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Telestra App Note

Setting Path Loss Effects in Telestra (#94)

This application note covers the following path loss information:


In Studio, simulated radios communicate when they are in tune and in range. Path loss effects are used to simulate radio degradation due to weather effects, terrain, and the time of day, among other factors. The radio receiver finds in-tune radios and sends out a protocol data unit (PDU) request to the server for each in-tune radio pair. The server returns a response packet, and the radio applies the path loss to the receiving radio’s audio quality.

The path loss interface feature is a separately purchased software option. In the Telestra web interface, the Path Loss Interface software option displays on Licensing > Licenses:

The path loss interface generally operates as follows:

  1. The receiver finds any in-tune radios.
  2. The receiver sends a request to the server for each in-tune radio.
  3. The server returns a response packet for each radio.
  4. The receiver applies the amount of loss in the packet to its radio calculation for each in-tune radio.

Packet Format

ASTi uses a packet format similar to Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS):

  RXpathPDU = record
     PDUheader     	: record
     			ProtocolVer   	: byte;
    	 		ExerciseID    	: byte;
     			PDUtype       	: byte;
     			PDUfamily     	: byte;
     			TimeStamp     	: Unsigned_32bit;
    			Length        	: Unsigned_16bit;
     			Pad1          	: Unsigned_16bit;
    RXEntityID   	: record
     			Site   			: Unsigned_16bit;
     			Application/Host   	: Unsigned_16bit;
     			Entity     		: Unsigned_16bit;
    RXDeviceID   	: Unsigned_16bit;
    TXEntityID   	: record
     			Site   			: Unsigned_16bit;
     			Application/Host   	: Unsigned_16bit;
     			Entity     		: Unsigned_16bit;
    TXDeviceID   	: Unsigned_16bit;
    PathFactor   	: IEEE_float_32bit;
    LocationRX   	: record
     			X : IEEE_float_64bit;
     			Y : IEEE_float_64bit;
     			Z : IEEE_float_64bit;
    LocationTX   	: record
     			X : IEEE_float_64bit;
     			Y : IEEE_float_64bit;
     			Z : IEEE_float_64bit;
    FrequencyMSW : Unsigned_32bit;
    FrequencyLSW : Unsigned_32bit;

The radio receiver notifies the Telestra server to generate and send a Path Loss PDU, which delivers all PDUs in network-byte order (i.e., Big Endian). Path factor values range from 0.0–1.0, where 1.0 indicates no loss (i.e., 0 dB loss, 100 percent signal reception), and 0.0 indicates complete loss (i.e., -300 dB loss, 0 percent signal reception).

If the path loss interface and the host interface share the same Ethernet interface (e.g., eth0), set the port numbers to different values.

Example Path Loss Server

The radio receiver sends a Path Loss PDU packet to the host address and port number in the DIS Gateway. When the host server receives a packet containing path loss PDUs, it performs the following operations:

  1. Increments the PDU type by 1, changing the PDU type from request to reply (e.g., 30 for request, 31 for reply).
  2. Calculates the PathFactor value between LocationRX and LocationTX values and inserts it into PathFactor. LocationRX and LocationTX values are geocentric coordinates.
  3. Retransmits the entire PDU back to the source IP/source User Datagram Protocol (UDP) port.

The reply packet must contain all the ID numbers in the original request packet. The host should not modify any field, except as described above.

For example, the following is true for line-of-sight (LOS) occulting:

  • PathFactor = 1.0 means a clear line of sight
  • PathFactor = 0.0 means occulted by path loss

If the host is using a more sophisticated model that accounts for frequency, then the PDU provides the transmitter/receiver pair’s frequency in the project configuration.

Project Configuration


  • In the Telestra web interface, the Propagation Loss Interface option must be enabled on Licenses > Licensing.
  • The project’s DIS radios must be turned on, in tune, and in range.
  • The Telestra server's path loss interface must share a network with a path loss server that is listening on a known port.

Set up the Comm Plan

To enable the radio’s mode, waveform, and Rx gain combinations and ensure the radio issues the correct path loss requests, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Studio project.
  2. In the Project Manager, on the main canvas, open commplan ().
  3. Under Receivergain, select rxgain.
  4. In the Commplan Editor, under Name, identify each rxgain setting that corresponds with the mode/waveform issuing path loss requests.
  5. Under Path Loss Request, set each applicable rxgain to ON.
  6. Select and .

Set Up the DIS Gateway and Path Loss Interface

  1. In the Project Manager, on the left, go to servers.
  2. Right-click the canvas, and select Add.
  3. In New Item, select the drop-down box, and choose DIS Gateway.
  4. In the text box, enter a unique name, and select .
  5. In DIS Gateway, enter your application’s path interface, port, and path.
  6. Select .

Set Up the Layout

  1. In the STUDIO Project Manager, right-click the server icon (Studio server), and select Edit...
  2. In Telestra Editor, go to SIM SERVER.
  3. Select DIS Gateway:, and choose the gateway you created in “Set Up the DIS Gateway and Path Loss Interface.”
  4. Select .

Advanced Parameters

The path loss interface includes a set of parameters that determine when a radio should send a path loss request. These settings help control timeouts and default values. They also allow the radio to send path loss requests even if it’s located at the center of the Earth. You can set these parameters in the Domain’s parameters.ini file.

Path Periodic Timeout

Similar to a radio’s normal timeout, the Path Periodic Timeout occurs when a radio has already received a path loss response and is stationary. The default value is 60,000 ms.

path_periodic_timeout = 60000

Path Moving Timeout

Similar to the radio’s moving timeout, the Path Moving Timeout occurs if either the transmitter or receiver are moving. If the path moving timeout occurs, the receiver sends a new request. The default value is 2000 ms.

path_moving_timeout = 2000

Path Moving Threshold

If the transmitter or the receiver move more than the Path Moving Threshold before the Path Moving Timeout, the receiver sends a new path loss request. The default value is 500 m.

path_moving_threshold = 500

Path Request Timeout

The Path Request Timeout is the amount of time the receiver waits before sending another request. If the receiver sends a path loss request after meeting any of the above timeouts or thresholds, it uses this timeout until hearing back from the server. The default value is 2500 ms.

path_request_timeout = 2500

Path Timeout Count

The Path Timeout Count is the number of Path Request Timeouts that must occur before the Path Timeout Factor.

path_timeout_count = 2

Path Timeout Factor

The Path Timeout Factor is the number the radio uses for path loss after reaching the Path Timeout Count. The default value of 1.0 produces the same result as if no path factor or additional attenuation existed.

path_timeout_factor = 1.0

Path Initial Factor

The Path Initial Factor is the number the radio uses before it receives a response from the server. The default value of 0.0 produces the same result as a completely blocked path.

path_initial_factor = 0.0

Path Force Request

The Path Force Request allows radios that are in tune with a transmitter located at the center of the Earth to still send out path loss requests. The default value is 0. To enable, set the value to 1.

path_force_request = 0


If you encounter problems, run through the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Is your DIS radio valid?
  • Is your radio set to send path loss requests? In Studio, go to Transceiver > RCUParameters > Rcvrgain, and set in CommPlan > Receivergain.
  • Is your radio tuned to another DIS radio?
  • Are the radio world positions at least 500 meters apart?
  • Is your Telestra server sending out path loss request packets? In the Telestra web interface, go to System > Health > Radio Networking > DIS > Statistics, and ensure that Path sent and Path received match.
  • From the Telestra server's command line, run the following command:

    tcpdump -i X udp port NNNNN

    where X is the Ethernet interface number and NNNNN is the port number (e.g., tcpdump -i eth0 udp port 55001).

  • Is your Telestra server receiving path loss responses? In the Telestra web interface, go to System Health in Radio Networking > DIS > Statistics > Path received, and run the tcpdump command above.
  • Is your radio using the path loss value? Use the Radio Monitor to verify. See the following section for details.

Test and Debug in the Radio Monitor

To check if your radio is using the path loss value in the Radio Monitor, follow these steps:

  1. From the taskbar, go to Applications > ASTi > Radio Monitor.
  2. In the Radio Monitor, select the drop-down box in the top right, and choose your Telestra server.
  3. From the bottom-left drop-down box, select Receivers.
  4. To open a detailed radio page, double-click the radio.
  5. At the bottom of the radio details page, find a valid range and a path factor between 0–1. This value does not come directly from the server and includes additional propagation that Telestra applies.

High-Level Architecture (HLA) Considerations

ASTi HLA configuration uses the DIS Gateway, as described in the HLA Installation Guide. However, HLA radios still require the Propagation Loss Interface for the receiver to properly send and receive path loss requests and responses. If you configure the Telestra to use HLA protocol for radio communications, set up the Propagation Loss Interface exactly as described above.

The Telestra-defined DIS radios and the DIS-like packet format both identify radios using four Studio Transceiver variables:

Variable Value
Site Unsigned_16bit
Application/Host unsigned_16bit
Entity unsigned_16bit
DeviceID unsigned_16bit

Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) DIS standard refers to the DeviceID as the Radio Number.

In HLA, the object model (OM) defines the unique radio identifier. ASTi supports two primary OMs for radios: the ASTi Simulation Object Model (SOM) and Real-time Platform Reference (RPR) Federation Object Model (FOM). The ASTi HLA mapping file defines how the above data correlates to HLA objects/attributes and HLA interactions/parameters via the StreamTag attribute and/or parameter. Because the host computer and ASTi radio environment both recognize the above variables, they handle path loss requests and responses the same way. To learn more about HLA mapping files, go to “External FED/FDD, RID, and mapping files” in the HLA Installation Guide.