Do you engineers actually USE your products?

Seriously. I’m coming from another low-cost competitor. When I jumped into this game, I started with this other competitor because I figured it would do “well-enough” to get me going, then I could join the big fish and switch to Cambium. I had all these visions about how awesome it would be.

Wow, have I been disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I still have hopes that everything performs better, but just getting to that point has been a major PITA. Everything from building the power cables on my 3ghz APs to trying to unplug the ethernet cable from the SM’s has been an exercise in frustration and leaves me wondering if you brilliant engineers actually USE the product in the field? If you do, why don’t you improve things??!

  1. As I stated, building the DC power cables to run the AP is a major pain. Who wants to be fiddling with that clumsy tool while up at the top of a tower? It’s bad enough while sitting on the ground. Did POE+ not cut it for the power requirements? Maybe it’s time to rethink something, I dunno.

  2. I’m sure you’ve plugged in an ethernet cable to the 450b’s a time or two, but have you done it while it’s fully assembled with the weather-proof enclosure on it? If your cable isn’t stiff, it’s hard to get in because the enclosure is so deep. Now that it’s in though, try getting it out. If you are lucky enough to have small and nimble fingers, it’s probably not so bad, but I find my finger barely fits and has no room to maneuver so removing the cable is frustrating.

  3. The UI needs some major work. It’s like I went back to the early 2000’s. If I want to see what my signal strength looks like, I have to mash the refresh button on my browser. Sure, I can go set the setting to make the browser refresh more often, but how many times has that come back to bite me when it refreshes at an inopportune time? How hard is it to make an endpoint and call it from a little javascript fetch function to update the page dynamically? This is rhetorical of course, I’ve been writing software for 35 years, I know it’s a simple task. Look me up, I’ll even collaborate with you to write it.

Ugh, so frustrating!

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POE++ won’t cut it for the 3Ghz Medusa. I wish the power connector was not the 4 pin molex thing it is, though.

I completely agree with you on point 2. Once the cover is in place adding and removing cables is a total pain. Since there is no tether on the cover, if you drop it on a windy day, good luck finding it again.

On #3 - I agree that the GUI needs a real refresh. That said, Tools → alignment tool solves your complaint about having to refresh the page to see RSSI in real-time.

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If we were to then diverge to ePMP 3000…

why are all of the LEDs invisible once the sun has come up? How hard is this?

Who came up with the original giant U-Bolt design for the force 300 (that is too big for normal j-mounts)? I pretty much assume it was me and a few others bitching that the existing design couldn’t even fit a 2" OD pole, so then an engineer went overboard on the design.

Who decided that (admittedly) the more flexible “square” U-bolt was a better option than just re-designing things? It’s still a shitty design.

ePMP or PMP, there isn’t generally a lot of flexibility built into the designs.

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I get the feeling that Cambium doesn’t believe in ‘making it pretty’ is necessary. BUT, pretty is not what WISPs are asking for. We’re asking to have the info we need, displayed in an easy to read, informative, and useful manner.

So - this illustrates the point. That info is there… somewhere. But everything is buried on it’s own separate screen, and buried a couple menu levels deep. Can’t see two different pieces of info at the same time, since they live on different menus. EVERYTHING else on the market has a ‘dashboard’ with all the useful info displayed on it – where we can see all the info ‘at a glance’ on a ‘single pane of glass’. That’s not just pretty - it also makes it useful and functional.

But - it honestly really feels like a lost cause. The ‘ideas’ sections are filled with absolutely necessary, basic features… which are ‘under consideration’ for a decade. And if they do redesign, it feels like it won’t be done with user input, and still won’t address the issue of having the info we need, displayed how we need it.

On a positive note – I want to be clear that I do love the performance of Cambium gear. But it really really does feel like the engineers and the decision makers haven’t been on a roof, haven’t been on a tower, haven’t been in the field, and haven’t run a WISP.

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Hello Ninedd,

I think that some of your comments are understandable but others are unfair.

  1. In the enterprise PMP and PTM market, the vast majority of products use 48V DC and Fibre. This is the case for NEC, Nokia, Erricson, etc. Also in terms of ideal tower design, you always want to use Fibre and DC, this will protect your switch and other equipment attached to the tower in a lightning strike. Glass is non-conductive, and protecting a 48VDC circuit is easy and cheap.

  2. the 450b Mid-Gain cover is awful, you’re right; it’s marked as IP55 and if you want something better suited to your environment, I’d use a PMP 450i SM. Though it’s not as bad as a lot of Ubiquiti and Mikrotik products; they are getting better.

  3. The UI hasn’t really changed since Motorola owned the product, but it’s not designed to be a dashboard for monitoring the device; cnMeastro is for that. Sure they could invest more time into it, but it would only be for the benefit of a very small amount of customers. I’d much rather they focus on cnMeastro and get that fully working.

In terms of EVERYTHING on the market has a nice dashboard; I’m not sure what you mean. Cisco still uses CLI exclusively on their enterprise products, including BackHaul and PMP solutions. Nokia, and Erricson are mostly CLI controlled at the eNodeB. Mikrotik also looks like it’s using Windows 98.

Like I said before, you’ve got some valid points, but you’ve missed the mark with a lot of other points and are a little unfair considering the market the product is designed for.

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Well then it’s becoming clearer and clearer that I’m not the target market for Cambium gear then.

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In my specific use-case, I was trying to find the best AP in an area I’ve never been. I didn’t know where to point the radio, so I wasn’t even connected to the AP to be able to use the alignment tool. I had to adjust the position, hit scan, then refresh a number of times until the signal changed.

BlockquoteThe UI hasn’t really changed since Motorola owned the product, but it’s not designed to be a dashboard for monitoring the device; cnMeastro is for that. Sure they could invest more time into it, but it would only be for the benefit of a very small amount of customers. I’d much rather they focus on cnMeastro and get that fully working.

cnMaestro is “helpful” as a tool but so inaccurate that I have my employees only use it to get the IP address of a radio to then login to the GUI of the same radio to get real statistics. It seems to be particularly bad (inaccurate) for the PMP450 line. ePMP is close enough for general troubleshooting.

We monitor everything that is actually important using a different tool using SNMP.

I also agree that @ninedd can sometimes be a bit unfair in their critiques about Cambium products. This post though, I think is generally spot on. My employees HATE working with 450 gear particularly, due to the UI. The UI on ePMP gear is just useful enough that they can get along with it, though.

Of course, the big issue for me is that I end up having to troubleshoot basic things for them because the 450 UI is so last century and useful info is scattered all over the place. This is actually one of the primary reasons I don’t deploy more 450 gear. It’s not necessarily specific to Cambium though. New UI gear can only be monitored in UNMS, which is absolute garbage for historical statistic reporting, and even for real-time. Aircontrol 2 for UBNT equipment is what keeps them a dominant player on our network. It is such a good tool that it totally compensates for some of the hardware and software issues.

For my entire life, every time I see a person get hurt, or think about something terrifyingly painful happening, I get a sharp electric shooting pain in my butt cheeks and upper thighs. Does this happen to anyone else?

Happens to me every time I think “Wow, this 450 interface is so outdated, I wish they would update it” and then I my brain instantly realizes “they” would probably be the same people responsible for the ePMP interface !" It’s like getting a hot electric poker to the butt.

Really, as ancient as the 450 interface is I dread the day Cambium “improves” it. They are the absolute worst at interfaces.

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Sometimes one of them will raise their desk chair up so high that their feet aren’t touching the floor in order to simulate working on a tower. So , yeah, you could say they test that stuff.

I’ve pondered this question myself.

Yeah but Ubiquiti’s “our marketing guys know best” attitude is just as stupid. Every WISP using their gear has told them that aircontrol2 is fantastic and should be further developed but their response is that all WISPs are idiots and we should be using UNMS/UISP or whatever cloudy garbage they’re promoting this month.

I love how stable 450 is. Learn to read the matrix. The wealth of useful information is far greater to me than fancy graphs and crap.

Damn kids and your javascript, get off my lawn!

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On a side note, why so disrespectful to Cambium’s engineers when you clearly couldn’t even look up the power requirement spec’s? I get frustration but this kind of ranting doesn’t do anything - look at Ubiquiti they got so tired of people whining they basically outsourced their forum moderation/responses. Once upon a time we’d see actual engineers read and respond on here and in mailing lists (still do but less and less it seems). I sure wish people would think before they speak - god I know I hate reading this stuff from my customers if they have an issue however trivial, why pass the attitude along? Break the chain people!

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For my 2c – I ‘complain’ because I’m trying to help… and because it feels like it falls on deaf ears sometimes. Not always – Cambium and I used to have a very, very cozy relationship I thought. I would have been considered in the top-10 ePMP forum contributors at one point, and my forum interaction/comments/etc was in the top 1-2-3 for a LONG time.

But – when there are suggestions (some of which seem so helpful and seem easily achievable) which don’t get any reply, response, or implementation… especially when they are suggestions which I really think would help Cambium overall… then it just doesn’t seem like we’re pulling on the same team.

FOR EXAMPLE: (and again, this isn’t a ‘rant’ - this is an attempt to help) the PTP550. It’s neat product, a great product The ‘fatal flaws are’

  1. Not being able to connect to a Force300, and
  2. Not being able to adjust one radio link, without tearing down both radio links

So – lets just take #1 (Not connecting to a Force300). To me, this seems like a no-brainer. They seem to have the same chipset, the same firmware, the same heritage… they are essentially an ePTP550, but yet they can’t link to a Force300. Talking to a Cambium employee they said it was a ‘decision by the sales team’ not to allow 550 - F300 links.

Now (IMHO) that is a fatal flaw. We have a number of F300 PTP links as backhauls. When we outgrow them, IF WE COULD go to each end of the link and install a PTP550 (programmed with the same IP, same setting, in ‘1 Radio’ mode… and we could just simply switch the ethernet cable (and 56v/30v power supply)… and then go to the other end, and switch that F300 to a PTP550 (one end at a time) and have any combination of PTP550 & F300’s link in single-radio mode… I think that would be helpful to smaller WISPs, but also helpful to Cambium. It would make a PTP550 the obvious upgrade choice… whereas if we need to do a total overbuild, then the options are wide open for any brand/make/model of upgrade.

Likewise, if we ever had a PTP550 fail, and a replacement wasn’t available, it would be great to be able to run and put a F300 in it’s place temporarily… just change powersupply & radio, and have it relink.

Anyway – Cambium disagrees, and that is the type of thing I complain about. Not because I’m a whiney disrespectful complainer - but rather because I am trying to help make the product a better product. AND YES, of course there may be engineering reasons that certain things can’t be accomplished so easily, but in cases like the PTP550 to F300 links, they said "decision by the sales team’

So – I do agree that I have become too negative. But it honestly feels like a slap in the face, after another slap in the face sometimes. And as I said, I used to be one of the top 3 ‘kudoed’ members, so if I can get disenchanted with ePMP (over what I think are a few relatively easily addressable issues) then I’m concerned that anyone can get disenchanted. And because of that – yes, it honestly feels to me like no one in engineering actually uses the products. :person_shrugging:

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I think some folks are being a bit hard on Cambium here. I’ve used pretty much all of the wireless equipment on the market to date and have managed a wireless network for 15 years. For me, the priority is reliability and being able to diagnose issues when they arise for expedient resolution. This requires accurate data presented in a usable fashion. Yes the web interfaces are a little dated but some equipment is STILL CLI only or has a fancy ever evolving UI that hinders getting to the root of an issue which can render a tier 1 support team useless. The 450 line’s UI is 100% usable and reports accurate information all of the time. I am happy it hasn’t changed much over the years. For all the gripes I see about ePMP UI, I don’t hate it. Seems to do what it needs to do. Each piece of network equipment I use is for it’s strong suits and primary purpose, I don’t try to make use of every feature presented just because it is there. (E.g. NAT on radios or DHCP on a switch)
As for having different radio lines interoperate with each other, that seems like an unreasonable request. The 3 GHz power plug seems like an odd design but it hasn’t slowed anybody I know down. I suggest terminating the cable on the ground prior to installation. In hardware engineering there are a lot of trade offs to hit the target MSRP, form factor, attempts to escape any foreseen component shortages and more.

AP Evaluation under Tools is your huckleberry here.

Nothing is perfect and everything eventually dies. It’s great to suggest improvements but we should respect achievements for what they are, and not just here in this forum.

If you are referring to my PTP550 & F300 post – They are not ‘different radio lines’. They are the same 802.11AC chipset, they use the identical firmware, and in single radio mode, they absolutely would interoperate, except that the ‘sales team decided against it’.

More importantly, I’m not complaining & I’m not whining - simply suggesting that allowing them to connect would be better for Cambium. For us, we have already pulled all our PTP550s out of service and replaced then all already (except for 1 remaining). So this has nothing to do with me ‘wanting’ anything unreasonable. It was simply me trying to help Cambium - AND (to the point of this thread) it really does seem like the Cambium engineers didn’t use them in the field, or the PTP550s wouldn’t have the two fatal flaws that they have.

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I’m with you on the 450 interface. Been using it for many years, it has 99% of everything I need. It’s fast, it’s accurate and mostly displayed in a “usable fashion” (however I hated it when they broke the Session Status List into 5 tabs) been using it since Canopy and you don’t see me on here “complaining about everything” in the PMP forums. But then in the very same paragraph…

I’m just going to ahead and assume you don’t actually spend much time using the ePMP interface ? Otherwise I have no idea how you can say “This requires accurate data presented in a usable fashion.” and then you’re OK with an interface that regularly shows interfaces down that are actually up, up that are actually down, IP addresses for interfaces that do not have IP addresses, the wrong IP address for interfaces, claims PPPoE is up when it’s down, down when it is up, regularly displays impossibly large numbers , MCS / RSSI for the wireless interface when the wireless interface isn’t even up, DHCP leases vanish or it just never shows them, ARP data vanishes / re-appears the list goes on and on. How can you troubleshoot anything on ePMP when there isn’t a single piece of information presented by the radio that you can trust to be “accurate” ? And the AC SA ? That’s a whole list of missing, useless or bogus information all on it’s own.

And “in a usable fashion” ePMP ? Really ? I mean, lets just ignore the “accurate data” part and go with the " presented in a usable fashion" part. Really ? Each page displays pretty much 1 piece of “useful” information and if you want to see other related information that’s a few clicks/taps/scrolling/seconds to load a different page and of course what you find there may or may not be real.

Well said. These radios are designed for low power consumption to facilitate solar installations and the target market is the ultimate customer not the guys screwing it to the house. Wasting valuable cpu cycles on pretty guis is nonsense when it might only be used for 5 minutes of it’s entire life. Cisco and others don’t even have a web gui for that exact reason.
Russ

When you’ve been operating a WISP as long as I have (since early 2000’s) and have used it all… you quickly realize that nothing and no one is perfect. It’s about picking equipment and manufacturers that suck the least. There’s also a lot of decisions made behind the scenes that can drastically affect price and time to market when designing hardware… do we want to spend the extra money on high temperature capable components, can we reliably get these parts for years to come? Or maybe we should just make the case with extra heat/RF shielding… do we put a fan in it? but what’s the MTBF on the fan? is the unit user serviceable? what’s the IP rating and are we willing to spend more time/effort/money in getting it qualified for a higher rating? There are design and engineering rabbit holes that can be extremely difficult to navigate as they’re all interrelated. I’m not even getting into the software/firmware side of things either.

Does Cambium do everything right? No… Do they listen to advice and try to do better? Sometimes… Do they suck the least out of any fixed wireless company? IMHO they do… so I will continue to push them to do better until I no longer believe that anyone is listening and/or there’s no hope for improvement, and then it will be time to find a new company to start badgering. Just my two cents.

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