900 Mhz Users Feedback

We are thinking of deploying the 900Mhz solution in the near future. We are looking for feedback regarding the penetration thru trees and real distance limitations.

Also, is anybody running into interferance problems? How about customer installation issues?


I have a kit in my hands and hope to have it operational soon. Sorry I don’t have any auctual info for you, but I’ll post something when I do.

Well I will give you my feedback and I hope that others including Mortorola will respond to this as well.

Im very dissapointed with this equipment. It surprised me a lot. All the other new stuff that came out (2.4, CMM micro, other software tools) was very impressive and lived up the hype that was talked about. The 900 mhz is certainly the exception. We kept hearing how it will go 50 miles and 3 miles through trees. Our dealer said he was in Chicago and they tested it through 5 blocks of buildings and they got signal.

Well here is the reality of the equipment right here. I really hope this thread doesn’t get deleted because maybe we had something configured wrong but for us it did not do anything close to what we have heard. A collegue of mine bought an AP and an SM to test out before we went ahead and ordered a bunch of equipment.

Test #1 - We place the AP on top of his 280 foot tower and drove 1 mile away through trees, nothing. We slowly drove down the road until just before there was an absolute clear LOS it registered and we had a signal of 1100 and a jitter of about 6-10. The amount of trees was maybe 5 or 6 trees. We were very dissapointed.

Test #2 - We then put the AP in the house pointed out the window and drove two blocks a way thinking maybe because of the height or something. Nothing. We drove closer and finally trhough one tree and a block away we managed to get a signal.

Quite frankly we find no difference between 2.4 and 900. Again this could be (I really hope that it is) something that wasnt right. Oh and before you say interference we turned the spectrum analyzer on and there was next to no interference.

I would be happy if other express there experience.

I ordered the 900 test kit with the external antenna’s.

As a test I set the AP on a tripod about 10’ off the ground on a ridge at 1200 elevation. I then traveled to lower ground (200 feet lower) and checked the signal with the SM on a pole 5’ off the ground. I received a good signal at 3 miles out from the AP. I was shooting through a get deal of trees. Later calculations showed the signal traveled about 4000’ through the trees before it broke into free air on it’s way to the AP. I checked the signal on a 180 arc and although the signal did not cover the entire 180 degrees I was getting a 3 mile distance where it did.

I had a PC on each side and was able to do a through put test that showed about a 1m transfer rate from the AP to the SM and about a 318kb rate in the reverse direction.

I am no expert in these matters, I am just getting started in this business, but it appears to me that the above test showed that the 900 Mhz unit worked fairly well.

Quite frankly man I dont beleive you. You should send me a screen of your config because we werent getting anything remotely close to that. Were you going over the trees or right through them? What kind of trees? Yes we have the external antenneas with 9db gain. We think maybe with a 30db gain but thats illegal…

I have no idea what we did. Maybe we have a weak SM or AP, it happens. But for this stuff to be so much more expensive we were expecting a lot. I will be contacting Motorola to see if they can help.

What kind of antenna are you using on both the AP and SM? What is the gain for both? Are you setting the gain configuration on the radio?

Have you contacted tech support? Please do as we would like to work with you on this. It seems as though your experience differs from the majority of customers we have received feedback from.

Horizontal polarization is needed in most areas due to the large presence of cellular infrastructure. Did you try both vertical and horizontal polarization?

We have seen many customers successfully going through trees with NLOS.

I have received an email from Ken Magrow Support Manager that there has been some confusion about the gain setting. As we understood the gain needed to be 9 but there a couple of ways to measure it.

To make a long story short we needed to change the gain setting to 9.14 in order for it to work properly. We have not tried it but this makes me extremely happy to hear that it was our error in configuration and I hope to get it working like everyone else.

Ill post our results.


We tested 900 yesterday having one AP at the top of a 500 ft tower. we saw 100% TOTAL coverage within about 2.4 - 2.5 miles. when i say complete coverage, i mean it would connect without even really aligning the antennas, it would get a decent signal no matter where we were. outside the 2.5 mile range we started having alot more difficulty. we could connect through a whole lot of trees, but not through houses or any large structures. it’s definately an improvement for connectivity from the 5.2 freq, but i agree it was not as impressive as i originally hoped. distance through trees needs to be increased. we did go about 11 miles out and still connected, but that was a pretty clear area. overall i would say it’s a step in the right direction, since line of sight was always the biggest problem with canopy, but 900 needs more strength.

when testing i’d suggest thinking about how you’re testing. we tested right from ground level, so there’s obviously a lot more for the frequency to pass through than if we got it up on a rooftop or something. i’m hoping that from the rooftops we can get total coverage over 3 miles. we’ll see once we start getting customer installs going.

I tested the 900MHz equipment with an AP on a 120ft tower and I drove around a small town (DeMotte, IN.) full of trees with the SM and a laptop. I went to a heavily treed subdivision (1.67 miles from the tower) with no chance of line of sight to the tower and from setting inside a car parked along the road, I registered at over 1100 RSSI with a jitter of 4. I did a speed test pulling over 1M down and 285K up, thru the trees and some homes (brick and metal buildings are a lost cause). Will it go 35 miles with LOS, I don’t know? I need a NON-LOS product and this stuff has worked during my test.

i have completed even more testing, and i must say i’m more impressed with 900 now than before. the antennas are very directional, and without line of sight it’s that much more difficult to get proper alignment, but if you get the SM directed properly i’ve had connectivity through lots of trees at almost 4 miles out. obviously the farther away the fewer trees you can penetrate, but if mounting the SM on a rooftop you’ll have better coverage than on ground level. (of course).

:idea: DB gain was a topic from a few posts ago, and so i tested that today. giving too high a DB gain setting for your antenna will significantly degrade your service area. where i was able to connect through trees perfectly with the proper DB setting, i had no service once i changed to a DB setting too high for the antenna. i guess the point is that proper settings for your specific equipment (antenna) are crucial to the success of your 900 system.

:arrow: GDog. i noticed you said you pulled 1M down and 285 up, could you let me know your data rate settings and also the type of speed test you performed? the reason i’m asking is because i was only seeing 500k download no matter what type of connection i had.

This Radio is located about 3 miles from the AP which is 40’ up on a tower on a 2900 foot mountain. I am using the Maxrad 8dBi patch antenna at both ends.

Originally I was trying to connect him with a 5700 but the trees were within the Fresnel Zone and I could not maintain a link.

I literally threw this 900 radio up and aimed it by eye. Of note is the fact that since it has been up it has had NO re-reg.

Software Version : CANOPY4.2.2 Jun 17 2004 15:28:21
Software Boot Version : CANOPYBOOT 3.0
FPGA Version : 061404 (DES)
Session Timeout: 25, AirDelay 112
Session Count: 1, Reg Count 1, Re-Reg Count 0
RSSI (Avg/Last): 1775/1771 Jitter (Avg/Last): 3/4 Power Level (Avg/Last): -78/-78

Later this week I am going to go for a 15 mile shot - I’ll let you know how it goes. I have users on 5700’s 2400’s, and the one on the 900. So far I think the 900MHz radio is far superior to the 5700 or the 2400.

Jerry Richardson
airCloud Communications

I have tested the 900 MHz radios and am quit impressed. I hung an AP out of a window and drove around in my car with an SM hooked up to a power inverter both using an external antena. I was going through several blocks of trees and houses and it worked great. I am anxious to get an AP up on our tower and start the real testing.

lopez13 wrote:
We are thinking of deploying the 900Mhz solution in the near future. We are looking for feedback regarding the penetration thru trees and real distance limitations.

Also, is anybody running into interferance problems? How about customer installation issues?


we heard it worked 6-8 miles through "heavy folliage" that has not been my experience in Indiana. Maybe our ideas of heavy are different. I have two sites where I can't get 2-3 miles through trees (woods) It does seem to have a good non line of sight- over the horizon type propogation though. we are getting 12- 15 miles with soilid connections into neighboring towns from rooftops

We have successfully tested this equipment in the North Alabama area. This is predominantly non- line of sight. Occasionally we get lucky, and a line of sight opportunity presents itself, but 99.8% of the time we are definatly non- line of sight. We are able to get a link in favorable terrain (low, parallel ridges; transmitting above tree level) at up to 11 miles. In unfavorable terrain, we have linked at around 7 miles. This is the norm for the area, including all degrees of terrain/ridge alignment (parallel and perpendicular to the broadcasting direction) , dense tree and foliage cover, a large body of water, and very non- line of sight.

We are using the MAXRAD directional antennas, on both the SM’s and AP’s. They offer 9 dBi gain, over a 60 degree vertical and 60 degree horizontal sector. While we did not run a throughput test due to the hostility of the unattended broadcast test site, we did not leave a PC at that location to stream data to and from. I can tell you that we had RSSI values of over 1000 in all cases, and in half of those instances, our RSSI was over 1300. This was at distances of at least 4 miles, and up to 7 or 8. Our Jitter was consistently below 6, and on the occasions it rose above 6, we were able to re-align the SM antenna, and lower that value. I am not sure if you can derive an estimated throughput from these numbers, but I would bet that we would be up around the operating specifications of 3.3 Mb/sec.

There are other things worthy of note, such as the fact that within the first 4 miles or so from the point of broadcast, you can point the directional antenna in virtually ANY direction and get a signal. We aimed it at the ground, the vehicle, directly away from the AP, and registered with it. This was a bit head-turning, and we have no reason to believe this is going to be the case in every situation, but it was interesting nontheless. We also found that when we attempted to broadcast from a location inside a city, we were only able to register a connection up to about 2 miles out from the AP, before everything dropped off the RF map. We tried practically line of sight connections at around 5 miles, broadcasting from the city, and were unable to connect. We assumed this was due to the large amount of RF pollution in an urban area, and it had degraded the signal to an unusable level by the time it passed 2 miles. When we were able to register, the RSSI was high (1200 or so) and the Jitter was low (3).

This pretty well covers the 50 hours or so we have spent so far testing this equipment in the area where we intend to deploy; and although we realise that no amount of testing will ever provide a totally accurate picture of how the equipment will perform in all occasions, we do know that this is the right equipment for what we are aiming to do.

smautone I had the AP data transfer set to 75% down, with the AP connected to the Internet, I ran a speed test at chi.speakeasy.net (a regional site). I used the Maxrad 8in panel antenna with the AP.

I pulled up to the house and before I did anything, I set up a site survey. I hung the antenna off the side of the truck where I had clear LOS and aimed in the general direction of the tower. The radio immediately registeres with with an RSSI over 155 and a Jitter of 2 - no joke.

I figured that with that kind of signal, I would be able to put the antenna just about anywhere. I mounted it to the eave and was aiming it through an oleander and a eucalyptus - that was a complete failure.

I moved it to the top of the house where it was firing more or less through the bushy part of two eucalyptuses - the radio would try to register and then drop the connection.

I moved it down the side of the house so it was aiming through a 10’ wide gap between the eucalyptuses and I got back to 1550 with a jitter of 3 (this at 14 miles)

My conclusion, these radios are very good. this install would not have worked with a 2.4 or a 5.7, I would have had to drop a pole at the tree line and trenched or flown the cable to the house.

I think if the trees had been further from the house, my first location would have likely worked.

All in all, I am extremely happy with the performance of the 900MHz product.

Jerry Richardson
airCloud Communications

Okay, we just completed our first 900Mhz link, and I have to say, I am VERY impressed. We did a 7-mile shot on 924Mhz through a couple of banks of trees, then across flat fields. 5.2 was simply not able to do this.

Got both AP and SM installed, aligned the panels, and boom! Instant SM registration with 1500RSSI with 2-3 jitter. Didn’t even have to mess with it. I could become spoiled with 900Mhz :lol:

Customers are very very happy and we just ordered another 900Mhz AP (going to replace one of our 5.7 sites with 900Mhz with a Maxrad omni).

Thanks and good night!! :smiley:

Anyone tried the 900 integrated antenna equipment through pine and redwood trees? if so how well and far did it work?

Also what is the use of the filter on the 900mhz?


integrated antenna?

where are you purchasing that from?

integrated antenna?

where are you purchasing that from?

Here is a link to an integrated AP:
http://www.tessco.com/products/getProdu ... sku=484661

And the site:
http://www.tessco.com/products/displayS ... &offset=80