Monthly Archives: August 2011

Little Wireless on the Prairie

Kohler NAB83 Tower

FAVNET was engaged by Liquid Broadcast to serve its client McCody Concrete for a wireless Ethernet back-haul network.  Liquid Broadcast’s IT Manager Devon Vaughn considered various Telecom/ISP alternatives before landing on a hosted wireless VPN solution from FAVNET.   McCody network specifications included increased need for connectivity between its offices, production facilities and new head quarters under construction.

With a new financial software server package implementation by Liquid Broadcast and the lack of available high-speed internet providers, FAVNET was brought in to find a wireless VPN solution.   Requirements called for delivering at least   bandwidth to all locations.  The design called for two major and one minor phase of implementation over a 6 month period.  Phase I called for a PTP (Point to Point) and PtMP (Point to Multi-point) from the existing headquarters North of Town, followed the transition to the new facilities 15 miles southwest of A central tower site for the Hub (PtMP) and back-haul (PTP) was secured by FAVNET with Kohler Communications 10 miles SW of Williston at their 150’ (FCC# NAB83- lower right) tower site.  This was an ideal apex of the network serving both the addition /transition to their new HQ southwest of town.

FAVNET Wireless Communications

200 Ft. Kohler Communications Tower

Distributor Hutton Communications maintains over $5.5MM of microwave related radio inventory making procurement spares and expansion a very manageable supply process for FAVNET.   Mark Billet Sales Engineer for Hutton, worked closely with the FAVNET Engineering team on specifications and link budgets.

FAVNET procured all of the RF components from Hutton’s main warehouse in Carrollton TX and drove to Williston North Dakota.  Long term associate and Video Director Kevin Harkins joined Michael on the installation lending his years of integration experience to the team.

FAVNET, Wireless Communications

FAVNET Installer

With any new technology and vendor we hit a few obstacles, but with technical product support from Hutton these were overcome and the installation was 80% completed.  Despite poor weather plaguing the tower location with up to 50+Mph winds with rain, the radios, dish and sector antennae were installed successfully.

One the obstacles overcome was LOS (Line of Sight) was the elimination of Trees and foliage that wasn’t initially on site

FAVNET Wireless Communications

Tree Trimmed to elevate RF Attenuation

survey in early spring, present and became a deterrent upon full bloom.  A fairly major tree trimming at the Cactus plant was required (left) and the moving of the panel at the Rough Rider door plant (right) to accommodate a tree ¼ miles in its LOS.  During the tree trimming at the Cactus plant location, we noticed ever time they trimmed a scaffold branch away the RSS dB power level increased by as much as 3dB!  Finally with all the “RF diffusers” out of the way and everything in alignment, the network fired up and the HSU’s associated and locked into tFAVNET Wireless Communications Solutionshe HBS base station sector antennae with the projected 10MB throughput.

FAVNET Wireless Communications

100MB Microwave back-haul dish to tower

The final phase and chapter will be executed in early fall 2011 with the final wireless segment being added to the new facilities and company headquarters.  Then in the spring of 2012, the old headquarters radios and servers will be deactivated permanently.

FAVNET Wireless Communications Solutions

Google Earth, Wireless Path Analysis

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ASPEN Finally Gets High Speed Internet & Phone With FAVNET SKY T1

With a 30 mile per hour wind on a cool (44°F) West Texas day in February, FAVNET (VSAT Telephony Solutions Provider) delivered, erected, tested and activated a new VSAT service for ASPEN Operating Company. This service provides High Speed Internet (HSI), VPN and VoIP Phone requirements for the ASPEN Ozona Oil and Gas field operations center. FAVnet delivered and installed the system on top of the main office building with help from the crew of “Roustabouts”. FAVNET, is working in partnership with TrustComm (Formerly SkyPort) of Houston, Texas. Trustcomm owns and operates its Teleport and Network Operations Center on the Ellington Field Reserve Base, located in Houston.

FAVNET Wirelss Satellite Solutions

FIXED VSAT Installation

FAVNET has been in extensive testing and development with TrustComm for its video broadcast clientele over the past year and found their dedication to technical excellence and support unsurpassed. This culminated in a 4 hour live, streaming broadcast of the North Florida PGA Championship on July 26th 2010. “As this was the first VSAT installation in 2011, we wanted to start out with a systems test in Houston before taking it on site”, says Michael. This provided time to tweak and optimize equipment performance. PA Dominguez, IT Phone Communications Vendor to ASPEN for years, had brought in FAVNET one year ago to start the process of upgrading the communications at this remote location. After many months and two major carriers failed to deliver a viable terrestrial land based solution, a HSI (High Speed Internet) VSAT solution was proposed. Initially ASPEN was not convinced that this would work based on their current suppliers failure to provide an acceptable service speed and quality over VSAT. Previously, ASPEN had been using cell phones and another nationally recognized VSAT carrier for Internet services. This system proved to be too slow for SIP phone traffic. FAVNET/TrustComm typically maintains a contention ratio of 10:1 on the TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) platform at any given time. The iDirect 3100 modem with an EdgMark Router were supplied as the key electronic components for the communications backbone at the remote site field office. The Satellite service circuit is set at 768 kbps outbound by 512Kbps inbound with the ability to burst to T1 speeds as needed. This first system is forming the cornerstone of FAVNET SkyT1 services rolling out in 2011. A test by PA Dominguez revealed a latency ping test of 518ms and a round trip to the internet on Speakeasy of 716ms terminating in Austin TX. The audio quality of the SIP phone was excellent with no audio noise or echo.This partnership of FAVNET, PA Dominguez Inc. and TrustComm has proven that dedication and perseverance will prevail with a superior solution for their customers.

About FAVNET:With over 60 years of combined experience for major TV network design experience for satellite & fiber optic delivery for News, Sports and Entertainment. Design to implementation, we work closely with our clients in selecting best of class for services and hardware solutions for performance, speed and reliability. Project management is key to successful implementation including soft touch and IP web browser software enabled control and monitoring systems. FAVNET is a proud member of SMPTE and adheres to all international standards adopted by SMPTE For more information about FAVNET, visit: http://www.favnet.net About TrustComm, Inc.: TrustComm is a global communications carrier providing managed, secure, broadband satellite; wireless; and terrestrial communication services to a range of government and enterprise clients. With its global network, engineering expertise, and owned infrastructure at the highly secure Ellington Joint Reserve Base in Houston, TrustComm exceeds the security and reliability standards of its clients. TrustComm’s heritage includes being honored by the World Teleport Association as the fastest-growing teleport operator in 2006 and recipient of the National Guard’s Minuteman award in 2005 for outstanding disaster support during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. For further information contact: Tim Webb at 281.272.7529 or Tim.Webb@TrustComm.Com

3 Watt BUC Test

FAVNET Wireless Communications Solutions

FAVNET VSAT w/3Watt, Prodelin, New Japan Radio BUC & PLL/LNB

I initially set it up with a 10 year older NJR (New Japan Radio) 2Watt BUC and ran it through a day of showers and thunder storms on Monday this week. To everyone’s surprise it held in the network, just barely. After pulling the reports from the Teleport our fade margin sank to 7. A 5 will kick you out of the TDMA network and the typical setting should be range between 8-10 for optimal performance. Although this worked, it’s not advisable for sustained periods as it makes the Modem work harder to push he BUC to the edge of its power limitations. At the height of the storm, we had less than .18dB of headroom left. Then on Wednesday we received two new 3Watt BUC’s from our suppliers and put them into service straight away. The switch out was simple and easy taking just under 15 minutes to complete. Mostly, I had a little trouble with the hex head screws on the feed horn being old and rusty. The other thing worthy of mention is the new 3 Watt NJR is half the size and weight of its older sibling. Funny, things get smaller and more efficient over time.

In addition to running soft phone from my PC, I have downloaded and run videos in several versions.

FAVNET VSAT Electronics Package; 2 Phone/Fax, Internet LAN

I continued to make and receive phone calls and continue my R&D work on a new wireless backhaul project for a new client to experience the work flow and environment of being on a exclusive 768/512 shared TDMA network. To my surprise it was only occasionally that I found the response time over the web was slowed by the Satellite. Goes to show, that most of our speed problems are not necessarily at the edge but in the cloud or with the hosted servers suffering from under capacity or limited delivery bandwidth, intentional or not.

Skype- Now here was the surprising test. I typically get a video call from my brother in Traverse City MI in the morning to touch base. He exclaimed that my video quality was actually better than my usual. When I told him that I was on the satellite and not the Verizon FIOS at 20MB, he could hardly believe it. So, I then called our Seattle office and spoke with Kevin, our video services Director, who also found his cellular phone call was clearer over the satellite. So, I jumped on the Global Speed Test to verify that the boys at TrustComm hadn’t just increased my speed or something! Nope, it was; 597ms Ping, 720Kbps Download and 290Kbps upload. I called back to the TrustComm Teleport to report the good news. Bill, Peter and Justin we’re all as surprised as I was and said they would pass along the good news. We know from previous test that Skype Audio utilizes 191Kbps and 384Kbps full duplex when you video conference.

HULU – This according to our Teleport Tech Peter was pulling around 800Kbps over our link. I found absolutely no interruptions, tearing, tiling or latency during this test. I was pleasantly surprised by the HD quality of sound and picture. It took 7 seconds to initialize the stream, which isn’t bad.

Then I set to encoding and pushing my own video over Adobe Flash Encoder and hosted by our good friends at Liquid Broadcast in Colorado. This proved to be excellent with about a 7 second total aggregate delay from encode to decode on my browser on the return path over the satellite as well.

I set the encoder to 500Kbps and the audio to 48 KHz sampling rate. Then I set the push upstream URL to the servers at LB and began streaming. It was quick easy and the quality was great.

Speed so here’s a test I ran as I was blogging this today for you all to see what my speed looked like. It’s a sunny day with a strong breeze, so no rain fade or Sun Sports to report. Yes, those pesky sun spots can cause interruptions in service occasionally, but as of now, we have reported no anomalies.

Well, that’s my blog for this week’s objective, subjective operational test of our iDirect TDMA hosted VSAT services…keep you posted. I would love to hear from any other VSAT Techs or Engineers who have had similar experiences or wish to share their tips for increasing performance.

Cheers and have a great weekend!