Graphics-less slice...

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I'm sure this is being taken into account for 2.x but without any doubt SSDR is intensive from a compute standpoint.   Simply put there is a tone of data that comes across to power all those fancy pan adapter graphs we love so much.

But I'm sitting here in a Best Western hotel.  Of course not a great internet connection, they never are.  I'm playing with my recently successful VPN to connect to my 6500 at home.  I have no plans to do much serious right now... I'm just playing.

Tonight I was using dog park which I realize FR has nothing to do with.  The funny thing is on this lousy internet virtually everything works!  I'm getting audio and the pan graphs.  The waterfall is causing a problem and I only get a few of them then get a no waterfall tile received message but everything else keeps working.

So this brought up this idea.  Yes I love the graphs but what if there was a way in the API (perhaps there is an I just haven't looked hard enough yet) to get a graphicless slice.  The idea here is you get the slice data (freq, settings, etc) including audio but no graphic data.

This might be kind of handy for use on slow networks when working WAN. 

Just a thought and I might just be stupid too!  :-)
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Mark - WS7M

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Posted 3 years ago

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Winston VK7WH

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Mark, could you ALMOST achieve the same thing, significantly lower data rates, i.e, by simply turning the panadaptor refresh rate and waterfall down to the lowest rate possible? Just a thought
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Mark - WS7M

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Unfortunately I have.  I have everything about as low/slow as I can get it.  It still is very close.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Have you tried sliding the waterfall completely out, and narrowing the window until the pan is almost gone? That should minimize data use a lot, especially coupled with low FPS, etc. If it's not enough, there is likely more work to be done on the network.
(Edited)
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Walt

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I think a 'thin client' piece of software is a great idea.  For those who find themselves in the outback or the bush where maybe a sat. link is all you have, and you have to pay by the kilobyte.  A small display with just the basics to operate the radio would be a super option.

Maybe when you start-up up the software a check-box to 'go skinny' that would just drop the real-time spectrum / panadapter displays, and just send you the true grit.

Bet Flex or Dogpark or Stu could do that - to 'turn-off' code and change the display window - or just darken out the spectrum / panadapter display area.

Cheers
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James Whiteway

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Stu Phillips first app for the iPad has basic controls and works well from what I've read.
James
WD5GWY
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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There is a thin client product that already exists and works well with Flex 6000

It's called COMCAT. http://www.commcat.com

I have used their iPhone and iPad versions for remote operations when bandwidths are very low.
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Mark - WS7M

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This looks good Howard.  I've downloaded it and will give it a try.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Howard, can iOS CommCat operate a 6000 without client software at the Shack end?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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No
Ii needs its very small windows server to run at the shack end.
It also includes a voice codec with is very bandwidth conservative.

CommCat is my app of choice over 2G Cell phone connections
.. which is a bit faster than dialup.. but not much faster...

Try it.. they have a 30 day free trial...

I really like the CommCat Stepped Frequency knob emulator which makes getting on frequency very easy.. in fact, I still disagree with Stu over his iPad app which really needs snap to frequency or frequency steps to make tuning quicker..
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Thanks for the info, sir.
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Mark - WS7M

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Well I ordered the commcat stuff because it looks like he's done a great job with it and I like cats!  Now to find time to play with all this new stuff... new radio, new vpn, new software... ieeeeee  overload...
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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SSDR is not that computer-intensive at all. It hardly tickles my i5 CPU and my 6300 can even use my laptop's integrated graphics chip and run smoothly (higher up rigs with more slices will need more grunt).
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Mark - WS7M

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Well I think it depends.  On my home system with a ton of CPU overhead I agree.  I have a great video card and my CPU is almost asleep running SSDR.

On another laptop I have its working a little for the same settings.  I see CPU at 10-20%. I think the difference is perhaps video card.

Anyway the point of my post above is not so much that I can't compute the data.  I simply can't get it over the network.   So Howard I think said it best.  The need is for a "thin client" that perhaps doesn't ask the radio for anything more than readouts of frequency and audio.

I also think it would be great addition to the flex API to ask for audio in a specific quality.  I don't mind when working at the hotel if my audio sounds like an old transistor radio.  That would be fine.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Mark, ssdr is not compute bound, its io bound. Data can not be displayed any faster than it crosses the wire from the radio to the computer running the GUI. Most of the intensive graphics is outsourced to your video board(s).
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Walt,  I get that.  Perhaps I spoke wrong.  "Thin client" is what I'm considering.  Those times like right now when I can't get the IO I want over the network.

I have all the compute power I need.  My personal laptop is a core i7 with 4 cores and about 3.3gHz to play with.  My problem as you say is through the damn hotel internet I can't get the data through.

I'm sure this could be controlled by the client software but one thing I could imagine on the flex radio API side would be the ability to tell the radio for the audio I want lower quality.  I mean we are talking radio here, not stereo.  For these low bandwidth situations an API that could dial down the audio stream to a lower quality could help too.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Very early on there was a similar discussion of WAN. In that discussion I referred to my experience when I was on the road, well, a far amount. My experience with hotel/motel WiFi is that it is not intended for Skype, rather for Yahoo. I believe FRS remote bar meter beared that out insofar as what bandwidth is necessary even for compressed audio. Many blamed that on crappy WiFi hardware in the laptop or whatever. Doesn't matter, we can't control what WiFi 2 and 3 star motels and hotels use. I think Howard pointed out on could turn off waterfall. I believe the bottom line is there will be common cases where WAN is just not a practical option.

What people maybe could do is use their 4g smartphone as a hotspot.
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Walt, without any doubt you are right... there will be times when the provided WAN will just not be enough.  In those times you give up trying to run your radio and go the bar and make an eyeball contact.

In my case the audio works, most things work, just a little on the edge at this particular hotel.

I don't know yet what format the audio packets are but I could imagine something like this for the 2.x which I'm reading on here is supposed to be WAN-able:

1) Full performance mode - You are at some Google VIP home who is rich enough to have a major network trunk routed right to his house.  So you get everything as fast as you need it.

2) You are at your friends house across the country and he's on shared cable where sometimes its very fast but when everyone logs into their email in the neighborhood it drops to DSL or less.  So I could see the software being somewhat adaptive.  Ok I'm not quite as fast as I was, or losing some packets begin to compress the data a little.  This might be adaptive mode.

3) You are on sub-DSL perhaps even 56k modem.   Here you get only highly reduced audio, no graphing data, just radio controls and frequencies.  No voice or digital modes perhaps except CW which would be CWX like only.

Now does the software automatically do this or is there a "performance slider" that you have control over?  Not sure which but one issue would be if you were somewhere between 2 and 3 and trying to operate SSB and suddenly the radio said CW only that would be a bummer.

So I think they'd have to build in some regions of acceptable behavior.

I guess my point about #3 is that I have used Pandora to send audio over horrible network conditions and the audio comes through fine.  Actually very clear.  So I have to suspect that if there was a way to dumb down or thin client things that it would actually work very well over a crappy connection.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I don't know how RDP handles audio nor VNC. If 1.4 LAN support is any indication, which may be unfair, if you have a bad LAN connection you have  bad audio...period. Could there be handshaking between the GUI and the radio on a negotiated CODEC? You could but I'm not sure how much roi there would be. However, that's clearly not going to be our decision. V2 could unfold over a couple of years so whatever happens in the early releases may, very likely, improve in subsequent releases. Most people I've talked to about remote operation presumably use RDP. I've never heard anyone ever say sometimes it just doesn't work. There have been times I've had to remotely connect to work via Hotel WiFi and have occasionally had PPoor reception. Aside from RDP, or VNC, being available they'd want access to their logger, their amp, their rotor...much like RHR allows. But in that case it is an HTML based app either talking to a servlet or a custom app written around NETTY's HTTP channel.
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Funny, I use RDP all the time in my work but I don't do anything audio wise with it and often I find myself turning off the audio.

I guess I'm so set in my ways with RDP I never considered that might work.  I can certainly RDP in using my newly functioning VPN.  Perhaps thats worth a try in this bad hotel network.
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Walt - KZ1F

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In 2012 while at boxboro hamvention I had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with Barry Barnes, head of amsat. As you might imagine the position requires a lot of traveling. He related to me his remote use of his Flex 5000, which was full shack access, radio, amp, rotor, power, grounding, etc. Predated the 6000 series, ssdr 2.0, etc.