Using MikroTik LHG as a UE With a Baicells eNodeB

MikroTik LHG – RBLHGR&R11e-4G

This has been a dream for a long time, and a DIY project for those industrious individuals willing to cobble it together, but now it is a reality in a production device.

First of all why would you want to do that? Well, would you like advanced features at the customer location like Layer2 via EoIP or VPLS, rate limiting at the UE, advanced queueing, a more directional antenna and on an on, all the cool features we enjoy with RouterOS? It is here in the MikroTik LHG.

To make the LHG work with your Baicells eNodeB, first understand what it will not do. First, it will not show up in the CloudCore as a UE. So, to manage it remotely you will need to use an ACS with TR-069 or Unimus or some other management system. Secondly, some people have reported it will not connect to the base station as fast as other UE’s but the throughput speeds are generally better.

The only real configuration required is to insert a registered SIM card in the device and boot it up. There has been some debate whether or not the default APN has to be changed in the LTE setup. We have seen it work with no changes to the APN and other times the APN Name has to be changed to 1 . Some people claim you have to uncheck bands other than Band 43.

So, we are going to set one up here at our office and test it on our Baicells LTE network and post the results back here. If you have any experience, please email me through our Support System and let me know. I will include your experiences and comments here. Good luck!

UPDATE 5-1-19

I set up one here in our office. The only setting I made was to set the Band to Band 43 only. I used the default APN and it connected immediately. The one challenge I had was getting the SIM in correctly, it is not obvious. It did not work the first way I had it. I called Jim Bouse and he sent me his config which matched mine and so I tried flipping the SIM and it came right up. Here is how it goes in the slot:

Here are the property pages of my LTE interface:

I think this is a great setup!

How to configure Baicells LTE for a WISP Network

With so many options of NAT, Router, Bridged, etc., it can be overwhelming to create the correct architecture for your first Baicells LTE deployment the first time.  To facilitate this for you, I created a Baicells LTE HowTo Knowledge Base article that outlines the best fit scenario for LTE deployments for WISPs. You can read the article HERE.

Baicells LTE Adds Halo B Support

HaloB is a feature that Baicells LTE introduced in February of 2018. Any Baicells eNodeB (eNB) can be purchased with or upgraded to HaloB through software feature activation. A HaloB eNB eliminates the transport layer between the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and the eNB by embedding a “Lite EPC” directly on the eNB. Therefore, critical control plane signaling is kept local.

With HaloB installed, S1 (transport) failures are eliminated. This removes wireless PTP backhaul failures, fiber outages, or routing mistakes from causing customer service disruption. CloudCore is still available for OMC monitoring and upgrade functions, as well as the BOSS HSS functions. SIM card activation and bandwidth package assignment are still performed by the BOSS. Operators using the Baicells API for billing software integration will see no change. When a UE attempts to attach to a HaloB eNB, the HaloB contacts the BOSS to verify the IMSI is valid and active and collects the bandwidth packages. All information is downloaded to the HaloB memory bank. Once stored, the UE will remain attached indefinitely. In the event of an eNB or UE reboot, attachment only needs to check the local HaloB memory data for the UE to reattach.

SIM card IMSIs can attach to multiple HaloB eNBs, and each will store the SIM data for future attachments. In the event of a rare CloudCore outage, new installs may not be able to attach during the outage if the SIM data has never been downloaded from the BOSS before. This is not a mission-critical event in most cases and once the CloudCore connection is resumed, the HaloB eNB will collect the SIM data for the new install and commence attachment.

With HaloB:

  • Operators entering the world of fixed LTE wireless have a lower initial investment.
  • The simplified structure means there is no need for professional design and maintenance.
  • The self-configuration, plug-and-play deployment model means a shorter time-to-market (TTM) and faster return-on-investment (ROI).
  • Operators can provide a Layer 2 environment for SMEs and LAN gaming.
  • The eNBs and the core network functions are decoupled.
  • The control plane is processed within HaloB; user equipment will always be online.

What does Halo B Cost?

Per eNodeB: BAICELLS-HALOB-1 $249.99
Per 10 eNodeB’s: BAICELLS-HALOB-10 $1999.99.

Ready to add Halo B?  Now in stock at ISP Supplies HERE.

Getting Started With Baicells LTE

Baicells has created a new “LTE How To” for new WISP operators.  As you may already know, Baicells equipment is Plug & Play and by far the easiest LTE devices to set up and add to your current network. Many common startup problems evolve from the operator making too many changes during startup. Keep it simple to start with and tweak settings after the system is live.

The new guide can be found HERE.

One thing you will notice in the guide is that the simplicity of the product is enhanced by the fact that UE’s (CPE devices) and eNodeB’s (Base Stations) must be associated with the new owner’s CloudCore account to operate.   ISP Supplies is the only distributor that automates that process through our custom application, SIMPro. SIMPro allows us to scan the serial numbers of eNodeB’s and the IMSI’s of UE Sim Cards into our database, tie them to your SIMPro account and automatically email them to Baicells for provisioning.  You can even add notes to the devices in the SimPro app.  When your product arrives, it is ready to deploy.

Baicells LTE SimPro

LTE is the future of fixed wireless and you can learn more on my blog.

ISP Supplies is one of the largest Baicells LTE distributors in North America with hundreds of successful LTE deployments.  Our knowledgeable sales engineers are standing by to assist you in designing and deploying LTE in your existing or startup network.  For access to SimPro or to discuss fixed LTE, call us today at 855-947-7776.

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