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Author Topic: Thick-Pipe vs Thin-Pipe SDR Configurations  (Read 14653 times)
K9ZW
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« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2013, 02:37:28 PM »

Cannot do more than speculate on what FlexRadio Systems design will use.  When the Thin-Pipe SmartSDR Preview Edition is released FlexRadio Systems has been quite clear that the feature set will be the basics alone, with more features rolling out with SmartSDR v1.0 and beyond with each new release.

On one aspect of remoting many of us can say we have personally tried out the control side, tuning a Flex-6700 via Windows-8 Tablet.  Alpha software, which was "proof of concept" rather than production ready.

The extra wiring as used by K6TU seemed to be a temporary need because of the very early Alpha/Beta software versions lacking native remote features.  The design as explained would be a true net native with no additional connection other than ethernet needed. 

It sounded like K6TU had done work-arounds for the lack of the future features.

There are strong arguments for both Thick-pipe and Thin-pipe.  I know I expect to be running both pipe types for a good while.

Latency issues across the world wide web challenge every remote operation.  I recently had an opportunity to have my home internet connection "conditioned" by a tech after utility excavations physically damaged the original feed.  I'm not very certain about the results, as large buffers seemed to the tech's sales pitch rather than low latency. 

All best and 73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com/





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W6UV
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Posts: 538




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« Reply #46 on: June 05, 2013, 04:43:30 PM »

Latency issues across the world wide web challenge every remote operation. 

"The world wide web" != "the Internet". There are much more efficient protocols than HTTP as used by web browsers/servers.
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K5TED
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« Reply #47 on: June 05, 2013, 07:53:48 PM »

I'm still waiting on an example of a mainstream $700 SDR xcvr featuring dual antenna ports and IF OUT, and a mature interface....

Looks like the Flex 1500 wins. No contest. No takers. No challenge.
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NI0Z
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« Reply #48 on: June 06, 2013, 06:13:29 AM »

Just add one of these to your existing radio with an MFJ 1708 and you get a DDC Dual SDR Receiver $249 + $78.

http://www.hamradioscience.com/afedri-sdr-net-2-3a-review/

Or you can get the Dual Receiver model for a little more and 2 MJ 1708s or similar.

http://www.afedri-sdr.com/index.php/afedri-sdr-net-x2-dual-channel

Your main radio can be synced via HRD to the SDRs.
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AB2YC
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« Reply #49 on: June 06, 2013, 11:37:38 AM »

I'm still waiting on an example of a mainstream $700 SDR xcvr featuring dual antenna ports and IF OUT, and a mature interface....

Looks like the Flex 1500 wins. No contest. No takers. No challenge.


I really like how the transverters (and rec converters) work pretty much seamless with the Flex-1500.

SDR is what pretty much brought me back into ham radio.






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NI0Z
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« Reply #50 on: June 11, 2013, 02:59:27 PM »

Owning is learning and since some out there will be getting their new Flex Radios in the next few weeks, I will be interested to hear what bandwidth requirements look like for multi receiver operation.

Look forward to hearing about this!
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K5TED
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« Reply #51 on: June 11, 2013, 08:56:50 PM »

Owning is learning and since some out there will be getting their new Flex Radios in the next few weeks, I will be interested to hear what bandwidth requirements look like for multi receiver operation.

Look forward to hearing about this!

It would be great if you could provide us with a true side by side, same antenna, Flex on the Left channel, Anan on the Right channel, same relative AGC and filter setting, receive comparison on difficult signals. That would be a truly informative review. Empirical analysis.

Just saying..
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NI0Z
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« Reply #52 on: June 11, 2013, 10:13:09 PM »

I think it will take a lab to test this as these two radios should be close enough as not to see or hear a difference in signal strength.  

Sometimes the flex 5K with preamp on will have a signal louder but a compensation in the volume on the Anan can equal it out.  These are very unscientific test and I would say even with a decent antenna and shack both radios exceed the capabilities of my ability to see if a difference in my shack.  I don't expect the flex 6700 to be much different if I were to own one.  One thing to keep in mind too is in these test the signal passes through the Flex 5K Rx loop tap before getting fed into the Anan.  Cool but possibly not fair to the Anan as its not getting a direct signal as is the Flex.  I have the MFJ splitter coming this week that I will be able to better more equally split the signal to the two radios.

In all reality the Flex 6K series in a lab should out perform the Anan's if for no other reason than far more dollars and development effort has been poured into them.  The new SmartSDR Software for now, while still not complete, will be nicer as well, again it's all modern and on the Anan end we have to wait for cuSDR to get transmit capabilities.  There are also other developments that are underway that will ultimately provide the Anan's some really nice software and options.  They are real as well, not fiction.  Stay tuned!

As I said owning is learning and the reason I asked the question I did was because I want to understand how flex implemented its data feed to the thin clients and two important aspects that are going to determine its suitability for use across the Internet.  Bandwidth required to support each slice and what kind of error correction and or compression they use to achieve that bandwidth.

These new radios to work need very near real time connections to avoid latency and hiccups.  There are ways this could have been done both good and bad.  The downside to the current way the Anans manage as to their suitability for use over the internet is that they use legacy software and in a nutshell as it sits now you are passing full digitized RF across the network to the fat client.  Any hiccup in your network manifests itself as a hiccup to a user.  On a LAN with Gigabit switches there are no hiccups, works way better than 5000 ever has with FireWire.

If you add WiFI into the equation then we get limits.  First off Wifi is still not full Gigabit and second it's just not the same as CAT5/6.  Add any home network traffic from other devices then it drops you another notch.  Add the Internet into that mix your not likely going to have a good experience.  Even if you wire directly to your router I question how viable the user experience will be for anything more than recreational use.  Maybe google fiber will be a nice ticket.  But say you are in a hotel traveling and want to use your radio, guess what, your competing with any number of other guests for fast fluid bandwidth.

If Flex radio systems did things right they should be passing metadata and audio data to the thin client for presentation.  Metadata would represent display data like the Panadaptor, waterfall and radio control information such as frequency, filters ect.  This can be less realtime, be compressed and managed if there are hiccups.  That leaves audio and or data to be streamed for the actual coms and time syncing of the display and coms.  VOIP does a decent job on audio across the Internet these days so in less than ideal situations it could be useable, ie across the Internet.  

My guess is when we get there though that it just will still be like using a radio across the Internet, but better than the first fatter pipe method.

All this brings us to a couple of key thoughts I think Hams need to seriously consider.  

Do I have a Shack and Antenna worthy of a $3000 or $7000 radio that buying one will yield me true performance gains?  I think that this question really became relevant years ago but hams wanting gorgeous top ranked radios don't like to seriously think about too long! Smiley. In my case my shack is good enough for a $3000 radio (easier to justify because lots of decent radios cost that or more).  As I said, I doubt I need a $7000 radio.  If I had a Yagi on a tower and primo coax to the shack, then it might be worthy.  My Hex on a roof tower is a class B type setup.

Do I really need to operate my radio over Internet?  If so I honestly believe there are better options than these radios that are already available today. In my case I don't think so and while it was of interest to me it was not a driver for my purchase.  I am interested in operating outside my shack in other rooms in my house and a dedicated WiFi network appears to work to an acceptable level so long as there is a direct cable connect to the Wifi router and the signal between router and laptop is strong.  This is on a N900 450MB per channel type router I have deployed that is hooked straight to the gigabyte switch.

Do I expect these radios to deliver miracles?  If you do you have two choices, join the hype masters and make up tall tails about how much the radios have changed your hamming or simply settle for the fact that the promise these radios hold for future development is still greater than the real differences they can make right now. Owning one of these fine new DDC rigs which represent some of the best money can buy should be exciting and fun enough to just enjoy them without becoming a hypemister!  The truth is that To date, my best investment was the hex beam and its proper installation.  I have gotten far more performance out of that than three 3 excellent radios I own now.

Here are a few final thoughts:

While my Anan 100D is a very nice radio and has exceeded my expectations, again, it's real promise is still waiting to be developed.  Hardware is now wayyyyyyy ahead of Software!  I believe it will be the same for the 6K series where both camps have waits ahead.  The flexes will have to wait over the next year to get full regular features that 5K owners currently enjoy and the Anan users will wait a year or more likely for more modern software like cuSDR to be fully developed.

I have had 5 receivers running on 5 bands running 192K wide.  Cooler than I thought it would be and I can't wait to have all of them that I want working.  Lol, 14 will probably too many though, perhaps I will stitch some of them together for the bigger bands.  They will be able to be bigger as well when we get the Gigabit code soon.  Point being is I have to eat some crow here for their utility as I am seriously considering an Anan 10 and taking the loop I have in the garage and getting it setup for dedicated receive monitoring.  

Finally, I hope some folks got some value off this long post.  I hope you see in it that while we have fun here poking at flex sometimes that its just fun for me and I have no malice against flex radio systems.  I still own my flex 5K for now and while I will probably sell it due to not using it much anymore it's still been a decent rig and a ton of fun!  

I prefer keeping things real and so I am willing to poke at any radio camp.  Lol, I just don't like fanboys of any product period if they accentuate the truth to the point it distorts would be buyers views.

Neither of these companies new radios are currently going to revolutionize ham radio, but they can if we the user community push the developers to do more with them.  As users our push has to be better software now or we won't see the next great things that could be!  We will merely get greater hardware with more untapped potential.

It's crazy to think that these two radio lines could be so close in features, ect having come from such similar and yet dissimilar roots.

Have fun above all, don't get distressed, your going to like these radios, especially if you avoid the hype cycle!  They as well as all the other new DDC SDRs are very cool!

Please excuse all the typos!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 10:21:34 PM by NI0Z » Logged

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