Radio Survey Tools

Introduction

With the introduction of its latest survey receiver hardware, the CatchAll-M2, MAC Ltd has revamped the entire product line to produce the Signalsphere Suite, a set of hardware and software tools for surveying today’s and tomorrow’s cellular radio networks.

Signalsphere Suite

MAC Ltd has combined its experience of designing and building accurate signal-strength measurement receivers and its knowledge of signal processing techniques to produce Signalsphere, a network-independent, portable radio survey and analysis solution.

The Signalsphere Suite makes it easy to capture radio measurement data and then share these for analysis in a central repository. The software suite is comprised of:

  • The CatchAll-M2 receiver with custom firmware to provide ultra-fast signal strength measurement, continuing the trend set by earlier generations of CatchAll hardware.
  • Signalsphere Recorder captures radio measurement data during drive and walk tests. The data for each capture session is stored as a set of easily accessible tables in a SQLite database file.
  • Signalsphere Explorer imports data capture sessions for display and analysis. It can also import data captured by the older CDCS2 application and older CatchAll receivers.

The Signalsphere Suite is suitable for both outdoor and in-building measurements:

  • Built-in GPS receiver for outdoor positioning.
  • Waypoint positioning and step detection for in-building measurements.
  • Fast sample rate ensures that measurements meet the Lee Criterion for the accurate measurement of signal strength, even at fast road speeds.
  • Data weighting using vehicle distance pulse or step detection information to avoid skewing of RSSI averages when stationary or changing speed.
  • Map data supplied from an online/cached map data service, or from an offline map tile server.
  • Geo-location of building plans allows outdoor and in-building measurement data to be combined and displayed as a single data set.
  • Optional CatchAll-M2 backpack installation for walk-testing, with integral battery, RF antenna and GPS antenna

Further Information

An overview of the Signalsphere Suite for TETRA product can be found in the product datasheet. The individual components also have more detailed brochures. For all other queries please email enquiries@macltd.com.

Documentation & Software Support

https://support.macltd.com

Purchasing Information

For details of where to purchase the Signalsphere Suite see our distributors list or contact us by phone or by email.

CatchAll™-M2

CatchAll-M2 is a small, low-power and light-weight system-agnostic radio survey receiver with multi-band, dual input capability that advances the same RF sampling methodology as the proven CatchAll-SE receiver and original CatchAll receiver - the de facto RF measurement receivers for TETRA systems when the RF signal sampling needs to be compliant with Lee Criterion. This sampling methodology supports the high sampling speeds required to combat radio channel fading due to rapid movement of the test vehicle or nearby objects and enables multiple bands to be measured at the same time.

Its small size makes CatchAll-M2 ideal for walk-test measurements, and it incorporates an on-board pedometer to enable more accurate position fixing when the walk-test progress is slowed or halted. Similarly, an external distance pulse input is provided for use when drive testing to enhance processing by allowing captured data to be weighted accordingly. CatchAll-M2 is currently available as part of the Signalsphere walk-test and drive-test solution or as a standalone component for integration into custom test systems.

Further Information

Detailed information about the CatchAll-M2 product can be found in the CatchAll-M2 brochure.

Purchasing Information

For details of where to purchase the CatchAll-M2 receiver see our distributors list or contact us by phone or by email.

Signalsphere Recorder

Signalsphere Recorder is the capture software used to measure your TETRA network Signalsphere Recorder is able to capture two separate TETRA bands of up to 20MHz bandwidth each. Typical sample rates allow for two measurements per TETRA slot, with an optional slot activity estimation and filtering algorithm available for networks that do not transmit continuously. Signalsphere Recorder works with the CatchAll-M2 to simultaneous capture RSSI on every channel, whilst also decoding the TETRA broadcast information from a set of channels that is dynamically selected from a managed scan list of channels.

Signalsphere Recorder is able to visualize live measurements, displaying the instantaneous radio spectrum across the configured bandwidths and changes in RSSI of selected channels over time. Decoded TETRA broadcast information is viewable with a table of RSSI, estimated C/I, AACH decode success rate, and decoded MCC, MNC and LAC codes. This provides assurance for the live capture session and allows for in-situ investigation of a TETRA network. The software is designed for touch screen operation with minimal configuration and setup needed, enhancing its ease of use when on-the-go with a tablet PC.

Further Information

Detailed information about the Signalsphere Recorder can be found in the product datasheet.

Documentation & Software Support

https://support.macltd.com

Purchasing Information

For details of where to purchase the the Signalsphere Recorder product see our distributors list or contact us by phone or by email.

Signalsphere Explorer

Signalsphere Explorer works with Signalsphere Recorder providing an efficient means of displaying captured measurement results. Results from radio surveys are geographically presented on a map allowing the user to display and analyse captured test data. The software provides the ability to collate multiple radio surveys into a single data set and is viewable using large, small and fine detail tile layers. This allows large scale coverage areas to be considered, and trouble spots to be analysed at a finer detail where more dense measurements have been made. Building plans can also be overlaid on the map and shared with Signalsphere Recorder so that walk-test results and drive-test results can be analysed together and coherently.

Multiple pre-configured analysis views are included that allow visualisation of the strongest server's RSSI, AACH decode success rate, C/I, channel number and decoded MCC, MNC and LAC codes. Data from individual channels can also be viewed, and the pre-configured views can all be instantly customised including considering the nth strongest server, and filtering by other parameters. Thresholds can also be set and the number of channels achieving the criteria can be shown, for example to present the number of servers above an RSSI threshold. For in-depth analysis individual tiles can be selected and their detailed data scrutinised. Basestation location and network information can be loaded into Signalsphere Explorer, so that by selecting a basestation icon the corresponding data tiles are highlighted to show the coverage of the basestation.

Signalsphere Explorer is designed to allow an engineer to explore the captured data and share it with their team using the shared Signalsphere Database. The shared database allows for the data to be presented and analysed using consistent settings and referred to from a single source.

Further Information

Detailed information about the Signalsphere Explorer product can be found in the product datasheet.

Documentation & Software Support

https://support.macltd.com

Purchasing Information

For details of where to purchase the Signalsphere Explorer product see our distributors list or contact us by phone or by email.

™ CatchAll is a trademark of Multiple Access Communications Limited