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TOPIC: Network-related common Q&A

Network-related common Q&A 27 Jan 2022 04:54 #1

  • VK6NX
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For those, who may be interested, below is the compilation regarding common network related issues in Q&A form

Q. What are "safe" and "best recommended" network settings for SunSDR transceivers?
A. Those, described within "Getting Started" and "User Manual" for the respective transceiver.

Q. Why it is needed to talk about "networking" and "IP addresses" in HAM radio?
A. In SDR world the communication between transceiver and operational software (ExpertSDR2 or ExpertSDR3) is done via IP. IP uses IP addresses to identify connected devices. Hence, for SunSDR transceiver to work, as minimum as one unique IP address needed for each: transceiver and PC (on which operational software is running). By default the transceiver IP is set to at the factory (where /24 is the network mask, also can be represented in dot-decimal format It is recommended the PC IP address to be within the same IP subnet, that is why user manual is recommending to use (or for the PC. It is also important to remember that ExpertSDR uses specific UDP ports for the PC<->transceiver communication.

Q. Can I change the IP addresses?
A. Yes. Though, it is still recommended to keep both IP addresses within the same subnet. Remember, that (at this stage for ExpertSDR2/3) you cannot change network mask for the transceiver, it always remains /24 (or, even you set transceiver's IP address from or range. If you change IP addresses to anything from default, the safest would be to keep the PC IP continuous (for example): for the transceiver and for the PC. Do not try to set IP addresses from different subnets, unless you entirely understand the implications and the changes, which need to be done on network to make the configuration to work.

Q. What is the Port and why it important.
A. PC<->transceiver communication is done via UDP protocol. UDP uses specific instance, called "Port" at each side: PC and transceiver. By default the following UDP Ports are in use:

Additional ports, which are used:
5xxxx-range and 6xxxx-range (randomly selected by PC<->transceiver communication engine).

Blocking above ports (automatically by OS, firewall or manually via configuration) will break PC<->transceiver communication. Means transceiver and/or ExpertSDR will stop working.

Q. Why "direct" connection via Ehternet cable between PC and transceiver is recommended?
A. For the purpose. In combination with recommended network settings (from the official manual), it is the way to provide you with safest and most reliable network connection between PC and transceiver.

Q. Can I still put SunSDR transceiver into segmented LAN? Can I use routed IP addresses, VLANs? Will it work?
A. Yes, it will, if you know what are you doing. For those, who know and configure responsively - there are heaps of working configurations, used daily. (Obviously, if you don't know what are you doing and just blindly follow "the recommendations" found on "free-range internet" - it is your choice).

Q. DHCP or static IP?
A. It is vendor-recommended to use static IP for the transceiver and PC; and it is done for the purpose: to prevent the user from performing common DHCP configuration errors, which lead to networking conflicts.

However, generally speaking, it does not matter if you use DHCP or static IP. Because if you know what are you doing, you can easily setup you network with DHCP. BTW, having DHCP in the network is not the "signature" of advanced (or better) network.

Q. WiFi or cable network?
A. Even you transceiver model has in-build WiFi module, it is recommended to use cable Ethernet and direct connection PC<->transceiver.

There are number of reasons. You can easily dig deeper and completely understand what is "network flow prioritization" (and how it is related to DSCP, ToS, and why it is bad to mix you Netflix video with you SunSDR traffic over same WiFi AP); what is "packet fragmentation" (and how that relates to MTU size, why some home-WiFi vendors may have non-standard MTU, and how that may affect the PC<->transceiver communication). Exploring the term of "network congestion" and differences of congestion prevention mechanisms built-in within Win/Mac/Linux will even bring you to further understanding level. Finally, you can easily measure the bandwidth capacities and map it to your WiFi network capabilities/performance.

Alternatively you may just follow common practice and use direct Ethernet cable between PC and transceiver. Because it is better than WiFi, at least for now and following few years.

Q. Can SunSDR work over VPN.
A. Short answer "Yes".

However you have to understand that there are number of VPN technologies developed and VPN encapsulation type and settings are critical. Do not expect ESDR2/3 <-> TRX to work by "plug-n-play"; you have to dig deeper into VPN details and understand how VPN works; what ESDR2/3-to-TRX traffic and bandwidth requirements are; what overhead VPN may bring into such things as latency, jitter and delay; and what this VPN overhead will imply to what you will see and hear in ESDR2/3.

Q. I have read above and I can confirm that I barely understand the meaning. What should I do?
A. Either learn or choose another TRX vendor.
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