Thank you for signing up to beta-test WispTools.net RF Planner application!
For this quick-start guide, we'll show you how to:
This should be enough get you started using the RF Planner tool.
When you sign in for the first time, you will see a screen similar to this one:
Notice that we've added an icon for you: your company name, located at the address you gave us when you signed up. This is your first point of interest, and helps us show you a relevant part of the map.
Later on, every site and point-of-interest you create will appear on this screen. Once you've created a tower, a point-to-multipoint radio, and a render scenario of the estimated coverage will appear here.
There are a lot of options on the dashboard page, and we've tried to make them as straight-forward as possible. The basic options are:
You can also right-click anywhere on the map:
This shows you the address of the location you clicked on (approximate address in rural areas that don't have street addresses), and gives you the option to Add Site Here, Add POI Here and Prequalify Customer Here. This can save you from entering latitude and longitude values (or guessing addresses) when adding Sites, Points-of-Interest and pre-qualifying customers.
Finally, the top menu bar offers some options:
Now that you have the basic concepts under your belt, we'll create our first tower site.
Click Sites, and select Add New Site.
You will be presented with the Add New Site wizard, step 1:
This should be mostly self-explanatory; for this tutorial we will choose the following values:
Here's our completed step 1 screen:
Now we click Proceed to Step 2:
Our Points-of-Interest are shown, along with the new site location. A panel on the right offers information about your proposed site location. You also have the full range of Google Maps options, including Satellite and Terrain views (as well as zooming). You can drag the tower icon to the actual tower location.
Select Satellite, and zoom in to your new site. The tower is on the wrong side of the road!
We can easily rectify that by dragging the tower onto the cell-phone tower we can see on the satellite view:
Now, zoom back out and we'll examine the “Learn About Your Site” options.
First of all, select “Land Coverage”. This shows you what our database knows about the area you have selected. A legend is on the right-hand side. You can see how each area is categorized. This information will be used when generating coverage plots, in particular with regard to trees:
Next, let's take a look at the Height Map option. This shows us a shaded relief-map of our site's area, with height-above sea level (darker is lower elevation) indicated. This can be useful for understanding the altitudes, ridges and valleys included in our proposed tower area:
We'll ignore Slope Map for now; it's mostly of use for our planned 3D rendering features that are coming down the pike.
Instead, click on Visible Area From Tower (for the screenshot, we've switch to a Google Terrain view so that you can see how it relates to terrain):
Your browser has traversed every pixel inside your coverage radius, and calculated if that pixel is visible from the site (with a receiver 20' above ground-level). Because we're doing this as a quick preview, it isn't taking trees into account – but it should give you an instant idea of how useful a tower site may be. This is particularly useful when you are considering new sites – you can get an instant representation of potential coverage area.
If you need to change anything, you can click Back to Step 1; our information is complete, so we'll click Add Site, and work on radio load-out.
On this page, you can:
We want to add a point-to-multipoint radio, so click the Point-to-Multipoint drop-down, and select Add PTMP Loadout:
You will be taken to Step 1 of the Point-to-Multipoint wizard:
Don't worry, this isn't as intimidating as it looks! For our example radio, we will do the following:
Our Step 1 screen is complete, and looks like this:
We click Proceed to Step 2, and are presented with the second screen, asking us about our customer devices:
We enter the following:
We have now completed the CPE definition part of the link, and it looks like this:
Click Proceed to Step 3, and you are presented with the following screen:
At the top, you have options for Azimuth and Downtilt, and on the map itself the antenna radiation pattern is overlaid (in black). Since we selected a Ubiquiti 120-degree sector, it looks like a balloon. You can adjust Azimuth and see instant feed-back on the map as to the area at which you are aiming.
For this example, we will select 90 degrees (East):
Notice that the antenna is now pointing East on the map. That's all we need, so scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Add the PTMP device, and return to the site.
You are now returned to your site screen. Notice that there are two additional map layers present:
The Antenna Patterns display shows an overlay of the antenna radiation patterns of all point-to-multipoint radios located at this site. Here is the radio we just added:
The Path Loss 5800 provides you with a quick, real-time estimate of coverage for your new radio. This is a quick-and-dirty calculation, so it isn't perfect – but it serves to validate the data you have entered. We won't worry too much about this yet; it's time to add a scenario.
Click Home on the main menu bar at the top, click Render Scenarios and select Add New Scenario.
You will be taken to the scenario definition screen:
On this screen, perform the following steps:
You will be taken to the scenario viewer/renderer screen:
Since we just created the scenario, there isn't very much to see here. Make sure that your tower is showing, and click Request Render:
This will bring up the render request dialog box. Select Medium Quality / Fast Rendering, and click Request Render. You will see a number of blue information boxes appear at the bottom-left of the screen, notifying you of rendering progress (you may carry on using the site while it renders). After some time (typically around 30 seconds for this test), your screen will change to show you rendered scenario information:
Clicking the Height Map drop-down shows you the data that has been rendered on your behalf:
That's quite a lot of data! The Height Map and Land Cover maps are similar to what you saw when you created the site, but are at a higher resolution. They serve to show you that your map is created with real, useful data.
Overall Predicted RSSI is the map most people find useful:
It shows coverage of the antenna we just created. Areas in green can expect the Target RSSI we setup when creating the antenna. Areas in yellow can expect our Worst RSSI from PTMP setup. The two are on a gradated ramp, gradually turning yellow as signal strength worsens.
If you have multiple antennas, they all appear on this screen – using the best possible antenna for an area. Notice how there are holes in the coverage: the system has detected terrain and foliage, and adjusted predicted RSSI accordingly.
Coverage for 5800 Mhz will be the same as Overall Predicted RSSI. If we were to add additional antennas in different frequency bands, each band would appear separately here – so you can easily differentiate between systems. For example, here at Full Stream we have 2400 Mhz showing Wi-Fi coverage, 2500 Mhz showing our WiMAX system, and 5800 Mhz showing our Ubiquiti coverage.
Areas Predicted to suffer noise interference will be blank for this example; a later tutorial will expand upon this. This maps areas that can see two (or more) radios on the same frequency, and can therefore be expected to suffer self-interference problems. With a single radio, this isn't a problem.
Noise floor for 5790Mhz (up to 5810 Mhz) will show you a red area in which our test radio is adding to the background noise of the 5790 Mhz channel. This isn't very useful with a single radio, and will be covered further in a later tutorial.
On the Scenario page, there is a button/checkbox labelled Published:
Checking this box informs the RF Planner system that this is your actual coverage map, and should be presented on the front page, and for customer pre-qualification. For this quick-start, go ahead and check the box. You will be asked if you are sure – indicate that yes, you are sure.
Now return to the main Home page, and notice that the green/yellow area from your Overall Predicted RSSI plot are visible. This serves as the basis for our last tutorial: Pre-qualifying a customer.
Zoom into the map on the home page, and right click a location with some coverage:
Click Prequalify Customer Here. (You can also select Prequalify Customer from the main menu bar, but you will have to enter an address). You will be presented with the first-step of the Prequalification screen. Notice that the location and address are pre-populated for you, and a marker shows where you clicked. You can drag the marker to move it. You can also enter an address in the Address box, and the map will automatically move to that address. Likewise, if you edit Latitude/Longitude, an address will be calculated for you, and the map will move to that location.
Scroll to the bottom, and click Tower Visibility. You will be presented with the results of the customer Pre-qualification:
You can click any tower in the list (there will only be one for this example) to see a terrain-profile explaining the estimate:
Notice how the Fresnel zone is plotted for you, and areas that might intersect heavily urban areas (the pink/magenta regions) are highlighted. Two coverage estimates are provided: one using raw Free Space Path Loss (which will be accurate if you have perfect line-of-sight), and a Longley-Rice/ITWOM estimate that attempts to take into account the effects of terrain.
When you have your entire network in the system, it will smartly rate sites based upon your coverage map and terrain – quickly answering the question can I get service to this customer? A later beta will let you put these maps on your website.
That wraps up the first quick-start guide. In this guide, we've learned how to navigate the program, add a site, hang a radio from the site, and estimate our coverage guide. Upcoming guides will cover point-to-point links, advanced render features such as Noise and multiple bands, and offer tips on how to get the best out of the website.
Once again, thank you for being a beta-tester of our new RF Planner system.