January 20, 2005 - Vancouver, WA

Note: We apologize if you received this letter twice. Our intention is certainly not to spam you. However, during the first transmission of the news letter the list server we were using crashed and we had to reload the information back on it, losing the list of people who had already received it. The system is back up and working properly now so it shouldn't happen again. We did add an article about testing wireless links near the end of this second copy. Thanks for patience and understanding.


The Webmaster

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Welcome to the first edition of Qnews, Qorvus Systems bi-monthly newsletter. Well do our best to make it both brief and useful! As always, your suggestions are most welcome.

Tom Sharples

New Software:

After several months of development and extensive testing, the latest release of our flagship wireless mesh software product, Qcode 2.2, is now available. This new release includes a number of exciting additional features and capabilities that are a direct result of your feedback. They include:

  • System status and health at-a-glance- youll immediately see if your tunnels, DHCP server, or other vital functions are loaded and working properly.
  • Wireless packet retry and packet-loss graphing over time, which is a real help in tracking down intermittent RF link problems or weather-related issues. See Adam Sayler's article at the end of this newsletter, about how to use this feature.
  • Self-refreshing site-survey tool that shows on and off-channel adjacent APs
  • View System Log File, Job List, Routing Table and WDS Links directly from the web interface, no need to ssh into the system.
  • Greatly improved NAT and PAT tables entry- no more colons, comma delimiters, etc
  • More versatile captive portal with built-in support for splash via remote server. This allows you to update your splash page just once, instead of on each node. Together with the walled garden features this can be a very useful marketing tool, while making it easy on the operator to make changes.
  • Qlink_test added as a command-line speed test between any node to any other node. This lets you easily test your links in whole or part without the effects of internet delays or bottlenecks.
  • Tool-tip help comprehensive contextual help available right at the interface itself- no need to refer to another document. Just mouse-over the to the left of each function, for detailed balloon help written by our senior technical staff.

This latest release is available at no additional charge to current customers upon request. Pricing for Qcode remains at $100 per node for internet upgrades ($125 for preloaded CF), which includes all necessary on-line and email support, 6 months of free updates (customer initiated) and hour of phone support per copy.

New Hardware:

After a lot of careful design and testing, weve decided its time to release Qnode Jr, an outdoor mesh router based on the WRAP / PC engines board! After some of the initial bad experience weve all had with the WRAPs, it took us a long time to get comfortable with them. But a combination of software fine-tuning, a well-shielded heavy-duty enclosure, and several hardware improvements has produced an excellent design that is fully compatible with our existing Qnode and has the advantage of smaller size and a lower cost, while performing very well for many applications. The main differences are:

  • List price fully equipped with Qcode 2.2 and PoE is $795 instead of $1095
  • Dual radio version is $995 instead of $1395
  • Size is about of the original Qnode at 5 x 8
  • Indestructo ribbed aluminum case- you could drive a small truck over it
  • Highest-quality components and workmanship
  • Lower CPU speed means longer boot-up times but also lower current draw
  • RF signal-to-noise using mini PCI Senao NL-2511 is a few db worse than with the smc2532w radios we use in the original Qnode. However its still fine for most typical installations.
  • Traditional heavy-duty u-bolt mounting hardware instead of gear-drive stainless strap attachment. We may change this at some point because we like the original Qnodes mounting better but for now this is a good way to contain your costs.

While Qnode Jr. is still not the first choice for use as a gateway in a large mesh due to possibility of CPU overload and traffic slowdown (the original Qnode is better there), it works very well as a single or dual-radio repeater node in large meshes and even as a gateway AP in hotspot or tourist-oriented uses like hotels, convention centers, etc.

We are accepting orders now, for delivery in 3 to 4 weeks. As always, this product is guaranteed to perform satisfactorily, or your purchase price will be refunded upon system return within 30 days in good condition.

Weve also made a couple of changes in the original Qnode. The most important- it now ships with 48-volt PoE standard- so you can mount it at any reasonable distance from the injector without worrying about voltage drops. Of course, good installation practice with respect to grounding, lightning protection, and so forth is still mandatory for a reliable system!

New Installations:

Were pleased to report a number of recent successful installations for Qorvus Qnode and Qcode mesh technology, including large networks in Silicon Valley, New Zealand, Florida, Holiday Inns in the Midwest, and several remote monitoring and RFID installations for asset tracking and Homeland Security applications. Some of these installations required extensive custom engineering for special applications, and we really appreciate the confidence our new clients have shown in our technology.

WISPNOG seminar!

Qorvus is participating in the WISPNOG technical seminar (Wireless Internet Service Providers Network Operating Group) in Chicago on February 17th and 18th, with a $250 discount coupon good toward Qnode, Qcode or MeshCam. In addition, well be doing a 2-hour private presentation of our technology open to all attendees. Tentatively this is scheduled for 3:00 on Thursday, February 17th. Looks to be a great show, hope to see you all there!

Technically Speaking:

Ever have a problem with the radio link on your mesh? Maybe this will help. -by Adam Sayler

Odds and ends

Were in the process of revising our accessory offerings to include a couple of the more commonly-used preassembled options. These will include a roof-mount tripod with either an 8db omni or multiple sector antennas preinstalled with multi-channel Qnode(s), and several sector antenna offerings. Meanwhile were dropping the captive 8db antenna with lmr cable and connector- much as we like this concept the reality is that the15 premade length was never right, and its just a better solution to offer custom lengths that meet your specific needs. We hope to have this all figured out and posted within the next few weeks.

If you havent looked lately at our meshforum or meshnotes, this would be a great time- weve really expanded the available information on both sites quite a bit over the past few weeks.

Were in the process of simplifying our internet download options so that the customer can initiate the process directly. This should be available within the next several weeks.

Once again, we really appreciate your ongoing support, and wish you the very best for a healthy and prosperous 2005.


Your Team at Qorvus Systems

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