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Radio Point-to-Multpoint (PMP) Software Release Notes

Version 7 of the firmware is a major revision from previous versions and introduces several new features.  With version 7 the older AR-24027 model can be intermixed with the newer model AR-24027E in the same network.  These revision notes apply to all models including the older AR-24027. However note that the load file for that older model is different.

 
Version:  7.00
Date:
    Nov 22, 2011

New Features:

Roaming Branch nodes:  The roaming feature allowed nodes configured as "leaf" or "remote" to roam and attach to any parent node (hub, root or branch) available.  Now the branch nodes are also allowed to roam.  When a branch node roams it brings with it all its children to the new position on the tree.

Co-located radio Synchronization:  When radios are co-located and share the same Ethernet they will automatically elect one of them to become the clock master and run all co-located radios in a synchronized fashion to  avoid self-interference.  In this version we added measuring the transit delay of the synchronization packets over the Ethernet for each of the co-located radios.  This makes the synchronization considerably more accurate and independent of the number and type of switches between the radios.
In addition, the command ">tdd sync=off" now turns this feature off completely, including the multicast, once a second, of an announcement packet over the Ethernet that makes the radio known to the other co-located radios.

Power Consumption: The software now shuts down all the circuits that are not needed at any given time resulting in considerable power savings when compared to the previous versions (this does not apply to the classic model AR-24027).  A leaf/remote node, with no or little traffic, will consume around 1.5 Watt as opposed to over 3 Watt in previous versions.  Parent nodes also have substantial power savings, depending on activity and number of children.

Compatibility:  The older model AR-24027 can be intermixed in the same network with the newer model AR-24027E as long as both radios are running version 7.xx.  Version 7.xx is not compatible with the previous versions.

Compatibility:

Version 7 is not compatible with the NetCrossing Gateway with regard to lighting the "radio link" LED in the front panel of the gateway, or synchronizing a site through the gateways.  If you need those functions use the earlier versions of the radio firmware.

Known Problems:

Encryption does not work.  This is corrected in version 7.04




Version:  7.02
Date:
    Dec 16, 2011

Problems Fixed:

Fixed problem where configuring the radio using ECON scripts could cause a radio reboot.

Known Problems:

Encryption does not work.  This is corrected in version 7.04


 
Version:  7.04
Date:
    Apr 18, 2012

Problems Fixed:

When encryption was turned on the radios failed to attach to the network.  This is now fixed.

When a radio was rejected by the parent during attachment, it was trying to reattach immediately.  Now it waits 30 seconds before the next attempt.

New Features

During factory burn-in added feature to output and record final burn-in results



 

Version:  7.05
Date:
    Jun 6, 2012

Problems Fixed:

A parent radio with multiple children could lose inboubnd packets sporadically (depending on traffic patterns) due to timing in resetting the receiver in preparation for a new burst.


Version:  7.06
Date:
    Jun 28, 2012

New Features:

Increased the maximum transmit power in the 900 MHz model back to 27 dBm (it had been limited to 26 dBm in September 2011 to prevent damage to the Power Amplifier).  All new shipments of the 900 MHz radios have a different last stage Power Amplifier (PA) which is not susceptible to break under reactive loads and provides a cleaner signal.  You can issue the "version" command to find which model you have:

   Hardware Type:  256x-00A4    (Original 900 MHz with weaker PA – power limited to 26 dBm)
   Hardware Type:  256x-00A6    (Improved 900 MHz model with stronger PA)

Compatibility Issues:  Version 7.06 runs on all radio models and identifies the different 900 MHz hardware types.  It allows you to set a transmit power in the range of 0 to 27 dBm.  However, if the hardware is the original 900 MHz model (with a weaker PA) it clips the maximum power to 26 dBm.

Earlier software versions do not recognize the new hardware type and do not run properly if back loaded into the new 900 MHz radio models.

Problems Fixed:

UDP console command interface stopped working in version 7.05 and is now corrected.

The switching power supply in the newer model radios could create noise in VHF channels around 120 to 180 MHz.  This could interfere with a "walkie-talkie" operating in close proximity to the Afar radio.  With this version the power supply switching frequency is dithered randomly which eliminates the energy in the harmonics that were causing this problem.


Version:  7.07
Date:
    (not released)

New Features:

Increased the number of possible roam channels from 6 to 12.  The new set of 6 channels are specified with the rf2 configuration.  You can now configure a remote radio to scan for a parent using antenna A and/or antenna B.

Added the command "roam" to specify whether to use only rf1 channels or both rf1 and rf2.

Optimized the time that it takes to roam to a parent that already had other children.


Version:  7.08
Date:
    Oct 25, 2012

New Features:

Added new subcommand "ethernet vlan-mode=strip" which may help in networks where there is "leakage" between VLANs so that a given MAC address sometimes appears with a VLAN prefix and sometimes without. Such inconsistency can leads to the address not being able to communicate with the radio's on-board protocols (telnet, econ).

Problems Fixed:

Opening and closing Telnet (and ECON) sessions with the radio was causing a slow memory leak.  After many of those events, the radio might stop responding to pings and eventually reboot.


 Version:  7.09
Date:
    Jan 8, 2014

Problems Fixed:

When you have co-located radios with the TDD synchronization feature turned on, one radio will become the synchronization master and send "heartbeat packets" to synchronize the other radios. The radios measure the delay of these packets over the Ethernet which include a window of acceptable jitter for the packet to be accepted for averaging. That window was too narrow and after a few packets missing it, it could cause the clock to drift and then force the slave-hub to restart the synchronization. This would cause the hub to drop all children and reacquire them again.

When a new IP address was obtained though DHCP, the IP stack was not being initialized correctly and the radio might not respond to IP packets sent to that address right away.

If you turn on DHCP mode and the radio already had an IP address, the radio did not immediately request a new IP address from a server. It would instead wait until the address had to be renewed, only then would change the IP address. Now it requests a new IP address right away

With the Ethernet running at 10 Mbps long packets could be received with a frame error and discarded (with an entry in the event log). This was due to a clock tolerance setting which was now increased to correct the issue.

With the Ethernet running at half duplex a packet collision would result in an incorrect event being logged indicating an error in the packet Time of Arrival. This event is no longer logged.

The "load factory" command could induce an immediate reboot if the current confguration had the single node timeout disabled and the unit did not have an RF link for the previous 15 minutes. This has been fixed.

At a site with several co-located roots, the non-master roots could lose synchronization causing them to drop the links to all remotes while regaining synch. This condition is now captured and logged without dropping the links to the remotes.

If a hub and a remote establish an RF link, but they also were connected over the Ethernet the remote would keep rebooting.with an assert fail. Now it does not reboot, instead the RF link will keep dropping until the network loop is removed.


 

Version:  7.10
Date:
    Jun 6, 2014

Problems Fixed:

 The default node name (rmt-xxxxx) has a prefix that indicates the node type. But in a tree network, leaf and remote nodes are interchangeable. When a leaf connects to a hub it becomes a remote, and when a remote connects to a root or a branch it becomes a leaf. The prefix in the default node name was not changing dynamically, now it does to match the current node type.

TCP would log multiple error entries to the event log when retransmitting in a lossy network. This was corrected.

When a root or hub radio received TDD synchronization from a co-located non-root radio, it might lose synchronization when the non-root radio adjusted its timing slightly to track its own parent. The slave root is now better at following the shift without losing sync.


 

Version:  7.11
Date:
    Sep 19, 2014

New Features:

Introduced the fast roaming mode. This is approapriate for applications with fast moving platforms where the RF environment may change very quickly and the nodes have many channels to scan. In normal (slow) mode a radio scans a new channel every 640 ms, so it may take several seconds to scan all channels.  In fast mode the radio scans a new channel every 80 ms. The drawback is that fast mode does not support roaming branches and the throughput is reduced by ~20% compared to the slow mode. You select this mode with the command ">roam speed=fast" in all radios in the network.

Improved the roaming selection criteria and fixed minor issues with roaming.
 

Known Problems:

When performing an INLINE download over a telnet connection in a fast LAN, you may see "S-rec length error" leading to an unusable file, unless you configure your terminal emulator to insert a delay after each line of text push down to the radio. A delay of 1 ms per line makes the problem go away. This problem also appears in older versions.

 



Version:  7.14

Date:    Mar 16, 2015

Problems Fixed:

When co-locating a remote (or leaf) with hub(s) or root(s) there were two problems with reagrd to syncronizing the transmissions:
1. The check for compatibility of the cycle split was incorrect (did not account for the required complement of the split).
2. The remote, when trying to establish a link to a parent, was "sputtering" while also negotiating the synchronization on the Ethernet.

Improved the backoff timing when collisions occur due to many new nodes joining the network simultaneously.

Resolved some problems in burn-in testing at factory.

Known Problems:

When performing a code download over a telnet connection in a fast LAN, you may see "S-rec length error" leading to an unusable file.  The workaround is to configure your terminal emulator to insert a delay after each line of text pushed down to the radio. A delay of 1 ms per line makes the problem go away. This problem also appears in older versions.


 

Version:  7.15

Date:    May 29, 2015

 

Problems Fixed:

Resolved one problem in burn-in testing at factory.

Known Problems:

When performing a code download over a telnet connection in a fast LAN, you may see "S-rec length error" leading to an unusable file.  The workaround is to configure your terminal emulator to insert a delay after each line of text pushed down to the radio. A delay of 1 ms per line makes the problem go away. This problem also appears in older versions.


Version:  7.16

Date:    June 22, 2015

New features:

Introduced roam parameter "change-hub" to control the criteria used by the mobile to change access points.  You can set it to "slow", "medium", or "fast".  In "slow" mode the mobile remaiins attached to the current access point until the link is weak and/or an alternate parent is much stronger than the current one.  In "fast" mode the mobile switches as soon as an alternate access point is somewhat stronger (around 6 dB) than the current one.

Known Problems:

When performing a code download over a telnet connection in a fast LAN, you may see "S-rec length error" leading to an unusable file.  The workaround is to configure your terminal emulator to insert a delay after each line of text pushed down to the radio. A delay of 1 ms per line makes the problem go away. This problem also appears in older versions.


Version:  7.18

Date:    March 21, 2016

New Features:

A new option allows the installer to prevent broadcasts from a remote to be sent to other remotes.

SMNP management stations (and telnet clients) can now be defined as an IP address range.

A minor enhancement to transmit power calibration allows better performance on some radios built in early 2016 (serial numbers between AF040000 and AF040300).

Problems Fixed:

Resolved a (rare) buffer leak related to running ECON over very lossy links.

Known Problems:

When performing a code download over a telnet connection in a fast LAN, you may see "S-rec length error" leading to an unusable file.  The workaround is to configure your terminal emulator to insert a delay after each line of text pushed down to the radio. A delay of 1 ms per line makes the problem go away. This problem also appears in older versions.



Version: 7.19

Date: June 9, 2016

Problems Fixed:

When doing a spectrum-analysis or time-analysis on some radios, a noise pulse would appear in the displayt every half second. THis has now been corrected.

Known Problems:

When performing a code download over a telnet connection in a fast LAN, you may see "S-rec length error" leading to an unusable file.  The workaround is to configure your terminal emulator to insert a delay after each line of text pushed down to the radio. A delay of 1 ms per line makes the problem go away. This problem also appears in older versions.


Version:  7.20

Date:    not released

Problems Fixed:

When you co-locate radios connected over the Ethernet they attempt to synchronize their cycles. If there is a conflict in the TDD parameters, a Warning is displayed in the "show" command.  If you then turned off the tdd synchronization, the old Warning message continues to be shown instead of being cleared.  This had no bad effects, if you rebooted the radio the Warning would be cleared.  But it is now fixed.

After being up for over 16 months the date/time tracking had a rollover problem and would display the date incorrectly. Rebooting the radio would solve the problem. Now this is corrected.

 



 
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