RadioPlanner 2.1 User Manual

Mobile and Broadcast Network Planning

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3 
From the Developers

We’ve 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 the RadioPlanner application.


RadioPlanner was created by engineers with more than 20 years of experience in designing radio communication and broadcasting networks and is a full-featured, yet simple and convenient planning tool.

Features

RadioPlanner 2.1 is a tool for planning:
- GSM / WCDMA / CDMA / UMTS / LTE mobile networks
- TETRA / P25 / DMR / dPMR / NXDN / GSM-R /McWiLL land mobile radio networks
- Networks based on wireless IoT LPWAN technologies: LoRa and others
- DVB-H / DVB-T / DVB-T2 / ISDB-T / DAB / DAB+ terrestrial radio and television broadcast networks

- Air-to-ground communication systems and radio navigation operating in the VHF, UHF and microwave frequencies (Air-to-ground     radio, ADS-B, VOR, DME etc.)

RadioPlanner 2.1 uses the following propagation models:
-    ITU-R P.1812-4 model (for mobile and broadcasting)
-    Longley-Rice (ITM) model v 1.2.2 (for broadcasting only; for mobile coming soon)
-    Combined ITU-R P.528-3 + P.526-14 model (for aeronautical radio only)
 

RadioPlanner 2.1 performs various types of area studies for mobile networks:
-    Received Power uplink/downlink
-    Strongest Server (Best Server)
-    C/I ratio
-    Area with Signal above Both the Base and Mobile Thresholds

-    Number of servers above uplink

 

Area studies for terrestrial radio and television broadcast transmitters:
-    Field Strength at the Receiver Location
-    Strongest Server (Best Server)

-    FCC contours
-    Calculation of the population in the coverage area based on the OpenStreetMap project database
-    Generation of the list of localities covered by broadcasting

Area studies for air-to-ground communication systems:
-    Received power Air-to-Ground link
-    Received power Ground-to-Air link
-    Strongest (most likely) Server Air-to-Ground link

RadioPlanner allows you to do:

-    Frequency planning of radio networks considering co-channel and adjacent channels’ interference
-    Points calculation showing the profile of the path, losses, and levels of the signal and interference on co-channel and adjacent channels
-    Import the measurement results of the received signal power levels for comparison with calculated values and adjust propagation model parameters
-    Save the result of the coverage calculation as an interactive web page, as a raster image, or as a KMZ file
-    Flexible adjusting of the layers on the base map and show custom vector layers
 

 

GIS features:

-    SRTM-3 dataset is used as a digital terrain model. Data sources: USGS EarthExplorer site https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov
-    Landcover model with the different types of clutter (dense urban, urban, suburban, open land, water, and trees/forest). The landcover model was created based on OpenStreetMap (www.openstreetmap.org),  Global Forest Change (www.earthenginepartners.appspot.com) projects, and Built-in RadioPlanner. A simple and easy to use Clutter Editor will allow the user to prepare their own clutter model based on new satellite imagery.
-    Any kind of base map—both common (such as OpenStreetMap, OpenTopoMap, etc.) and custom ones.
 

Installation, Activation, and Registration

RadioPlanner supports Windows 7/8/8.1/10.

The minimum computer configuration is 32-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.


The recommended computer configuration is 64-bit Windows, Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, video card, and monitor with support for 1920x1080.


To use the full version of RadioPlanner, you should purchase a license.


Once you have successfully purchased RadioPlanner, you will receive an automated 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.


RadioPlanner 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 RadioPlanner software before installing the update.

User Interface

RadioPlanner has three different types of projects:


-    Mobile Radio
-    Radio or TV Broadcasting

-    Air-to-Ground Communication

The configuration of the program menu and the set of input parameters will depend on the choice of project type, so before starting, the user must select the project type in the Settings menu (see the Settings section). The general procedure for working with the software is almost the same regardless of the type of project.


This manual is divided into four parts - first, a description of the work with those program functions that are independent of the type of project, then a description of work with Mobile communications projects, then with TV and radio broadcasting projects, and finally with air-to-ground communications projects.
 

After the program starts, 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.


Different layers can be displayed on the base map — base stations, radio coverage, various additional vector layers, etc. You can choose to display one of the pre-installed base maps or customize your base map, as described in the Base map Settings section.
Navigation on the map is carried out using the mouse. Use the mouse wheel to zoom in on the map. You can also select the desired zoom from the drop-down list in the toolbar.

Toolbar and Main Menu

When you hover over each of the icons, a hint appears.

-  Standard tools for working with files: Create, Open, Save

 - The current zoom of the base map

- The current base map

- The tool "ruler", which allows measuring the 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 the distance between the points and the azimuth from first to second. To exit, right-click anywhere on the map.

 - Perform coverage calculation

- Save the coverage as a web page

- Save radio coverage as an image in * .png format

- Save radio coverage in *.kmz format

- Clutter Editor

- Calculator of the Noise-Adjusted Faded Performance Threshold

- Help

More information about each of the tools is described later in the relevant sections of the manual.

Figure 1. Tree View interface

Project Information

A new project is created automatically when RadioPlanner is launched. 

There are standard buttons: New, Open, Save, Save As on the File menu, which allow performing standard file operations. A project file can be saved with the extension *.rplx. This file contains all of the information about the project.

You can specify the project’s general information in the project information panel. 

Figure 2. Project Information

Project name                  Text field 

Customer                        Text field
Data                                  Text field - When creating a new project, it records the date and time of the project creation.

Settings

Before you start working with the software, you must configure the settings.

Figure 3. Settings

Project Settings
Type of Project                                       -    Mobile Radio Communication
                                                                  -    Radio or TV Broadcasting
                                                                  -    Air-to-Ground Communication
                                                                   Before changing the project type, save the current project, as the program will create a                                                                    new project. The type of project will determine the configuration of the application                                                                              menu.

Distance and Height Units                   -   Metric
                                                                 -    English
Coordinate Format                               -    Decimal Degrees (N44.345678 W134.567893)
                                                                 -    Degrees, Minutes, Seconds (N44 34’ 23.7’’ W134 29’ 23,4’’)
                                                                 -    Degrees, Decimal Minutes (N44 34.2356’ W134 29.2354’)
Coordinate System                              -    WGS-84
                                                                 -    SK-42
                                                                 -    GSK-2011
Application Settings
Path to Folder with Cache Files            The path to the folder where downloaded basemap tiles will be saved for quick                                                                                  access.This will speed up the application. The downloaded maps will remain on your                                                                         computer,  and you will be able to view them when you do not have an Internet                                                                                   connection. This folder is created automatically when the application is launched for                                                                         the first time. You can change this folder.
Path to Folder with Data Files              The path to the folder where the downloaded SRTM and clutter files will be saved for                                                                        quick access. This will speed up the application. Moreover, the downloaded files will                                                                          remain on your computer, and the application will be able to use them and create a                                                                            terrain profile when you don’t have an Internet connection. This folder is created                                                                                  automatically when the application is launched for the first time. You can change this                                                                        folder.
Proxy Settings                                         If you are using a proxy server to access the Internet, enter its IP-address and port                                                                             number. If the proxy server requires authentication, enter the username and password

Bas Map Settings
You can configure your own custom basemap by specifying a tile server URL.


The prototype URL encapsulates a request format that is specific to the map provider and it varies from map provider to map provider. It consists of a text string that begins with http://, has a domain name and possible parameters, plus some symbols that RadioPlanner substitutes with real-time tile request information when actually contacting the server.
 

Below is a detailed explanation of how prototype URLs are constructed. The possible symbols that RadioPlanner accepts in the prototype URL are: [X], [Y] and [Z] coordinates and zoom.


To lookup map imagery in their database, most map providers use tile coordinates of x and y, plus zoom. As an example, the OpenStreetMap provides map imagery using x, y, and zoom. We can test-fetch a map tile of a portion of North America by typing the following URL into a web browser:


http://a.tile.openstreetmap.org/3/1/2.png 


The numbers at the end of the URL represent zoom, x, and y, respectively. The OpenStreetMap fetches the map tile corresponding to x = 1, y = 2, and zoom = 3.

In order for RadioPlanner to properly fetch tiles from a map provider, a generalized prototype URL scheme must be furnished. This generalized URL scheme will be used by RadioPlanner to fetch any tile, at any coordinate, with any zoom. To accomplish this, the symbols "[X]," "[Y]," and "[Z]" (without the quotes) are inserted in the place of explicit coordinates.


For example, creating custom map types in RadioPlanner for OpenStreetMap can be accomplished by mixing the known specific URLs above with the symbols representing x, y, and zoom to form a custom map prototype URL (try these in the custom maps setup screen):
 


http://a.tile.openstreetmap.org/[Z]/[X]/[Y].png

Map Layers

In the Map Layers menu, the user can control layers that are displayed on the map. The order of the layers in the menu corresponds to the order on the map (the base map is below all of the layers, sites are on top of all of the layers).

Figure 4. Map Layers

Sites

Sites are base stations or transmitters for TV and radio broadcasting, depending on the type of project.

Show layer                           Show/hide site layer
Show all sites                      Show all sites
Show only active sites       Show only active sites
Show site names                Show site names
Show sector directions     Show sector direction according to antenna azimuth
Site marker                       Choose marker for sites
Site font style                   Change font type for sites

Custom Layers (KML, CSV)

The user can load and display as a layer on the map any point or linear vector objects in KML format. This may be, for example, power lines, piping, and the results of measurements of signal levels. 


Point objects can also be downloaded from a CSV file (text format, where the separator is a semicolon).
This is a universal format in which you can save a spreadsheet from any spreadsheet editor (Excel, LibreOffice Calc, and others), as well as databases.

The required fields for each point object are Parameter, Latitude, and Longitude. Format coordinates - HEMISPHERE degrees minutes seconds (N35 23.8 36) or HEMISPHERE decimal degrees (N12.34567). As a parameter, there can be any text that appears at the point with the specified coordinates. This may be, for example, the measurement result or the name of the object.

Figure 5. Sample CSV file with measurement results

Figure 6. An example of the display of measurement results on the map

The user also can quickly create point objects on the map. To do this, right-click on the point location and in the context menu that appears, select “Add a new point to the ‘Custom Points’ layer,” and then specify the point name. The point will appear on the map and it will also be added to the “Custom Points” layer, which will be automatically created when the user creates the first point object. The created point objects can also be deleted - to do this, right-click on the point and select “Delete the nearest point in the ‘Custom Points’ layer.”

Figure 7. Adding a point feature to a map

Custom layers are saved in the project file.

Load a custom layer (KML, CSV file)

Delete selected custom layer

Position the map on the first point of the selected layer

Save points from the selected layer to a CSV file

Name                The name of the user layer. Initially corresponds to the file name, but can be changed.
Show                 Show/hide custom map layer
Marker              Select a marker for the item (only for point objects)
Line width        Specify the line width in pixels (only for line)
Line color          Specify line color (only for line)

Coverage

Controlling the layer with the result of the calculation of the radio coverage.

Show layer         Show/hide layer 
Transparency    Set layer opacity in the range from 0 (fully transparent) to 10 (not transparent)

Clutter

Control the landcover layer. The landcover layer is displayed starting with Zoom = 11.

Figure 8. Clutter map example

Colors that show clutter:

Show layer                   Show/hide layer 
                                       Download landcover within the screen area. This command will be required if the calculation of radio                                           coverage in this area has not been performed yet.
Transparency              Layer opacity in the range from 0 (fully transparent) to 10 (not transparent)

Base Map

Base map layer control.

Show layer                 Show/hide the layer 
Base map name       Choose a base map from a set of maps. Base map names and addresses of tile servers                                                                         are specified in the Settings menu.
Show in grayscale    Show base map in grayscale
Grayscale level          Brightness from the range 0 (darker) - 3 (lighter)

Saving the Result of Coverage Calculation

The result of the calculation of any type of radio coverage can be saved as an interactive web page, an image file, or KMZ file.

             Save the coverage as a webpage - Save the result of the calculation as an interactive webpage. The application allows the user to select the location and the name of the directory in which the result is saved. The index.html file (this is the page script), the bs.png file (base station icon), and the folder with the radio coverage tile pyramid {ZOOM} / {X} / {Y} will be saved to the specified directory. To open a web page, open the index.html file using your browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.). The specified folder with the script and the pyramid of tiles can be archived and forwarded to the customer.


Also, the resulting webpage can be placed on a web server for viewing in any browser and on any of the operating systems (Windows, Mac, IOS, Android, and Linux).


This webpage allows you to:
-    Choose a base map from four different base maps;
-    Change zoom
-    View basic data from the legend
-    Display the scale and current coordinates of the cursor

 

For the operation of the web page, you’ll need access to the Internet, since the base maps are downloaded from the corresponding resources.


A folder with a pyramid of tiles can be used for more than just this script. For example, it can be connected to any GIS that supports working with tiles, which will allow you to demonstrate the result of the calculation of radio coverage as a layer on any GIS (QGIS, MapInfo, ArcGIS, SAS.Planet, and others).
 

Figure 9. An example of the result as an interactive web page

             Save the coverage as an image - Save the result of the calculation of radio coverage as an image file in *.png format.

 

Before saving the image, the user can select the area of the saved coverage using the appearing frame (in this case, you can move both the border of the frame and the map itself).

When saving an image, the user also selects its resolution. Resolution may correspond with the current size or be two or four times larger. The better the resolution, the larger the size of the saved file. The maximum size of the bitmap image is approximately 5400x4400 pixels; the file size in the *.png format is about 10 MB.


A scale bar appears in the lower-left corner of the saved image.

Figure 10. Selecting the area and resolution of the saved image

             Save the calculation result as a KMZ file - Save the calculation result as a KMZ file, which can be opened in Google Earth.

Reports

In the Report menu, you can create several types of equipment reports - short, complete, for all base stations, or for only active base stations.
Using the toolbar, which is located above the report, you can print it as well as save it in PDF, Microsoft Word, or Excel formats.

Figure 11. Text report example