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SSDR 2.0 WAN Connectivity - Home Network Prep and Considerations

Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
edited December 2019 in SmartSDR for Windows

At the time of this writing, SmartSDR 1.4 has not been released (full Local Area Network (LAN) full client support).  Sometime next year, SmartSDR 2.0 will be release and will include Wide Area Network or WAN full client support (accessing your Flex 6000 from the Internet).

I know there are many unknowns as development of both 1.4/2.0  is ongoing.  With that being said, an understanding of how and what type of networking support/architecture is going to be required to make WAN connectivity work.  If this has not been decided, the development team could not move forward.

To set the stage for my questions....most of us have a single, routable IP address issued to our home router via our ISP's DHCP servers.  Our home routers maintain that single, dynamic IP address and allows all of our home connected devices to communicate with the internet through that single IP.  This is accomplished via common network protocol called Network Address Translation or NAT.  All of the devices on the internal network are assigned non-routable IP addresses, usually in the 192.168.1.**** range.  In this network typography, UDP traffic is not broadcast to the internet from the internal home network (thank God).  Therefore, the current UDP broadcasts FRS currently employs to provide radio discovery to the SmartSDR client will not work for WAN based clients.  A different method will need to be (has been?) developed.

What scheme then will be used to allow discovery of our Flex 6000 radios which sits behind a network infrastructure such as this?   Will the radio be required to be exposed to the internet via sitting in the router's DMZ?  Will a specific range of TCP/IP ports be required to be opened? 

A method FRS might chose to use is to have the 6000 radio make and maintain periodic contact with a "FRS" server.  This server would then maintain the current IP address of each of our 6000 radios.  Under this scheme, the client would automatically first make connection to the FRS server which would then supply the current IP address of our radio to the WAN Client. The client would then make a direct connection to the radio for the remainder of the session.  This scheme is similar to how the Splashtop Remote Desktop product functions.  The Splashtop Streamer is loaded on all the host PC's you might want to connect to remotely.  Streamer maintain periodic contact with the Splashtop corporate server.  When you start the Splashtop remote client, it first connects to the Splashtop corporate servers. After the user authenticates, the user is provided a list of their own home computers. When the user selects from the list, the remote client is provided the IP address of the host and then a connection is made directly to the host computer.

FRS might alternatively employ a fully disassociated, fully distributed scheme.  Under this method, the amateur radio operator would likely be obligated to always know the current IP address assigned to their router from their ISP or make use of some sort of Dynamic DNS service.


My questions are borne from wanting to know if we will need to have any specific infrastructure in place, ready and available to accommodate SSDR WAN support.  I'm not looking for FRS to disclose any trade secrets.  I'm only hoping for information on general architectural direction which the development team is obviously already operating from.  This information will allow all of us to be ready immediately when WAN support is released next year.

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Answers

  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited December 2019
    I'm not going to answer for Flex but in the way other remote applications work I'm reasonably sure you will need to use port forwarding on your router.  That's the direction I would go if I were flex and as a IT architect it would be the best and most straight forward direction to head.  Now they could use SSL as well but that's another entire configuration thing to address.  In my opinion the network exposure and security is up to the end user to configure.
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited September 2018

    I will also drink to W2NER's appraisal.


    Jim, K6QE

  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    Hi Nick!  Port forwarding is great once that you know and make the connection to the router which your radio is connected to.  From an internet client perspective how do I find my radio?  How is the radio discovery portion going to work?  

    That is what this post is about.
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited May 2015

    More than likely in the set up for WAN, you will be asked to enter your I/P address or DNS name and the port number you have programmed into your router.

  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited February 2015
    Well, auto discovery would depend on DNS which in this case would depend on your ISP provider.  Most people do not register anything with a public DNS server so, that's something that is up to the user.  The thin client that Flex is going to use I'm sure will depend on the few things.  One being if you had a dns entry on the internet and if not, it would do a direct connection to your public IP number and forwarded from there via the router configuration. 

    If you have a DNS entry on the internet, that is were you would configure your pointer with the port information on your router.  I have a few things setup like this as I do use the public DNS via a service I purchase.  There are a few out there you can use for about $30 a year.
  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    That's fine until your ISP's DHCP server gives your router a new IP address.  Unless you are paying for a static IP address you are likely going to be issued one of many dynamic IP addresses with a life of maybe 24-72 hours (depending on the ISP's DHCP settings).

    How are you going to know what your home router's current IP address is when it subject to constant change?
  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited February 2015
    Most DNS providers give you a client that monitors your routers IP address and will automatically change the DNS entry if changes.  Most ISP providers do not change your assigned IP and if it does most times its only on a reboot of the router.
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited May 2015

    One way I get around this is to have a remote client computer on Teamviewer that I can turn on remotely. Once I turn on the computer, I can query my I/P address at that time. DNS service is really the way to go if there are frequent I/P address changes with your ISP.

  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    Thus requiring a secondary piece of non-FRS software to be able to connect to your radio.  Right now I do that same thing via Splashtop Remote.  However, we should not be required to rely on a secondary piece of non-related software to connect.   The FRS folks are very sharp.  I know they have thought of this.

  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited February 2015
    spend the $30 a year for a DNS provider and be done with it..  Simple as that..
  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    And that Nick, is what I'm wanting FRS to disclose that we will be required to do or if they are going to handle it in a different fashion.
  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited February 2015
    There's nothing to expose, as I stated earlier this is internet exposure and security which is not FRS's responsibility, its yours.   They are using IP protocol and security is not on their plate to cure.  Just like any company, you purchase Window 2008 or Apple server or anything else.  They give you the protocol to work with and the rest is up to you.
    
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited September 2018

    Putting a secondary piece of equipment at the remoted Flex site is a good point. I use Cisco Internet cameras that can also connect to a DNS service to take care of IP address changes. Perhaps Flex will consider this option.


    JIm

  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    It's actually pretty easy to check your remote computer's IP. I do it all the time Just install a remote control app on ur remote. Log onto it...run www.network-tools.com which will give u ur external IP On The Other Hand. Most ISP's rarely change ur IP.
  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    Hi Nick, I'm not worried about TCP/IP security issues.  I fully understand but don't completely agree with your statement about security...however this portion of your reply is really tangential to my query.  

    I'm trying to understand how the radio discovery process will be handled and if that is going to require the knowledge of the current IP address assigned to the home router or if the SmartSDR radio discovery process will be handled differently. 
  • Richard G7EIXRichard G7EIX Richard - EnglishmaninNC Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015

    I wrote myself a little utility that monitors my external IP and send's me an email if it changed.   For instances when I like to be able to connect to my home PC without using a third party client. 

    It's been running for over 2 years and its only changed once - and that was when I unplugged the Router a couple of months ago to re-do the shack.
        
    And a quick google shows that somebody else wrote one for the general public...

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/ipmonitor/

  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited September 2018
    What about a Flex that is stand-alone at some remote site and it is the only piece of equipment? I would think firmware would have to be incorporated in the Flex itself that could talk to a DNS service.
  • L.KubisL.Kubis Member ✭✭
    edited August 2019

    I'd go farther, spend the money on a Static IP address, it'll save you a lot of grief!

    I've been using one on my Omni07 Remote since 2007 and haven't had a problem.

    BTW the Omni required dedicating 6 consecutive ports in the modem at the radio end. The IP address and the port number were programmed into the control software, which in my case is one by N4PY, a very user friendly program.

    I notice that Remoterig provide a free DNS server for their users.

    Cheers!

  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    Perfect!  That is the answer that I was hoping for.  Again, I know there is a lot of mud being thrown on the wall and its unknown what is going to stick.   I'm sure there are assumptions that your development team is working towards.

    Thanks for the response!
  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited February 2015
    That's great news Tim!  I would not have expected FRS to put that much into the communication between the thin client and the Flex radio.  I give BIG credit to you and the entire staff of FRS for engineering all the options and functions of this radio.  Bravo!!
  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    Nick, such is the caliber of Flex Radio Systems.  I on the other hand, would not have expected anything less.

    I join in your praise of the FRS development team.
  • SteveMSteveM Member
    edited December 2019

    Hmm, Tim's response confirms they will not be using port forwarding. Perhaps they will use a TCP hole punching algorithm. Personally, I hope there is no FRS server in the mix even if it is only for session initiation. There are too many reasons that method can break-down and leave us completely cut off.

  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited February 2015
    Personally I would rather do port forwarding myself but that's me.
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member
    edited May 2015
    Amen, port forwarding, DNS, and password requirement. Maybe multiple passwords with degrees of usage. Like listen only, transmit and receive, admin.
  • AE0MWAE0MW Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I agree, I do not want any 3rd party (including FRS) brokering the connection. Port forwarding may be slightly more difficult for end users to setup, but for me it's worth it.

    A DDNS account is easy to come by and most modern home routers support several options in that department.


  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    The final solution could allow for both simplified sign on where the IP address is brokered by the FRS servers (meaning that the radio would provide its IP address periodically), and it could also be designed to allow the user to bypass this brokered connection system and allow the operator to enter directly the IP address of the radio or the router it sits behind.

    This type of design provides both ease of use for normal operations and also redundancy should the FRS servers become unavailable for whatever reason (or if the user just wants to connect directly for their own reasons).
  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    Steve, I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that that port forwarding couldn't or wouldn't be used by FRS based off of what Tim said.  There is nothing from what I read that would lead me to that same conclusion.
  • SteveMSteveM Member
    edited December 2015
    "it should not require any modifications to your network firewall/routers"
  • Jay -- N0FBJay -- N0FB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2015
    Steve, look up "dynamic port forwarding" which is supported by most modern routers.

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