Author Topic: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE  (Read 190 times)

mcsarge

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Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« on: September 03, 2019, 05:15:41 PM »
Hi all,

I was previously using a simple Huawei Wingle for cellular communication to a remote island in Canada, and I just upgraded the comms with a CradlePoint IBR600LPE Router/Modem with a second directional antenna. Speed is now very fast and the connection is stable. The distance to the cell tower is 16 miles.

The whole outfit:

TOBSUN DC-DC 24V to 12V converter
CradlePoint IBR600LPE configured for T-Mobile use
T-Mobile SIM with 2G LTE data per month and unlimited at 2G speeds after that
2 Log-Periodic Directional Antennas in an "X" configuration
2 50 foot low loss antenna cables

The CradlePoint has 2 Ethernet ports; one I connected to the Classic 150, the other to a Raspberry Pi used to monitor the system and gain access to port 502 of the Classic

Questions or comment welcome.


Canada System: Classic 150 + wbjr; 3s2p HES 270watt, 4s4p US2200 FLA 6V for 24V pack, Trace DR2424 Inverter/Charger

ClassicCrazy

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2019, 09:31:03 PM »
I never heard of X configuration for antennas like that.
How are they orientated and what is the benefit of the X  for area of coverage .
I have used two yagi antennas stacked for higher gain .
I was just thinking - maybe you mean  you put them  horizontally and vertically polarized  ?
We have a beam at our ham radio station like that but it only uses a single boom with both horizontal and vertical elements on it - two feedpoints so basically just like two separate antennas.

Larry
« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 09:34:42 PM by ClassicCrazy »
system one
Classic 150 , 5s4p  Kyocera 135watt , 12s Soneil 2v 540amp lead crystal for 24v pack , Outback 3524 inverter
system two
Classic 150 ,5s 135 watt Kyocero , 16s Calb 100AH LiFePO4 , Outback VFX 3648 inverter
system three
Midnite KID MPPT 24 DC in to  12 volt AGM batterie

mcsarge

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2019, 11:26:25 AM »
Larry,

Yes, like a horizontal and vertical polarization but using a 45 and -45 degrees to get the 90 degree total. I also have them stacked on the same tower about 5 between the top one and the bottom one. On the websites I have consulted they say that this helps the cell tower recognize and separate the signals based on polarity so they can use the MIMO necessary for LTE speeds.

Matt
Canada System: Classic 150 + wbjr; 3s2p HES 270watt, 4s4p US2200 FLA 6V for 24V pack, Trace DR2424 Inverter/Charger

ClassicCrazy

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2019, 12:53:12 PM »
What are you using for the antenna feedlines and how long are they ?
I have used router up on tower and run the cat 5 cable up the tower using POE to power router.  Short coax to router and no feedline loss.
Of course if something goes goofy it means a trip up the tower to get to the router but I haven't had that problem often - good old Linksys WRT-54G routers amazingly reliable in the 5 quart plastic oil bottle to keep it water proof . 

Larry
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 12:55:30 PM by ClassicCrazy »
system one
Classic 150 , 5s4p  Kyocera 135watt , 12s Soneil 2v 540amp lead crystal for 24v pack , Outback 3524 inverter
system two
Classic 150 ,5s 135 watt Kyocero , 16s Calb 100AH LiFePO4 , Outback VFX 3648 inverter
system three
Midnite KID MPPT 24 DC in to  12 volt AGM batterie

mcsarge

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2019, 12:18:30 AM »
Larry,

I am using the very expensive "JEFA Tech Low Loss 400 FLEX Cable - 50 Ohm - Low Loss High Quality" made especially for the CradlePoint. I bought 2 of them 50 feet long each. They cost about $150. I had the owners of the island (my brother-in-law's parents) buy them since I bought the CradlePoint, antennas, Raspberry Pis and power converters.

I thought about putting the CradlePoint right up on the tower but the winters are so cold up there that I am afraid it would not make it.

Matt
Canada System: Classic 150 + wbjr; 3s2p HES 270watt, 4s4p US2200 FLA 6V for 24V pack, Trace DR2424 Inverter/Charger

ClassicCrazy

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2019, 07:23:26 PM »
Sounds like you are set up and ready to go for the winter now.
I looked up that Jflex coax - looks just like the other quality coaxes out there so should do the job for you. They sell it on their website for about $1 a foot with connectors on it but who knows how much for shipping .
Larry
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 07:29:58 PM by ClassicCrazy »
system one
Classic 150 , 5s4p  Kyocera 135watt , 12s Soneil 2v 540amp lead crystal for 24v pack , Outback 3524 inverter
system two
Classic 150 ,5s 135 watt Kyocero , 16s Calb 100AH LiFePO4 , Outback VFX 3648 inverter
system three
Midnite KID MPPT 24 DC in to  12 volt AGM batterie

mcsarge

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2019, 09:05:18 AM »
Yeah,

They were a little more expensive, but they put the exact connectors I needed on both ends, so no loss due to converters. When we drop the tower in a year or so, I will move the antennas up a bit, right now we only have guy wires to 1/2 way up the tower and I will not climb higher than having my feet just below the guys. I have plenty of cable to put them up another 10 or 12 feet, I will just need to run the cable straight into the battery room and not around it an in.

The update is that I have had an LTE connection pretty much 100% of the time. It fell back to 3G for about 15 minutes a few nights ago. The signal looks pretty good - I can get all the numbers if anyone is interested, but for a 16 mile distance, I think that is quite good. The best part is I can monitor the quality by going to the CradlePoint NetManager (in the cloud) site - the device reports it's status to that and allows me to control it from there - I bought a license for a year and that allows me to know what is happening with the link all the time.

Matt
Canada System: Classic 150 + wbjr; 3s2p HES 270watt, 4s4p US2200 FLA 6V for 24V pack, Trace DR2424 Inverter/Charger

ClassicCrazy

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2019, 12:53:07 PM »
Nice when the antennas and signal improve like that !
I can never figure out why on my not very strong 2.4 GHz wifi signal it will work right through heavy snow fall , heavy rainfall , but sometimes when there is dew on tree leaves and the sun is low in the sky it will take the signal out . Soon as the sun gets higher no problem again. RF is interesting how it works and amazing how far a low powered signal can go with good antennas.

Larry
system one
Classic 150 , 5s4p  Kyocera 135watt , 12s Soneil 2v 540amp lead crystal for 24v pack , Outback 3524 inverter
system two
Classic 150 ,5s 135 watt Kyocero , 16s Calb 100AH LiFePO4 , Outback VFX 3648 inverter
system three
Midnite KID MPPT 24 DC in to  12 volt AGM batterie

Fort Wisers

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2019, 04:48:14 AM »
Very interesting read.
We have a cabin in Northern Ontario with a small system based around a Classic 200.
To date it has not been connected to the internet, having connection to monitor remotely has been on the radar since installation (just not a high priority).

As an aside, I picked up a pi a while ago for another project and was thinking of re-purposing it to act as a webserver to display the classic's info.
In reality even just getting our system connected and being able to monitor via MyMidnite etc would be nice at this point....I can play with other homegrown solutions afterward.

Anyhow, a solid Internet connection is our current topic to solve before anything else.
We have an old ZTE MF275r cell hub from a different project and was going to use it.
Bell has an LTE tower about 20km (~12.4 miles) south of us.
With our cell phones, Bell connects fine (obviously), Rogers only via EXT (which the little ZTE can't do), haven't tried other carriers.
After talking with Bell yesterday about what packages they can offer for this ZTE device (expensive for very low bandwidth IMO + basically no provisions to troubleshoot connection issues other than dealing with Bell techs) and reading this thread I may look into CradlePoint....

Matt, do you mind if I ask what did this setup run you in terms of hardware costs, SIM / monthly subscription and your year Lic for NetManager?
I'm also interested in how you run a T-mobile SIM/subscription full time in Canada (perhaps i'm just out of touch with what's avail).
If you'd rather not answer these question, no worries at all.

Thanks for posting all this, great read.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 06:43:46 AM by Fort Wisers »
Cabin#1 System: 2s Hanwha QCell 370watt, Classic 200 incl. wbjr, 2s Rolls FLA 6V, Kisae SW1220 Inverter

mcsarge

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2019, 04:28:35 PM »
Well,

I am glad to detail what I have done. I have a blog posts about the Huawei Wingle here : https://mcsarge.blogspot.com/2018/03/getting-status-data-from-huawei-e8372.html start with the old one and work up.

The upgrade happened this year, as stated above, so I will not repeat. The costs:

1. Cradlepoint IBR600LPE cost me $150 (I recently bought a new IBR600B on eBay for $200 which has a much better modem and I will install that next Spring)
2. 1 year of Cradlepoint Netcloud essentials for IOT was $37 from CDW.
3. 2 50 foot high-quality antenna cables cost $60 each
4. 2 Log Periodic directional antennas cost $29 each
5. My son has T-Mobile and we got a 2 G LTE/unlimited 2G sim card from them on his account and it costs $10/month. But I also bought a pay-as-you-go plan from T-Mobile for the same amount per month but it does not include SMS, which you can use on the Cradlepoint to give it commands. If you read the fine print, we are in danger of getting cut off anytime, so if that ever happens we will need to go to a pay-as-you-go plan from a Canadian cell provider like Tellus, Bell or Rodgers. I think we use so little data, that it is ignored. Currently the system connects to either the Bell tower or the Tellus tower in Killarney, about 16 miles away.
6. I have a couple Reolink battery powered cameras on the island (the Pan Tilt one and Eco) which are great fun to see all the snow and stuff. I got the cloud plan for them and that cost about $10 or $20 for a year.
7. Weather station was $100
8. Low voltage cut off, 24V to 5V power supply, 24V to 12V power supply, Raspberry Pis(2) and all that jazz was probably about another $100.

Now, if I were to do it again, I realize I could have placed the Cradlepoint in an watertight box and placed it on the antenna tower and save alot of money on cables. All I would have had to do is run a POE up there instead of running the antennas up there.

Also, all last year I ran the system with the Wingle with the wrong antenna cable and a single antenna and it worked pretty well, but after doing some research, I really wanted to see if I could maintain a solid LTE signal. When I have LTE, which is most of the time, I get about 15 MBPS down and 3.5 MBPS up, so that is pretty good - certainly enough for me to do everything I need to do up there,

We check the weather (I post to weather underground https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/IKILLARN6) and the cameras pretty regularly, I send out a weather tweet (@GlaserIsland) each evening and I have a camera on the Pi so I upload a picture every noon of the solar panels so I can see if they are covered with snow, etc. I also record a picture every hour and upload those to Dropbox each night. I plan on creating a cool time lapse at the end of winter.

I check on the performance of the panels and the batteries using MyMidnight and can tell anyone when they are on the island if anything is amiss or if it looks like they may need to run the generator.

I would be happy to help you spec out a system, I happen to have a Wingle I am no longer using so I could get that to you. Let me know.

Matt
Canada System: Classic 150 + wbjr; 3s2p HES 270watt, 4s4p US2200 FLA 6V for 24V pack, Trace DR2424 Inverter/Charger

Fort Wisers

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2019, 07:37:46 AM »
Hey Matt,

Wow, nice set-up, thanks for the detailed information.
Since my original post we went out and got a SIM from Lucky Mobility, they are owned by Bell and from what I've read so far there should not be an issue with the ZTE connecting to the bell tower using this carrier.
I also had to ensure the ZTE device was not locked as it was purchased pre Dec 1, 2017 (the date when it became a Canadian requirement for providers to not lock hardware to their network). Two different IMEI checks showed the device as being unlocked so I'm hoping we're ok there.

Our pre-paid data subscription options (or any for that matter) are not as good as what you guys have as options south of the border. For example Bell was $10/month for 100MB @ 3G speeds. Rogers was a little better but not much (and is a moot point since the device can't find a Rogers tower and isn't capable of hoping on another providers tower).
The Lucky Mobility SIM / subscription we just activated is $15/month for 750MB @ 3G speeds (and then unlimited @128kb speed afterward), so a little better than the "big two providers" up here. All are data only plans. The SIM itself was $10.

Reception is quite good at the cabin (at least it is for the phones) as we're high on a hill with a fairly unobstructed path to the tower, so I believe (or hope anyhow) that connecting and maintaining a reliable connection will be relatively easy. Once we actually get connected, then I can decide if we need to add better antennae, a tower, etc etc). Later down the road perhaps I'll look at investing in some different hardware that can give me more connection information such as the route you've gone.

Anyhow, the goal for this weekend (in addition to some other work up there) will be to get the SIM into the device, get it up and running on the network and then configure the Classic to start calling into mymidnight2, seems like a small task but we'll see how it all goes.

Back to your system, I'm quite impressed / envious to be honest!
I like the weather station idea and have thought a few times that a camera on the panels would be nice.
We do occasionally have friends up there while we're not there (especially in the winter for sled season) and I love the idea of being able to monitor everything myself remotely and then just sending them a quick message to say "stop running the kettle so often" (as example). Much easier than trying to explain to them via text what they should look for and how to respond.

Thank you for the offer of the Wingle device and assistance, depending on how this weekend goes, I might just take you up on that offer.
Thanks again for sharing all your details, I'll post back next week after our trip north.

Brent







« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 07:43:06 AM by Fort Wisers »
Cabin#1 System: 2s Hanwha QCell 370watt, Classic 200 incl. wbjr, 2s Rolls FLA 6V, Kisae SW1220 Inverter

ClassicCrazy

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Re: Remote Cellular Connection using CradlePoint IBR600LPE
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2019, 01:08:00 PM »
What kind of weather station are you using Matt ?
Wondering how you get it's data to wunderground - built in ?
I use an inexpensive LaCrosse weather station here linked into Raspberry Pi Zero W running Weewx.  Weewx supports sending out the weather data to some different services . And it has it's own built in webpage. Works great either way.
Regarding the router up on the tower - that is what I do but instead of using a weather proof box I cut a flap in bottom of a 5 quart plastic oil bottle and slid the router in here - has worked well for about 8 years but the sunlight  UV finally crumbled up the plastic so I had to put a  new one up - hoping for another 8 years - ha ha !  I just have a wire going through the handle of plastic bottle to tie it to the tower - crude but has been working for long time . Surprised me !
Right now I am just sending weather data out to ham radio aprs network. If I ever get around to opening up router ports for built in webpage that is nice too but since I can look at it locally not a big deal. 
https://aprs.fi/weather/a/WT9M-8

Larry
system one
Classic 150 , 5s4p  Kyocera 135watt , 12s Soneil 2v 540amp lead crystal for 24v pack , Outback 3524 inverter
system two
Classic 150 ,5s 135 watt Kyocero , 16s Calb 100AH LiFePO4 , Outback VFX 3648 inverter
system three
Midnite KID MPPT 24 DC in to  12 volt AGM batterie