SmartSDR 2.3.9 Network Disconnect

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  • Problem
  • Updated 19 hours ago
I appreciate the work that has gone into this latest release, but I can report that it apparently has not solved my random disconnect from the network problem. I have experienced this problem with multiple computers running SSDR on my LAN, with new CAT 5 Ethernet cables, and with a new network switch. I have also tried downgrading to earlier versions of SSDR without success. It looks like the problem is a hardware or firmware/software problem in the 6700. I normally operate my rig about 12 hours each day and I typically get several network disconnects during that period. When I get the disconnect message, I not only need to re-connect with SSDR but also I need to stop and restart DAX (and sometimes CAT) as I operate almost 100% on the digital modes.



Ed, K0KC


k0kc@arrl.net
http://k0kc.us/
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Ed, K0KC

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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Thurman Roberson

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I leave .y flex on continuously and don't have that issue
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Lawrence Gray

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Same here.  I updated earlier this PM.  I was just in the middle of a QSO, heard a weird audio noise, saw that the panadapter was frozen, then SSDR closed and  I received the "connection to the radio lost" window.

I had the current version of Slicemaster running, as well as SDR monitor.  I use the Flex USB cables for the KAT-500 tuner and BCD data to the ACOM 600S.  I have a FlexControl connected via USB at the laptop.  Nothing else running on the laptop.

First time I have actually been using the radio when it has disconnected.  The long press reset brings the 6500 back to life. 

I really like the newest changes, but I don't think the disconnect issue is fixed?

Larry, W1IZZ
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hi Ed,

I will defer to Tim on the final comments here, but if you have eliminated all the obvious, then it might be time to consider that the 6700 might have a hardware issue.   

All i can offer is that I do know of those that have continue crashes and then changed out a perfectly good working switch for another perfectly good working switch (so it seems) and their problems went away.    There is no way to test a switch that I know of.

Is there anyway you can test without a switch in place even if only for a period that exceeds your normal crash time?  Just a CAT5E cable between the radio and the computer running SSDR?

I am not sure that is your case, but I thought I would mention it.

Mike va3mw
(Edited)
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Ed, K0KC

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Unfortunately, I just tried a direct connection and sure enough, it very quickly disconnected, so it still points to a radio problem.
I appreciate all of the suggestions guys!
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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It could be the computer, too. You might check various tasks running in the computer, killing the optional stuff to see if that helps. Or try another computer. Because Windows!
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Ed, K0KC

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Martin,
I considered that possibility but I experience the same problem on two other computers on my LAN so unless it is something that is running on all three computers that cause the disconnect, it is not likely a computer problem. One of those computers is a business computer that only (now) has SSDR running on it with no ham radio-related applications.
Thanks for the suggestion, however.

Ed, K0KC
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David

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Only wired connection right?
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Ed, K0KC

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David,
Yes, I only have wired connections between my computers, the 6700, and the network switch. The switch is wired to the router.
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Forgive me if I am talking about something that isn't relevant but one of the reasons I like my IQRouter is that I can log into the router and tell if there has been a network problem (drops, overload, etc.) or not.
73,
Bob, WK2Y 
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N8SDR

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Most routers contain a log of events, as does Windows I'd look at both
(Edited)
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Eric - KE5DTO, Official Rep

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Ed,

It sounds like you are trying all of the right things.  Do the disconnects happen when you are in front of the system or when you are away?  If the latter, have you already looked at the power management to ensure that the ethernet connection is not getting dropped when the system goes into standby or sleep state?
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Ed, K0KC

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Eric,
Thanks for responding!
I seem to get these disconnects no matter if I am at the rig operating or if I am away from it. I normally keep it running about 12 hours per day and see maybe four random disconnects over that period. I did let it run overnight the other day and I did not get disconnected for over 12 hours, but later that next morning, the gremlin was back!
I am pretty sure that I have checked to ensure that no devices or the system itself is configured to go into a "power down" or "sleep" mode, but it is worth checking again. As I mentioned above, I have seen this issue on three different computers on my LAN and I do not think that any of them are configured to go into a sleep mode but again it is worth checking.
Thanks again!
Ed, K0KC
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N8SDR

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If your seeing this on your Lan computers, then I would suspect that you have either a "Green" switch or router , these Green switches or Green powered routers are garbage when you need a reliable always available connection. If it's a "Green" power saving model look in the setup and see if there is a way to disable any power saving options. Also check there are a few routers out now that have the ability to reboot themselves after a X amount of time again if so disable it as well. 
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Ed, K0KC

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Richard (N8SDR),
I have tried two unmanaged switches which to the best of my knowledge are not "green". Even if they were, there is no way to turn that option off. The router is not green either.
Good idea...thanks, but apparently not my problem.
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Lawrence Gray

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I see disconnects with resulting lockups of the Flex box with my 6500, but not as often as you are apparently seeing them.  I just setup a network tap on the switch port that connects to the Flex. The tap computer is running WireShark setup with a ring buffer.  The tap computer allows me to continuously "sniff" any network traffic to or from the Flex without interfering with the traffic.  The ring buffer will allow me to  capture the last packets sent to or from the Flex when it disconnects.  Perhaps this will provide a clue.

Since my 6500 was fine before 2.3.7 - 2.3.9, it seems fairly clear that the issue is within SSDR or the related Flex firmware.  I've checked my network and computers, examined logs, know that there are no "green" or power savings issues......   I am also a little puzzled regarding the lockup of the Flex.  I can understand a network disconnect dropping the connection, but I don't understand why the box locks up and requires a "long press" reset?

Just for background: In a previous life, I was a CIO running a 14 location 10GB fiber WAN, with hundreds of switches and thousands of connected devices, so I have some experience with connectivity issues.

Larry, W1IZZ
(Edited)
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Wayne

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Maybe it has something to do with the new spots feature, have you tried disabling the spots and see if the result is the same.
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Ed, K0KC

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Early-on in my troubleshooting, I had replaced a CAT 5e ethernet cable from the 6700 to the switch with another cable that I had gathering dust here in the shack. Replacing this cable did not offer any improvement, however. After a lot of additional troubleshooting, including buying a new switch, I somehow thought to check that replacement cable and it turned-out to be an old CAT 5 cable. I purchased a new shorter CAT 5e cable, ran it from the 6700 to the switch and magically it reduced my disconnects from several per day to perhaps once per day. I still am not satisfied and will continue troubleshooting as I find time.
Thanks for all of the above suggestions.
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Wayne

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So I guess you need to replace all your network cables with cat 6, thats what flex provides now with the new rigs.
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Lawrence Gray

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For even better shielding, use CAT 7.
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John - WA7UAR

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Cat 7 is what I’m considering too. Apparently Cat 6A is the minimal rating now considered for Power over Ethernet (PoE).

My biggest limiting concern at the moment is the outside diameter of all the physical cables I’ll be using. I’m limited to an existing 1-inch diameter roof penetrating pipe from my condo electrical closet to the rooftop. I’m trying to fit 2 or 3 (different) RF cables and 2 (similar) Ethernet cables. I’m strongly considering CAT 7 for the extra shielding since it will be laying next to the RF cable(s).
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N8SDR

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CAT 7 in an RF environment may actually cause you more issues as the ground conductor can act as an antenna, same applies to CAT 6 with the grounding connection. Although each individual setup can vary greatly the picking up of RF in the network cabling. I think or seem to recall an article or post that Flex Radio Systems mentioned the possibility of this increased RF pickup using those types of cables if I remember correctly it was made by Tim.  
(Edited)
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Lawrence Gray

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“A common myth says that screens and shields can behave as antennas because they are long lengths of metal. The fear is that screens can “attract” signals that are in the environment, or radiate signals that appear on the twisted pairs. The fact is that both screens and shields, and the copper balanced twisted pairs in a UTP cable, will behave as an antenna to some degree. The difference is the noise that couples onto the screen or shield is actually 100 to 1,000 times smaller in magnitude than the noise that is coupled onto an unshielded twisted pair in the same environment. This difference is due to the internal pairs’ well-defined and controlled common mode impedance to the ground plane that is provided by the screen/shield.”

The use of, and need for, shielded cabling has been researched at length, which is the reason CAT 7 cable exists. Needless to say, complete and proper grounding/bonding of all equipment, racks,... is required. Using one CAT 5 cable in your environment can negate all of the other noise reduction work.