To borrow from Edgar Allen Poe, Quoth the raven, “nevermore”
Sierra Wireless has made it official this week that the AirLink Raven X line is going end-of-life (EOL) sooner than their past manufacturing roadmaps indicated. For Raven X the date for the last order placement has been pegged at June 30th 2013. For Raven XT (Verizon Wireless) the date is May 31st. For Raven XE the date is August 31st.
The Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven X, XT, and XT has long been the standard for M2M cell modems in use for Smart Grid applications in the U.S.A.. Sierra Wireless has released the Sierra Wireless AirLink LS300 (1101489, 1101490, 1101491) cell modem as a replacement for this line and many of utility industry clients are currently testing it. Feedback has been good so far, but change is never easy, especially for utility and energy companies where long test-cycles are a part of the best practices.
Is Sierra Wireless going to be firm with their scheduled sunset of the ultra-profitable Raven X line? My inclination is no, however, prudence dictates that the alternative LS300, GX400, and GX440 be tested immediately in order to move them through the standards department and into production.
Posted in Cell Modems, M2M Communication, M2M Communications, Sierra Wireless, Smart Modems
Tagged 1101489, 1101490, 1101491, H4225, LS300, Raven EOL, Raven X, V4228
For those who are interested in keeping informed about the latest wireless connectivity options available for electric utility distribution automation and transmission automation, there are many exciting developments at DistribuTECH 2013. Today at DistribuTech in San Diego, Sierra Wireless announced the immediate availability of their new, ultra-compact, intelligent modem, the Sierra Wireless Airlink LS300. With external dimensions of about 3′ by 3.5″ this wireless gateway is a smaller footprint than the Raven X or the GX400/440, which means it fits well into environmental enclosures and NEMA cabinets. Although the Sierra Wireless LS300 is small in size, it is very rich in features. It has an Ethernet port, a serial port (on the side) and also contains a GPS reciever. The price of this device is less than the Raven X and the GX400 platforms even though it exceeds or matches the feature set of both of these cellular network devices. Clearly, the intent of Sierra Wireless with the Airlink LS300 is that this device will replace the Airlink Raven X going forward. Key clients have already been seeded with test/demo units of the Sierra Wireless Airlink LS300. For those evaluating M2M communication device, the LS300 is worth considering when researching cellular Ethernet/serial gateways. It is worth noting that the Sierra Wireless Airlink LS300 is available only for the Verizon Wireless and AT&T 3G cellular networks, not their LTE networks. Clients that want LTE will have to opt for the Sierra Wireless Airlink GX440.
See more information about the Sierra Wireless Airlink LS300 here http://usatcorp.com/line/sierra-wireless/airlink-ls300.
Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennas solutions require two antenna fixtures and are designed for use for LTE networks built out by the public network carriers (in the USA–AT&T, Verizon). By utilizing multiple antennas, data throughput and range are increased compared to a single antenna using the same radio transmit power. Additionally MIMO antennas improve link reliability and experience less fading than a single antenna system. By transmitting multiple data streams at the same time, wireless capacity is increased.
MIMO technology uses Multipath (when wireless signals “bounce” off of objects and arrive at the receiver at different times) to improve wireless performance. MIMO technology takes a single data stream and breaks it down into several separate data streams and sends it out over multiple antennas. This provides redundancy. The receiving MIMO antenna will “look” at each stream being sent to determine the strongest one to choose.
Our company has performed bench tests where using a MIMO antenna system for LTE has increased performance by 40% over using one antenna fixture. Currently our chosen path is to use two separate antennas (that utilize the same cellular fixture) for our MIMO solutions. Examples of antennas that can be used in pairs for MIMO are below. In the near future we look forward to bench-testing MIMO antenna systems that contain both MIMO antenna fixtures in a single housing or radome.
Recently, a client had a question about whether GPS data could be transmitted to a laptop wirelessly using the wireless LAN access point built into the the GX400 or GX440. The answer is “yes, you do not need to use the an Ethernet cable to pass this data.” More info on how to set this up can be seen at USAT’s Common Questions page.
Please remember that NOT ALL of the Sierra Wireless AirLink GX400 and GX440 line contain WiFi access point functionality. This feature is limited to the following Sierra Wireless GX400/GX440 part numbers:
The MP597W and the MP890 can be set up in much the same way.
Today one of USAT’s sales professionals wanted to share with the field computing world how to get your hands on a Panasonic Toughbook Quick Restore CD. If you are like me, apparently living in the past, you would believe that the appropriate Quick Restore CD–which zaps your system back to the system load it left the factory with–is shipped in the box with your Toughbook. Well, according to our inside sources at Panasonic, this practice stopped over a year ago. Now the quick restore CD’s are available for PURCHASE at $35 a piece. In peeling back this onion, USAT was given a 1-800-number to call to make this purchase. Upon calling this number, we were told it actually had to be ordered from Panasonic’s website. The instructions for doing so are shown below. We hope that this post saves somebody in our reading public some time…
- Go to www.panasonic.com/toughbook
- Go to Support and choose Computers & Tablets
- Scroll down and choose DVD Requests
- There are 3 DVD’s to choose from there
For those Panasonic Toughbook users out there who are computing wirelessly, say good-bye to the embedded Qualcomm GOBI 2000 module. Panasonic has announced that they will be building no more new, unallocated units with the GOBI 2000 module–the only remaining open stock of Toughbooks with the embedded GOBI module are now in the channel, limited in quantity and that stock will soon be exhausted. Going forward in the short term, some Toughbooks are available with Verizon Wireless or AT&T 4G LTE modules embedded inside. (Please note there is no short term option for Sprint network embedded radios within Toughbooks.) Embedded 4G LTE will be available for the Toughbook 31, 19, H2, 53 and C1. Taking a longer view, Panasonic plans to adopt the GOBI 3000 radio as an optional radio embedded within the Toughbook line when it becomes available.