Comparing The New Raven XT V2229T Versus The Old Raven XT V2227

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Form factor is identical

Form factor is identical

The first shipments of the new Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven XT have arrived. At this time, I’d like to save a lot of instrumentation and control specialists a lot of worry by sharing a product comparison photo. Since many clients are OEMs that designed their instrumentation cabinets around the footprint of the AirLink Raven XT, the photograph above verifies the same form factor has been utilized on both the legacy V2227 and G2263 as well as the V2229T. I am also happy to confirm that the same AC and DC power adapter can be used, as well as the same mounting bracket. In summary, it is possible to pull out a failed Raven XT from your existing assembly and replace it with the new V2229T as long as the antenna you deployed contains spectrum for 3G.

Clean Tech Innovation–Part One–The Role Of Cellular Data Networks

As a member of my geographical region’s clean tech business interest group, I am often asked about the role of wireless data communications in clean tech initiatives. Many times I find myself defending the inclusion of wireless data communications technology in the clean tech playbook. I firmly believe that wireless data is a catalyst to clean tech. On an elementary level, wireless data vastly reduces truck rolls, which in turn, reduces pollution emissions and the number of vehicles on the road. In the not-to-distant past, before field-based assets were truly connected, the only way to to acquire data was moving a field technician to the scene. Now it is possible not only to obtain data, but to exert control on a field-based asset remotely. Thus, the negatives associated with vehicular transportation are mitigated.

In addition, because clean tech is heavily data-driven, the real-time data acquisition enabled by wireless data networks allows many other clean tech solutions to be viable. In order to propagate this message, I am going to be blogging about how a cellular modem can be integrated with an EV vehicle charger in a uniquely clean tech application.

I look forward to sharing more updates about this project as it progresses.

Sierra Wireless Raven XT Has New Part Number-V2229T

As a follow-up to the blog posting about the Raven XT in February, it is worth noting that Sierra Wireless has re-released the Raven XT for Verizon Wireless (VZW) in 2014. Shipping of the new unit will begin in April 2014. Sierra Wireless had run out of components to continue making the Raven XT V2227, but has released the new version with a current EVDO Rev A module. In order to indicate the module change, Sierra Wireless has released a new part number for this Raven XT. The new part number for the AirLink Raven XT for Verizon Wireless is V2229T-VD for DC Power and V2229T-VA for AC Power. Sierra Wireless has committed to producing this new version of the Raven XT for the year of 2014. The Sierra Wireless Raven XT is in stock and available here. Remember that the Raven XT is serial only. Unless your business application requires the very low power-draw that makes the Raven XT appealing, the LS300 packs more bang for the buck with both a GPS and an Ethernet port.

Have A Sierra Wireless LS300 Powered By Solar Panels? A Low Power Mode Setting Exists

Let me describe the issue that some of our cell modem clients have encountered when powering a Sierra Wireless LS300 (1101489, 1101490) using a solar power assembly that was originally designed around the power consumption specifications of the Raven XT.  We call it the “green lights of death” phenomenon. Basically, when the voltage going to the LS300 drops below 7, the device locks up and all the lights become green. The only way to at an LS300 back on-line once it spirals into this state is to drive to the location and unplug and replug the power assembly. While inconvenient, especially if your site is remote, this works. However, the very next set of cloudy days, or other conditions when solar power generation is at a minimum, will cause the same chain of evens to reoccur.  To be fair to Sierra Wireless, it must be said that the spec sheet for the LS300 very accurately identifies the power consumption of the LS300. The increased draw of this cellular gateway over the Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven XT is clearly identified in the technical specs. However, in the real world, when the Raven XT (V2227-VD, V2227-VA, G2263-VD, G2263-VA) first went EOL, many times clients just started substituting the anointed replacement, the LS300, into their off-the-grid assemblies without looking at the differences too closely. As a result, we are all left scrambling for a fix short of redesigning the whole solar array and battery assembly powering our remote communication nodes. One easy fix that will work for some applications where real-time data is not critical, is using the low-power mode setting functionality on the LS300. This effectively turns off the device once a low-power threshold is hit. When the voltage goes back up the LS300 will come on-line again automatically. Find instructions on how to set up low power mode an the Sierra Wireless AirLink LS300 here.

Also understand that if the absolute lowest power draw / consumption for a cellular modem is your primary concern, Verizon Wireless Raven XTs are in stock and available here and will be until the end of 2014.

Sierra Wireless Raven XT Definitively Back In Production And Available Now

If you power the cell modem that you are using for remote monitoring using a solar array, you can breathe a sigh of relief. It is a very common complaint from our clientele that they have had issues with the power requirements of cellular modems, routers and gateways, but an old favorite is coming back

In March, Sierra Wireless will definitively re-start production of the Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven XT (V2227-VD and V2227-VA) for the Verizon Wireless EVDO Rev-A (CDMA) network. For those of us who actively serve clients who are powering their wireless data acquisition devices “off-the-grid” using solar panels or wind turbines, this is very good news because the AirLink Raven XT sips power like a hummingbird. It sets the bar of a cellular device with low power requirements.

The Sierra Wireless next generation product lines, the LS300 and the GX440 are excellent devices but their power draw is very high compared to the Raven XT. (These two devices can be put into “low power mode” as a work-around.) However, many hours have been spent trying to find a top-tier cell modem replacement for the Raven XT with an equally low power consumption. We were able to get close in comparison, but not quite there…

But now we don’t need to! The Raven XT V2227, with its very small foot-print and attractive power draw is back. When the NEW units ship, they will have a slightly different part number. However, our company has stock now on the Raven XT V2227 in limited quantities.

The device can be procured with immediate availability here.

Sierra Wireless AirLink ES440 Gateway–How Does It Compare?

After the longest soft-launch period I’ve ever seen, Sierra Wireless  has officially launched the AirLink ES440. This is Sierra Wireless’s custom-built product entry for lucrative the distributed  enterprise marketplace (think big box retail store automation). So how does the AirLink ES440 stack up against other entries in this vertical? For instance, are they duplicating the play of the big cellular player in this niche, CradlePoint?

The answer is no, Sierra Wireless has a different angle versus CradlePoint’s strategy. The ES440 is a cellular Ethernet/serial gateway, that is meant to hang off of a Cisco or Juniper router in pass-through mode. The Cisco or Juniper router has the brains in this topology, and makes the key network routing decisions. The ES440 presents itself to the router as gateway to the LTE network.  In comparison, CradlePoint has specialized in routers, not gateways, and designed their hardware with robust fail-over capabilities and integrated WLAN access points. These capabilities are redundant when used in conjunction with a Cisco router.

CradlePoint has just released their AER 2100, with edge routing capabilities into the market place. This is CradlePoint’s most sophisticated router yet, and this well-priced box will give Cisco a run for their money in mid-market accounts. With this product launch, CradlePoint has indicated that they must be taken very seriously in the router space.

But I digress.  Back to the Sierra Wireless AirLink ES440 comparison… There is something that the ES440 gateway has that many of its competitors don’t have, even though it is a pretty basic box. Sierra Wireless has thought through their sweet spot as a cellular gateway and added a serial port that supports reverse telnet for out of band management (OOBM). For large enterprises that want another method to manage their routers, the ES440 is designed to do exactly that. This ES440 is therefore symbiotic and complementary to the 800 pound router gorillas.

Well played, Sierra Wireless AirLink! See the AirLink ES440 specifications sheet here.

See info about the CradlePoint AER 2100 look here. 

 

 

Dual-Network Public/Private LTE Vehicle Router Is Correct Solution For One Municipality

A unified, interoperable, first responder network that is prioritized for public safety and other critical infrastructure entities is an idea worth working toward and fighting for. When achieved, this first responder network will bring a more sophisticated, coordinated, efficient response from our public safety agencies, and it will save lives and increase situational awareness during emergency events. Such a network is technically possible and actively being championed. Band 14 FirstNet is going to be implemented in service to this vision although the important questions, how and when, still have not been clearly answered.

For municipalities who won ARRA grant monies to be distributed by BTOP to build out private LTE 700MHz networks on Band 14, timing is now critical. With the grant monies set to expire in 2015, some municipalities are looking at their prized grant dollars going up in smoke, with no operational private LTE network to show for it.

In North Carolina, one such municipality has a strategy to move forward. Their strategy involves a procurement path that operates within the criteria of their BTOP grant funding and delivers a broadband solution to their critical infrastructure in the short term. This procurement involves procuring a hybrid Band 14 private LTE/public Band 17 or Band 13 mobile broadband gateway. The device will ship with public LTE today, but can be upgraded in the field with a Band 14 FirstNet modem upgrade kit in the future. Once both private and public LTE has been activated in this single mobile LTE vehicle router, it can failover between FirstNet and public LTE seamlessly.

For more information on one dual-network LTE vehicle router that we are confident will be supplying a FirstNet Band 14 upgrade kit, the CalAmp Fusion, visit this overview page http://usatcorp.com/calamp-fusion.

Wireless Data Project Acronym Glossary

Here is a compilation of popular acronyms used within the descriptions of many wireless data communication projects and whitepapers related to critical infrastructure wireless data communications. While many WWAN professionals know these technical abbreviations already, some of our colleagues that are new to the wireless data industry may find them useful.

  • 1xRTT            1x (single-carrier) Radio Transmission Technology
  • 2G                   2nd Generation mobile telecommunications
  • 3G                   3rd Generation mobile telecommunications
  • 3GPP               3 Generation Partnership Project
  • 4G                   4th Generation mobile telecommunications
  • APN                Access Point Name
  • B14                 Band Class 14
  • CMAS             Commercial Mobile Alert System
  • CONNMO       Connectivity Management Objects
  • dBm                Decibels referenced to one milliWatt (mW).
  • DCMO Device Capability Management Objects
  • DDR                Double Data Rate Random Access Memory (RAM)
  • DIAGMON     Diagnostics and Monitoring
  • DM                  Device Management
  • ECID               Enhanced Cell ID
  • EDR                Enhanced Data Rate
  • EVDO             Evolution-Data Optimized
  • FSB                 Front-side Bus
  • FUMO             Firmware Update Management Object
  • GB                   Gigabyte (Billions of Bytes)
  • GHz                 Gigahertz (Billions of Hertz)
  • GPS                 Global Positioning System
  • H                     High or Height
  • I/O                   Input/Output
  • IMS                 Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem
  • iOS                  Apple Mobile Operating System
  • IP                     Internet Protocol
  • IPv4                 Internet Protocol version 4
  • IPv6                 Internet Protocol version 6
  • ISIM                Internet Protocol IP Multimedia Services Identity Module
  • KB                   Kilobyte (Thousands of Bytes)
  • L2                    Microprocessor Level 2 Cache Memory
  • LAWMO         Lock and Wipe Management Object
  • LTE                 Long Term evolution
  • MHz                Megahertz (Millions of Hertz)
  • MIL-STD        U.S. Department of Defense Military Standard
  • MIMO             Multiple Input Multiple Output        
  • MMS               Multimedia Messaging Service; Multimedia Messaging Specification
  • MS                  Microsoft
  • mW                 MilliWatts (Thousandths of Watts)
  • OMA-DM       Open Mobile Alliance Device Management
  • OTDOA          Observed Time Difference of Arrival
  • P25                  Association of Public-Safety Communications Officers international (APCO) Project 25
  • PC                   Personal Computer
  • PCI                  Peripheral Component Interconnect
  • PDA                Personal Digital Assistant
  • PSCR              Public Safety Communications Research
  • PSST               Public Safety Spectrum Trust
  • RAM               Random Access Memory
  • RF                   Radio Frequency
  • RFP                 Request for Proposals
  • RJ-45              A Registered Jack 8 Position 8 Contact, (also 8 position 8 conductor) Modular Connector
  • SCOMO          Software Component Management Object
  • SD                   Secure Digital Flash Memory Card Format
  • SMS                Short Message Service
  • TFT                 Thin-Film Transistor
  • TS                   3GPP Specification Prefix
  • UE                   User Equipment
  • UI                    User interface
  • UICC               Universal Integrated Circuit Card
  • USB                Universal Serial Bus
  • USIM              Universal Subscriber Identity Module
  • VAC                Volts Alternating Current
  • VDC                Volts Direct Current
  • VGA                Video Graphics Array
  • W                    Wide or Width
  • WiFi                Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) Devices Based On IEEE 802.11 Standards
  • WLAN            Wireless Local Area Network           
  • WPA2             WiFi Protected Access Version 2
  • WSVGA          Wide Super Video Graphics Array
  • WVAN            Wireless Vehicular Area Network

 

Sierra Wireless AirLink GX440 Not Connecting? Here Is What It Could Be

The WWAN wireless community is looking for the final fixes for the Sierra Wireless AirLink GX440. Their have been more problems with the launch of this device than we would expect from Sierra Wireless, but it looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Today, I would like to address what the issue may be if your Sierra Wireless GX440 is hanging or constantly rebooting which prevents it from connecting to the network.

We have seen reboot conditions in GX440 before and would like to enumerate solutions depending on the root cause:

  1. A radio module going bad – this requires RMA to Sierra Wireless to replace the module.
  2. A radio module going into diagnostics mode – this is cleared by factory reset.
  3. Both issues above were corrected in the latest ALEOS + Radio Module firmware. Please confirm that your device has the latest version installed in their modems (4.3.3b.015 with MC7750/09 firmware), as this firmware should fix reboots due to 1 and 2
  4. A bad WiFi x-card can also cause the GX440 to reboot – Are you using the WiFi X-card? (http://usatcorp.com/article/wifi-kit-for-gx400-and-gx440-released ). A fix would require RMA of the unit.

 

Sierra Wireless Raven X Power Issue

Recently, we have had reports regarding “blown” power supply circuitry with Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven X cellular gateways. Sierra Wireless states that this is a  known issue, albeit a small one, with the power supply circuit on the Raven X modems manifesting the issue in approximately 1% of all Raven X’s sold early-to-mid 2012.

NOTE:  Raven X’s with this issue may fail at any time. Some evidence points to the fact that higher supply voltage (24 Vdc versus 12 Vdc) stresses the faulty circuitry more and makes the issue more likely to manifest.

All modems exhibiting this issue should be returned to Sierra Wireless  and will be repaired at no charge under Sierra Wireless’s warranty program. The device will be repaired or the unit will be replaced.  The issue has be traced to a faulty component, so once the unit has been repaired, the issue will be mitigated.

This technical issue is very similar to an earlier power circuitry problem with the GX line that Sierra Wireless has since rectified.