Troubleshooting Issues with the Indoor CBRS Small Cell Radio

Article author
Customer Support
  • Updated

Note: This information applies to both the FreedomFi and Mosolabs indoor radios

Check for Outages

Before performing any troubleshooting steps, be sure to check for any system outages or issues that might affect your gateway as listed on the FreedomFi Helium Status Page. If there is an ongoing issue, check back regularly until the issue has been resolved then check your gateway or radio's status again to see if you're back up and running already. If there is no outage or you're still experiencing issues after the outage was resolved, proceed with troubleshooting.

Initial Radio Connections

When connecting your Indoor Small Cell radio to your Bobber 500 gateway, ensure you are plugging the Ethernet cable into the port on the radio labeled "WAN" - The other end of the cable should be connected to your Bobber 500's eNB port or connected to a switch if using one to connect multiple radios to the gateway. If connecting to a PoE switch, do not connect until the GPS antenna has been attached. The LAN connection on the radio is used for firmware and configuration management for the radio and is disabled once FreedomFi Helium 5G plug-and-play compatible firmware is flashed meaning the LAN port will go unused for our applications. 

Gently screw in the GPS antenna connector to the GPS port on the radio. Ensure the connector screws straight on, and tighten down enough such that movement of the antenna cable will not cause the connector to unscrew. This will typically take a bit more force than would be used when screwing in a LoRa antenna to a Bobcat Miner's port. Place the GPS antenna where it will be able to get a location signal - typically next to a window is a suitable location. The radio will not come online unless it is able to get a GPS lock.

Connect the AC adapter to the radio's power port, and then connect the other end to the wall outlet. This will ensure if there is any spark/surge, it occurs at the other end of the cable, not at the radio's port. If powering the radio via PoE, connect the Ethernet cable to the PoE injector or switch.

Note: On first power on, it can take up to several hours for the LTE light to come on and the radio to go live. This is because the radio needs to register with the Spectrum Access System (SAS) before it can function. If the Radio Dashboard at http://bobber-gateway.local shows "No supported radios are attached to Bobber 500 Gateway" but the Bobber 500 has not yet been onboarded or is experiencing issues - STOP - troubleshoot or onboard the gateway first. Access Gateway software on the Bobber 500 is needed for the radio to function correctly.

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Interpreting LED Indicators

There are four main LED indicators on the Indoor Small Cell radio - LTE, Sync, Power, and WAN.

No LED Activity:

The radio is not powered on

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Flashing Green Power LED:

The radio is in the process of booting up

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Solid Green Power LED: 

The radio has booted successfully

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Solid Green WAN LED:

The radio has successfully established an internet connection (required to connect to Spectrum Access System/SAS to register)

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Solid Green Sync LED:

Radio has established a GPS lock (required to register with the SAS)

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Solid Blue LTE LED: 

Radio has successfully completed plug-and-play setup and is ready for devices/phones to attach

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Flashing Blue LTE LED: 

Radio is working correctly and there is currently a device/phone attached to the radio

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Flashing Red LTE LED:

There is an issue with the radio - investigate radio health using http://bobber-gateway.local gateway and radio dashboards

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Radio Not Connected to Gateway

If the http://bobber-gateway.local radio dashboard reads "No supported radios are attached to Bobber 500 Gateway" or the enodeb_get_all_status.txt log file from the gateway shows no eNBs (radios) connected (null) or does not show the particular radio's information, there may be an issue with the radio's connection to the gateway.

Check the LED indicators on the front of the radio. If no LEDs are active, the radio does not have power. Check and re-seat the AC adapter at the radio and wall ends and verify the outlet has power by plugging a different device into the outlet. If powered via PoE, check your PoE injector or switch to ensure they are powered on and check all connections. Be sure the PoE source is not overloaded with too much power draw from other devices.

Check ethernet LED indicators on both ends. The radio's WAN port will have a green flashing LED indicating there is a physical connection detected. There is not typically an orange LED active on the port. Most routers, switches, and the Bobber 500's eNB port will have a combination of orange and green LEDs with flashing to indicate data transmission.

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If there are no LED indicators or there is no flashing indicating data transmission, check and re-seat both ends of the connection. Try using another Ethernet cable or use the Ethernet cable in question to connect another device such as a laptop to your router to verify the cable is functional.

If the radio is still not showing connected, reboot both the Bobber 500 gateway and the radio. The gateway can be rebooted from http://bobber-gateway.local by selecting the Reboot button. The page will not change or give a prompt to indicate the device is rebooting, but waiting 20-30 seconds and then reloading the page should give a "page not found" error. Leave the page on this error screen and it will automatically reload the dashboard when the gateway has started back up. There will also be an audible beep from the gateway to indicate it is starting up. To reboot the radio, unplug the power source from the radio for 30 seconds, then restore power.

If the radio is still not showing connected, connect the radio's WAN port directly to your router via Ethernet. Log into your router and check the "connected devices" list to see if the radio is listed. If not, check the Ethernet cable and try another port on the router if possible.

If the radio is still not showing connected, perform a reset on the radio. Open the small cover on the side of the radio to expose the reset button. A pin or other small object will be required to reach the button. With the radio powered on, press and hold the reset button while observing the lights on the front of the radio. After approximately 30 seconds, the power LED will flash rapidly for 1-2 seconds and then proceed to flash slowly indicating the radio is booting up. Check back after 15 minutes to see if there has been any change in the radio's lights and check to see if the radio is showing connected.

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If the radio is still not showing connected, submit a ticket to the vendor you purchased the radio from: CalChip, FreedomFi, Bobcat, or elsewhere.

When submitting a ticket to Bobcat be sure to use the Bobber 500 form and include all requested information, especially gateway serial number, radio serial number, symptoms and troubleshooting steps taken, and any LED indicators you're seeing. Please also include a screenshot of the http://bobber-gateway.local gateway and radio dashboards, and attach logs downloaded from the "Support Logs" button. (Bobcat Support cannot access the dashboard to download the logs as it is only available on your local network, similar to the Diagnoser for Bobcat Miner 300).

General Radio Availability Issues

For issues with the indoor radio where the radio does show connected to the gateway but still is not working, refer to the http://bobber-gateway.local radio dashboard to gather additional information.

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GPS Status: Indicates if the GPS antenna was able to get a lock using GPS satellites. If the radio cannot establish a GPS location, it will not register with the SAS and will not come online. If there is no GPS lock, try relocating the GPS antenna so it has a clear line of sight to the sky - typically near a window works best.

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Spectrum Access: Indicates if the radio is able to make a connection to the SAS. If not connected, try rebooting the gateway and radio. Consider moving the Bobber 500 gateway to the DMZ in your router settings which will allow it unfiltered access to the internet - if the SAS connection works after doing so, you may have a firewall rule or other packet filtering which is inhibiting the connection.

Core Status: Indicates if the radio is able to make a connection with the core services running on the Bobber 500 gateway. This is different from the physical connection to the gateway and involves software services running on the gateway.

On Air: Indicates if the radio is up and available for devices/phones to attach to it. If offline, refer to this article: Spectrum Access Status Went Back to "Connected" After It Had Been Working / DPA Event to see if you are experiencing a DPA event and how to deal with such an event.

If still experiencing issues, reboot your router, the Bobber 500 gateway, and the radio. The gateway can be rebooted from http://bobber-gateway.local by selecting the Reboot button. The page will not change or give a prompt to indicate the device is rebooting, but waiting 20-30 seconds and then reloading the page should give a "page not found" error. Leave the page on this error screen and it will automatically reload the dashboard when the gateway has started back up. There will also be an audible beep from the gateway to indicate it is starting up. To reboot the radio, unplug the power source from the radio for 30 seconds, then restore power.

If you are still experiencing issues, perform a reset on the radio. Open the small cover on the side of the radio to expose the reset button. A pin or other small object will be required to reach the button. With the radio powered on, press and hold the reset button while observing the lights on the front of the radio. After approximately 30 seconds, the power LED will flash rapidly for 1-2 seconds and then proceed to flash slowly indicating the radio is booting up. Check back after 15 minutes to see if there has been any change in the radio's lights and check to see if the radio is showing connected.

ResetButton.jpg

If you are still experiencing issues, submit a ticket. When submitting your ticket, be sure to use the Bobber 500 form and include all requested information, especially gateway serial number, radio serial number, symptoms and troubleshooting steps taken, and any LED indicators you're seeing. Please also include a screenshot of the http://bobber-gateway.local gateway and radio dashboards, and attach logs downloaded from the "Support Logs" button. (Bobcat Support cannot access the dashboard to download the logs as it is only available on your local network, similar to the Diagnoser for Bobcat Miner 300).

Low Speeds for Devices/Phones Connected to Radio

The FreedomFi Indoor CBRS Small Cell radio can support up to 200Mbps connection speeds for devices/phones however in practice, max speed is often closer to 150Mbps. This can be further reduced due to any bottlenecks such as connection issues between the radio and gateway, connection issues between the gateway and router, and slow backhaul/internet connection speeds. Device speed can also be reduced if the radio has a large amount of devices attached using the bandwidth. The maximum amount of connected devices at one given time is 96 per radio.

If your gateway has multiple radios, ensure they are spaced far enough apart so they don't interfere with each other. There needs to be a small amount of overlap for devices to be able to roam from one radio to the next seamlessly, however if the radios are too close they can cause interference and/or compete for the device attachment causing severely limited speeds (around 5Mbps or lower) or device connectivity issues if the device keeps switching back and forth between radios.

Unfortunately there is not a hard and fast rule regarding spacing of radios as it depends on many location specific factors such as terrain, but a good rule of thumb is to consider the range of indoor radios to be about 3x that of an enterprise WiFi access point. The only way to truly plan for spacing is to use a spectrum analyzer or an Android phone with an app such as Network Cell Info to scan the signal strength of the radios at specific areas and use that information to decide if a radio needs to be moved closer or farther away.

If your backhaul connection (the connection supplying internet access to your Bobber 500 gateway) is limited, this can also impact speed of devices transferring data to the internet. A minimum backhaul speed of 100Mbps download and 10Mbps upload is required to receive MOBILE rewards, however if many devices will be connecting to your radios you may want to consider a faster backhaul connection to ensure quality of service for everyone using the radios.

Devices/Phones Unable to Connect to Radio

If a device/phone is not able to attach to your radio and the radio is otherwise working correctly, first check to make sure the device supports CBRS Band 48. Not all 5G devices support CBRS Band 48 spectrum. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G is compatible, however the "budget" version Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (FE) 5G, while being 5G compatible, is not CBRS Band 48 compatible and will not be able to see the network broadcast by your radio or attach to the radio.

FreedomFi lists phones they have verified are compatible here. For a complete list of phones which are known to support CBRS Band 48, see this list.

To attach to and use the radio, the device/phone must also have a partner SIM card or eSIM installed (at the moment only Gigsky, FreedomFi, and Dish) and if using Gigsky or FreedomFi cards the device must be carrier unlocked in order to use these cards.

If you have a device with a compatible partner SIM installed and carrier unlocked if using Gigsky or FreedomFi, you should be able to see the network being broadcast by your radio by navigating to the device's cellular settings and choosing to select the network manually. 315 010 is the network broadcast by the Helium 5G radio. If you do not see this network in the list, verify your device supports CBRS spectrum and is carrier unlocked and if so, check http://bobber-gateway.local radio dashboard for any issues.

No MOBILE Rewards for Connected Radio

In order to qualify for MOBILE rewards during the genesis period, your radio must be online and registered with the SAS (ready and capable to transfer data from devices) but it is not required to transfer any device data to get rewards. For indoor radios, this is typically a simple matter of hooking up the radio, ensuring it has a GPS lock and waiting for it to register with the SAS.

For outdoor radios, the process is much more complicated - the radio needs to be installed outdoors, have azimuth and other angles measured, pictures taken and sent into FreedomFi and you must manually click the "Register" button from the http://bobber-gateway.local radio dashboard and input information to start the registration process. For additional information on outdoor radios, refer to this post by FreedomFi.

The gateway software will run random periodic backhaul checks to ensure quality of service, these must pass in order to be qualified for rewards. The minimum backhaul speed required to pass is 100Mbps download and 10Mbps upload.

The radio must also be connected to a Bobber 500, FreedomFi, or other compatible Helium 5G gateway which has been onboarded to the blockchain and registered to your wallet.

If you have fulfilled all requirements and still do not see your MOBILE rewards, ensure you are using the new Helium Wallet App, not the old Helium Hotspot App. You can import your old wallet which was created in the Helium Hotspot App into the new app if needed. Only the Helium Wallet App can see the MOBILE tokens inside your wallet, as the old Hotspot App is not compatible with the new tokens. If you are using the Hotspot App, you will not lose your MOBILE rewards and they will still be sent to your wallet, you just won't be able to see them until you import your wallet into the new Wallet App.

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