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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- A radio module going bad – this requires RMA to Sierra Wireless to replace the module.
- A radio module going into diagnostics mode – this is cleared by factory reset.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.