STA f/w for Elevate


We recently received STA approval from the FCC for 5855-5925MHz in the counties we serve. We were granted access to the firmware that enables this from Cambium Support, but there doesn’t appear to be any Elevate firmware included in the bundle we got. I have a sinking feeling that perhaps such a thing does not even exist, but am hoping I’m wrong since it would mean needing to ensure that any AP that we need to use one of these channels on has had any trace of Elevate clients eradicated from it first. Is there 5.9 STA firmware for Elevate CPE, and it just got left out of our bundle somehow (because maybe we were supposed to explicitly ask for it if we wanted it)? Or are my fears confirmed? I have also followed up with support. Thanks.

Your sinking feelings are confirmed. There is no Elevate STA. Furthermore the whole elevate program is EOL.

To give you an example, Ubiquiti does not support 5.9 STA on their old M series or new AC series… only on LTU, so assuming you’re using UBNT, you wouldn’t be able to get their version of STA firmware either.

Yes I understand UBNT’s stance on 5.9 for all non-LTU PtMP products of theirs. As far as I know, they never even produced a firmware for either AirMax M or for PB AC (gen 1 or 2).

That said, as far as I have been able to tell, I am not sure there is either any technical nor any regulatory reason why Cambium could not churn out Elevate STA firmwares. On the technical side, with AirMax M CPE based on virtually same Atheros WiFi chip as ePMP 1000, there should be no problem getting that to work. On the regulatory side, it doesn’t seem as though manufacturers are being required to have their 5GHz UNII products re-certified to work on 5.9 for those operators wanting to use them under the terms of their STA…as far as I can tell, there are no new FCC OET IDs being generated for said hypothetical re-certs, nor permissive changes filed & granted, and I’d expect to see one of those things. (I grant it’s possible I’m just missing them.) So if I’m reading these tea leaves right, Cambium would not be running afoul of any FCC rules by building and distributing such firmware.

As far as Elevate being EOL, sure, it’s not like they are pursuing continued development or making new sales. But they are clearly actively supporting existing users/licensees (as they should be, so kudos to them). Elevate firmware releases continue to be made in lock-step with main ePMP firmware releases…there is even beta 4.7 Elevate code out there.

This also all overlooks that Elevate did not just target UBNT hardware, but also select MikroTik hardware models as well.

In any case, it is clear that Elevate was always intended as a transitory tech/product, one that made it easier to migrate from old AirMax or MT Nstreme PtMP platforms to ePMP TDD without having forklift out everything all at once. And that ultimately the intent was for you to slowly weed out the old non-Cambium-manufactured CPE over time. For those of us who still have not completed that task, but are in a pinch when it comes to spectrum, it would sure be helpful to have the option of running an ePMP AP with 5.9 STA firmware while bringing along the remaining Elevate clients.

Plot twist: I just noticed that our Elevated CPEs show channel options in the scan list above 5835MHz, going all the way up to 5970MHz in 20MHz-width mode.

This is definitely not the case for any Cambium Force CPEs, whose scan list tops out at 5835 while they are in Subscriber mode, as one would expect without the STA firmware loaded on them.

I only thought to look more closely at this after getting a cryptic response back from support that said they aren’t distributing the Elevate conversion firmware any longer (yes, I know that…not what I asked), but that already elevated CPEs can be updated to current firmware (yes, I also know that…again, not what I asked). I wasn’t talking about the conversion (.bin) firmware & my point was that there was no upgrade Elevate firmware (.tar.gz) in the STA firmware bundle.

But perhaps the implication was that Elevate firmware doesn’t bother locking down 5.9 to begin with, and never did, so Elevated CPEs will actually connect just fine up to an ePMP AP running STA firmware & set to a channel above 5835?? If so, that would be tremendous! (Not to mention that once again, Cambium is doing a better job at supporting their competitors’ hardware than their competitors are doing…LOL). I plan to test this within the next day or two, and will follow up with my findings.

Perhaps frequencies outside of the region-approved ones were not locked out on Elevate firmware because Elevate firmware can only run in Subscriber ePMP TDD mode; thus without an ePMP AP broadcasting in one of those channels, the CPE would never be able to utilize those freqs anyway.

I do know that ePMP SM’s follow the AP’s region and allowed channels. So if you are able to use an 5.9 STA firmware on the AP and unlock those 5.9 channels, that might unlock them on the SM’s as well.

I remember reading on some other elevate thread a few years ago, that Cambium said basically “elevated UBNT SM will have whatever channels available, that were available to them under UBNT firmware”

So, the logic was, that elevate firmware wasn’t changing whatever their certification or selectable channels were. Wasn’t adding to it, wasn’t removing from it. So, your UBMTSMs must have had 5.9 available to them before, and that’s inherited by the elevate firmware.

Mmmm…not 100% sure about that. The hoarde of channel selection checkboxes for the scan list in Subscriber mode is available for you to pick from during initial config, prior to the CPE having connected up to any AP. But I’ll test and should know soon enough, as I plan to 1) update an AP with a mix of Force and Elevate clients on it to STA firmware, 2) not update any CPE firmwares, 3) switch AP to a center freq > 5835, 4) see who connects.

I am not sure this is the answer either. All of our Elevated UBNT CPE would have been U.S. region models. I’m almost positive they did not offer these channels in any form while running airOS firmware (though AirView SA could RX on those channels I think).