Mimosa GPS Sync - Prairie Hills Wireless LLC


#1

Mimosa A5 GPS Sync and how it changed our network

I know many have been long awaiting the results of Mimosa multipoint GPS Sync - to summarize my experience, it’s been transformational to my network, and the town, Ravenna, that Prairie Hills Wireless services. Since moving to Mimosa, we’ve scaled subscriber speeds 10x, and expanded the network massively with both MicroPoPs in high density parts of town, and a pretty massive tower style GigaPoP!

It’s taken quite a bit of optimization since it’s a new approach, but when you get the final 2.2 release deployed properly, it’s a game changer. Your biggest complaint will likely be upgrading all your backhauls to keep up!

Getting started as a Wireless ISP
My wife and I started Prairie Hills Wireless in late April-early May of 2013. We began by deploying MicroPoPs with Ubiquiti Rocket M5-Titanium with three 120 deg sectors at each MicroPoP, with our water tower having six 60 deg sectors within Ravenna city limits.

Early Woes
I had hoped to GPS synchronize each Rocket, however, we all know that Ubiquiti never was able to deliver. I tried to get all of the Rockets to work well together in 20 MHz channels, but I was having issues with self-interference. I moved my Rockets to 10 MHz channels to help, but unfortunately, I was also getting interference from our competitor and home routers. The first year deploying Ubiquiti the network was running okay in the 10 MHz channels. I was seeing around 20-30 Mbps per client; but as I added more clients, quality/capacity began to decline. By late 2015, the best speeds we could achieve at most customer sites were around 8-15 Mbps.

(2014) Our old MicroPoP!:

Solving Problems with Backhaul Sync - Enter Mimosa
In early 2015, I began to deploy Mimosa backhauls and continued to replace our slow, non-sync radios. The new B5/B5c/B5 Lite radios greatly improved throughput to each site and with the B5 and B5c sync helped save spectrum.

(April 2016) New backhauls:

Finally - Mimosa Multipoint!
In May 2016 I received my first shipment of Mimosa A5-14’s and C5s - they weren’t yet synchronized, but with my experience with the B5, I was ready to give it a try - I ordered 250 C5s and 14 A5s. Upon receiving the radios, I quickly began replacing our old Ubiquiti Rocket M5 Titanium sectors with A5s. These A5s were ran in WiFi Interop mode as we replaced Ubiquiti clients with Mimosa during the migration period. I had our customer service representative in the office unlock and update routers to help our installers with the swaps. I replaced the remaining Ubiquiti backhauls with 24 GHz, 60 GHz, and 80 GHz radios. The longer links were replaced with B5 or B5 Lites. We replaced over 200 Ubiquiti radios within a four month time period with C5s. I then sold the Ubiquiti radios online to help purchase more C5s.

(May 2016) 1st shipment of Mimosa C5:

(May 2016) Newly installed A5. All of the sectors shown have been replaced with the A5. Sectors have been removed.

The beginning of June 2016, I received my first A5c. Testing went well and again we began replacing Ubiquiti clients with C5s. I then took down our 6 Titanium Rockets on the water tower and replaced them with Mimosa A5c’s and KP Performance x4 65 deg sectors.

(June 2016) 1st Mimosa A5c:

(January 2017) Mimosa A5c GigaPoP with KP Performance antennas:

Expanding to a full MicroPoP architecture
Due to all of the trees in Ravenna, I added more A5 micro pops in Ravenna to help keep all of our C5 signals around a -55 or better. I added around 7 new microPOP sites to add to our existing 7 sites. I mounted equipment on houses, small towers, an industrial building, and even a tree. Whatever it took to get the best signal as you really want to try and be around a -55 or better. We would mount the microPOP enclosure on the outside of the house or building, run a dedicated electrical line to the enclosure from the circuit breaker, and have a lease with the landowner just like our tower leases.

(June 2016) One of the new house MicroPOPs:

50ft tower with a A5

Mimosa A5 and B5-Lite mounted to a tree:

Finally - Mimosa Multipoint GPS Sync!
I have been beta testing Mimosa’s TDMA Sync firmware for almost 45 days. The latency has been good and speeds are consistent at around 150-200 Mbps download and upload. I’ve been running them in 8 ms 50/50 TDMA. The transition from wifi interop mode to TDMA is very simple, needing only one change required on the A5 and the C5s will automatically adjust.

Our network currently has over twenty-five A5 or A5c’s within the city limits of Ravenna which is about a two mile radius. All of the A5’s are running 80 MHz channels, and my A5c’s that are running TDMA are also in 80 MHz. All of these A5’s and A5c’s are currently using 260 MHz of spectrum, in total, thanks to frequency reuse. In addition, the A5 or A5c will sync with a B5 link. The results have been amazing! With the addition of C5c to our network, I believe we should be able to get our current spectrum consumption down to 80 or 160MHz.

Below is a link to a video that I made, with my drone, of the Ravenna water tower with the tree of KP Performance X4 4x4 65 degree sectors. There are currently five sectors on the tree. I will eventually add another sector, properly mount the A5c’s, and clean up the wires. Two of the sectors on the tree that are located back to back are running in the exact same frequency with no self-interference. The other two sectors are currently still running in WiFi Interop as I still have Ubiquiti clients connected to them.


GPS Sync Firmware
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#3

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GTTH - suburban density
#4

Kent,

Would you be so kind as to share where your A5-14 placements are located on a map? The A5-14 is such a different antenna from what we are used to deploying, I’m really quite curious as to how the propagation is working for you and how dense they need to be placed. It appears your town of Ravenna is VERY similar to the two cities we are preparing to start deploying these units. I’m curious as to how you are fairing with the trees.


#5

An answer to Robert9’s question may be sufficient to answer this, but as an extension… I assume adding all the micropops was so you could, from any given house, turn and hit at least one POP even through a small amount of trees, etc? ie paradigm=continue to “densify” the POPs until that works.


#6

@Robert9 and @Logan Here is a map of our A5s. There are A LOT of trees!


#7

Kent,

Thank you so much. If you had to put a percentage on your coverage for the homes in the circles, would you say you can provide service to 90%/80%/70% of homes? Just curious as to how good it works because Mimosa’s design tool SEVERELY cuts back on coverage when setting the different tree options. I’m aware that there is some grey area to what is truly a few branches, one tree, two trees, however I’m still feeling it out. Thanks again! You’re terrific!


#8

@Robert9 We have about 98% coverage in the town with what A5s are deployed. The remaining 2% can be installed but with marginal PHY. I believe C5c will bump up that percentage to 100%.


#9

Kent,

Thanks for sharing this info - very helpful and congrats on your deployment.

With no 802.1x or Option 82 available yet what method do you use to provision/authenticate users? Or do you not track what’s connected to the C5 at all?

-Rob


#10

We don’t track whats behind the C5 unless that customer has a G2.


#11

DHCP Option 82 is in the follow-on 2.2.1 release and being tested, so you should be able to do baseline 3rd party router/IP provisioning, we should be bringing 802.1x back into TDMA but still sorting out if it’ll make the same release. Will provide more info as soon as we get more detail on the release and dates.


#12

Curious, do you plan on introducing any PPPoE features as well?


#13

Kent, do you have a .kmz file of the AP’s locations on your network?


#14

I do, but thats something I really don’t want to share. You can see how the sites are spaced in the picture.


#15

Kent,

What are the maximum distances you are getting with your C5’s and keeping them around -55?


#16

Hello @Kent, you surely expect all those questions after your story.

I would like to ask you to depict the A5 version on showed map. This to understood why A5 in particular place instead of A5c.

Have you ever had some difficult to align C5’s avoiding interference coming from others near A5 ap ? Have you used A5c with more strict beam antenna ? If yes, what antenna you choose ?

last but not least, have you choose a router for each site ? If yes what version considering total managed bandwidth ?


#17

@Mark3 less than 600meters on A5, around 3/4mile with A5c. All of the clients are C5s


#18

In case of C5s, what antenna do you use ?

Thank you


#19

@Massimiliano

If you look at the map, all of the dots are A5-14s except where I circled. There are 6 A5cs where circled.

I haven’t really found it difficult to align C5’s in order to avoid interference. However, I have found it difficult to teach my installers how to properly isolate the C5 from seeing the two A5s. I believe they have figured out how to properly isolate now.

I have used A5c with KP Performance x4 4X4 sectors and RFelements 30 deg horns. The RFelement horns work great, have great interference rejection and perfect for those places where you need a narrow beam to fill in a dead area that you want to fill.

The way our network is designed, we don’t have a router at each tower site. There is a managed switch with a specific VLAN. I have a Siklu 5500HD backhauling the GigaPOP on the water tower, and a mix of 5GHz, 24GHz, and 60 GHz backhauling each MicroPOP. The plan is to have all of the backhauls running in something other than 5GHz. Most of the backhauls are currently 24GHz or 60GHz. Each of the MicroPOPs have between 350Mbps-1Gbps bandwidth being fed to it.


#20

To avoid interference coming from others A5’s, I think you used a narrow client antenna plus an attention regarding their antenna beamwidth as described here:

http://ap.help.mimosa.co/gps-sync-spectrum-reuse-micropops

I think