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ACP dropdown box disappeared

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Ex Member
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Jul 20th, 2008 at 9:42pm  
I have been using hughes satellite service for 2 years, and have previously had no problems setting up my antenna about 50 times while moving my motor home around southern Arizona. I have a hn7000s modem.  A few weeks ago my satellite (IA-6) had an "anomaly", as Hughes termed it.  I did their re-registration process which consisted of entering a new frequency, and changing the frequency band modulation from Ku Band BPSK to QPSK.  I noticed that their instructional diagrams showed no ACP drop down box, which had always been present on the "receive antenna pointing" page for me to check after doing the signal strength.  Now this box never shows up!  I also notice that on the ACP stats page the pointing queue, the validate queue, and the re-validate queue all show up as "full" all of the time.  What do I do to get the box back, or is there another method to get the ACP polarization done?  Thanks folks.
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Reply #1 - Jul 21st, 2008 at 1:42am  
I'm not near mine now to confirm this, but pretty sure  there's a box on the receive signal strength page that you have to check to proceed to ACP  testing. Left side of the page, beneath the text I think. With no check in that box, clicking NEXT will skip the ACP part of the setup

//greg//
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Reply #2 - Jul 21st, 2008 at 3:30am  
The problem is that this check box no longer appears since I had to do the re-registration to fix the satellite anomaly problem.  When I tell the Hughes telephone help line techs that I want the box back so I can do ACP pointing again, they have babies (even the males).  Hughes is a big pain.  I have given them too much money.
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Reply #3 - Jul 21st, 2008 at 4:33am  
Well, I used mine successfully (ACP) about 3 weeks ago - but I've been on the road with a laptop lately. Will be back at the modem location on Tuesday, hopefully will be able to take a first hand look then. Any chance that you're looking at a new firmware version? When I left, pretty sure I was still on v5.6.1.19

//greg//
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Reply #4 - Jul 21st, 2008 at 6:04am  
I have the same version.  Obviously something changed when I had to re-register according to Hughes instructions.  I re-registered several times with the new specifications, hoping the box would reappear--no luck.  I just now went to hourly history in diagnostics.  There is a red X next to uplink queuing.  This plus  the pointing queue showing as full in the ACP stats are big clues.
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Reply #5 - Jul 21st, 2008 at 12:41pm  
If you haven't restarted your modem in a few days, do the ACP statistics reflect an iisolation validation and/or re-validation ? If yes, were one or both performed since you noticed your dropdown missing?

If yes, the ACP capability has not been lost - you may simply have somehow corrupted the internal web browser. It can be fixed by reverting the fallback firmward. But you may want to consider holding off on that until I am able to look at my modem tomorrow. If mine's ok, we can do the fallback thing. If mine's the same as yours, we can BOTH take it up with Hughes.

//greg//
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Reply #6 - Jul 21st, 2008 at 4:51pm  
I looked at the dates on the ACP validations and re-validations, and none have been done since I re-registered according to hughes instructions to overcome the satellite's "anomaly".  If nothing else, our dialogue will help me make a coherent description of the problem to Hughes, God forbid I have to shrink one of their techs brains again.  Thanks
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Reply #7 - Jul 24th, 2008 at 1:44am  
Oh, were you affected by that IA6 thing? I see now that I missed that in your opening post. It may be related. While they're moving customers around, they may actually have shut down the ACP server to save bandwidth.

Cuz I'm home now, and my Setup works as usual. ACP features are right where I expect them to be, and it validates/revalidates normally. Do you want to consider reverting to the fallback BIN to force a new v5.6.1.19 push from your NOC?

/greg/
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Reply #8 - Jul 24th, 2008 at 8:46am  
I will try anything (whatever a fallback bin is), since I need the ACP pointing when I do my moving about in the motor home (I use a 6 foot tripod).  I believe your theory about saving bandwidth is correct, and I believe they did something yesterday to save more bandwidth.  I was browsing when I got disconnected.  I went to the system status page and the software download status message read: "File list changed, downloading new files".   When the downloading completed (10 minutes), I was automatically reconnected to the internet.  However something had changed and is still a problem after 30 hours--they dropped my signal strength from 75 to 52.  Before the satellite problem,  I was always around 81.  I called their poor East Indian help techs, and as is usually the case, they were helpless.  They quoted the bit about the signal strength having nothing to do with speeds, and knew nothing about ACP pointing (even the supervisor was clueless).  I am close to dumping Hughes--I threatened to bring Tucson TV news media to their main office in Tucson (45 miles away from here) while I sledge hammer my satellite equipment before their cameras.  Talking to their telephone techs often does this to me.  If I tell them I'm a Nam vet also, I bet I might catch their attention!  You know we are all dangerously whacked!  I believe they are close to losing this satellite's functions and are taping and gluing the software together to keep it going.  It is probably the ghetto satellite of the bunch; there are probably dregs of the upper atmosphere society getting drunk while leaning against IA-6, and puking on it daily.--I feel better now.  Does the fallback bin thingy bring back the ACP server?
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Reply #9 - Jul 24th, 2008 at 11:56am  
Well, before we leap into this - the fact that it was downloading software bears further investigation. The gateway server may already know that you've got a corrupt version of the firmware, and may be trying to replace it over the satellite.

To explain, your modem comes with a factory version of the software pre-installed. But it may not be the current version once the modem actually goes on line. The gateway server knows which version you've got, and will attempt to render it current. But when a new version is sent over the satellite - and installed properly - the old version is not deleted. It becomes the fallback. BIN is just the file extension.

So the operating theory here is to force your modem to load the fallback.bin - which should subsequently be recognized as an out of date version by your NOC. The gateway server will then attempt to "push" the current version into your modem (over the satellite). Understand though, that Hughes has more than a quarter million subscribers at any given moment. So it may take a day or more for this "push" to actually occur.

Anyway - we need to examine which versions are in your modem right now. Go to http://192.168.0.1/fs/advanced/advanced.html and look in the upper right corner. The top line should be your modem serial number. The next line should be the currently installed firmware version. The next line should be the fallback version. If there's a 4th line, it's the factory version.

Tell me which version(s) you currently have installed. It's possible to revert to either the fallback OR the factory, but each takes a different command.

//greg//
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Reply #10 - Jul 24th, 2008 at 6:20pm  
Thanks USN.  Main bin: 5.6.1.19
                 fallback bin: 5.3.0.15
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Reply #11 - Jul 24th, 2008 at 8:38pm  
Same as mine. If you're willing to trust me on this:
Start>>Run, type "cmd" and hit enter.
In the command prompt type "telnet 192.168.0.1 1953" and hit enter.
Type "rf" (if you want factory reset) and hit enter.
or
Type "rd" (if you want fallback reset) and hit enter
In either case, this will reset the modem. After that you will have to run the re-registration process. If you don't know how to do that however, it's best not to fool with RF or RD

In your case, there's no factory version to reset. So use the RD switch. After a successful re-registration process, your NOC will (eventually) push a fresh copy of the current firmware over the satellite into your modem. If/when you experience browser interruption - and discover that new software is coming in - don't stop it. Otherwise it will start over (at some later date/time) and keep trying till it's successfully installed. Based upon something you wrote earlier, it sounds like this may have happened once already

//greg//
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Reply #12 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 1:52am  
Just to be sure, is there is a space after telnet, and a space before 1953?
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Reply #13 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 4:37am  
yes
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Reply #14 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 7:28am  
I did the fallback bin thingy.  Immediately after getting back online after the reregistration, my signal strength was back up into the mid 70's but there was no ACP box to check; also the transmission ACP pointing queue info did not appear on the stats pages.  Within minutes the software for the new bin was downloaded and I was back to a signal strength of 50, and the ACP stats appeared showing the queues full.  This means that they have shut down the ACP server for satellite IA_6 to save bandwidth, and they have reduced the signal strength to the minimum allowed.  This means that anyone that is reading this, that is thinking of getting online with Hughes should demand ahead of time to be put on a bird other than IA-6, and if refused, should tell Hughes goodbye.  I explained my problem to Hughes by email, insisting that they not tell me to call their foreign telephone "techs", because they have been ignorant of the issues, and I got back the usual form email telling me to call these clueless wonders.  Hughes is trash.  The only problem is that their competition is trash also.
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Reply #15 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 12:26pm  
To be fair, the IA6/G26 casualty wasn't Hughes fault, I understand that it was a solar panel failure. The satellite is owned by IntelSat, who in turn lease transponder space to outfits like Hughes. In fact, Hughes actually OWNS only one satellite dedicated to satellite internet (the Ka-band Spaceway 3 at 95W). The rest of their customer base connect via leased transponders on more than a dozen Ku-band satellites worldwide. What fell short was their restoration plan. More than fell short actually, I don't think they even had a full RP in place. Hughes simply wasn't prepared for a catastrophe of this magnitude.

//greg//
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Reply #16 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 5:27pm  
I have the same information as you.  Also, not only did Hughes get caught unprepared, they have always, including this issue, refused to inform their customers on what is actually going on--that's the part that gripes me.  Retail capitalism should always be based on pleasing the customer; this is the best way to grow a company and make more profit. Hughes doesn't get it.  One of my many jobs once had me in the guts of Hughes' office complex south of Tucson, where scores of desks had airplane parts from crashes on them.   Each part or part group got its own  investigator.  This of course was a government paid project.  I wonder if Hughes gets most of its business from the government?--that would explain their ignorance on customer service.
     I am curious if there is any other statistical measure other than ACP stats that could be used to figure the correctness of the dish rotation?  It isn't enough just to set the "guage" on the dish assembly to the correct polarization angle.
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Reply #17 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 7:31pm  
Unless you have a hotline into the NOC - or a $5000 RF spectrum analyzer - there's little choice but to rely on the ACP numbers the modem gives you. I've actually had reason to suspect they too are less than reliable (than obtaining a manual isolation reading from the NOC).

You can take a laptop to the dish, or spend $80 on an OPI (outdoor pointing interface). That will save all the shouting back and forth between the PC and the dish. But in the end, they all display the same number. My concern is that the current firmware may not be giving true ACP numbers at the customer location (when compared near-real-time with observed isolation numbers at the NOC). I recently spoke indirectly with Germantown, who claimed they saw my transmitter isolation hovering around 30. That's bad, but supports the 3% transmission error rate I've experienced lately. 30 is also quite inconsistent with ACP peaks of up to 84 displayed on the OPI.

I'm inclined to distrust ACP readings lately

//greg//
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« Last Edit: Jul 27th, 2008 at 4:25am by N/A »  
 
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #18 - Jul 26th, 2008 at 8:03pm  
I agree with Greg that accurate cross-pol measurement and alignment needs hub assistance of some kind.

The best I've been able to do without hub assistance is to make the adjustment locally, either

by adjusting the angle by calculation -  needs a large, clear and accurate scale or you can put an accurate inclinometer sideways across some flat part of the BUC/LNB.

or you can put the polarisation well off so that the receive signal quality or bit error is quite poor.  Make sure that the poor quality is stable and measure this poor quality very accurately. Mark the polarisation angle.  Rotate the feed on the opposite side of optimum and adjust till you get the exact same poor quality.  Mark the second angle and then rotate the feed back to the centre.  Wrapping a paper strip round the feed so you can measure the marks and halve the distance may help.   This method does not work if the cross-pol traffic is varying all the time, like TDMA.

Doing cross-pol measurements manually at the hub is quite difficult for the hub staff.  The cross pol signal is very low level and difficult to detect and measure.  It may take 15 - 30 sec to get a good reading - so if you are on site you need to be patient with the hub as they try to talk you into the narrow null.  Getting it right improves your own service and stops your uplink bursts interfering with other peoples' services.  

Best regards, Eric.
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