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Multiple Flex transceivers on the same WAN IP in a Multi-2 100% Remote environment

Lu Romero
Lu Romero Member ✭✭

Hi All:

I have a need to understand how to accomplish operating multiple Flex transceivers (In this case, two 6400'ds) at a single remote transmit facility with both radios being controlled remotely by two different operators at two different remote control points external to the radio LAN.

The two operators would be accessing either one of the transceivers remotely from two different IP addresses external to the network that the radios are on. The radios, however, would be on the same LAN and would therefore have the same external WAN internet IP address.

Both transceivers would be active at the same time, on different bands. Yes, there will be remote management of antennas, bandpass filters and rotors, in this case, via GHE devices.

How does this work using SmartLink for access? Is it even possible? I am unsure how SmartLink operates as far as what information passes between a remote client and a remote radio.

Key Question: Can SmartLink handle a connection of two transceivers from different SmartLink accounts and different source IP's while the transceivers are located at the same internet IP address?

This will not be a MultiFlex environment, these are two discrete transceivers operated on different bands by different operators concurrently. At operator switch time, however, we will utilize MultiFlex on each radio so as to minimize operator switching time. We've tested and practiced this with a single radio, and it works very well.

Anyone doing this? If so, any issues?

Thanks for the answers in advance. I will crosspost this on the Facebook group as well.

Lu Romero-W4LT

Comments

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Lu, I don't think that will be a problem. Each radio will have a unique name and ip address and will show up in the SmartLink window of the operators logging in. Each operator would need to select a different radio and all will be well.

    73,

    Len, KD0RC

  • Lu Romero
    Lu Romero Member ✭✭

    I've recently found out that each radio needs the following to work in this configuration:

    • A fixed LAN IP for each transceiver
    • Two individual TCP/UDP ports forwarded to each individual transceiver IP's
    • SmartLink set to Manual Port Forwarding.
    • Two separate SmartLink accounts.

    The issue here are the forwarded ports to individual LAN IP's. I also think this should be posted in "Contesting" and not in "Maestro". I will not attempt to move this thread, and I will leave it to an Admin to decide if it should be moved or not.

    73

    Lu Romero - W4LT

  • KØKQ
    KØKQ Member ✭✭
    Lu,

    Your post's are thought provoking.
    If two Flex 6xxx radios are remoted from the same LAN, then can two 6400's provide better flexibility and functionality for some applications than one 6600?

    Many Flex owners have accumulated more than one Flex radio over the years. The desire for a 2nd SCU is hard to justify the purchase of a new 6600*. I have 6300 and 6500, radios that are highly dependable and have given many hours of enjoyment over many years. The 6500 is my workhorse, the 6300 with another SCU sits idly by.

    If your logic is good, and two Flex 6xxx can be remoted on the same LAN, I have my second SCU.

    I hope you keep this thread active, much to learn here.

    Dave KØKQ

    * Recently Flex Radio had a "sale" in conjunction with a on-line hamvention. The "sale" price was 3.7% discount from web site published price. No military discount. Come on Flex!
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin

    @Lu Romero

    I do this from my QTH with multiple FLEX-6000s and some of your assumptions are not entirely correct or absolute.

    You wrote:

    I've recently found out that each radio needs the following to work in this configuration:

    • A fixed LAN IP for each transceiver

    Not necessarily. If using UPnP, the IP address of every FLEX-6000 can be variable, but it is a best practice to use a DHCP reservation so that each gets the same IP address allocated to it at the same time.

    • Two individual TCP/UDP ports forwarded to each individual transceiver IP's

    YES! Each radio needs to have a unique set of UDP and TCP ports defined on the outside of the firewall, either by manual port forwarding or done dynamically using UPnP

    • SmartLink set to Manual Port Forwarding.

    Not required. All my radios that are SmartLink connected use UPnP.

    • Two separate SmartLink accounts.

    Also, not required. Both my radios are registered to the same SmartLink account. The limitation is a radio can only be registered to one SmartLink account at a time. Make sure you are not trying to auto connect to a radio, because SmartSDR for Windows will not permit two instances of SmartSDR on the same PC to connect to the same radio.

  • Lu Romero
    Lu Romero Member ✭✭

    Dave:

    Two 6400'ds on the same LAN would then require two SEPARATE SmartLink accounts. I'm led to believe that it is a port forwarding thing and not a IP address thing.

    For what you are thinking of, it may be possible to do as SO2R environment using two SEPARATE computers running, for example, N1MMLogger in Networked configuration. This way, each computer would have a unique SmartLink logon. Its the "hard way" to do SO2R, though.

    What may be better for your goal is VPN access to the radios from the control computer. In this way, you are "virtually" on the same LAN and bypass SmartLink. In this way in, for example, N1MM, I can assign one radio as radio #1 and the other as radio #2 in the logger configuration. Then, a single instance of N1MM could control each radio independently as in a traditional SO2R environment.

    Hamachi VPN is what I use to network N1MM users together... The problem is that the radios dont have any way of joining the VPN, so you would need to have the computer running Logger at the same site as the radios and Remote Desktop into the radios. The issue then would be transporting audio and keying over the VPN. Not insurmountable, but latency would not be trivial.

    Using a 6600 would make things much simpler and reliable, however.

    It would be interesting to try and see how it would work. I may do that sometime in Mid October when I get the radios interfaced and configured, just to see if its possible. With the Virus Apocalypse, I have lots of play time!

    Lu Romero - W4LT

  • Lu Romero
    Lu Romero Member ✭✭

    Tim:

    Thanks for the input.

    Either fixed IP's or Reserved DHCP leases work interchangeably. I separate my fixed and DHCP assignments on my local IP scopes post NAT, so duplicate IP addressing is not an issue here. As long as (on networks I deploy) you keep your fixed IP assignments below the start of the DHCP scope, there is no issue.

    Regarding multiple radios on the same LAN, I understand that you can keep the ports in automatic. I've found that in the two networks I manage, I need to have separate ports for each transceiver as we use these transceivers CONCURRENTLY, not SEQUENTIALLY.

    While a single SmartLink account would work if accessing the radios on the same LAN sequentially, It appears not to work well here when BOTH radios are used CONCURRENTLY by multiple users at the same time as in a Muti Operator, Multi Transceiver scenario.

    73

    Lu Romero - W4LT

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    For multiple radios, it is reasonably straight forward.

    First, you can have multiple radios on the same SmartLink account. We do it all the time for testing and I have seen 15 at 1 point in time. You have to do the PTT registration for each one.

    Each radio has to have its own IP address (this is normal operation)

    I think I set up both of mine via automatic without issue. As part of the process, when you go through Section 9 of the SmartSDR Users Guide, it walks you through the radio setup. You do it for each radio, 1 at a time.

    As part of the process, SmartLink will send the uPNP commands to your router to setup the port forwarding automatically.

    When you then check the uPNP settings in your router, it should look something like this (this is from my pfSense router).

    The first 2 are for the 6700 and the next 2 are for the 6600.

    Notice the 2 Int IP addresses. Those are the IP addresses of the actual radio .78 and .76.

    Also, notice that the Port is the External (WAN) port and all those have to be unique.

    This is also the place you want to check if SmartLink stops working to see if the Internal IP (Int IP) matches the IP address of the radio.

    73, Mike va3mw

  • Lu Romero
    Lu Romero Member ✭✭
    edited October 2020

    Yes, I agree with your layout, and my configuration is similar to what you're using.

    The reason I have standardized on having a single SmartLink account per radio is to preclude an operator accidentally grabbing the wrong radio at the "wrong" time.

    In our Slack Operator Coordination environment, each op coming on can see which radio is on which band. So it makes it "foolproof" to grab the correct rig for the band the oncoming operator is assigned to grab.

    As we gain experience in Remote Multi Op, it might be better to switch to a single account to simplify management.

    At this point, and, having said that, we havent done an actual contest using this system, it might be better to do what you do. But how we have it now works, and feels logical to me and the other ops at the moment.

    Time will tell!

    Lu Romero - W4LT

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    As Mike stated you can run SmartLink account with more then 1 radio remote BUT with more then 1 radio on your network the problem is if your going to use a 3rd party software Like FRStack / Node-Red Flow etc. that use the FLEX UDP Multicast port which CAN'T be changed on each individual radio. It would be a GREAT addition for running 2 radio's or more on the same network would be to have the ability to not only change the IP address of each radio that can be done now but to also change the UDP Multicast Port number.

    I fought this for a long time and finally gave up and moved the 2nd radio to another Network so they could not see each other and built another NODE-Red server to do what I wanted for that network, a lot of work just because you can't change the Multicast UDP port on the radio's.

    YMMV

    73's

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 2020

    The current version of FRStack has a "Radio" selector. Mark has said that is is OK to run multiple sessions of FRStack, so just run two instances and connect each to the desired Flex Server, on the same Local Area Network.

    Bret - Are you saying FRStack Radio Selector is not working?

    I do not have multiple Flex Servers, but I do run multiple Clients.

    FRStack also has a "Client' selector. I always run two instances of FRStack, one FRSTack for each of two clients. Works great.

    Alan WA9WUD

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    Yeah I tried the New FRStack Radio selector and has nothing to do with Multiclients it is the Multiple Flex servers that has issues with the UDP Multicast Port which doesn't care what the IP of the radio is, this is just the nature of Multicasting, I think the Flow that get's really messed with is the HF-Auto flow and toggles between radio's so it is NOT possible to run the HF-Auto Flow with more then 1 radio on the network

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