagation classes in Aster, see "Propagation Classes" on page 22.
For example, if the clutter file has a 25m resolution and defines "Residential" or "DenseUrban" clutter classes , you should use
the Sparse Buildup or Dense Buildup statistical propagation class. For parks and mixtures of trees and open areas, you should
use the Mixed Vegetation statistical propagation class. For areas that are mainly open, you can still use the Open and Water
deterministic propagation classes.
These classes should be used when the clutter class description is rough, for example with low resolution clutter that cannot
accurately describe the terrain.

2.3 ASODM Model Overview


Aster builds the ASODM model from geo raster layers by default to initialise the model in areas where vector data is missing.
If a vector layer is available, then the model replaces the raster data with the vector data in the polygon.
In order to build the ASODM model from geo raster layers, at least one Clutter Heights or Clutter Classes layer must be
available in the Atoll project. There are three different situations:
• "ASODM Model with both Clutter Heights and Clutter Classes" on page 16
• "ASODM Model with Only Clutter Classes" on page 17

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• "ASODM Model with Only Clutter Heights" on page 17

2.3.1 ASODM Model with both Clutter Heights and Clutter Classes
In this case, the Clutter Heights folder in the Geo explorer contains a clutter heights layer and the Clutter Classes folder
contains a clutter class layer. This is the recommended setup and the best accuracy in propagation modeling is reached when
the maximum pixel size in either layer is 5m or less. When both layer types are available, the following scenarios are be
considered:
• "Clutter Heights with Higher or Same Resolution as Clutter Classes" on page 16
• "Clutter Classes with Higher Resolution than Clutter Heights" on page 16
• "Multiple Clutter Class Layers with Different Resolutions" on page 16
• "Partial Clutter Heights Information" on page 16

2.3.1.1 Clutter Heights with Higher or Same Resolution as Clutter Classes


This is the most common scenario. The ASODM objects are created only when clutter heights are strictly positive and the
following applies for each pixel:
• When the clutter height is 0, the ASODM type is set "Open", unless the following conditions are encountered:
• When both geodata types are of 5m resolution of higher, clutter class heights are taken into account for buildings.
In this case, the clutter class is considered "good quality" and takes precedence over clutter heights in Atoll..
• When the "3-Tree" propagation class is assigned to these pixels. In this case, to support clutter heights files which
usually have no vegetation heights, the "3-Tree" propagation class is kept as defined in the clutter class file and its
height is reset to the default vegetation height of the clutter class file. The vegetation height is pulled from the
clutter class height file and replaces the 0 value of the clutter height file.
• When the clutter height is not 0, the ASODM height is set directly from that value and the ASODM type is set to the
propagation class to which the corresponding clutter class is mapped. For these pixels, clutter heights always take
precedence over clutter class heights in Atoll.
However, in order to prevent mismatches when the clutter class layer and the clutter heights layer have different
resolutions:
• If that propagation class is "Open" or "Water", the ASODM type is set to the corresponding deterministic
propagation class defined under Clutter heights on the Geo tab of Aster properties.m
• If that propagation class is one of the statistical propagation classes and the clutter heights file has a high
resolution (less than or equal to 10m), the ASODM type is reset to the corresponding deterministic propagation
class defined under Clutter heights on the Geo tab of Aster properties.

2.3.1.2 Clutter Classes with Higher Resolution than Clutter Heights


This is not a common scenario where the ASODM type is defined by the correspondence between the layer's clutter classes
and Aster's propagation classes. In this scenario, the following applies for each pixel:
• When the ASODM type of the clutter class is "Open" or "Water":
• the ASODM height is set to 0.
• When the ASODM type of the clutter class is neither "Open" nor "Water", the ASODM height is filled directly from the
clutter heights layer. In this case, clutter heights take precedence over clutter class heights in Atoll.

2.3.1.3 Multiple Clutter Class Layers with Different Resolutions


In some cases, several clutter class layers are available in Atoll with different resolutions according to the area. For example,
an umbrella layer can be provided with a 25m pixel size and another layer with a 5m pixel size for dense urban areas. The 25m
layer defines the areas of type urban, suburban, etc., while the 5m layer defines accurately the buildings footprints.
The Aster model handles this case in a transparent way. As required by the Atoll platform, the clutter class codes must be
defined differently when multiple layers are used. Typically, the high resolution layer is mapped to Aster’s deterministic
propagation classes and the low resolution layer is mapped to Aster’s statistical propagation classes.

2.3.1.4 Partial Clutter Heights Information


In some cases, the clutter heights layer is available only in specific areas, for example only in dense urban areas. Aster handles
this case in a transparent way as well. According to the availability of layer information in the area of interest, it will build the
ASODM model as shown in "ASODM Model with both Clutter Heights and Clutter Classes" on page 16 and "ASODM Model
with Only Clutter Heights" on page 17.

A proprietary algorithm insures that the transition zones are handled properly from areas
where clutter height and clutter class information is available to areas where only clutter
class information is available.

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2.3.2 ASODM Model with Only Clutter Classes


When the Clutter Classes folder in the Geo explorer contains a clutter class layer and the Clutter Heights folder is empty, Aster
will uses the clutter class layer to model the ASODM types as well as the ASODM heights.
For best ASODM modeling accuracy in urban areas, the lowest clutter class resolution (defined by Pixel Size on the Geocoding
tab of the clutter class file properties) should be:
• 5m when no vector layer is available
• 25m when vector layers are available
The classes in the clutter class layer must be mapped to deterministic or statistical propagation classes. The choice depends
on the resolution of the clutter class layer:
• High resolution clutter class layer: the classes should be mapped to deterministic propagation classes
• Low resolution clutter class layer: the clutter classes should be mapped to statistical propagation classes
The ASODM heights appear under Default Clutter Height (m) on the Clutter tab of Aster properties:
• By default, ASODM heights are inherited from the Description tab of the clutter class file properties and are read-only.
• You can remove the read-only attribute by setting isHeightReadOnly to 0 in the [Clutter] section of the Aster.ini or
AsterMmWave.ini file.

Another advantage of using the isHeightReadOnly option is that you can define several
Aster instances where a given clutter class will have a different default height from one
instance to another.

In the following example, 5 clutter classes are defined in Atoll with a high resolution clutter class layer. Since the clutter class
layer has a high resolution, Atoll maps each clutter class to one of the 8 deterministic propagation classes described in
"Propagation Classes" on page 22:

Figure 1: Mapping of High-resolution Clutter Classes to Deterministic Propagation Classes

2.3.3 ASODM Model with Only Clutter Heights


When the Clutter Heights folder in the Geo explorer contains a clutter heights layer and the Clutter Classes folder is empty,
the ASODM heights are retrieved from the clutter heights layer only. This usage of Aster is not recommended because clutter
classes provide a much better model of the various ASODM types found in the field.
For best ASODM modeling accuracy in urban areas, the lowest resolution of the clutter heights layer should be 5m (defined
by Pixel Size on the Geocoding tab of the clutter heights file properties).
When no clutter classes are available for the definition of propagation classes, the following applies:
• For the pixels where the clutter height is 0, Aster will use a deterministic propagation class on these pixels:

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• The deterministic propagation class defined next to "No Data", or


• Open if the class defined next to "No Data" is a statistical class ("Mixed Vegetation", "Sparse Buildup", or "Dense
Buildup").
• For the pixels where the clutter height is strictly positive:
• When the clutter heights resolution is low (i.e. pixel size greater than 10m), Aster will use a statistical propagation
class on these pixels:
• the statistical propagation class defined next to "No Data", or
• "Dense Buildup" if the class defined next to "No Data" is a deterministic class ("Open" or "Water").
• When the clutter heights resolution is high (i.e. maximum pixel size is 10m), Aster will use on these pixels the
deterministic propagation class defined on the Geo tab of Aster properties.
In the following example where the clutter heights resolution is high (below 10m):
• All the pixels with zero heights are set to "Open", and
• All the pixels with positive heights are set to "Building Type 2".

2.4 ASODM Model with Vector Layers


A vector layer defines a number of polygons with some properties. When a vector layer is defined, Aster builds the ASODM
model from geo raster layers (clutter class layers and clutter heights layers) and from one or several vector files. It can also be
built from vector files only.

Both ESRI Shapefiles (SHP) and MapInfo (TAB) vector formats are supported.
The corresponding data files are the dBF file and the DAT file, respectively.
The TAB format provides better performance with Aster.

The ASODM model is first initialised from the geo raster layers as shown in the previous sections. Vector layers are not
mandatory to build the ASODM model but they improve its accuracy.
If vector data is available, then it is used to refine the accuracy of the model. Vector data takes priority over raster data when
defining the propagation class of a pixel in the polygon. A proprietary algorithm insures that the transition zones are handled
correctly from areas where vector layers are available to areas where only raster layers are available.
Vector usage is enabled when the Use vectors check box is selected on the Geo tab of Aster properties. You can define one
or more vector files and configure the properties of each vector file.
For each polygon defined by a vector layer, an "above-surface object" is built with height and type attributes, which are found
in the corresponding data file:
• Height is directly recovered from the data file. The height is considered as above ground level by default and, if
needed, it can also be defined as above sea level by selecting the Height defined above mean sea level (AMSL) check
box in the corresponding Polygon Definition dialog box.
• Type is obtained from a mapping between the data file attributes and the propagation classes.
A specific propagation class is assigned to each pixel falling within a polygon of the vector layer and the pixel is given the height
defined by the polygon.
Propagation classes that are applied to pixels that are not in a polygon of the vector layer are either:
• The propagation classes set by the raster layers when these pixels are located outside the vector support area. In this
case, the vector support area is automatically detected.
• Reset to the "Open" deterministic propagation class when the pixels are located inside the vector support area,
because vectors are assumed to have a properly defined support area without any holes. This propagation class takes
priority over the clutter-level propagation class.
When a vector layer is available, only the pixels located inside the zone defined by the vector layer can be reset to Open. All
other pixels keep the propagation class set by the clutter classes raster layer.

If a statistical propagation class is assigned to a vector, and if the Clutter Classes folder in
the Geo explorer contains a high resolution clutter class layer, then the propagation class
type for the pixels that are inside the polygon is mapped by associating the clutter class
layer with the Aster propagation classes. In this case, vector data does not take priority
over raster data when defining the propagation class of a pixel in the polygon.
This is not a common scenario because vector data is typically used to refine the accuracy
of the model and therfore is usually assigned to a deterministic propagation class.

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3 Using the Aster Model


Before using Aster, you should perform a general configuration of the propagation model by defining the calculations that will
be required. This can be done by answering the following basic questions:
• What type of geo data should be used? Raster layers only? Raster layers with vector layers?
• Should clutter classes be mapped to deterministic or statistical propagation classes?
• Should ray tracing be enabled?
• Should indoor calculation be considered? Should indoor losses be taken into account?
As seen previously, accurate geo data is required for proper urban propagation modeling. Although the Aster model can be
used with a variety of geo data at different resolutions, the following setup is recommended:
• Digital terrain model (DTM) raster layer: at a minimum 50m resolution.
• Low resolution clutter class raster layer: at a 25m or 50m resolution, covering the entire area of interest and defining
statistical land use: Dense Urban, Urban, Suburban, Forest, Open, and so on.
• High resolution buildings layer: covering all urban areas, in one of the following formats by order of preference:
• Best: a vector layer defining building footprints and heights.
• Good: a clutter heights raster layer, at a minimum 5m resolution, defining the building footprints and heights.
Optionally a companion clutter class layer can also be provided at the same resolution to define the type of land
use for the clutter heights raster layer (type of buildings).
• Fair: a clutter class raster layer, at a minimum 5m resolution, defining the building footprints and a deterministic
propagation class for each range of building heights (0-5m, 5-10m, 10-15m, and so on).
• High resolution vegetation layer: covering all urban areas, in one of the following formats:
• Best: a vector layer defining the vegetation and trees footprints and heights.
• Good: a clutter class raster layer, at a minimum 5m resolution, with an average vegetation height or the height
defined by a companion clutter heights layer.
In traditional propagation models based on ray tracing, ray tracing and vector layers are inter-related since existing ray-tracing
techniques usually require vector files. This is no longer an issue with the Aster propagation model since:
• Aster can use vector layers for ordinary model propagation with vertical diffraction only.
• Aster can use ray tracing without vector layers when high resolution raster data is available.
Geo data configuration in Aster is mostly automatic. All raster layers are automatically retrieved from Atoll as needed. Only
vector layers, if any, need to be defined on the Geo tab of Aster properties as shown in "ASODM Model with Only Clutter
Classes" on page 17.
The Aster propagation model is fully integrated in Atoll. All inputs are directly retrieved from the Atoll project:
• The Aster parameters and configuration are stored in the model properties.
• All transmitter and antenna parameters are obtained directly from the Atoll tables.
• All the geo raster data is retrieved from Atoll and the geo vector data is retrieved from external files.

3.1 Assigning the Aster Model Transmitters and Cells


Assigning the Aster model to a transmitter or cell in Atoll is similar to assigning other propagation models.
You can specify main matrix and extended matrix calculation parameters for each individual transmitter. These parameters
include the propagation model, resolution, and calculation radius. The propagation model assigned to an individual transmit-
ter always has precedence over any other assigned propagation model.
Atoll enables you to calculate two levels of path loss matrices:
• A main matrix, which covers a smaller radius with a higher resolution
• An extended matrix, which covers a wider radius with a lower resolution
The extended matrix allows you to reduce calculation time and storage size by calculating lower resolution matrices in areas
that are far from the transmitter. Aster supports extended matrix configurations and can perform smooth dual-grid calcula-
tions. However, a slight level of discontinuity can appear between two matrices when the difference between radius settings
and/or the difference between the resolution settings is too big
To specify the main and extended propagation parameters for a transmitter:
1. In the Network explorer, expand the Transmitters folder, right-click the transmitter to which you want to assign a
main and extended propagation model, and select Properties from the context menu. The Properties dialog box
appears.
You can also access the Properties dialog box by right-clicking the transmitter in the map window and selecting Prop-
erties from the context menu.
2. To use Aster as the main matrix propagation model, in the Propagation tab, under Main matrix:

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• Propagation model: Select "Aster Propagation Model"


• Radius: Enter an effective radius for which the signal level will be significant. If the radius it is too big, the accuracy
will not be degraded but the calculation time and the memory usage will be significantly impacted.
• Resolution: Enter a pixel size that will account properly for the terrain features. Knowing that Aster is designed
for all types of environments, a minimum resolution of 5m is particularly recommended in urban environments.
If it is lower (above 5m), the resulting ASODM model will not be accurate enough to translate urban characteristics
such as buildings and streets.
Some of Aster’s internal features are automatically disabled when the resolution too low. For example, ray tracing
is disabled if the path loss matrix resolution value is larger than 10m.
Aster is also able to work on non-urban environments for which geo raster data is more statistical than
deterministic, typically at a low resolution. It provides a set of statistical propagation classes that can be used for
such environments and resolutions as low as 50m can be used. When no vector layers are available, you can use
the same resolution as the one defined for the raster layers.
3. If necessary, specify the Propagation model, Radius and Resolution for the Extended matrix.
The radius and resolution of the extended matrix must be larger than the radius and resolution of the main matrix.
4. Click OK. The selected calculation parameters will be used for the selected transmitter.
When transmitters and/or cells have been configured to use the Aster propagation model, all of Atoll’s calculation features
(such as calculating path losses, calculating predictions, and performing point-to-point analysis) remain available.
Analysis and automatic calibration based on measurement files can be run directly from the context menu of the Aster
Propagation Model folder in the Parameters explorer of Atoll. For more information about calibrating propagation models,
see the Model Calibration Guide.
For more information about assigning propagation models, see the chapter Radio Calculations and Models of the Atoll User
Manual.

3.2 Creating a New Instance of Aster


You can create multiple instances of the Aster propagation model in Atoll. Each instance can be assigned a different set of
parameters that can be tuned for specific regions. By default, Aster provides two instances in Atoll:
• Aster propagation model for frequencies from 150 MHz up to 5 GHz.
• mmWave Aster propagation model for frequencies from 5 GHz up to 60 GHz.
To create a new instance of the Aster model:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model or mmWave
Aster propagation model, and select Duplicate. A new Aster instance, preceded with "Copy of", is added in the Prop-
agation Models folder.
2. To enter a new name for this instance, right-click Copy of Aster Propagation Model and select Rename from the
context menu.

3.3 Configuring Aster


You can configure an Aster model instance with two types of settings:
• Configuration parameters: parameter set used by Aster for inner calculation methods and formulas.
• Model configuration: specific geo data and targeted coverage prediction type.
For more information on the following settings, see the Aster Technical Reference Guide.

3.3.1 Specifying Aster Configuration Parameters


To specify the main configuration parameters for Aster:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, select Prop-
erties. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box opens.
2. Click the Settings tab. This tab contains the high-level indoor configuration parameters of the Aster model.
• Configuration: identifies the set of calculation parameters on which the Aster model is currently based:
• From a default configuration defined via the context menu of Aster Propagation Model in Parameters explorer:
Standard, Macro, Micro, or Rural.
• From an external configuration file.
• From a calibrated model.

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For more information, see "Selecting Configuration Parameters" on page 22


• Indoor calculation: select the Enable option to enable indoor calculation. For more information, see "Enabling Indoor
Calculation without Indoor Losses" on page 26.
• Apply indoor losses: Aster can apply an indoor attenuation for the interpolated pixels inside buildings. This indoor
loss is based on the sum of two losses which are defined for each "Building type" propagation class:
• A penetration loss (for the initial penetration)
• A linear loss (dB/m) applied linearly from the building facade
If you want to produce uniform prediction maps, select "No" next to Apply indoor losses. Indoor losses can be
added afterwards on each prediction map created in Atoll. In that case, Atoll will apply a fixed indoor loss defined
per clutter class, and no linear loss will be considered.

Penetration loss and indoor loss, used for in-building interpolation in the deterministic
"Building" propagation classes 4 to 6, are defined by the Indoor Attenuation set of
parameters. They are also used for propagation through obstacles in all classes except
"Open" and "Water". You can also define different losses for in-building interpolation
and propagation in the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini file.
For propagation through obstacles in all classes except "Open" and "Water", the LoS
Attenuation set of parameters is used.

• Indoor calculations only: When this option is set to "Yes", Aster performs indoor-only calculation above minimal
receiver heights. This is useful in 3D coverage prediction calculations performed by Atoll’s Multi-storey add-in as
it performs successive 2D layer calculations at different heights.
In the following example, the signals will be computed indoor and outdoor at ground level (receiver height < 2m)
and only indoor in storeys above 2m:

Figure 1: Indoor Calculations above 2m only

• Indoor antennas:
• Enable outdoor relocation: Select this check box to relocate indoor antennas to outdoor. Antennas are often
interpreted as being indoors because of error and mismatches between geo information and transmitter data. You
can either correct the geo data or automatically relocate indoor antennas to an outdoor location, such as on a
building facade or a rooftop.
Strategy: Click this button to open the Indoor Antenna Relocation Strategy dialog box. In this dialog box, you can
modify the automatic relocation algorithm. For more information, see "Configuring Antenna Relocation" on
page 29.
• Indoor calculation within antenna building: Select how Aster calculates path loss inside the building where the
indoor antenna is located:
• At antenna height: No interpolation is made and the signals will be computed from indoor losses per metre,
assuming that the receiver is at the same height as the antenna.
• At receiver height: No interpolation is made and the signals will be computed from indoor losses per metre,
assuming that the receiver is at the defined height.
• Receiver on top of building: Select this option to consider that the receiver is placed on top of a building instead of
inside. If this option is selected, building penetration is ignored and the default receiver height is no longer used.

This option only affects the following propagation classes:


• Building 1, 2, and 3.
• Sparse Buildup.
• Dense Buildup.
An option in the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini configuration file to extend this option to
the Trees and Mixed vegetation propagation classes. For more information on Aster
configuration, see the Aster Technical Reference Guide.

• LOS calculation only: Select this option to restrict Aster calculations to line-of-sight vertical attenuation only. When
this option is enabled, propagation is mostly blocked by buildings, vegetation, terrain. A potential penetration loss is
calculated within certain limits. For more information on how line-of-sight propagation is calculated, see the Aster
Technical Reference Guide.

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The bottom line on the Settings tab contains the current version number of Aster.

3.3.2 Selecting Configuration Parameters


The configuration parameters correspond to a series predefined model types that are available with Aster.
For the standard Aster propagation model, the following configurations are predefined:
• Standard: A general purpose configuration that works in all environments. Ray tracing is enabled.
• Macro: A configuration optimised for Macro cells. Ray tracing is disabled.
• Micro: A configuration optimised for Micro cells. Ray tracing is enabled.
• Rural: A configuration optimised for rural environments. Ray tracing is disabled.
For the mmWave Aster propagation model, the following configurations are predefined:
• Default_Model: A general purpose configuration that works in all environments with extremely high frequencies. Ray
tracing is disabled by default but can be enabled.
• LOS_Model: A configuration optimised for line-of-sight communication with extremely high frequencies. Ray tracing
is disabled.
• Micro_28Ghz: A general purpose configuration optimised for micro or small cells in urban or suburban environments.
Ray tracing is enabled.
• Macro_28Ghz: A configuration optimised for macro cells in urban or suburban environments. Ray tracing is disabled.
If necessary, you can edit and add predefined configurations by editing the [Configuration] section of the Aster.ini or
AsterMmWave.ini file. For more information, see the Aster Technical Reference Guide.
You can also save and load Aster configurations in the Configuration window.

Although the tuning of model parameters is an important process, Aster is a semi-


deterministic model with acceptable results when a coverage prediction is based on
default configuration parameters, as long as the input geo data is accurate enough and
the basic model configuration appropriate.

To select an Aster propagation model configuration:


1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Configuration. The Configuration window opens.
2. If you are working with extremely high frequencies (above 5GHz), select mmWave.
3. Select a configuration:
• To select one of the predefined configurations, select the configuration from the Predefined configurations list
and click Preset.
• To save the current configuration, click Save, enter a name for the configuration, and click Save.
• To load a configuration that was previously saved, click Load, select the configuration, and click Open.
4. Click Close.

The Calibration menu can be disabled in the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini file. For more
information, see the Aster Technical Reference Guide.

3.3.3 Propagation Classes


For Aster to work properly, terrain categories must be mapped to the appropriate Aster deterministic or statistical
propagation classes. These propagation classes can be either deterministic or statistical.

3.3.3.1 Deterministic Propagation Classes


The following table lists the deterministic propagation classes that are available in Aster:
Propagation Class Description Calculation
Open All open areas, streets, squares, flat parks, etc.
Open space, radio signals propagate freely.
Water Sea, rivers, lakes, etc.
Filled obstruction area for radio signals.
Elevated Open Elevated areas.
Reception done on top.

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Propagation Class Description Calculation


Deterministic vegetation. Radio signals can go
Trees Trees, forests, etc. through with some loss, and are also diffracted
and diffused.
Deterministic buildings creating obstruction.
Buildings. Radio signals reflect and diffract on buildings.
Buildings Three types of buildings are defined to model Radio signal levels are not calculated in a direct
different propagation effects. way but interpolated from signal levels in
surrounding open areas.
Radio propagation is calculated on top of
Bridge Bridges, highways, etc. bridges. Radio signals can propagate below
bridges.

You can configure up to 32 propagation classes of each type based on different propagation effects. For example, you can
create Building classes to model multiple types of buildings based on construction materials such as concrete, wood, mostly
glass covered, and so on.

Initially, it is recommended to use a single type for each propagation class. You can
improve the model later by introducing different types for more precise modeling.

Bridge and Elevated Open classes allow you to model objects for which reception is expected on top. The difference between
the two is that Bridge allows the radio waves to propagate underneath while Elevated Open creates a full obstruction and is
more suited for elevated areas. In all other propagation classes, reception is expected near ground level.
The Trees class is used when vegetation is defined with accuracy. Otherwise, the Mixed Vegetation statistical class is used.

3.3.3.2 Statistical Propagation Classes


The following table lists the statistical propagation classes that are available in Aster:

Propagation Class Description Calculation


Parks or areas with a mixture of trees and
Mixed Vegetation
open areas. Radio signals can go through with some loss
Sparse building areas with a mixture of and diffract vertically. The clearance area is
Sparse Buildup
buildings and open areas. considered at the receiver location and
Dense building areas with a mixture of reception is done at ground level.
Dense Buildup
buildings and open areas.

Mixed Vegetation, Sparse Buildup, and Dense Buildup classes are characterised by an assumed clearance zone near the
reception point or near the transmitting point.

3.3.3.3 Mapping Clutter Classes


Clutter class layers are defined on the Clutter tab of Aster properties. It is up to you to decide on the best mapping according
to the meaning of a clutter class and to the corresponding terrain description (accurate or rough).
When a low resolution umbrella clutter class layer is used, the propagation classes can be any of the statistical classes or either
the "Open" or "Water" deterministic classes for the clutter classes which are mostly open areas. For example:

Clutter Class Propagation Class


Grass Open
Suburban Sparse Buildup
Dense Urban Dense Buildup

When a high resolution clutter class layer is used, choose the corresponding propagation classes among the deterministic
classes. For example:
Clutter Class Propagation Class
Open
Park
Mixed Vegetation
Vegetation Trees
Houses Building Type 1
Commercial Building Type 2

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Clutter Class Propagation Class


Skyscraper Building Type 3
Roads Bridge

To map Aster propagation classes to clutter classes:


1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Properties from the context menu. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Select the Clutter tab and under Parameters per clutter class, for each clutter class, assign one of the Aster determin-
istic or statistical propagation classes:
• Name: This column lists the clutter classes defined in Atoll. When no clutter is defined, only the "No Data" line
appears in this column; the propagation class defined under Propagation Class is the one that will be used when
no clutter is defined.
• Propagation Class: Select the deterministic or statistical propagation class to which the clutter class in the same
row is mapped. When no clutter is defined, the propagation classes to which "No Data" can be mapped are Aster’s
"Open" and "Water" deterministic classes, and any of its 3 statistical classes.
• Default Height (m): This column displays the default height to use when no clutter heights layer or vector is
available. These values are inherited from the clutter classes properties in Atoll and are read-only.

You can modify the default height if you remove the read-only attribute by setting the
isHeightReadOnly option to 0 in the [Clutter] section of the in Aster.ini or
AsterMmWave.ini file. Another advantage of setting the isHeightReadOnly option is that
several Aster model instances can be defined with different default heights per clutter
class.

• Advanced Clutter Parameters: When the clutter class is mapped to a statistical class, a button ( ) is available in
the "..." column. Click this button to open the Advanced Clutter Parameters window.
Aster applies a loss when a ray goes through an obstacle and can also apply a loss for the interpolated pixels inside
buildings (indoor loss). This loss is based on the sum of the two types of losses defined for each of Aster’s
propagation classes: Penetration Loss (dB) and Linear Loss (dB/m).
In the Advanced Clutter Parameters window, select Specific propagation class parameters if you want to modify
the Penetration loss, Linear loss, and Clearance for this specific clutter class.

The values specified in this window override the corresponding values in the Statistical
propagation class default parameters table, for the current clutter class only (any other
clutter class that is mapped to a statistical class still uses the values of the Statistical
propagation class default parameters table or its own Specific propagation class
parameters).

When the Specific propagation class parameters check box is selected, the corresponding active cell in the "..."
column turns green ( ).
3. Click OK.

3.3.3.4 Mapping Clutter Heights


High resolution clutter heights layers, if available, are defined in the Clutter tab of the Aster properties.
• Low resolution clutter class layer + High resolution clutter heights layer: When a clutter height is positive (i.e. when
an above-surface object is present), "Open" and "Water" deterministic classes as well as statistical classes are replaced
by deterministic classes other than "Open" and "Water".
• High resolution clutter class layer + High resolution clutter heights layer: The deterministic propagation class is kept.
To map Aster propagation classes to clutter classes:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Properties from the context menu. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Select the Geo tab and under Clutter heights, assign a deterministic propagation class to each corresponding feature
when high resolution positive clutter heights are available:
• Assign the Open and Water deterministic propagation classes and Mixed Vegetation statistical propagation class
to any of the following deterministic propagation classes:
• Trees
• Building

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• Assign Sparse Buildup and Dense Buildup statistical propagation classes to any of the Building deterministic
propagation classes.
3. Click OK.

3.3.3.5 Mapping Vector Layers


Vector layers, if available, are configured when the Use vectors option is selected on the Geo tab of Aster properties. The
propagation classes defined by vector layers always override propagation classes set previously on objects represented by
vector polygons, usually buildings and trees.
Aster parses all the attributes in the data file and detects all the numerical attributes that can be used to define the heights.
In the following example, the "HEIGHT" attribute will be used to store the polygon heights in the data file:

Figure 2: Polygon Definition dialog box

When a vector layer defines a unique clutter type, a Fixed propagation class is applied to all the polygons in the vector layer.
For example: if Fixed propagation class is set to "Building type 2", this class is defined for all the polygons in the data file.
To define a new vector layer:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Properties from the context menu. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Select the Vectors tab and select Use vectors.
3. Under Path, click Browse ( ). The Open dialog box appears.
4. Select a vector file and click Open. The Polygon Definition dialog box appears.
5. In the Polygon Definition dialog box, define the following parameters:
• Height definition:
• Fixed height (m): Enter a default height to use for the polygon when no valid value is found in the file attribute.
It is strongly recommended to provide a valid height for each record to avoid using this value.
• Use ’height’ from file attribute: Select this option to define the height from a file attribute then select the file
attribute in the drop-down list on the right, for example: "HEIGHT". If no valid value is found in the file
attribute, the Fixed height (m) value is used for the polygon.
• Height defined above mean sea level (AMSL): By default, heights are defined as "above ground level" (AGL).
Select this option to specify that the Fixed height (m) is defined above mean sea level.
• Propagation class definition:
• Fixed propagation class: Select the default deterministic or statistical propagation class to use for the polygon
when no valid value is found in the file attribute.
• Use ’propagation class’ from file attribute: Select this option to define a file attribute then select the file
attribute in the drop-down list on the right, for example: "DESCRIPTION". Aster parses the data file, detects all
the string attributes, and makes them available in the drop-down list on the right. When this option is selected,
the table below it displays the relevant information under Field Values and Propagation Class.
• Use this definition as default: Select this option to use this vector definition as default.
6. Click OK. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box reappears with the path to the vector layer that you just
defined under Vectors.
7. If you want to reopen the Polygon Definition window, under Definition, click Browse ( ).

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3.3.4 Enabling Indoor Calculation without Indoor Losses


Aster enables you to consider indoor areas when you calculate a coverage prediction.
When indoor calculation is disabled, the output calculation grid has undefined values for all the pixels inside buildings and
coverage predictions will not be available for indoor locations, (Figure 3:).

Figure 3: Coverage Prediction with and without Indoor Calculation

Aster does not apply specific indoor losses when it performs interpolation inside buildings. Considering indoor losses or not
depends on the workflow used in Atoll when the signal level coverage predictions are calculated.
This section covers the following topics:
• "Enabling Indoor calculation without Indoor Losses" on page 27
• "Calculating a Service Level Map" on page 27
• "Calculating Clutter-based Indoor Loss from Atoll" on page 27
• "Calculating User-defined Indoor Loss from Aster" on page 28

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3.3.4.1 Enabling Indoor calculation without Indoor Losses


When indoor calculation is enabled, by default Aster does not calculate the signal levels inside the buildings. It actually
interpolates the signal levels from surrounding streets and open areas, wherever any of the "Building type" statistical
propagation classes are defined.

To enable indoor calculation:


1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Properties from the context menu. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Select the Settings tab.
3. Under Indoor calculation, select the Enable check box and set Apply indoor losses to "No".
4. Click OK.

3.3.4.2 Calculating a Service Level Map


When calculating a service level map, the signal level coverage prediction is a service level map where each service level
corresponds to a different reception signal level (in dBm). For example, it can be an area where:
• "Deep Indoor", "Indoor", or "Outdoor" voice coverage is provided, or
• different levels of data service are provided: "Voice", "Low Data Rate", "High Data Rate"
The generated map shows areas that are supported for a given service level, regardless of the presence of individual buildings.
In this case, applying indoor losses should not be done from Aster.

3.3.4.3 Calculating Clutter-based Indoor Loss from Atoll


For calculation indoor loss based on clutter data, a high-resolution clutter class layer is available in Atoll and clutter-based
indoor loss can be activated from Atoll. This section shows you how to:
• define clutter-based indoor loss in Atoll
• activate clutter-based indoor loss from Atoll

Please bear in mind that you also activate user-defined indoor loss from Aster, indoor
loss may end up being considered twice.

To define clutter-based indoor loss in Atoll:


1. In the Geo explorer, right-click the Clutter Classes folder, and select Properties from the context menu. The Clutter
Classes Properties dialog box appears.
2. In the row corresponding to a given clutter class, double-click inside the cell under Indoor Loss (dB). The Indoor loss
(dB) = f(frequency) dialog box appears.
3. Enter a Frequency (MHz), enter the corresponding Indoor Loss (dB), and press Enter.
4. Repeat the previous step for all the frequencies for which you want to define indoor loss.
5. Click OK. All the values entered in the Indoor loss (dB) = f(frequency) dialog box are now displayed in the Clutter
Classes Properties dialog box under Indoor Loss (dB).

Figure 4: Defining Clutter-based Indoor Loss in Atoll

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To activate clutter-based indoor loss from Atoll:


1. Select the Network explorer, right-click a coverage prediction in the Predictions folder, and select Properties from the
context menu. The corresponding Properties dialog box appears.
2. On the Conditions tab, select the Indoor coverage check box and click OK.

3.3.4.4 Calculating User-defined Indoor Loss from Aster


This method should only be used when you want to model indoor loss from a first wall penetration loss with a variable linear
loss based on the signal propagation depth within the building. The indoor loss is thus based on the sum of two losses:
• Penetration Loss (dB): first wall penetration loss
• Linear Loss (dB/m): linear loss applied linearly from the building facade towards the interior of the building
Indoor loss is defined for each "Building type" propagation class ("Building type 1", "Building type 2", and "Building type 3").

If you activate clutter-based indoor loss both in Atoll and in Aster, indoor loss may end
up being considered twice.

To calculate user-defined indoor loss from within Aster:


1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Properties. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Click the Settings tab.
3. Under Indoor calculation, select the Enable check box and choose Yes next to Apply indoor losses.

3.3.5 Ray Tracing


The Aster propagation model uses ray tracing techniques to incorporate horizontal diffraction and reflection, which allows for
efficient calculation. Ray tracing mode can be enable in the Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box.
Ray tracing is strongly recommended for micro cells where the antenna height is below the average building height in the
vicinity of the antenna. In this case, the horizontal diffraction and reflection component of the radio signal is more significant
than the vertical diffraction component.
However, ray tracing is not necessary when considering macro cells where the vertical diffraction component of the radio
signal is dominant. In this case, enabling ray tracing can have an adverse effect on calculation time with little or no gain in
model accuracy.
When in doubt, or when your network uses a mix of micro and macro cells managed by a single instance of Aster, ray tracing
should be enabled.
Ray tracing calculation is automatically disabled in the following situations:
• When the geo resolution is insufficient for ray tracing,
• When path loss matrix resolution is above 10 meters,
• When most propagation classes are statistical classes.

3.3.5.1 Enabling Ray Tracing


Ray tracing is independent of whether the ASODM model is built from vectors or from high-resolution raster layers. The
difference between using vectors and high-resolution raster layers is only a question of precision in building and vegetation
modeling: if the raster layers are accurate enough, then no major difference should be expected between the two modes.
Calculation time can be improved by reducing the Radius and the Max number of diffractions and reflections parameters.
To enable ray tracing:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Properties from the context menu. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Select the Ray Tracing tab.
3. On the Ray Tracing tab, select Enable ray tracing to enable ray tracing. Aster can perform ray tracing regardless of the
fact that vectors are provided or not (i.e. direct use of geo raster data).
4. If necessary, in the Parameters area, specify the following settings:
• Radius: area where horizontal diffractions and reflections are considered during the ray tracing process. Outside
this area, signal level calculations will still be made but rays will be considered without diffractions/reflections.
• Max number of diffractions and reflections: maximum number of diffractions/reflections during ray tracing.
Above this number, signal level calculations go on until rays encounter a new obstacle and processing stops.

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Recommended Minimum Maximum


Parameter Comments
Value Value Value
The recommended value should be kept for
Radius (m) 800 250 2500 best compromise between accuracy and
calculation time
The recommended value should be kept for
Maximum number of
4 2 10 best compromise between accuracy and
diffractions and reflections
calculation time

5. Click OK.

3.3.6 Geoclimatic Settings for the mmWave Propagation Model


Radio waves in extremely high frequency bands (mmWave) are prone to high atmospheric attenuation from being absorbed
by the gases in the atmosphere. Absorption by humidity in the atmosphere is significant except in desert environments, and
attenuation by rain (rain fade) is a serious problem even over short distances. The Aster mmWave propagation model can
include these factors in its calculations.
To enable atmospheric and rain attenuation:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click mmWave Aster Propagation Model,
and select Properties from the context menu. The Aster mmWave Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Select the Ray Tracing tab.
3. Select Atmospheric absorption to take atmospheric attenuation into account.
4. Select Rain attenuation and specify an average attenuation value (in dB/km) for rain fade.
5. Click OK.

3.3.7 Advanced Mode


You can switch the Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box to advanced mode by setting the hideAdvancedParamUI
option to 0 in the [Core] section of the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini file. In the advanced mode, the following additional items
appear:
• On the Clutter tab: The Calibration Correction (dB) and Building Calibration Correction (dB) columns appear.
• On the Ray Tracing tab: The Reflection/Diffraction Parameters frame appears.
• Parameters tab: new tab on which you can modify the low-level configuration parameters.
For more information on the advanced mode, see the Technical Reference Guide.

3.4 Antenna Outdoor Relocation


The antenna outdoor relocation audit provides a list of antennas that are identified as being located inside a building and
suggests to relocate them to a suitable location outside the building.
The audit produces a table that contains the following information:
• Transmitter.
• Technology.
• Propagation model.
• Initial location ( X ,Y, H).
• Final location (X ,Y,H).
• New suggested position (deltaX, deltaY, deltaH, distance).
• Relocation type: facade or roof.
The audit does not automatically update the antenna locations in the database. You can use the results to perform the
appropriate modifications to each antenna.

3.4.1 Configuring Antenna Relocation


The results of the antenna relocation audit are based on the relocation strategy that is defined in the properties of the Aster
propagation model. under Conditions and Where to locate.
To configure the antenna relocation audit:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Properties from the context menu. The Aster Propagation Model Properties dialog box appears.
2. Click the Settings tab and select Enable outdoor relocation.
3. Click Strategy. The Indoor Antenna Relocation Strategy dialog box opens.

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4. In the Indoor Antenna Relocation Strategy dialog box, specify the following parameters:
• Relocate outdoor: Select the condition for relocation of indoor antennas to outdoor:
• Always: all antennas detected as indoor will be relocated to outdoor
• Under certain conditions: the antennas detected as indoor will be relocated to outdoor only if the outdoor
location is within the distance defined next to New location within or if the gain (in dBi) is greater than the
value defined next to Antenna gain is greater than.
• Where to relocate: Select next to Relocate to the type of outdoor location where the indoor antennas will be
relocated:
• Facade: indoor antennas are relocated to the closest facade, at the same height as the initial position.
• Roof: indoor antennas are translated vertically at an Antenna height offset above the roof.
• Facade or roof: indoor antennas are relocated to the closest facade or roof, as described above.

When Facade or Facade or roof are selected, the relocation algorithm takes into account
antenna azimuths so that final locations remain realistic with respect to antenna
azimuths (and hence avoid configurations in which antennas point towards facades).

5. Click OK.

3.4.2 Performing an Antenna Relocation Audit


You can perform an antenna relocation audit for a single instance of multiple instances of the Aster propagation model. For
more information on using multiple instances of the propagation model, see "Creating a New Instance of Aster" on page 20.
To perform an antenna relocation audit:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Audit > Antenna Outdoor Relocation from the context menu. The Outdoor Relocation window appears.
2. In the Outdoor Relocation window select one or several instances of the Aster propagation model or select Only
current propagation model.
3. Click Start. The audit starts and a progress bar is displayed. You can click Cancel to stop the calculation.
4. When the audit is finished, click the Results tab. You can copy and paste the results of the audit into Excel or you can
use the results to update the antenna locations in Atoll.

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4 Calibrating the Aster Model


This section details the Aster propagation model calibration process when the necessary CW measurements are available.
The process consists of five steps and refers to the Model Calibration Process chapter in the Atoll Model Calibration Guide.
• "Preparation" on page 31
• "Initial Setup" on page 32
• "Initial Analysis" on page 34
• "Calibration" on page 37
• "Validation" on page 42

4.1 Preparation
The first step of a calibration process consists of creating an Atoll project with all of the network and geographical data
necessary to recreate the CW measurement survey area. When the Atoll project has been created with all the necessary data,
the CW measurement data can be imported and filtered in order to ensure that only meaningful data is used for calibration.
In the Network explorer, the CW measurements are assigned to each transmitter. In the example below, the Atoll project
contains three transmitters and a CW measurement file is imported for each transmitter.
For more information, see the Setting up the Calibration Project section in the Atoll Model Calibration Guide.

4.1.1 Preparing Atoll for Calibration


The Aster Propagation Model is optimised for urban areas, where the radio propagation is calculated with two major
components:
• Vertical diffraction over the rooftops (Deygout and Ikegami-Walfisch)
• Horizontal reflection/diffraction (ray launching)
Aster is fully integrated with Atoll. Therefore, its main inputs are directly retrieved from the Atoll project:
• Model parameters are stored in the Aster model properties
• Transmitter and Antenna parameters are retrieved from the Atoll tables
• Geo inputs are retrieved from Atoll geo layers
• Continuous wave measurements are retrieved from the CW Measurements folder in the Network explorer of Atoll.
Automatic calibration is a straightforward process in Atoll. For data collection and preparation, it is strongly recommended to
follow the procedure in the Atoll Model Calibration Guide.

4.1.2 Collecting CW Measurement Data


It is recommended to use CW measurements for the Aster calibration: CW (Continuous Wave) measurements are collected in
the field for a single transmitter using a single frequency, and provides the highest accuracy in the calibration process.
Drive test data can in theory be used (and is supported by Aster), but the resulting calibration process is impaired due to the
various limitations inherent to this kind of data:
• Presence of interference
• Impossibility to collect data through a large distribution of distances, thus limiting the validity of model calibration
• Directive antenna decreasing the accuracy of the calibrated model
• Low sampling rate (compatibility with the "Lee" criteria)
• Etc.
For recommendations on the measurement process, see the Atoll Model Calibration Guide.

4.1.3 Preparing the Data in Atoll


Accurate geographic data is needed for realistic coverage predictions by Aster, but also for proper CW measurement analysis
and preparation in Atoll.
The recommended types of geographic data for Aster are the following:
• Raster geographic data: a DTM (Digital Terrain Model) layer and either (or both) the Clutter Classes and Clutter
Heights layer. These files must have a sufficiently high resolution to obtain high-quality and accurate results for the
prediction and calibration process.
In urban areas, the recommended geo data resolution for Aster is:
• 50 m or less for DTM
• 5 m or less for height defining raster, i.e. usually the Clutter Heights raster (but it can be the Clutter Class raster
with default heights for clutter classes).
• 25m or less for the Clutter Class file when a Clutter Height raster is provided

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In rural areas, the recommended geo data resolution for Aster is:
• 100m or less for DTM
• 50m or less for the Clutter Class file (rural settings are usually not based on a Clutter Heights layer; the default
heights of the Clutter Class layer are used instead).
• Vector data (optional): two types of vector data are useful:
• Building vectors, for refining the precision of the Aster height model
• Road vectors, representing at least major roads, useful for verifying measurement survey routes.
• Scanned maps: scanned maps are useful for verifying measurement survey routes in urban areas.
For more information on the preparation of the geographic data setup, see the Aster User Manual.
For more information on the following preparation steps for CW measurement data, see the Atoll Model Calibration Guide:
• Data analysis
• Data filtering
• Data smoothing

4.1.4 Planning Calibration of Aster


Once measurement data is acquired and prepared, the Aster calibration process can start.
A preliminary task is to determine the number of different Aster calibrated instances you want to calibrate. It is possible to:
• Calibrate a single model instance with all the measurements data, based on the semi-deterministic principle of Aster.
A single calibrated Aster instance can accurately model the following:
• Different frequencies
• Different environments: micro-urban, macro-urban, macro-suburban, etc.
• Create an instance of Aster for a subset of measurements representing different environment types, and/or different
frequency bands: the prediction performance of each calibrated model may be better for transmitters in this specific
type of environment (or frequency).
Choosing between these two strategies can be done by trying both, then analyzing the quality performance provided by the
calibrated models. If the two strategies provide almost similar prediction quality on measurement surveys, it is recommended
to use the first one as it is simpler to manage (i.e. assigning to each transmitter its own calibrated model).
This chapter describes the calibration of a single Aster instance from a set of related measurements.

4.2 Initial Setup


You can configure an Aster model instance with two types of settings:
• Configuration parameters: parameter set used by Aster for inner calculation methods and formulas.
• Model configuration: specific geo data and targeted coverage prediction type.

4.2.1 Initial Configuration


Some configuration parameters cannot be calibrated and must be defined before calibration in the Aster Propagation Model
Properties dialog box. The Parameters tab and items on other tabs will only appear if the hideAdvancedParamUI option is set
to 0 in the [Core] section of the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini file (advanced mode).
• General: Aster model instance name, view the register signature, and enter comments.
• Configuration: indoor calculation and indoor antennas parameters.
• Clutter: clutter parameters.
The Calibration Correction (dB) and Building Calibration Correction (dB) columns appear only in advanced mode.
• Geo: geo data configuration.
• Ray Tracing: ray launching algorithm parameters.
The Reflection/Diffraction Parameters frame appears only in advanced mode.
• Parameters: configuration parameters. This tab appears only in advanced mode.

4.2.1.1 Configuration Parameters


It is recommended to start using Aster with one of the predefined configurations:
• For the standard Aster propagation model: Standard, Macro, Micro, or Rural.
• For the mmWave Aster propagation model: Default_Model, LOS_Model, Micro_28Ghz, or Macro_28Ghz.
Select the corresponding configuration as explained in "Selecting Configuration Parameters" on page 22.
When a configuration is selected, its settings are applied to the Aster model. These are the settings that the calibration module
will improve on.

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Other basic parameter configurations are performed at this stage, such as enabling ray tracing or not, setting appropriate
internal parameters, and embedding parameters that cannot be calibrated.
A configuration set can also be specified:
• By loading a previously saved configuration file as explained in "Selecting Configuration Parameters" on page 22.
• From a calibration result file.
The currently selected configuration is displayed in the under Configuration on the Settings tab of Aster properties.

The Calibration menu can be disabled in the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini file. For more
information, see the Aster Technical Reference Guide.

4.2.1.2 Indoor Calculation Settings


You can then define the Indoor calculation modes, which specify how the model performs calculation for indoor location.
Usually field measurements are done only outdoor, so no indoor measurement points should be expected. However due to
errors in measurement geolocation or in the geo database, Aster may consider a number of measurement points as indoor.
By default, Aster ignores these points as will be seen in the Calibration wizard. In that case, the actual configuration selected
on the Settings tab of Aster properties has no effect.
However, in some cases Aster can be instructed to use these points, for example when actual indoor measurements have
been performed. In that case, it is recommended to select the indoor calculation mode which will be used for the model in
production:
• Enable indoor calculation: should be activated.
• Apply Indoor losses: should be set if the "Case 3: User-defined indoor loss from Aster" workflow described in the Aster
User Manual is used. The other workflows ("Case 1: Service level maps" and "Case 2: Clutter-based indoor loss in Atoll")
are not supported with the calibration of indoor points. In those workflows, indoor points should be ignored.
• Indoor calculation within antenna building: should be selected as will be used for the model in production.

If you force the calibration module to use indoor points while these measurements
points are actually outdoor, then the Apply Indoor losses option should always be
deactivated. Since Aster performs interpolation of surrounding outdoor points, these
points will provide useful information as long as no additional indoor losses are applied.
Regarding the indoor antennas relocation mode, it is recommended to keep it activated
(Relocate outdoor set to "Always" in Indoor Antenna Relocation Settings dialog box)
when dealing with scanned data from real transmitters, and deactivate it when dealing
with CW measurements.
In any case, it is unwise to rely on such automatic transmitter reposition features in a
calibration project. It is preferable to review all Aster warning messages and manually
relocate all the transmitters which were wrongly detected by Aster as indoor.

As a rule of thumb, make sure that most measurement points are correctly geolocated as outdoor by:
• Verifying that the geo data is accurate enough to model the buildings with high precision
• Correcting the measurement points geolocation manually or via some pre-processing tools
• Filtering indoor points either from Aster or from Atoll's CW measurements filtering feature

4.2.1.3 Clutter and Geo Data


For a good and accurate use of the Aster model, the terrain features must be mapped to their appropriate propagation classes.
As explained in the Aster User Manual, this is usually performed from the Clutter tab by specifying a correspondence between
clutter classes and propagation classes. The Geo tab also contains some mapping to be used when high resolution clutter
heights or vectors are present.
For each propagation class, the auto-calibration module will not calibrate some parameters that are related to:
• Penetration loss and linear loss when the signal runs into an obstacle.
• Clearance area for statistical classes.
It is recommended to leave these parameters to their default values.

Calibration Correction (dB) and Building Calibration Correction (dB) columns appear only in the advanced Aster interface.
For more information, see the Technical Reference Guide.

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4.2.1.4 Ray Tracing Settings


The configuration parameters related to horizontal reflection/diffraction cannot be calibrated and should be defined prior to
calibration:
• Enable ray tracing: select this check box to enable ray launching. Aster can perform ray launching regardless of the
fact that vectors are provided or not (direct use of geo raster data).
• Radius: defines the area where horizontal reflections/diffractions are considered during the ray launching process.
Outside this area, signal level calculations are still made but the rays are considered without diffractions/reflections.
• Max number of diffractions and reflections: defines the maximum number of diffractions and reflections during ray
launching. Beyond, the signal level calculations are made until a ray encounters a new obstacle and processing stops.

It is recommended to keep the default values in the selected configuration type. For
example:
• Macro: Ray tracing disabled.
• Micro and Standard: Ray tracing enabled the following settings:
• Radius: 800m
• Max number of diffractions/reflections: 4
• Rural: Ray tracing disabled.

Only the following parameters in the advanced Aster interface can be calibrated:
• Reflection/Diffraction parameters: for each propagation class, two reflection and diffraction losses are defined; one
for the first obstacle encountered during the ray-launching process, and one for the other obstacles:
• Reflection Loss (dB) / First: reflection loss due to the first obstacle encountered during ray launching.
• Reflection Loss (dB) / Others: reflection loss due to other obstacles encountered during ray launching.
• Diffraction Loss (dB) First: diffraction loss due to the first obstacle encountered during ray launching.
• Reflection Loss (dB) / Others: diffraction loss due to other obstacles encountered during ray launching.

4.2.1.5 Advanced Calibration Parameters (Inputs)


The Parameters tab appears only in the advanced Aster interface. For more information, see the Technical Reference Guide.
Most of the parameters on this tab can be calibrated, except the following parameters which must be defined prior to
calibration:
• Calculation method: This is the method used when antennas are directional. Recommended: "Standard 3D
interpolation method".
• Angle of incidence: defines how the angle of incidence is calculated. Even if it cannot be calibrated, you can create
different calibration scenarios, each with a different option for this parameter. Recommended: "Receiver".

The default configurations (Standard, Macro, Micro, Rural) use these recommended
settings. Therefore, you should not need to modify these parameters.

4.3 Initial Analysis


This step is optional but is useful to get a feel for the model accuracy using the default parameters. It is also useful for early
detection of any misconfiguration.
• Pathloss Computation (optional): For each transmitter to be calculated, select the "Aster Propagation Model" in the
Propagation tab of the Transmitter Properties then calculates the path loss matrices, for example by calculating a new
"Coverage by Signal Level" prediction in Atoll. Analysis of the coverage can provide some insights on the behavior of
the propagation model.

4.3.1 Analysing Aster’s Performance from Atoll


To analyse the performance of Aster on a set of CW measurements from Atoll, the predicted signal levels should first be added
to the CW measurements in Atoll.
To analyse Aster’s performance from Atoll, you need to:
• Add predicted signal levels to CW measurements in Atoll.
• Calculate the signal levels predicted by Aster.
• Verify that the signal levels predicted by Aster were added in the corresponding measurement path table.
• Display the statistics of CW measurement paths in Atoll.

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To add predicted signal levels to CW measurements in Atoll:


1. In the Network explorer, right-click the CW Measurements folder and select Properties from the context menu. The
CW Measurements Properties dialog box appears.
2. In the CW Measurements Properties dialog box, select the Propagation tab.
3. On the Propagation tab, set Propagation Model to "Aster Propagation Model".
4. Click OK to close the CW Measurements Properties dialog box.
To calculate the signal levels predicted by Aster for all the CW measurement points:
1. In the Network explorer, right-click the CW Measurements folder and select Calculation > Calculate signal levels from
the context menu. Atoll calculates the signal levels for all CW measurement paths and adds the signal levels it
predicted to all CW measurement points.
To verify that the signal levels predicted by Aster were added in the corresponding measurement path table:
1. In the Network explorer, expand the CW Measurements folder, right-click a CW measurement path, and select Open
Table and verify that some values were added in the corresponding P (dBm) column.
To display the statistics of CW measurement paths in Atoll:
1. In the Network tab in the explorer window, right-click the CW Measurements folder, and select Display Statistics
from the context menu. The Measurement Path Selection dialog box appears.
2. In the Measurement Path Selection dialog box, select All measurement paths.
3. Click OK. The CW Measurements dialog box appears with the initial global Aster performance under Global Statistics
and the average and standard deviations per clutter class, per transmitter, and per measurement path. For more
information, see the Atoll User Manual.

4.3.2 Analysing Aster Performance


The performance of Aster on a set of CW measurements can also be analysed from Aster by using its own analysis mode.
To analyse Aster performance:
1. In the Parameters explorer, right-click Aster Propagation Model and select Analysis from the context menu. The Anal-
ysis wizard appears.
2. Select the Settings tab.
3. Under CW measurement path(s) to be used, select the check boxes of the measurement paths you want to consider:
• You can click Select All to select all measurement paths or Unselect All to unselect them all.
• You can select contiguous rows by clicking the first row, pressing SHIFT and clicking the last row.
• You can select non-contiguous rows by pressing CTRL and clicking each row separately.
Under Analysis method, the settings of Resolution (m) and Indoor points are read-only. The values are inherited from
the Calibration wizard. If you want to modify them, do it from the Calibration wizard.
4. Click Start analysis. A progress bar appears and, when analysis is finished, the results appear on the Result tab:

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Figure 1: Aster Analysis Results

• Global Performance: provides overall statistics on the model fit to measurements for the initial default model. The
values are similar to the ones calculated by Atoll.
• No points/Total: Number of measurement points used in analysis / total number of points in all measurement
paths used in analysis.
• Mean: Mean error value between predictions and measurements.
• Std Dev: Standard deviation of the differences between predictions and measurements.
• RMS: Root mean square of the differences between predictions and measurements.
• Corr: Correlation coefficient between measurements and predictions.
• 95% Error Range: 95% percentile values of the distribution function of the difference between predictions and
measurements. This means that 95% of the points are in the [Min,Max] range.
• Spread of Means: Standard deviation of the mean errors of the different measurement paths.
• Detailed Performance: gives similar statistics individually on each measurement path.
• Measurement path: measurement path name.
• No points/Total: Number of points used in analysis per measurement path / total number of points in the
same measurement path.
• No points: Number of points per measurement path.
• Mean: mean error between predictions and measurements.
• Std Dev: Standard deviation between predictions and measurements.
• RMS: Root mean square of the differences between predictions and measurements.
• Corr: Correlation coefficient between measurements and predictions..
• 95% Error Range: 95% percentile values of the distribution function of the difference between predictions and
measurements. This means that 95% of the points are in the [Min,Max] range.
• Input Parameters: lists the following additional information:
• Used CW measurement path: names of the measurement paths used in this analysis.
• Resolution (m): resolution used in this analysis, defined in the Analysis wizard.
• Indoor points: "Use" or "Ignore" indoor points, as defined in the Analysis wizard.
• Context:
• Duration: elapsed time from beginning to end of analysis.
For more information on Aster analysis indicators, see "Calibration Results Indicators" on page 40.

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4.4 Calibration
The goal of the calibration process is to reduce the mean error and standard deviation of measured values versus calculated
values. For each parameter, the calibration process tries to find the best value that gives the best standard deviation and the
best mean error. The acceptable data ranges and step for each parameter have to be defined.
The following sections describe the steps to follow to calibrate an Aster instance:
• "Creating a Calibration Copy of Aster" on page 37.
• "Calibrating an Aster Instance" on page 37.
• "Verifying Calibration Results" on page 40.
• "Committing Calibrated Parameters" on page 42.

4.4.1 Creating a Calibration Copy of Aster


Before starting a calibration, it is recommended to work on a new instance of the Aster model. You can later calibrate the
original model if needed.
To create a new instance of the Aster model:
1. In the Parameters explorer, expand the Propagation Models folder, right-click Aster Propagation Model, and select
Duplicate from the context menu. A new Aster instance, Copy of Aster Propagation Model, is added in the Propaga-
tion Models folder.
2. You can rename the new Aster instance on the General tab of its properties dialog box, for example: Aster Copy.

4.4.2 Calibrating an Aster Instance


To start the calibration process of an Aster instance:
1. In the Parameters explorer, right-click the Aster instance that you want to calibrate and select Calibration from the
context menu. The Aster Copy Calibration wizard appears.
2. Select the Parameters tab.
3. Under CW measurement path(s) to be used, select the check boxes of the measurement paths that you want to con-
sider:
• Click Select All to select all measurement paths or Unselect All to unselect them all.
• Select contiguous rows by clicking the first row, pressing SHIFT and clicking the last row.
• Select non-contiguous rows by pressing CTRL and clicking each row separately.
4. Under Calibration method:
• Optimize spread of means: select this option to optimise the dispersion of mean errors across all measurement
paths. For more information, see "Basic Spread of Means Optimisation" on page 39.
• Spread of means weighting: see "Advanced Spread of Means Optimisation" on page 39.
• Resolution (m): Enter a resolution or select Auto and let Aster decide according to the geo data resolution.
• Indoor points: Select one of the following options:
• Select Use to consider indoor points in the calibration process.
• Select Reposition outdoor to reposition indoor points to outdoor.
• Select Ignore to ignore indoor points.

The settings defined in this dialog box for Resolution (m) and Indoor points are inherited
as read-only settings in the Analysis wizard. You can only modify them from the
Calibration wizard.

• Reset to defaults: click this button to reset the parameters in this dialog box to their default values.
• Advanced Parameters: click this button (available only in advanced mode) to open the Advanced Calibration
Parameters dialog box. For more information, see "Advanced Calibration Parameters (Inputs)" on page 38.
5. Optionally, if you are using the mmWave Aster propagation model, you can tune the linear loss through vegetation by
precalibrating the deterministic propagation classes associated with vegetation:
a. Click Precalibration. The Precalibration Results window opens.
The Vegetation Propagation Classes list displays the linear loss (in dB/m) for each vegetation type.
a. If you want to modify the Current linear loss, enter a new value in the Tuned column and select Commit, and then
click the Commit button.
b. Click Start to run the precalibration calculation.

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c. When the precalibration is done, click Close.


6. Click Start calibration. A progress bar appears and, when calibration is finished, the results appear on the Result tab.
For more information, see "Verifying Calibration Results" on page 40.

4.4.2.1 Advanced Calibration Parameters (Inputs)


The Advanced Calibration Parameters dialog box contains all the Aster parameters that can be calibrated. The calibration
module chooses for each parameter the value that minimises the standard deviation or the mean error and you can select the
parameters that you want to calibrate.
• Parameters: contains the list of all the parameters to be calibrated. There are two types of parameters, the
parameters used to minimise the standard deviation (e.g. "K3 - los") and others used to minimise the mean error (e.g.
"K1 - los").
• Current Value: contains the current parameter value prior to calibration.
• Use: indicates if the parameter is to be calibrated or not. Some recommendations and rules are needed in order to
have coherent results.
• Min Value, Max Value, and Step:
• For the parameters used to minimise the standard deviation (e.g. "K3 - los"), a minimum value, a maximum value,
and a step must be defined. For each parameter, the calibration module scans all the possible values between the
defined minimum and maximum, with the defined step. It then finds the value that best minimises the standard
deviation.
• For the parameters used to minimise the mean error (e.g. "K1 - los"), these columns are not needed. The
calibration module finds automatically the value that makes the mean error equal to zero.
In general, no changes need to be made in the Advanced Calibration Parameters dialog box and the default values can be
kept. If necessary, the parameter range can be Reset to defaults on the Parameters tab of the Calibration wizard.

4.4.2.2 Calibration Algorithm


The calibration algorithm main goal is to reduce the mean error and standard deviation of the measured signal level versus
the calculated signal level. The calibration process is the following:
1. A first prediction calculation is carried out with default parameters on the transmitters whose CW measurements are
selected. For each measurement point, the calculation module finds the corresponding calculated value. The module
stores all data it needs for quick generation of new values when the parameters are modified.
2. A search algorithm is then run to find a set of suitable calibrated parameters. It mainly consists in a double loop
executed several times, with the following basic steps:
a. The initial standard deviation and the mean error are calculated.
b. For each parameter to be calibrated, a first sub-loop is executed in a greedy fashion:
i. The module finds the best parameters for the minimisation of a given cost function.
ii. The module finds the best parameters for the mean error to become zero.
iii. The new standard deviation and mean error are calculated.
For each parameter to be calibrated a similar second fine-tuning sub-loop is executed in a gradient fashion. The cost function
used in this search algorithm is usually a measurement of the standard deviation between measured and predicted signal
levels, but can also include a Spread of Means component, as shown in "Basic Spread of Means Optimisation" on page 39 and
"Advanced Spread of Means Optimisation" on page 39.
Sub-loops correspond to each parameter class to be calibrated:
• Antenna calibration
• Frequency correction calibration
• Roof to mobile calibration
• Antenna to roof calibration
• Gradient calibration
• Horizontal reflection/diffraction calibration
• LOS calibration

4.4.2.3 Calibration Method


Some calibration parameters can be changed from the Aster interface while others can only be modified from the Aster.ini or
AsterMmWave.ini file.

Calculation Resolution and Indoor Points

The calculation of the initial prediction is carried out at a given resolution. This resolution can be user-defined or determined
by Aster according to the geo data resolution.
In general, it is best to use the calculation resolution intended for final use of Aster. This will insure the best matching results
between calibrated models and path loss predictions.

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For indoor points, the calculation module can be instructed to either "Ignore" or "Use" the
points detected as indoor.

Basic Spread of Means Optimisation

The spread of means is the measurement of the dispersion of mean errors across all measurement paths. Hence by optimising
the spread of means, you make each measurement path closer to 0dB in terms of average error between prediction and
measurement.
To enable the optimisation of the spread of means, select the Optimize spread of means check box in the Calibration wizard.
Let’s assume that:
 is standard deviation of the differences between predictions and measurements.

m is the standard deviation of the mean errors of the different measurement paths.

During a standard calibration, the calibration engine looks for the best parameters to minimise the standard deviation  ,
while keeping the overall average close to zero. Hence, the minimised cost function will be equal to the standard deviation:

When the spread of means optimisation is enabled, the cost function becomes:

where the weighting  m can be configured from the Aster interface (default value = 1).

In this case, the calibration engine will look for the best set of parameters to minimise both the standard deviation and the
spread of means.

Advanced Spread of Means Optimisation

It is possible to define a more complex cost function via the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini configuration file, by specifying the
following parameters:
 m Spread of means weighting

t m Spread of means target

 Standard deviation weighting

t Standard deviation target

Where:

This means that when one of the two items (standard deviation or spread of means) is above the target, the penalty for that
part above this target is 10 times the standard value. This cost function will tend to make both the spread of means and
standard deviation converge to the target values.
Example:

[Calibration]
spreadOfMeansWeight = 1.0
spreadOfMeansTarget = 2
standardDeviationWeight = 1.0
standardDeviationTarget = 6.75

In this case, the module will try to have the spread of means below 2 dB and the standard deviation below 6.75 dB, with equal
weight between the two targets. When the targets are set to zero, this is equivalent to the standard default cost function

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4.4.3 Verifying Calibration Results


When calibration is finished, the results are displayed on the Result tab of the Calibration wizard:

Figure 2: Aster Calibration Results

• Global Performance: this section provides overall statistics on the model fit to measurements for the initial
default model and the final calibrated model. The initial values are similar to the values calculated by Atoll.
For more information, see "Calibration Results Indicators" on page 40.
• Detailed Performance: this section gives similar statistics individually on each measurement path.
For more information, see "Calibration Results Indicators" on page 40.
• Input Parameters: lists the following additional information:
• Used CW measurement path: names of the measurement paths used in this calibration.
• Resolution (m): resolution used in this calibration, defined in the Calibration wizard.
• Indoor points: "Use" or "Ignore" indoor points, as defined in the Calibration wizard.
• Context:
• Duration: elapsed time from the beginning to the end of this calibration.
• Date: end date (<YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS>) of this calibration.
The following buttons are also available on the Result tab:
• Advanced Parameters: click this button (available only in advanced mode) to display the Advanced Calibration
Parameters dialog where initial and final values are indicated for each calibrated parameter.
• Export: to export the results to a TXT, HTML, XML or XLS file.
• Commit: to apply the calibrated values directly in this Aster model instance.
• Close: to close the dialog box without committing the results.

4.4.3.1 Calibration Results Indicators


The calibration results indicators on the Result tab of the Calibration wizard are the following:
• No points: number of measurement points ( N ) used in this calibration. In the "Global Performance" section, it is the
total number of points. In the "Detailed Performance" section, it is the number of points per measurement path.
• Mean: mean error ( m ) between predictions and measurements.

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• Std Dev: standard deviation (  ) of the differences between predictions and measurements.

• RMS: Root mean square ( rms ) of the differences between predictions and measurements.

• Corr: Correlation coefficient between measurement (x) and prediction (y) variables.
N
1-
N i i
--- xy –xy
1
p (x,y) = -----------------------------------
-
x  y
Where:
N
1
x = ----
N  xi
i=0
N
1
y = ----
N  yi
i=0

 x is the standard deviation of measurements

 y is the standard deviation of predictions

• 95% Error Range: The 95% percentile values of the distribution function of the difference between predictions and
measurements. This means that 95% of the points are in the range [Min,Max]. This percentile ratio can be modified
from the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini file:

[Calibration]
percentileMinMax = 95

• Spread of Means: Standard Deviation of the mean errors ( m ) of the different measurement paths.

Where:

M is the number of measurement paths

m j is the mean error between predictions and measurements for path " j ".

• Advanced Performance Results: You can display additional performance results at the end of the calibration results.
The Advanced Results section displays the initial and calibrated values for the following indicators:
• No points
• Mean (dB)
• Std Dev (dB)
• RMS (dB)
Results are provided for All, LOS, NLOS, and RT radio components.

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You can enable the Advanced Results section from the Aster.ini or AsterMmWave.ini file:

[Calibration]
CalibAdvancedResults = 0

4.4.4 Manual Calibration Adjustments


This section is for advanced users only.
Do not make manual adjustments if you are not an advanced user.

When calibration is finished, and before committing the new calibrated model parameters, advanced users can make manual
adjustments to compensate for values that could not be calibrated due to missing or incomplete data. For example, the
missing values can be extrapolated from existing data or from standard values.
To make manual calibration adjustments:
1. Click Start calibration in the Calibration wizard. When calibration is finished, the results appear on the Result tab.
2. On the Result tab, click the Advanced Parameters button. The Advanced Calibration Parameters dialog box appears.
• Parameters: for each parameter in this column, there is an Initial Value and a Final Value.
• Initial Value: initial value before calibration. This value is read-only.
• Final Value: final value after calibration. This value can be modified by advanced users.

4.4.5 Committing Calibrated Parameters


In order for the calibrated parameters to be taken into account by the model, they need to be committed by clicking OK in the
Advanced Calibration Parameters dialog box, then Commit and Close on the Result tab of the previous window. The new
parameter values will then appear in the Aster properties.

When a calibration has been committed:


• The Commit button is disabled (greyed).
• The calibration date and Aster build version are indicated on the Settings tab of
Aster properties.

4.5 Validation
After calibration has been performed and committed, you can verify the calibration accuracy directly in Atoll by performing
the same steps as in the initial analysis of the Aster model.
The Global Statistics section provides the global performance of the model. These values are usually the same as the ones
displayed on the Result tab of the Calibration wizard.

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