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WiMAX Range and Throughput Measurements








Goals
Principal Elements
Process
Path Loss Measurements
Experiment Application Design
Connection Evaluation Steps
NEC Sector Antenna Tilt
Range and Throughput Measurements
– Plan
– Results
– Summary
• Conclusions and Next Steps
• Authors: Manu Gosain, Tony Michel, Tom Cahill, Harry Mussman

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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Goals
• Validate base station installation and configuration process
– Provide comprehensive documentation
• Design an experiment to evaluate range and throughput
– Document for use by other sites in evaluating their
expected range and throughput
– Later: move to OMF/OML environment
• Evaluate range and throughput at BBN site
– Compare to known calculations, measurements
– Document for use by other sites in estimating their
expected range and throughput

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March 15, 2011

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Principal Elements
• Base station kit (BTS)
– Utilizing NEC Profile C IDU and ODU
• Rooftop antennas
– NEC 120deg sector
– Commercial omnidirectional
• Anritsu spectrum analyzer, for measuring received power
• Linux laptop with Intel 6250 WiMAX modem, acting as a mobile station (MS)
• BTS servers, including:
– ASN GW with WiMAX RF AggMgr (Case 1b)
– Test host
– I&M host
• Experiment application, running in:
– MS (measurement script)
– Test host (ping and iperf servers)
– I&M host (report script)

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March 15, 2011

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Process
• 1) Conduct power measurements using Anritsu spectrum analyzer
– Check for presence of Clearwire signal with Anritsu spectrum analyzer

• 2) Build and verify experiment application to conduct range and throughput
measurements
• 3) Decide on best down tilt for NEC sector antenna
– Estimate for electrical down tilt: 5deg
– Options for mechanical down tilt: 10deg, 6deg, 4deg, 2deg (selected 4deg)

• 4) Conduct range and throughput measurements near BBN Technologies
location in Cambridge, MA
– Focus on line-of-sight, outside only (gives best case)
– Keep nominal BTS configuration parameters
• Power set to +38dbm, the maximum allowed
– Options for base station antenna:
• NEC sector base station antenna (at 4deg mechanical down tilt)
• Omni-directional base station antenna
– Options for Linux laptop mobile station:
• Internal Intel 6250 WiMAX modem, and internal antenna
• External (USB-connected) 6250, with handheld omni-directional antenna

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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1) Power Measurements
• Power measurements using Anritsu spectrum analyzer
– Measured with sector antenna, 6deg mechanical tilt
– Near antenna: -34dBm
– Point 41, 370ft: -59dBm (good signal)
– Point, 520ft: -50dBm (good signal)
– Point, 1190-ft: -79dBm (edge of coverage)
• Presence of Clearwire signal with Anritsu spectrum analyzer
– On roof (line of sight): -60dBm
– Point 47: -70dBm

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March 15, 2011

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2) Experiment Application Design
Antenna:
Mobile Station (MS)

1) NEC sector
2) Omni

GREtunnel

Dell 1012 Netbook

DHCP

NEC Base
Station
(BTS)

WiMAX
modem/antenna:

BTS
ODU/IDU

1) USB-connected Intel
6250/external omni
2) internal Intel 6250/
internal

1) Range/throughput
experiment script
“tstats2”:

ASNG
W
“salamis

2) WiMAX AggMgr
service:

Record location
Scan/connect/chk RSSI
Get IP via DHCP
ping sequence
iperf sequence
Log results
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Monitor GRE tunnels
Collect BTS stats,
chk RSSI
Log results

March 15, 2011

public
Internet

.bbn.dataplane.geni.net

I&M host
“black”

3) Report script
“report”:
(manually gather logs
from MS and BTS)
Process logs
Generate location
summaries
Generate run summary

Test host
“argos”

4) Test
targets:
ping
iperf

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Connection Evaluation Steps
• Step 1) Verify WiMAX connection occurs
– See tunnel setup from BTS log
– Check Down Link (DL) RSSI at MS
– Check Up Link (UL) RSSI from BTS log
• Step 2) Verify MS get IP address via DHCP
– Sometimes fails if UL is poor
• Step 3) Do a sequence of ping tests between MS and Test Host “argos”
– Ping to argos, 10bytes, 10 times; check response within 1sec
window; log delays, % responses not within window (lost)
– Ping to argos, 108bytes, 10 times; check response within 1sec
window; log delays, % responses not within window (lost)
– Ping to argos, 1008bytes, 10 times; check response within 1sec
window; log delays, % responses not within window (lost)

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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(continued)
• Step 4) Do a sequence of iperf tests between MS and Test Host
“argos”
– Repeat 3 times
– Use TCP
– Use -d for double connection, separating DL and UL measurements
– Throughput in Mb/s calculated from bytes transmitted within
60sec interval
– Print throughput in Mb/s to log
– TCP parameters:
• use Nagle’s algorithm
• window size and segment size per OS: 16kB
• depth read/write buffer in socket, default: 8kB
• max segment size: 1408B (MTU size) - 40B = 1368B
– Use of TCP gives conservative result, but typical of many
applications

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March 15, 2011

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3) NEC Sector Antenna Tilt
• WiMAX antennas typically have a built-in
electrical (down) tilt, and a variable
mechanical (down) tilt
• Estimate for electrical tilt on NEC sector
antenna, per specs: 5deg
• Options tried for mechanical (down) tilt:
10deg, 6deg, 4deg, 2deg
– Too much down tilt “buries” the signals
close to the base station, and shortens
range
– Too little tilt creates a blank spot near
base station
– There is always a blank spot very near the
base station (and within the building)
caused by shadow of the building
• Chosen for mechanical tilt: 4deg
– Throughput measurements showed range
at 4deg to be higher than at 2deg or 6deg
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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4) Measurements Plan
• Focus on line-of-sight, outside only (gives best case)
– Points 41 through 48, in a straight line at center of 120deg sector pattern
– Optional points 1 through 7, in orthogonal direction (with point 7 obstructed by
building), to verify expected 360deg omni coverage
• Keep nominal BTS configuration parameters
– Power set to +38dbm, the maximum allowed
• Options for base station antenna:
– NEC sector base station antenna (at 4deg mechanical down tilt), approx 90ft high
– Omni-directional base station antenna, approx 90ft high
– Expect sector to work better than omni antenna within 120deg sector pattern,
since has higher gain
• Options for Linux laptop mobile station (MS):
– External (USB-connected) 6250, with handheld large omni-directional antenna
– Internal Intel 6250 WiMAX modem, and internal antenna
– Expect large omni antenna to work better than internal antenna
– Expect packet loss and throughput to vary from moment-to-moment, due to MS
position and multi-path propagation

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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(continued)
• For each option combination:
– A) BS sector, MS omni antennas
– B) BS sector, MS internal antennas
– C) BS omni, MS omni antennas
– D) BS omni, MS internal antennas
• For each point:
– 41 – 48
– option for C): 41 – 48 and 1 – 7
• Plot vs distance (mi) from base station to mobile station:
– DL RSSI (db)
– UL RSSI (db)
– 1008byte pings, the % of responses not within window (lost)
– DL iperf throughput, min and max over three attempts (Mb/s)
– UL iperf throughput, min and max over three attempts (Mb/s)

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March 15, 2011

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Neighborhood of
BBN Technologies, Cambridge, MA

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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Photo of BBN base station and
Concord Ave measurement points 41 - 48

BBN
Base
Station
0

4
1

4
24
4
4

3
4
5

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4
6 4
7

4
8

March 15, 2011

0
(0 mi,
90 ft
up)

BBN
Base
Station
Antenn
a

41
(0.058
mi)

Center
Parking
Lot

42
(0.085
mi)

Social
Security
Entrance

43
(0.090
mi)

NE
FawcettConcord

44
(0.097
mi)

SE
FawcettConcord

45
(0.153
mi)

T (Bus)
Stop

46
(0.200
mi)

S
WheelerConcord

47

West

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Photo of BBN base station and
Fawcett St measurement points 1 - 7
7
6
5

4
3
BBN
Base
Statio
n
0

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

2
1

March 15, 2011

0
(0 mi,
90 ft
up)

BBN
Base
Station
Antenn
a

1
(0.040
mi)

Parking
Lot

2
(0.080
mi)

Fawcett
St

3
(0.110
mi)

Fawcett
St

4
(0.140
mi)

Fawcett
St

5
(0.180
mi)

Fawcett
St

6
(0.220
mi)

Fawcett
St

7

Fawcett

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A) Measurements results for
BS with sector, MS with external omni antennas

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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B) Measurements results for
BS with sector, MS with internal antennas

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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C) Measurements results for
BS with omni, MS with external omni antennas

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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C2) Measurements results for
BS with omni, MS with external omni antennas

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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D) Measurements results for
BS with omni, MS with internal antennas

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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Measurements Summary
• RSSIs
– DL RSSIs varies from -30db for a strong signal point, down to
-64db for a weak signal point; below that, the connection fails
– UL RSSIs remained more constant, often close to -75db for a wide
range of points. Is this due to automatic WiMAX UL transmit
power adjustments?
• Ping loss (1008bytes)
– Measured delays are relatively constant (80 – 100ms) until link is
about to fail
– For 1008byte pings, the % of responses not within window (lost)
increases quickly as link is about to fail; otherwise 0%
– Good measure of overall connection quality

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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(continued)
• iperf Throughput
– Use of TCP gives conservative result, but is typical of many
applications
– Use of TCP results in significant variations over the 3 runs, due to
packet losses and retransmissions; need to consider both min and
max
– As link gets poorer, the throughput eventually falls to zero
– DL throughput is typically better than UL throughput, following
WiMAX convention
– Best case DL throughput is over 10Mb/s
– Best case UL throughput is approximately 1 Mb/s

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March 15, 2011

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(continued)
• Range:
– Best range (to point 48, 0.254mi) seen with BS sector antenna and
MS handheld large omni antenna
– Range is worse, as expected, with BS sector antenna and MS
internal antenna
– Worst range (to point 46, 0.2mi) seen with BS omni antenna and
MS handheld large omni antenna
– However, range is better with BS omni antenna and MS internal
antenna; why?
– Expected packet loss and throughput to vary from moment-tomoment, due to MS position and multi-path propagation, but not
directly verified
– Range at points 1 - 7 comparable to range at points 41 – 47
verifies expected 360deg omni coverage
– Signal gone at point 7 obstructed by building

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March 15, 2011

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Conclusions and Next Steps
• Current measurements give range of approximately 0.25mi
– How does this range compare with others?
– What might be done to improve range?
• Other reported ranges:
– Textbook gives calculated range of 0.6mi
– Clearwire plots indicate their BS’s are approx 0.5mi apart
– Univ Colorado plan calculates range up to 0.75mi
– But, commercial services operate at higher power, and include
diversity at BS and sometimes diversity at MS
– NYU Poly measurements?
– UCLA measurements?
– Univ Wisconsin measurements?

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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(continued)
• Consider to improve range:
– Fix some mistake in BTS parameters
– Modify BTS parameters to improve range by forcing reduced rate
– Add diversity at BS (requires an extra ODU and an extra antenna)
– Use vehicular omni antenna at MS (includes ground plane)
– Add diversity at MS?
– Tune up TCP and/or WiMAX parameters to improve throughput, e.g.,
reduce iperf buffer length so packets fit within MTU
– Turn ON ARQ or HARQ
– Utilize for UDP traffic, and accept more lost packets
– Can we get to 0.6mi?
• Expected to reduce range:
– Use of MSs indoors
– Leaves on trees starting in spring

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

March 15, 2011

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