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AVCOM Of Virginia Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I remotely monitor and control Avcom spectrum analyzers?

Yes. Our remote software(Graphical User Interface or GUI) allows this for serial or ethernet connections from anywhere in the world.

What kind of automated spectrum monitoring and alarming does the remote software provide?

The GUI has two means of automated monitoring: The first is an automation tool called Data Acquisition(DAQ) that uses a customer-generated test script to tune the analyzer, take measurements, and compare the measurements to tolerances. Measurements that are out of tolerance will generate audible and visual alerts and optional email messages and/or SNMP notifications. DAQ can tune to anywhere within the capabilities of the analyzer, on any of its available RF Inputs, and can even switch between your analyzers you have in your custom Spectrum Analyzer List. The second is called Shape Alarms that takes your signal and uses it as high and low references. Once you Lock the references, if your signal deviates outside of those references the GUI generate audible and visual alerts and optional email messages and/or SNMP notifications.

What does the DAQ and Shape Alarm monitoring software cost?

Nothing. They are included with our software and only needs to be enabled and configured.

Can multiple users view and/or control the same analyzer?

Yes. The current generation analyzer supports one TCP session with a remote client such as the AVCOM GUI. But with a feature in the GUI called GUI Network enabled, that GUI becomes a data server for up to 10 other GUIs anywhere in the world. A data server and traditional installed application requires significantly less network bandwidth that an embedded web server and has been a wildly popular feature with our customers that use satellite networks and their expensive bandwidth to connect remote clients.

How Should I to Contact if I Have Any Queries?

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What does the GUI Network software cost?

Nothing. It is included with our remote software and only needs to be enabled and configured for your analyzers and network.

How do I get started with the remote software?

If this is your first GUI install then you need the Standard GUI Full version from the CD included with your analyzer or available from the Avcom website’s Download page. Once you have installed the GUI look for the Spectrum Analyzer List control box and you will see several items called Slot#1 through Slot#4. These are various model analyzers located in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Select one of these Spectrum Analyzer List items for the GUI to connect to them and you can control and tune those analyzers remotely. If you cannot connect to one it is because someone else is using that analyzer. For multiple users to connect to the same analyzer all GUIs must have their GUI Network feature enabled and this is not practical to configure for unrelated customers. There is a PDF manual in the GUI menu under Help – Open GUI User Guide.

I just received my new analyzer. How do I get started?

  1. Unpack the analyzer and look for the 15Vdc power adapter, cable kit, and CD. Look in the CD contents for the Avcom GUI vX.X installation executable. Install the GUI.
  2. Plug in the power adapter to the mains and the analyzer. If there is a power switch on your analyzer turn it on.
  3. Find the red ethernet crossover cable included with the analyzer and plug it from the analyzer directly into your computer. If you are using a router connect your own straight ethernet cable from the router to the analyzer.
  4. Install and run the Avcom GUI.
  5. In the GUI select Configure/Ethernet Connection. Select Scan for Devices and give it time to find your analyzer. If the Scan tool cannot find your analyzer you may need to use the direct crossover cable from the analyzer to the computer to find and configure the ethernet parameters.
  6. Once the Scan tool finds the analyzer you can Change the IP address to one that is valid for your network.
  7. Close the Scan window to return to the Configure Ethernet window. The factory default TCP port number is 26482. If this has been changed and you do not know what the existing port number is then select Query and Import Current Settings to get the current port number.
  8. Now that you have configured the analyzer’s ethernet parameters you are ready to configure the GUI to address the analyzer properly. Go to Configure/Spectrum Analyzer List and use the new(valid) IP address and TCP port number to Add a new item to the Spectrum Analyzer List.

How can I create my own remote software to communicate with the analyzer?

  • Contact Avcom to request the protocol documentation. Much of the Avcom protocol document relates to the Avcom analyzers with LCD display, but for the basic analyzer without display you only need to focus on several things to communicate with it via serial or ethernet(TCP).

Get the Hardware Description from the analyzer to discover what the analyzer is and its current tuning parameters are.

Get a Waveform Packet from the analyzer and interpret it for display.

For Tuning the analyzer set the desired tuning parameters and send a Change Settings packet to the analyzer.

What is the network bandwidth requirement of a remote spectrum analyzer?

The analyzer waveform packets are approximately 500bytes. The actual packet is less but typical TCP overhead without acceleration adds more so 500 is a good number for approximations. With a typical ethernet connection and analyzer Span the GUI can request and the analyzer can reply with 8 waveforms per second(Refresh Rate=8). So the network data rate is approximately 4000 bytes per second or 40kbps. If the analyzer is tuned down towards 0 MHz Span then the analyzer can generate up to 14 waveforms per second and the data rate rises accordingly.

How does the remote spectrum analyzer handle latency and links which are subject to loss and interference?

The GUI allows up to 2000ms of round-trip latency. A loss of network connectivity will cause the GUI to eventually disconnect and try to reestablish comms with the analyzer. When the network connection is restored the GUI will reconnect automatically and continue running and monitoring with the Data Acquisition (DAQ) or Shape Alarm configuration that was set up.

What is the cost for remote software updates?

Nothing. Go to our Download site and download the latest GUI.

How is calibration performed?

It is suggested that you return the units to Avcom for calibration once a year.

Are your analyzers rugged enough for field use?

Yes, we have been providing test equipment for antenna installation, wireless surveys, and military applications for many years.

Do you do custom designs, custom packaging, or private labelling?