What is Wi-Fi? What is WiMAX? What is a base station? What is a subscriber station?
Wi-Fi and WiMAX are wireless technologies that enable connectivity between devices in different locations without the use of wires. This results in lower installation costs and faster network deployments. Many such wireless links make a wireless network which can be monitored and managed by the operator from central location. Wi-Fi and WiMAX are complementary technologies so that a wireless network can have both types of devices.
For every wireless link, one of the wireless devices will serve as the "master" and the other will serve as the "slave". The master device is called Base Station (BS), while the slave is called Subscriber Station (SS). Subscriber Stations are also called Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) since they are usually located at a customer location. Effectively, a base station manages one or more subscriber stations. This management from the base station is essential so that all devices operate in co-operation and do not interfere with one another.
What are Sloka's products and services?
In its portfolio, Sloka carries WiMAX, Wi-Fi and LTE. Details of these products are on the Products page.
Sloka also delivers services in many core engineering activities that span hardware and software. Details are on the Services page.
Our products and services put together enable delivery of solutions in a diverse range of applications - backhauls, residential broadband, enterprise connectivity, VoIP or video surveillance. Details are available on the Solutions page.
Does Sloka assist in RF planning, system integration and network deployment?
We realize that some customers prefer a one-stop solution. In addition to selling our wireless products, we work closely with customers in many aspects of network deployment to offer a complete and optimal solution. Among the things that we offer in this regard are:
- Engaging with customers to do RF planning and cell-site location.
- Network planning to match customer's requirements of capacity and performance.
- Recommendation of suitable network devices.
- Recommendation of suitable antennas.
- Integration of third-party equipment into Sloka's solution.
- Full integration of all network elements including monitoring capability.
Can Sloka assist in managing my network?
Definitely. Often customers do not want the burden of employing dedicated resources for network management. Allowing Sloka to manage customer networks drives down operational costs for customers. In addition, Sloka's dedicated operational team is well-trained to troubleshoot problems quickly and minimize network downtime.
If I purchase Sloka's products, what support services can I expect?
Sloka is committed to giving customers local and customized support to each customer. We understand that customers look for quick responses and adequate support. Our customer support team is competent to provide the following:
- First-level customer support to respond quickly to common problems.
- Interfacing internal teams with customers for second-level technical support to address complex issues.
- Latest user manuals, release notes, FAQ and other documentation.
- Assist in network replanning or optimization if requirements of deployment change.
- Engaging actively with customers to understand requirements for future product releases and roadmaps.
- On-site visits when requested to enable better system integration.
What is Sloka's general policy towards Annual Maintenance Cost/Contract (AMC)?
AMC is free when the product is under warranty. AMC is void if product's warranty period has expired. It is therefore advisable for customers to opt for AMC to avail full support services after the product warranty period.
At Sloka, our engineers are continuously improving product performance and usability. AMC enables customers to obtain these improvements via regular upgrades.
Outside the warranty period, AMC does not cover component repair/replacement, RMA and labour costs.
What are the quality processes followed at Sloka?
Quality processes at Sloka are based on the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). These processes and their results are regularly audited by an external quality consultant. The motivation is to deliver to market products of better quality consistently while improving the efficiency of the processes. Among the things we do to improve quality are:
- Regular reviews at all stages of product development.
- Software configuration management and formalized release versioning.
- Use of industry standard tools and processes to exchange information.
- Use of Sloka Intranet to enable knowledge management, planning and task tracking.
- Collection of metrics on resource utilization, coding, test coverage, product performance, to name a few.
- Formal process of capturing requirements and tracking them to test cases.
Is Sloka's advantage protected by patents?
Sloka's unique architecture is protected by United States Patent Application 20090298544. Titled as Software Defined Base Station, it makes 20 claims. This patent enables Sloka:
- To manufacture and sell outdoor base stations at a price significantly lower than what our competitors can offer.
- To customize or reconfigure devices easily for various applications.
- To port our solutions to different platforms in the shortest time-to-market.
How do I become a distributor of Sloka's products?
If you wish to become a domestic distributor or an international distributor for Sloka's products, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the product variants in WiMAX portfolio?
Sloka's WiMAX portfolio includes the following variants:
- Sepia 1000 Series Base Stations - suitable for Point-to-Point (PTP) connectivity.
- Sapphire 6000 Series Base Stations - suitable for Point-to-Multipoint (PMP) connectivity. A maximum 50 subscriber stations can be connected to a single base station.
- Subscriber Stations - commonly called Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), these are available with integrated antennas or with provision to connect to external antennas.
- Indigo EMS - Web-based network monitoring software.
More details on these are available on the WiMAX Products page.
What are the product variants in Wi-Fi portfolio?
Sloka's Wi-Fi portfolio includes Ruby Series Wi-Fi Access Point which has the following variants:
- Output power of 21 dBm.
- Output power of 26 dBm.
- Output power of 28 dBm.
This product has both integrated antenna of 17 dBi and provision to connect an external antenna on the same device. User can activate the antenna of choice.
Indigo EMS has the capability to monitor Sloka's Wi-Fi devices in addition to WiMAX devices.
Should I go for Sloka's Wi-Fi or WiMAX product lines?
Sloka sales team will assist you in selecting the right product to meet your exact requirements. Selection will depend on deployment scenario, bandwidth requirement, terrain profile and QoS guarantees that you may provide to your customers. Wi-Fi has a cost advantage over WiMAX. On the other hand, WiMAX has certain features unavailable in Wi-Fi.
In general, the following recommendations can be made:
- For Point-to-Point deployments that do not require QoS differentiation, Wi-Fi is sufficient.
- For bandwidth requirements that exceed 30 Mbps, Wi-Fi is the solution.
- Where QoS differentiation is required, WiMAX is the solution.
- For deployments in the licensed spectrum range of 3.3-3.6 GHz, WiMAX is the solution.
- If the operator chooses to use larger channel bandwidths (up to 40 MHz), Wi-Fi is the solution. Sloka's WiMAX products are limited to 10 MHz.
What product should I choose for backhaul aggregation?
Wi-Fi is the preferred technology for backhaul aggregation. Although WiMAX will work just as well, the ability to provide multiple QoS on a backhaul link is usually not required. If the bandwidth requirement is above 30 Mbps, Wi-Fi is the only solution.
What is the maximum and typical range/throughput of a Sloka wireless link?
Often a marketing claim is made that WiMAX can deliver 70 Mbps over 50 kms. While WiMAX links can operate at 50 kms and also deliver high throughputs, government regulations that cap transmission power mean that both cannot be achieved at the same time. For this reason, range and throughout must often be discussed together. The choice of antenna, terrain profile and the presence of interferers (particularly in unlicensed bands) are significant factors. Sloka's Wi-Fi products use higher channel bandwidth than WiMAX products. Hence they are able to achieve a higher Throughput.
Sloka's products have the following capability:
- Sloka's WiMAX products in a PMP scenario can deliver 30 Mbps full-duplex at a range of 3 kms.
- Sloka's WiMAX products in a PTP scenario can deliver 30 Mbps full-duplex at a range of 10 kms.
- Sloka's WiMAX products in a PTP scenario can deliver 3 Mbps full-duplex at a range of 45 kms.
- Sloka's Wi-Fi products can deliver 100 Mbps full-duplex at a range of 10 kms.
- Sloka's Wi-Fi products can deliver 35 Mbps full-duplex at a range of 20 kms.
- Sloka's Wi-Fi products can deliver 10 Mbps full-duplex at a range of 75 kms.
What frequency bands and channel bandwidths are supported by Sloka's products?
WiMAX products are available in both licensed and unlicensed bands. Wi-Fi products are available in unlicensed bands. Differences in regulations mean that spectrum licensing is not the same in all countries.
Sloka products support the following:
- WiMAX in 3.3-3.6 GHz licensed band at bandwidths of 3.5, 7 and 10 MHz.
- WiMAX in 5.8 GHz unlicensed band at bandwidths of 3.5, 7 and 10 MHz.
- Wi-Fi in 5.1-5.9 GHz unlicensed band at bandwidths of 5, 10, 20 and 40 MHz.
Can Sloka equipment be used in near-line-of-sight deployments?
Line-of-sight (LOS) is the best case for deploying wireless networks. However, sometimes when LOS is not available due to obstables between the transmitter and the receiver, a near-LOS operation may be possible. Sloka's products in combination with suitable antennas can be used for such deployments.
What is the warranty period on Sloka's products?
All base stations and subscriber stations have a warranty of one year. Indigo EMS is covered under software warranty in which the software is supplied "as it is".
Do I require special cabinets or air-conditioned rooms to operate Sloka base station?
Certainly not. Sloka equipment are compact and operate on minimal power requirements. Heat dissipation is taken care of by design, which means that special air-conditioned rooms are not required. Sloka equipment can be installed outdoors on walls or poles. They can operate in ambient temperature of 0°C to 50°C.
Is Sloka equipment protected from lightning and power surges?
Sloka equipment have on-board surge protection modules. Lightning protectors are generally installed on towers or inserted between antennas and devices. Sloka can recommend suitable lightning protectors for this purpose.
How many subscribers can be supported by a single base station?
Both Wi-Fi and WiMAX products can support up to 50 subscriber stations.
Does Sloka solution support triple-play services?
Yes. Voice, video and high-bandwidth data can be simultaneously carried by Sloka products. Since each service type generally requires individual QoS guarantees, WiMAX is best-suited for triple-play. Although Sloka's Wi-Fi products can support triple-play, QoS differentiation is not possible.
What are the power requirements of Sloka devices?
Power requirements of Sloka devices are as follows:
- WiMAX base station and subscriber station: 48 VDC, maximum current of 1 A, power consumption < 10 W, power delivery via Power-over-Ethernet (PoE).
- Wi-Fi base station and subscriber station: 24 VDC, power delivery via Power-over-Ethernet (PoE).
Since power requirements are quite low, this enables alternative sources of power. For example, solar cells could be easily used to power a Sloka base station in rural or semi-urban areas where conventional power sources are not available.
What are the standard certifications granted on Sloka base stations and subscriber stations?
Sloka products conform to the following standards:
- FCC Part 15
- Canadian ICES-003 class B digital apparatus
What are the advantages of Indigo NMS over other network monitoring software?
Every network requires an Network Management System (NMS) to configure network devices, monitor and manage their operations. While there are many network monitoring softwares out there, some of which are freeware, Indigo NMS is customized to Sloka's product offering. Coupled with quality processes and tools, this implies the following specific advantages:
- Indigo NMS is a web-based solution developed using standard tools. This enables Sloka to develop features and provide upgrades quickly.
- Being web-based, Indigo NMS needs to be installed on only one server. Multiple users can monitor the network remotely from different computers. Other networking solutions, when installed on multiple systems, have a performance overhead since each server will poll network devices independently.
- Indigo NMS presents data in a manner that simplifies troubleshooting and performance analysis. This includes technology specific knowledge of WiMAX, Wi-Fi or LTE, something most other monitoring solutions do not provide.
- Indigo NMS pre-configures many settings to suitable defaults that enables a "plug-and-play" solution. Once a base station is added or discovered into NMS, the base station and links to all its subscriber stations are monitored immediately without manual configuration from user.
- Since the interface of Indigo NMS has been designed with usability in mind, navigation is easy and intuitive. Finding information is quick and just a couple of clicks away. Using Indigo NMS is easy to learn.
What are the minimum system requirements to install and run Indigo NMS?
Indigo NMS runs only on Windows operating system. The minimum requirements are as follows:
- Windows 7, Vista or XP operating systems
- 2 GHz processor
- 2 GB of RAM
- 5 GB of storage space
How many Base Stations and Subscriber Stations can Indigo NMS manage?
On a typical installation conforming to minimum system requirements, Indigo NMS can manage 50 base stations (BS) and 200 subscriber stations (SS). Although more BS and SS can be monitored by NMS, user will experience slower system response. Given that NMS is designed with scalability in mind, performance can be improved by upgrades to the hardware so that larger networks can be monitored.
Can I customize the look-and-feel of Indigo NMS?
Yes. Customization is possible both at application level (which affects all users) and also at user level.
Customers can customize Indigo NMS in many ways which include:
- Replacing Sloka logo/name with customer's own logo/name.
- Activating a different theme in place of factory default theme. Theme changes colour schemes, font styles and more.
- Changing NMS configuration files to suit customer's specific network to improve performance and simplify monitoring.
- Changing preferences for e-mail and SMS notifications.
How do I upgrade my Indigo NMS license?
License file can be obtained from Sloka Customer Support (email@example.com). Since license is generated based on server MAC address, Customer Support would require the MAC address to generate the license file.
Without requiring reinstallation of Indigo NMS, license file can be upgraded. This avoids NMS downtime. New license will take effect immediately once the upgrade is complete. License can be uploaded to NMS server in one of two ways:
- If NMS is still accessible, license file can be uploaded from NMS GUI. Refer to NMS User Manual for details.
- If NMS is not accessible because the previous license expired, license file can be uploaded using any backend method such as FTP. The file should be copied to the folder NMS_INSTALLED_DIRECTORY/Tomcat 7.0/conf
What are the parameters controlled by Indigo NMS licensing?
- Maximum number of base stations - this puts a limit on the number of base stations that can be monitored.
- Date of expiry - after this date, NMS will not be accessible.
How do I get software upgrades?
Software upgrades are automatically available to customers who have subscribed to AMC. Whenever a new release is available, Sloka Customer Support will get in touch with you.
What if I require a feature that is currently not available in Indigo NMS?
Customer Support works closely with customers on a continual basis to understand requirements. If a feature is not available, it may become available in a future release of Indigo NMS.
If the requested feature involves significant effort, a cost may be involved in developing the same. Part of this cost may be covered by AMC if the customer has subscribed to it.