Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint Microwave Link Planning Software
From the Developers
We have made every effort to create a user-friendly and intuitive application. However, we recommend that you spend some time reading this User Manual to get the most out of MLinkPlanner.
MLinkPlanner 2.0 is a powerful and user-friendly tool for planning point-to-point (PtP), point-to-multipoint (PtMP), and LTE / 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) networks. MLinkPlanner was created by engineers with many years of experience in designing microwave links, from single-hop access links to high-power long-haul trunk lines.
MLinkPlanner has demonstrated its effectiveness in designing many links that are operating successfully in various climate zones and topographical conditions, from plains and marshlands to highlands.
Special focus was placed on devising a convenient user interface, incorporating adaptable and easy-to-use link path profiles in the design process, and automating all key calculations.
Fully automatic path profile generation with terrain elevation, tree height, and building height based on:
Terrain elevation data with 2-30 m plane resolution (Default DEM). For more details on data sources, see Appendix 1: “Default DEM”. It is also possible to use custom DEM in GeoTIFF format with any plane resolution.
Global Tree Cover data with 1 arc sec (about 30 m) resolution, including information about tree height. Data sources: High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change Published by Hansen, Potapov, Moore, Hancher et al. Department of Geographical Sciences University of Maryland and Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology.
Global 3D building data from the OpenStreetMap project database. Data source: Our buildings database, which synchronizes with the global OpenStreetMap database.
All of these types of geodata are automatically downloaded to the required area as needed; there is no need to worry about preloading the geodata. You can also edit the automatically generated path profile or create a new one manually.
The application allows you to use standard basemaps (such as OpenStreetMap, OpenTopoMap, US Topo etc.) and custom ones.
MLinkPlanner 2.0 can perform the calculation and optimization of PtP and PtMP microwave link parameters, including:
Path profile analysis (evaluate different clearance criteria, obstruction loss, reflection geometry)
Multipath fade probability prediction (Rec. ITU-R P.530-17 method; Vigants-Barnett method)
Rain fade estimation (Rec. ITU-R P.530-17 method; Crane method)
Diversity improvement calculation (frequency, space, and quad diversity)
Error performance and availability prediction (Rec. ITU-R F.1668, Rec. ITU-R F.1703)
Reflection analysis (Rec. ITU-R P.530-17)
Diffraction loss analysis (Rec. ITU-R P.526-15 Complete Bullington method or Diffraction over multiple cylinders method; Deygout principle method with correction ITU-R-P.526-11; Epstein-Peterson method)
Gaseous attenuation (Rec. ITU-R P.676-11)
Attenuation in vegetation (Rec. ITU-R P.833-9)
MLinkPlanner 2.0 can perform coverage prediction for PtMP and outdoor Wi-Fi using different area study methods:
Received Power Studies at subscriber stations (CPE)
Carrier-to-interference + noise ratio C/(I+N) at subscriber stations (CPE)
MLinkPlanner 2.0 allows you to:
Use the large set of radio equipment specifications that come with the software.
Save the result of the coverage prediction as an interactive web page, as a PNG image, GeoTIFF or as a KMZ file.
Compare the coverage prediction results performed for different conditions
Automatically link subscriber stations to BS sectors based on the best server prediction
Flexibly adjust the layers on the base map and show custom vector layers
Use metric or English measurement systems.
Installation and Activation
MLinkPlanner 2.0 supports Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11.
The minimum computer configuration is 64-bit Windows, Core i3 CPU, 4GB RAM, 200GB HDD, video card, and monitor with support for 1366x768, although the program can be installed on a less productive computer.
To use the full version of MLinkPlanner, you should purchase a license. Once you have successfully purchased MLinkPlanner, you will receive an email within a few seconds containing a link to download the installation file and the Activation ID for the license. Run the installation file and follow the instructions that appear on your screen. When the installation is complete, run the application; enter the Activation ID provided to you in the order email, and click Activate. Once you have done that, you have activated the fully functional version.
Software Update Periodically, we release free current updates in which we improve the functionality and stability of the software.
MLinkPlanner supports both manual and automatic checking for updates. The software will check for available updates every time it starts. To check for updates manually, click “Help - Check for updates.” If there is an available update, a window will open with information about the current and available versions. You can download the update from the link and install it manually. Exit the MLinkPlanner software before installing the update.
After starting the program, the main panel will appear with the main menu on the left side and the base map on the right side. You can change the size of the panels as needed using the separator. At the top is the main toolbar. When you hover over each of the icons, a hint appears.
MLinkPlanner 2.0 interface
- Standard tools for working with files: Create, Open, Save.
- Save the project.
- Collapse all PtMP base stations in the main menu.
- Expand PtMP base stations to the sector level in the main menu.
- Expand PtMP base stations in the main menu to the subscriber station level.
- Show / Hide the left panel for subscriber stations and links. By default, this tool is deactivated, but it can be activated in Settings.
- Show / Hide the panel with a path profile. By default, this tool is deactivated, but it can be activated in Settings.
- The current base map zoom
- The current base map
- Antenna height optimization
- Diffraction analysis
- Reflection analysis
- Perform coverage calculation for PtMP base stations.
- Add the coverage to compare
- The “ruler” tool allows measuring distance and azimuth between any two points. To perform a measurement, click on the ruler, then click on any two points of the map and you will see distance between points and azimuth from first to second. To exit, right-click anywhere on map.
- Save PtMP base station coverage as a webpage.
- Save PtMP base station coverage as an image in *.png format.
- Save PtMP base station coverage as a GeoTIFF file in the Web Mercator projection
- Save coverage, sites and links as a KMZ file
- Equipment Editor
- Search for base stations, subscriber stations, and links by name.
More information about each of the tools is described later in relevant sections of the manual.
MLinkPlanner uses a multi-level tree interface. When you select one of the menu items, the corresponding panel opens next to it.
MLinkPlanner also has context menu on base map. You can use them to quickly perform various actions. Options for this context menu directly depends on selected main menu items. Different layers can be displayed on base map — sites, microwave PtP links, PtMP base and subscriber stations, PtMP coverage, various additional custom vector layers etc.
You can choose to display one of pre-installed base maps or customize your base map as described in Base map Settings section. Map navigation performs with mouse. Use mouse wheel to zoom map in or out. You can also select required zoom from drop-down list in toolbar.
When map zooms into level 12 or higher application begins to download SRTM elevation data and tree cover data. Status bar displays pointer’s geographic coordinates and information about elevation above sea level and height of tree canopy. Usually loading of necessary data sets (terrain elevation and tree cover) takes place in few seconds.
Point-to-Multipoint Link Availability Prediction
Create at least two sites (see Creating Sites).
Using the Add a new product family button in the Point-to-Multipoint menu, connect the product family with the PtMP equipment you need to the project (see the PtMP base stations section). If such equipment was not in the set of specifications supplied with the MLinkPlanner, then first create the equipment specification (see Equipment Editor section).
Using one of the previously created sites, in the Point-to-Multipoint menu, create a new base station (see the PtMP base stations section). When creating a BS, its first sector is created automatically.
In the created BS sector, from the drop-down lists, select the family and product (equipment model), bandwidth, carrier frequency, and also specify the antenna and feeder parameters, also choose the antenna pattern file (see the PtMP base stations section).
In the created BS sector, click on the Add a new subscriber station button and select the site on which this subscriber station will be created.
In the panel of the created subscriber station, click the Generate path profile button to automatically create the path profile (see Creating Path Profile with GIS section). From drop-down list, select product (equipment model), and specify antenna and feeder parameters.
In the subscriber station panel, click the Report button to display a link availability report.
Point-to-Point Link Performance and Availability Prediction
Create at least two sites (see Creating Sites).
Using Add a new product family button in Point-to-Point menu, connect product family with PtP equipment you need to project (see PtP links section). If such equipment was not in the set of specifications supplied with the MLinkPlanner, then first create the equipment specification (see Equipment Editor section).
Using previously created sites, in Point-to-Point menu, create new microwave PtP link (see Creating PtP link section).
In panel of created PtP link, click Generate path profile button to automatically create path profile (see Creating Path Profile with GIS section).
From drop-down list, select family and product (equipment model), bandwidth, and carrier frequency.
In table that appears, mark types of modulations and coding for which calculation will be performed. Next, specify required configuration of microwave link, redundancy and diversity reception, parameters of antennas and feeders, as well as antenna heights (antenna heights can also be changed directly on path profile diagram).
Click Report to display link performance and availability report.
Coverage Study for Point-to-Multipoint
Create at least one site (see Creating Sites).
Using Add a new product family button in Point-to-Multipoint menu, connect product family with PtMP equipment you need to project (see PtMP base stations section). If such equipment was not in the set of specifications supplied with the MLinkPlanner, then first create the equipment specification (see Equipment Editor section).
Using one of the previously created sites, in Point-to-Multipoint menu, create a new base station (see PtMP base stations section). When creating BS, its first sector is created automatically.
In created BS sector, from drop-down lists select family and product (equipment model), bandwidth, carrier frequency, antenna and feeder parameters and also choose antenna pattern file (see PtMP base stations section).
Fill in form Coverage Study Details with calculation parameters (see Coverage Study).
Click Calculate Coverage on top toolbar to display a coverage map.
MLinkPlanner project files have a *.mlp2 extension. Each file contains information about the project, including path profiles and parameters of microwave equipment.
A new project is created automatically each time the application is run. On the lower left panel, enter the Project Information. The import of projects from the previous version is also provided.
The installation file comes with several test projects from which you can start working in MLinkPlanner.
Before creating microwave point-to-point links, point-to-multipoint base stations or subscriber stations links, you must first create sites. Sites are locations that can be connected via point-to-point or point-to-multipoint links. A site has only three characteristics - name, latitude, and longitude.
To work with sites, go to the Sites menu item in the left menu.
- Move this site up.
- Move this site down.
- Import sites from *.csv or *.kml files.
- Export sites to Microsoft Excel.
- Sort sites in alphabetical order.
- Add sites from the clipboard.
- Delete all sites.
- Position the map with the site at the center of the screen.
- Find and select a site in the table.
MLinkPlanner provides several ways to create sites:
Enter the name and coordinates of the site in the table.
Use the context menu when clicking on the base map.
Import sites from a CSV or KML file.
Copy from spreadsheets via the clipboard.
Enter the site name and its geographic coordinates in the relevant fields. The geographic coordinates are specified as Point of compass, degrees, minutes, and decimal seconds (e.g., N35 36 23.8). The numbers should be separated by a space. After pressing ENTER, the coordinates will be automatically converted to the format specified in the Settings menu. Alternatively, you can enter coordinates as Point of Compass and Decimal degrees (N12.34567). After pressing ENTER, they will also be converted to selected format. Site icon will be displayed on base map. If you do not specify hemisphere, then Northern Hemisphere will be set by default.
Use the Context Menu
You can also create a site by right-clicking on a location on the base map. Being in main menu item Sites, right-click on location within base map and select Create new site from context menu; you can rename it later. New site will be added to map and appended to bottom of site table.
Please note that context menu with line “Create new site” appears on base map only when you are in Sites main menu.
Import Sites from a CSV or KML File
You can import sites into MLinkPlanner from any spreadsheet by exporting sheet as CSV file (separator – “;”). Required fields for each site are Name, Latitude, and Longitude. Geographic coordinates should be specified as Point of compass, degrees, minutes, and decimal seconds (N35 36 23.8). Numbers must be separated by space. Point of Compass and Decimal degrees (N12.34567) is also acceptable format. To import from CSV: save spreadsheet as CSV file (separator – “;”) and then click (Import sites from *.CSV, *.KML).
Figure 3. Example of CSV file with sites to be imported
Example of CSV file with sites to be imported
The program also allows you to import sites from KML files that can be prepared using the Google Earth application. To import sites, click the Import sites from *.CSV, *.KML button and select the * .KML file, while all point features from the KML file will be imported as sites.
Imported sites are added to existing ones.
Copy from Spreadsheets via Clipboard
Copy the cells with the names of the sites and their coordinates in the Excel or Word spreadsheet to the clipboard and then click Add sites from the clipboard on the toolbar. After that, the corresponding sites will appear in the table.
Working with Sites
To delete one or several sites, select the corresponding rows in the table and press the Delete key. Deleting a site will not lead to the deletion of PtP microwave links already created based on this site, as well as the base or subscriber station PtMP. By double-clicking on the row with the site in the table, this site will be shown on the base map in the center of the screen. You can move a site using the right mouse button - select a site in the Sites table, then right-click on a location on the base map, and select Move Site in the context menu
You can quickly find a site in a table using the Find and select a site in the table tool
MLinkPlanner 2.0 uses special format equipment files with an *.eqt extension. These files contain specifications of different types of Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint equipment. The software comes with a set of such files for a wide range of modern Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint equipment. Therefore, in most cases, users do not need to search for detailed specifications for their main radio equipment. It is enough to choose equipment from the supplied set.
One such file may contain specifications for an entire family of products. The common parameters for this Family are modulation and coding parameters, as well as a set of bandwidths. An example of such a family for Point-to-Multipoint equipment is the popular airMax family by Ubiquiti Networks, which includes many products of base stations and subscriber stations that are compatible with each other. An example family for Point-to-Point equipment is FibeAir IP-20N by Ceragon, which includes a set of external placement modules (RFU) on different frequency bands.
We are constantly updating our files with equipment parameters; you can download our current set from our website https://www.wireless-planning.com/equipment. These specifications are taken from open sources and are supplied “as is”; we carefully check them but do not guarantee their reliability. If a file with necessary equipment was not included in our supplied set, our program provides a tool called Equipment Editor, which allows users to prepare their own specification file
To start the equipment editor, click on the Equipment Editor icon on the top toolbar.
Standard File Tools:
- Save as
General information about the equipment family; information text field
The list of products (equipment models) included in the family
List of all bandwidths supported by the equipment family
Modulation @ Coding
A list of all types of modulations and coding supported by the equipment family
Select for the PtMP family
Select for the PtP family
Maximum Available Branching Configuration
The maximum number of main and standby trunks available in the equipment family (PtP only)
Available Branching Types
Available branching types: Hot Standby (HSB) / Co-channel (XPIC)/ MIMO 2x2/MIMO 4x4. PtP only.
Available Diversity Options
Diversity reception methods available for the equipment family (PtP only)
Adaptive Equalizer Parameters
Choosing the type of adaptive equalizer parameters: signature parameters or DFM (Dispersive Fade Margin) PtP only
Selected product (equipment model)
General product information (equipment models); information text field
Select if an external antenna is used with this product.
Select if only an integrated antenna is used with this product.
Antenna Gain, dBi
Integrated antenna Gain, dBi
Antenna Pattern (in MSI format)
Antenna pattern of the integrated antenna. To download the antenna pattern file in MSI format, click the icon in the upper left corner.
Photo or graphic image of the product. You can upload an image from a file or via the clipboard using the tools above the image. If one image is used for all products, indicate this in the upper right corner; this will significantly reduce the size of the specification file.
Selected bandwidth, MHz
Modulation @ Coding
A list of all types of modulations and coding supported by the equipment family
Channel Bitrate, Mbit/s
Maximum channel speed for the corresponding type of modulation and coding, Reference Information, Mbps
Tx Power, dBm
Transmitter power for the appropriate type of modulation and coding, dBm
Rx Threshold, dBm
The threshold sensitivity of the receiver for the corresponding type of modulation and coding, dBm
Signature Width, MHz
Signature width, MHz (PtP only)
Signature Depth min Phase, dB
Signature depth min phase, dB (PtP only)
Signature Depth non min Phase, dB
Signature depth non min phase, dB (PtP only)
Dispersive Fade Margin, dB (PtP only)
Cochannel Improvement Factor, dB (PtP only)
Carrier-to-interference ratio for a reference BER, dB (PtP only)
The procedure for creating a specification file:
1. Fill in the Family field and Family Information field (if necessary; this is just an information field).
2. Go to Family Parameters panel. Fill in all products in Family. Fill in all frequency bands available for Family. Fill in all Modulation and Coding available for Family. After filling in, click OK; this panel will close, and entered information will appear in Products, Frequency Bands, as well as Modulation and Coding table of Equipment Editor’s main panel.
3. Select type of equipment family - Point-to-Multipoint or Point-to-Point. For Point-to-Point family, fill in information about maximum available branching configuration, available branching types, available diversity options, and type of adaptive equalizer parameters. All this information will be taken into account when configuring PtP microwave links based on this product family.
4. Now you can enter information about each product:
4.1 Select your product from drop-down list.
4.2 Fill in Product Information Field (if necessary; this is just a text field).
4.3 If an external antenna is used with this model of equipment, select it. If an antenna is built into the equipment, as is often the case for PtMP base and subscriber stations, select Integrated Antenna, enter its gain, and download the antenna pattern file in MSI format.
4.4 Insert a photo or graphic image of the product. You can download the image from a file or through the clipboard using the tools above the image. If one picture is used for all products, indicate this using the checkbox in the upper right corner; this will significantly reduce the size of the file with the specification.
4.5 From the bandwidth drop-down list, select the required product bandwidth. Fill in Channel bitrate, Tx Power, and Rx threshold columns for each modulation type. For Point-to-Point equipment, it may be necessary to additionally fill in adaptive equalizer parameters for each modulation type and if equipment family supports Co-channel mode, then XPIF and Co/I parameters.
4.6 Repeat steps in clause 4.5 for all bandwidths supported by product
5. After filling in information for each product, save specification file (extension *.eqt).
For convenience and reducing time when filling out specifications, several tools are provided here, and copying and pasting groups of cells from spreadsheets are also supported.
- Copy all parameters of the product modulation table to the clipboard (used to create new products based on existing ones).
- Paste modulation table parameters from the clipboard (used to create new products based on existing ones).
- Automatically fill receiver threshold sensitivity values for all bandwidths based on the values of the first bandwidth. This tool can be used for an approximate assessment of threshold sensitivity when accurate data is not available for all bandwidths. The tool is based on the fact that the threshold sensitivity of the receiver decreases in proportion to the increase in bandwidth. For example, when the bandwidth is doubled, the threshold sensitivity decreases by 3 dB.
- Rename products (replace the combination of any letters / numbers / symbols in the product name).
- Apply selected parameters in the table for all products with this bandwidth.
- Apply selected parameters in the table for all bandwidths for this product.
- Display the product specifications for the selected bandwidth in the form of a datasheet, which can be saved in PDF, Word, or Excel formats.
- Load product data from Pathloss RAF file PL50_ASCII_RADIO_SPEC_03/04 with ADMOD