I tried Smartlink for the first time

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I sat in front of a local supermarket with my laptop and connected to their WIFI, I was asked by Smartlink if I wanted to "Connect" or use the lower bandwidth. I took the lower and made two CW contacts but when I implemented CWX the panadapter didn't update at all. I later tried an XFINITY connection at Dunkin Donuts, I could not maintain a connection. I am guessing Smartlink needs something better than typical coffee shop WIFI? Also WSJT didn't work remotely, WSJT couldn't find the 6400M.

Another issue at home when I click any voice mode, I can't modulate unless I click another voice mode than all voice modes work.


I know I can record a CQ but can I save it or must I record a new one each boot up?
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Burt Fisher

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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KK9W - Steve

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It does not work very well for me neither. I think Smartlink needs a little more work.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Burt - connection quality is key to working remote.  And sometimes I have had success or failure returning to the very same network that didn't/did work for me before. 

Presently remote digital isn't available by SmartLink.  I've not personally tried the non-SmartLink remote digital methods some users suggest. 

Much of the underlying reasons are internet limitations, and as SmartLink really only authenticates and brokers connections, rather than becoming a middleman in the link process, there isn't anything SmartLink could do to improve the network itself.

There is a lot of content in the community posts where FRS team members spell out what is so different doing a SmartSDR by WAN vs SmartSDR by WAN.  It just isn't as easy as Skype or FaceTime to be effective with the radio, especially doing digital. 

What is cool though is that we can operate remotely so effectively when things are going our way.

@KK9W - You may have experience the same limitations that I have, and that all the rest of us experience.  What I mentioned to Burt gets us all.

73 guys,

Steve K9ZW

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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The uplink speed at your station is often more important than the downlink spud at the supermarket, hotel, or other remote site. It takes at least 1 Mbps uplink to have a solid reliable connection. Mine is only 765 kbps. So I have to work to keep a connection. (And if my son starts streaming videos, it all goes to pot.)

The key with a marginal connection speed is to limit to one slice, turn display FPS to about 5-7, turn the waterfall off and the waterfall rate to 0, and use the “slow” net setting in the iOS app. Also turn all the DAX off, you won’t need it anyway. DAX wasn’t designed for WAN use.

As the connection speed increases, you can increase the performance settings.

Ken - NM9P
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Burt Fisher

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How do you access FPS, waterfall setting was is an IOS app?
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N8SDR

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An option for users like Ken, whom have limited bandwidth or actually anyone whom values the remote smart link quality above the rest of there internet connections,is too use a router that supports Quality of Service, and point the resources to your Flex radio IP and ports.  

This allows the majority of your bandwidth to be dedicated to the flex and whats left to your other devices.

I use a router that supports this even with a 50 Meg upstream as I also run my business and VOIP phone system on the same network, this way I can set internet bandwidth resources to the devices that matter most to me.

The kids streaming and gaming gets what is left, and they get full capabilities when I'm not using those devices.


https://www.howtogeek.com/75660/the-beginners-guide-to-qos-on-your-router/

Above explains the basics and may help you get started if the option is available with your router.
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Steve

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Certainly the quality of the connection is of paramount importance...BUT I did a LOT of reading and found that "buffbloat" also contributes a great deal.  I used Smartlink on a trip Florida with various connections and got pretty frustrated.  I then installed an IQrouter and for me at least it made a lot of  difference.  Perhaps others will comment about their own IQrouter experience.  Please do not think I am saying it fixes all net problems BUT it did make a noticeable difference.  Do some reading and decide if is right for your environment.  BUFFERBLOAT IS YOUR ENEMY
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Many many on this community have switched over to the IQrouter.  I have not heard any negative feedback and lots of good feedback.  I have one myself and found it to improve things greatly.
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Burt Fisher

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What about my other two questions?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Burt

Here’s a screenshot I took from my iPhone. The display controls are on the left-hand side menu
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Burt Fisher

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As I was trying to slow things down, when I went to do it, it was already set for slow, but I didn't do it. When I get a bad connection does it reduce updating the screen automatically?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Burt

One thing I always do with my IPhone before I run from any remote site WIFI is to run one of several Network Speed Test APP's to measure the quality of the download and Upload speed of my connection,  

SSDR/iOS usually works great over 4GLTE, ok on many 3G systems, impossible on 2G Systems, Superb to Terrible to really impossible over many Hotel, Coffee Shop, etc WIFI..  Strangely I have had much faster free WIFI connections in 3rd World Countries than I ever get in the USA... Probably because the USA was the first to deploy them but never upgraded to faster systems.

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Burt Fisher

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I did run speed tests, the speed was so slow the speed tests wouldn't run and this was at a Dunkin Donut Xfinity Wi-Fi link.  
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Michael Walker, Employee

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That does explain why SmartLink had issues.

I did a talk at Dayton about all the stuff we know about remote operating and the big unknown in between.  Yes, the internet.  It is what we get and you and I can't control it.

Public Wifi is incredibly bad for streaming audio or video, as you just found out.  When you find a good place, awesome!  

Just about every public place that has free WiFi will have traffic shaping routers in place to limit what each customer can use so they all can have some.  Streaming is the first throttled if they are nearing their bandwidth consumption and that is what SmartLink is.  They don't want 1 customer hogging all the bandwidth.   These are pretty complicated devices everyone uses, including hotels.  

Sometimes, you go into a hotel and you get a solid 1mb/sec.  That's all you get, but it is a pretty darn good 1mb/sec assuming their WiFi is well designed.

If you search on the Community there are many discussions on WiFi performance and what can be the weakest link.

73, Mike va3mw
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Yes, remoterig, uses less data, but with that, you loose the visuals of the waterfall/panadapter.  

I just spend the last week totally removing my entire TS480/RemoteRig solution as I hadn't used it in over 18 months and installed a 6600 with an Antenna Genius for antenna control.  I only have a 1mb/sec stream so I am pretty pleased with it.  However, so much of it is out of my control as I have to deal with 2 ISPs.

I have done club lectures on remote operating and I start it off with the statement that anywhere that might be a great HF station, has poor, limited or expensive internet.  They are mutually exclusive unfortunately.

Mike
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mikeatthebeach .

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Mike
I agree with you !

Been down the same road, First with the K3/K3 Mini, then the TS-480, now
have the Flex6600M for remote

Your mileage can vary depending on your Internet provider

73 Mike
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Michael Walker

You are 100% correct about Skype, FaceTime , TeamViewer , WebEx failing miserably in low bandwidth, high latency situations. You should also be aware that some non USA carriers block those services because they want you to use their expensive phone networks. By contrast I have had a lot of success with SmartLink in countries even when Skype and other VOIP are blocked

I, too, dumped Remote Rig and the Icom Remote Software in favor of the more comprehensive SmartLink solution. Which is definitely easier to setup and use than those solutions The best thing is that I no longer need to schlep a Remote Rig box or a K3/0 box with me anymore because SmartLink works on my iPhone and iPad.

In operating remote from 29 different countries now, I find SmartLink connections to be very acceptable over 4G LTE with 2 bars or more, still ok down to 3G in most cases, unacceptable on 2G. Hotel and Free WIFi results range from Superb to intermittent to impossible . However I find that free WIFi in 3rd world counties to be much better than the USA. Perhaps because the USA was first adopters and did not upgrade to the latest systems.
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Varistor

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@Mike, let’s first ask the question why we need the waterfall. The answer is to find stations we want to work. The same goal can be achieved without the waterfall by simply feeding the spots generated by my local skimmer server into the logger bandmap. While the waterfall certainly looks cool, it is absolutely unnecessary for achieving the goal.

@Howard, you seem to be a phone/FT8 guy and don’t care too much about CW. I don’t even know where my mic is. SL is useless for CW for my use case; CWX is really not an option.

In other words, choosing between being able to use my rig remotely and the waterfall/spectrum display, I choose the former.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Rudy N2WQ (I guess Michael officially outed you albeit many knew who you are)

Whatever floats your boat.   - My boat is different..

While I have done digital and phone since 1958, I am proud to say that My CW key was screwed onto a lead brick from an old atomic pile and dropped into Lake Ontario more than a 1/2 century ago. - the moment I passed the equivalent of EXTRA and never legally required to have to use CW again..

Waterfalls are very useful for seeing WEAK SIGNALS that no one else is reporting on the SPOTS network.  CWSkimmer does not report anything useful for NON CW world..

Waterfalls are also extremely useful for chasing DX so that you can see the holes in the pileups..

As I said, whatever floats your boat - that's the fun part of the hobby.

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N8SDR

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I had posted this as a reply to comment above, but maybe it should have been out here instead:

An option for users whom have limited bandwidth or actually anyone whom values the remote smart link quality above the rest of there internet connections,is too use a router that supports Quality of Service, and point the resources to your Flex radio IP and ports.  

This allows the majority of your bandwidth to be dedicated to the flex and whats left to your other devices. 

I use a router that supports this even with a 50 Meg upstream as I also run my business and VOIP phone system on the same network, this way I can set internet bandwidth resources to the devices that matter most to me. 

The kids streaming and gaming gets what is left, and they get full capabilities when I'm not using those devices.


https://www.howtogeek.com/75660/the-beginners-guide-to-qos-on-your-router/ 

Above explains the basics and may help you get started if the option is available with your router.