Sierra Wireless GX Series Now Has WiFi

Companies who have been considering deploying the Sierra Wireless GX400 or GX440 intelligent gateways in their applications but have been holding off for WiFi capability can start the procurement process.

The WiFi X-Card launch has been announced and orders are now being taken for this expansion card (for upgrading existing units) and WiFi-capable versions of the GX400 and GX440.

Sierra announced the release with the following description;

Utilizing the expansion slot standard in all AirLink GX400 and GX440 intelligent gateways, the Wi-Fi Expansion Card (Wi-Fi X-Card) dramatically increases the capability of the device by providing 802.11b/g/n Access Point (hotspot) or Client Mode functionality. This enables applications for mobile office, temporary office locations, mission critical environments and more.
The Wi-Fi X-Card is a standards-based wireless local-area network (WLAN) card, enabling communication with any other WLAN equipped device, including laptops, smartphones, printers, fingerprint readers and much more. The Wi-Fi X-Card can also operate in client mode giving you the ability to connect to your own Access Point and give the flexibility of using your Wi-Fi network instead of the cellular network when available. All Wi-Fi parameter settings (such as security encryption) are available through point-and-click menu-driven web pages.
Key Features: 802.11 b/g/n access point and client support; easily installed; same rugged environmental specifications of the GX devices; security protocols
The card seamlessly integrates with the GX device and user configuration is easily performed through the web-based graphical interface and ALEOS embedded intelligence.

 

The card itself will be offered for $100 through authorized sellers, while the GX400 will retail for $699 and the GX440 for $899. Sierra Wireless expects to start shipping in late April.

Real Estate tours using CradlePoint, iPads, and a shoulder bag.

There’s a large real estate company close by that conducts their tours of available commercial space using what we think is an interesting and unique method.  I’ll let them describe how they used a Mobile Broadband Router from CradlePoint, a set of 30 iPads from Apple and an over-the-shoulder laptop bag to get the job done.

“We decided to use 30 i-Pads for a presentation using the remote software called Ideaflight. It requires an internet connection to start and then can run on Wi-Fi. This gave us the ability to remotely control the screens of each i-Pad (known as passengers). There was only one problem: the software only allowed 16 total devices per pilot and we quickly experienced issues when two pilots were on the same network.

We were doing a tour; we had to have some sort of Wi-Fi that “roamed” around with us and worked. We found that a CradlePoint Mobile Broadband Router did exactly what we needed for the internet/Wi-Fi connection, and we mobilized it in a bag on battery power. This gave us ample time; in fact, it gave more than 6 hours run time for one CradlePoint.

Since the CradlePoint can only have one SSID, we had to have a secondary to separate the two pilots. This would allow all the i-Pads to operate at the same time. We contacted USAT for some advice and to see if they had another available. At first, no luck, but then we received a callback that they had one that was from a demo. We drove 25 miles and made the purchase the same day. Upon installing the second CradlePoint, our testing worked flawlessly. The devices were carried hundreds of miles north and the tour went off without a problem.

Quick video clip of testing with two pilots

Here’s a shot of the bag the Wi-Fi was carried in before the second hotspot was installed.

 

Here’s a shot of 2 ‘pilot’ Ipads running 12 ‘passenger’ Ipads each during testing.

Pretty neat, huh?  We think so, too.

Verizon releases Static IP service for LTE

We’ve been told that the long-promised Static IP service has finally been rolled out for Verizon.  This will allow your M2M devices to access the LTE network and represents the removal of a significant obstacle to LTE.

No formal announcement has been made at this point from Verizon, but we’re assured that it is here.  The process is not yet fully known, but will involve a setup fee of some kind.

Stay tuned.

AT&T buys up Qualcomm spectrum

In a press release dated Dec. 27, AT&T announced it has completed the purchase of 700MHz spectrum from digital telecommunications giant Qualcomm for $1.9b. This follows on the heels of the FCC’s ruling denying AT&T’s proposed merger with mobile carrier T-Mobile.

L.A. Times blurb here. Full AT&T press release – it’s not any more detailed than the summary above, seeing as the URL for the release is longer than the release itself, but I’m including it anyway – here.

What is LTE?

ExtremeTech Logo

Neal Gompa over at ExtremeTech.com has written a very thorough explanation of LTE. Neal explains the article’s focus and purpose thusly;

In this article, I will discuss what configurations LTE can be deployed in, why LTE is easily deployable, how LTE works as a radio technology, what types of LTE exist, how LTE affects battery life, what network operators want LTE to do, and the future of 4G as a whole. The most technical parts of the article are LTE can be deployed in, why LTE is easily deployable, how LTE works as a radio technology, and what types of LTE exist.

If you’re looking for a complete explanation of LTE, I would highly recommend taking a look at this article.

AT&T Gives Up On T-Mobile Deal

AT&T logoIn a move that will likely surprise few and please many, AT&T has decided to pass on its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile.  AT&T cites interference from the White House as its primary reason for scrapping what would have been the largest cellular network deal in recent memory.

AT&T is desperate for spectrum, and would have loved to add T-Mobile’s capacity to its own.  T-Mobile, as the fourth out of four big carriers, is now left to continue its attempts at market differentiation.  Consumers are left with continued greater choice in their cellular carrier and enjoy greater competition, despite AT&T’s claims to the contrary.

House Communications Subcommittee Passes Public Safety Spectrum Bill

On Dec. 1st, the House Communications Subcommittee voted 17-6 to allow passage of a bill crafted by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) which calls for D Block reallocation and at least $5 billion in funding for the deployment of a nationwide LTE network for first responders.

The bill differs from past attempts by the Subcommittee to work out a deal for the 700Mhz D Block spectrum in that it calls for public safety to return the narrowband spectrum to the FCC in the future.

Read more at; http://urgentcomm.com/policy_and_law/news/subcommittee-approves-dblock-bill-20111201/

CradlePoint's COR Line of Cellular M2M Routers

CradlePoint LogoThe CradlePoint line of COR Routers – the IBR600 and IBR650 series – was released in late September and has filled a gap in the remote M2M connectivity space, adding wired/wireless 3G failover in the case of wireless signal loss, along with integrated GPS and secure VPN functionality.

The full press release from CradlePoint, along with its features and benefits can be found on the CradlePoint Web site.

 

The COR line also is the first line of products from CradlePoint that is only available through a dedicated channel, and as such much be purchased from one of their partners;

Premier Wireless | USAT Corp| Source, Inc. | Industrial Wireless

Active GPS & Passive GPS tracking

GPS, or Global Positioning System, has been around for a long time.  Originally developed by the Department of Defense to assist with asset tracking, it has grown to near-ubiquity, allowing the average user to find their way to the nearest grocery store or the like.

Not soon after GPS became widely operational in the early 90s, businesses recognized that it could be a valuable tool for companies with a mobile work force.   Tracking devices were developed that allowed a company to install them into their fleet, where they would then log data about the vehicle’s  location, speed, heading and sometimes a trigger event, such as key on/off, door open/closed.  Once the vehicle was returned to a predetermined point, the device was removed and the data downloaded to a computer for evaluation.  This type of GPS tracking system is known as a “Passive tracking” system.

While useful in its own way, passive tracking systems cannot provide certain data points of value to fleet managers and the like.  To meet this growing need, “Active GPS tracking” devices and software were developed.  Active GPS tracking devices collect the same sort of data as the passive systems, but they also transmit said data in real-time via cellular or satellite back haul networks to a central computer or data system, where it will be evaluated by one of the various active tracking software systems.

Some modern GPS tracking systems incorporate both passive and active tracking in the same package.  As cellular or satellite coverage is not 100% ubiquitous, vehicles can and do drop connections when entering an area of limited or no coverage.  At that time, the data collection is still collected passively and stored in the device’s memory.  However, once a connection can be reestablished to the network, the device will resume data transmission.

GPS tracking of mobile assets has begun a shift away from the traditional installation of a ‘box’ into the vehicle proper to a more user-friendly system, such as on a tablet or smart phone.  However, there will always be a market for devices that are permanently installed, as these are not only more rugged, but also eliminate the possibility of being left at a client site, dropped or even turned off.

Sprint & Clearwire kiss and make up

According to a report today from the Wall Street Journal, Sprint and Clearwire’s ongoing feud over financial and technological commitments has been settled for now, with Sprint agreeing to four-year deal that includes a $1.6 billion cash infusion in the WiMax wholesaler.

Sprint’s commitment to building out an LTE network appears unchanged, which means that the wireless carrier will have to support two high-speed networks for the foreseeable future.  The details of the agreement will allow Sprint to continue to sell lower-cost smartphones that run on the WiMax network while providing Clearwire with a much-needed capital infusion.