Cellular Module In MAESTRO

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 2 years ago

WiFi in MAESTRO is fabulous, albeit the world may stop revolving around its axis, once WAN capability kicks in. However, in many instances, there is no available public WiFi available, yet we must mandatorily check into "The Noontime Net" (7268.5kHz) on a daily, 365x24x7 basis, whilst we are in our diverticulitis causing, gut wrenching local greezie diner, with no WiFi, as the typical owner is a EE flunkout from the 1960's, still using his ancient slide rule to calculate his young girlfriend's cycle, as she is "with him" for his huge savings account, hoping he soon croaks of a massive MI, having never spent a dime on himself, saving every nickel and dime since he was 9 years old. In these, and many other circumstances, we will be left holding the bag, as our WAN access (not possible without WiFi when one is on-the-move) will obviously not do the job.


So, my question is:


Is there anything in the MAESTRO Product Road map to add/integrate a cellular data transceiver module, so we can transparently hop onto Verizon's awesome 4G LTE network, and talk away? I will gladly pay for the extra data device on my Verizon data plan. BTW, I realize one could use their cellular phone in a tethered arrangement, as a sort of Rube Goldberg work around, but that is soooooo yesterday's clumsy and inconvenient old technology. I'm more than willing to pay for it (hey, Verizon and Flex got to eat at the diner, too!), so I really want my cellular built-in, and fully integrated into MAESTRO. Not unlike the built-in WiFi in my modern car. Puhleeze, no more of this old fashioned idea of tethering a cell phone. How early 2000'ish is that old, outmoded approach?!

Photo of Larry - WA7LZO

Larry - WA7LZO

  • 155 Posts
  • 39 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Paul Christensen, W9AC

Paul Christensen, W9AC, Elmer

  • 313 Posts
  • 132 Reply Likes

>"Is there anything in the MAESTRO Product Road map to add/integrate a cellular data transceiver module, so we can transparently hop onto Verizon's awesome 4G LTE network, and talk away?"

Maestro really needs no cellular data transceiver.  When the time comes for WAN in SSDR 2.0 (or VPN as others have done), just set your smartphone in hotspot mode and enjoy the 4G/LTE network through Maestro's Wi-Fi connection.  I do this now with an iPhone 6 and K3/RemoteRig. 

When in LTE mode, communication has been as robust as my high-speed cable modem connection. 

Paul, W9AC


Photo of David Warnberg

David Warnberg

  • 538 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
Paul, any estimate on how much data the Maestro uses when connected through a phone wifi hotspot?  Can someone test?  Curious to see what an hour of operation would cost you in data transfer..

Thanks

David
KK4QOE
Photo of W7NGA

W7NGA

  • 398 Posts
  • 164 Reply Likes
Just a suggestion ... if you can't go to lunch without having to have ham radio, specifically the vacuous noon-time net addiction .. I would be very concerned and suggest you reevaluate your life goals and seek medical advisement. Really .. Larry, we only have one life to live. Don't waste it ... on early check-ins and lousy diners. 73's
Photo of David Warnberg

David Warnberg

  • 538 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
I'm thinking more along the lines of field day.. leave FLEX-6X00 at home, take Maestro with and operate remotely.. is that cheating??   hihi
Photo of Larry - WA7LZO

Larry - WA7LZO

  • 155 Posts
  • 39 Reply Likes

Dan,


Are you familiar with the concept of "sarcasm?!"


73,

Larry

Photo of Kevin Va3KGS

Kevin Va3KGS

  • 96 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes

yep 

If your are in the spirit of fair competition with your club, the rules (ARRL) indicate the transceiver has to be located within a certain area.  Else, as a single operator, I guess you can do what you want. !! HIHI

Cheers

Kevin, Va3KGS 

Photo of W7NGA

W7NGA

  • 398 Posts
  • 164 Reply Likes
Larry, I would say tongue-in-cheek, but weren't you the guy that sat down beside my wife and kids at Starbucks, unpacked your new Maestro, and started calling CQ DX? I mean ... first it's the guys with guns on their belts sitting down and making the kids nervous, and now the ham crowd drinking lattes and contesting and asking the barista if they could turn off the fluorescent lights due to QRN. Geez ....
(Edited)
Photo of Paul Christensen, W9AC

Paul Christensen, W9AC, Elmer

  • 313 Posts
  • 132 Reply Likes

I've got a 40GB monthly family plan through Sprint.  With three users streaming stuff, I never see it come close to reaching the monthly limit.  However, RemoteRig does not consume the bandwidth of Maestro which appears to be ~ 2 Mbps.

One other consideration for the Flex engineers: iPhone's hotspot function does not activate until it sees a polled request from a Wi-Fi device.  When using a K3/RemoteRig, I often have to "jiggle" iPhone settings to finally get it to recognize the RemoteRig request.  but once connected, it's solid.

Paul

Photo of Paul Christensen, W9AC

Paul Christensen, W9AC, Elmer

  • 313 Posts
  • 132 Reply Likes

I just tried connecting Maestro to my iPhone 6 in hotspot mode.  It works and no "jiggling" was needed.  Maestro gets far enough into the connection process that the "Select Radio" screen comes up.  Of course, it cannot (yet) see the Flex 6K on the other side of the link but this is very encouraging as Flex gets closer to implementing WAN capability.

If anyone has found a way to establish a smartphone VPN connection with Maestro, it's probably Howard or Stu.

Paul, W9AC 

Photo of Larry - WA7LZO

Larry - WA7LZO

  • 155 Posts
  • 39 Reply Likes
If tethering is OK in 2016, why does Apple bother with its enormously successful iPad, with its built-in cellular data capability? Whenever I see folks at the airport using their tethered phones connected to their laptops, I laugh to myself and think, dang, ancient technology just takes so darn long to kill off!
Photo of David Warnberg

David Warnberg

  • 538 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
I use my laptop to connect to my Android phones wifi hotspot to work.. and I only have to pay for one dataplan on the phone... grandfathered in unlimited data also..  I canceled the wifi in the Truck (AT&T didn't work everywhere at all)... and I really do not want yet another dataplan to have to pay for with yet another device, be it ipad, tablet, maestro...
(Edited)
Photo of Paul Christensen, W9AC

Paul Christensen, W9AC, Elmer

  • 313 Posts
  • 132 Reply Likes

We have many iPads in this family and they all connect via iPhone's hotspot feature.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I don't see it as ancient since a smartphone hotspot connection is not really "tethered," as in a hard-wire connection.  As a percentage of total iPad and tablet sales, how many are sold with the cellular feature?  Of those, how many keep that feature activated after purchase? 

Why not let the cellular and smartphone experts (e.g., Apple and Samsung) handle the problems associated with hardware upgrades and future connectivity issues to tomorrow's cellular networks? 

I realize LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, but is Flex prepared to answer cellular/subscriber customer service issues?  I could see a situation where Tim and his team receive complaints that Maestro is not connecting via a direct cellular network because the XYL forgot to pay last month's bill! 

Paul, W9AC

   

(Edited)
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes

I was curious and looked about how many tablets are sold with cell service.

Highlights accoding to the study:

"48 percent of tablet shipments in 2011 were cellular-enabled(mainly driven by supply). The firm expects the share of cellular-enabled tablets will slowly diminish to 37 percent in 2016"
"about half of owners of cellular-enabled tablets did not activate the service with a carrier"

I laugh every time i see a chevy commercial that touts "Built in WIFI" why when everyone has a dam phone that they can turn into a hotspot... Whoops forgot to pay the cars cel phone bill this month!

Photo of Paul Christensen, W9AC

Paul Christensen, W9AC, Elmer

  • 313 Posts
  • 132 Reply Likes

Not surprising.

>"I laugh every time i see a chevy commercial that touts "Built in WIFI" why when everyone has a dam phone that they can turn into a hotspot..."

My thought too.  A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law was showing me his new Tesla and its Wi-Fi capabilities.  On the Tesla, I believe Wi-Fi is standard equipment.  Unless there's something that a smartphone hotspot cannot do, then manufacturers like Tesla are unnecessarily adding to the production cost of the vehicle -- although it sure does sound cool to consumers when the vehicle is promoted as "Wi-Fi Ready." 

What I would like to see is a center console display that mimics our smartphones.  IOW, whatever is on the smartphone screen is replicated on the center dash complete with full touch ability and no more.  Make it the size of an iPad or iPad Mini.  With that feature, one can ditch the highly touted built-in Wi-Fi feature, NAV system, CD player, and satellite radio.  Just give me a plain AM radio for any cross country drives where cell service is unavailable.

Paul, W9AC  

(Edited)
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 3911 Posts
  • 1187 Reply Likes
I bought my iPad Air without cellular.  It would have been cost prohibitive to operate.  So I use WiFi.  If I want to read my email when I don't have WiFi, then I just use my iPhone 6, for which I am already paying cellular data fees.

I haven't tried tethering yet, When I first got into the game, Verizon wanted to charge about $30+ extra per month if you tethered. So I have never activated the tethering function.  Anyone know if they have changed their policy?

Ken - NM9P
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes

Yep. Fcc told them they had to, you are already paying for data and you are free to use it how you want. Even before that i used an app Called FoxFi that let me.

Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 3911 Posts
  • 1187 Reply Likes
Neat!  I never saw it in any of their policies.  But I have been paying Verizon since 1998 and 5 different phones (i am on my 4th, my wife is on her 1st).  Things have changed a lot since then!  Since I only seem to change phones every 6 years, I haven't always kept up on the policy changes.....

Thanks,

Ken - NM9P
Photo of Larry - WA7LZO

Larry - WA7LZO

  • 155 Posts
  • 39 Reply Likes
This is a good example of why there are still tube fans out there, and why it took so darn long to go from AM to the dreaded new technology, SSB...
Photo of Michael Coslo

Michael Coslo

  • 786 Posts
  • 183 Reply Likes
Is  an iPad and a DSL speed wifi connection considered state of the art in these parts? 8^)
Photo of Steve - N5AC

Steve - N5AC, Employee

  • 1019 Posts
  • 984 Reply Likes
Responding to the question of bandwidth, you have quite a bit of control over the bandwidth usage.  There's about 140kbps taken by the audio and metering today and then on top of this you have to add the panadapter and waterfall rates.  By dialing these way down, you can be at about 200kbps and running two panafalls at full rate it can be up to 2Mbps.  The picture below shows the two sliders that impact the data rate most:



With the typical setting shown here, this is the bandwidth Maestro is using on the network:



After lowering the rates all the way on the panadapter and waterfall, the rates now look like this:



So you have quite a bit of control over how much bandwidth Maestro uses.  If you want to run the displays at a high rate until you start a contact and then lower them while you are "rag chewing," this will work fine.
Photo of David Warnberg

David Warnberg

  • 538 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
perfect... exactly what I was looking for.. thank you
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3522 Posts
  • 1378 Reply Likes

@Larry

Still remember using my slide rule for those " Girlfriend Calculations" in the early 1960's

So far at our Lunch Bunch I have run Maestro over cellular using a laptop Softether VPN to bridge the IP and a cellular hotspot.  (Very kludgy using multiple devices)

I am expecting to use a Raspberry Pi to bridge SoftEther VPN for when I travel back to France at the end of this Month.  (still multiple devices but no longer need to schlep the laptop)

VPN will hopefully make it into the V1.8 Updates at which point my Cellular Hotspot will be all that I need.  I am a firm believer in using Cellular Hotspots when travelling internationally as you can pick up local SIMs to avoid the outrageously expensive AT&T and Verizon International Roaming Charges.

Finally WAN.. V2.0 that I have been so longing for.. with no need for VPN would make life very easy.

I might suggest you pick up a Cellular Hotspot.. there is more than enough room in the battery compartment of the Maestro to fit one inside it...  AND if you are not afraid of screwing up your warranty you might try to integrate one inside the case..

Photo of Larry - WA7LZO

Larry - WA7LZO

  • 155 Posts
  • 39 Reply Likes
Or, better yet, if Flex would integrate a nice cellular transceiver into MAESTRO! 
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes
Ill pass. Already have a phone with a hotspot like many others and the extra cost of the cell tranciever when most people can teather is un needed in my opinion. As Howard said as soon as they put a cell radio in there you are locked into the service provider and what types of network it will run on.
Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

  • 802 Posts
  • 214 Reply Likes
I have already used maestro with a T-mobile hotspot using my Pi as a vpn bridge.  works quite well.. Even Demonstrated Maestro to 2 clubs this way so far.  I even powered the Ras Pi off of a Mogix battery so used no local power or Wifi..