Archive-October 2016-Tech Bulletin–Mirai Advisory And New Wireless Network Products MG90

Our mission is to keep you informed about information key to the success of your organization’s wireless data initiatives. Below you will find an overview of important facts about the Mirai virus. Near the bottom of this email, you will find information about new products that you should be aware of in the wireless data communications space.

Mirai Summary: A new Trojan virus called Mirai is in the news.  Mirai is targeting Linux servers, M2M and IoT devices, including cellular gateways and routers, but mainly cameras and DVRs, running Linux-based firmware, for the purpose of nefariously engaging these systems as part of a large botnet used to stage Denial-of-Service DDoS attacks designed to disrupt access to web properties. (More info: https://safeum.com/blog/2014-mirai-trojan-is-the-next-big-threat-to-iot-devices-and-linux-servers.html) Runaway cellular airtime usage can be a result of infection. In the world of wireless networking, any device that runs on Linux is susceptible. PLEASE NOTE USAT CLIENT BASE: Critical infrastructure clients who are on private networks run a reduced risk of infection.

How Infection Happens: Mirai infects devices via brute-force attacks on the Telnet port, exploiting a “black hat” list of default password credentials, taking advantage of instances where device owners have forgotten to change the built-in default password to a secure password. Critical infrastructure clients who are not on private networks but who have implemented complicated passwords (like what the USAT DevProv+ service facilitates) and instituted other basic security functions like “white lists” and “black lists” are unlikely victims. If you have not or suspect that a user within your organization has not changed the default passwords on the devices attached to your corporate network, then it is important to implement secure passwords now in order to avoid operational ramifications as well as possible financial charges due to data consumption overages.

How To Diffuse Your Risk & Treat Infection: Good news: even if your device is infected, restarting the device and changing the password is an effective treatment. Sierra Wireless, a world leader in the manufacture of cellular gateways was the first to issue a technical bulletin detailing the threat of Mirai to the M2M/IOT ecosystem. Please refer to the steps that they suggest to secure devices here: http://usatcorp.com/action-required-sierra-wireless-technical-bulletin-mirai-trojan/.  The Department of Homeland Security also very recently issued an informative publication on defeating Botnets here https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA16-288A. In addition to the advice issued on the DHS link, best practices dictate that if you are a user of cellular routers and gateways, make sure that devices in your network are running the latest firmware.
Please feel free to respond to this email with additional questions or concerns about the Mirai virus.

NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENTS FOLLOW:
USAT NEW PRODUCTS—Poynting High-Gain Multi-band Antennas Launched
Poynting high gain directional antennas are now a stocked item at USAT Corp. USAT conducted an extensive search for multi-band high gain antennas, both omni and directional (yagi) that can support the different flavors of LTE used domestically and around the world, and this product line tested out the best. See examples here http://usatcorp.com/usat-corp-will-now-offer-poynting-antennas/. If you have interest in superior high gain antennas, respond to this email, and a specialist will contact you.

CRADLEPOINT NEW PRODUCTS

SIERRA WIRELESS AIRLINK NEW PRODUCTS

DIGI NEW PRODUCTS

As you set budgets for wireless data communication and networking initiatives in 2017 and beyond, please consider USAT Corp. as your consultative partner and engage with us early and often. You can get in touch with me to discuss your upcoming projects, or reach out directly to your USAT account manager.

4G Cellular Modems For US Cellular–Sierra Wireless AirLink GX450 & ES450

For many years, users of the US Cellular network lacked options when it came to selecting a cellular 3G/4G modem, gateway or router for wireless data acquisition and remote monitoring applications. For organizations that were using the US Cellular network, the lack of “certified” devices was a potential barrier to launching M2M or mobility projects using a public network backbone. Well, the wait is over. For those clients who have been looking for a reliable US Cellular cell modem option for in-vehicle usage or for SCADA, distribution automation or other types of industrial automation, the wait is over. US Cellular has certified the Sierra Wireless AirLink GX450 and the ES450 for use on the US Cellular network as of July 15th, 2015 and the devices are available and shipping now. See them both below.

Tech Note: Required configuration is North America Generic and ALEOS 4.4.1 or later is required.

Sierra Wireless Airlink GX440 End-Of-Life

It is official: Sierra Wireless will cease production of the AirLink GX440 in that not too distant future. The Sierra Wireless GX440 is sunsetting at the end of 2015. Last buy for the GX440  will be Dec. 31st, 2015. Last shipment will be June 30,  2016. Why the six month differential between last buy and last shipment? Because Sierra Wireless is most likely going to allow phased purchase orders is our interpretation. The replacement product for the GX440 is the GX450. The time to start planning for your company’s migration to the GX450 is now. For a summary description of the differences between the GX440 and the GX450, visit this link. 

Sierra Wireless GX450–Warranty Length Flexibility A Good Thing

Although the new Sierra Wireless AirLink GX450 was known to be in the works for some time, the Sierra Wireless product team packed in some surprises when they released it. For instance, a month in advance, It was common knowledge that the new unit would support AWS/XLTE. It was also a well known fact that the GX450 would support, come Q3 2015, carrier delineation by software (when the ALEOS upgrade that will make it possible is released). What a boon to all! One GX450, in a few months, will be able to be either VZW, Sprint or AT&T. Telecom managers everywhere are rejoicing at this prospect! However, no one knew about the big surprise: the fact that Sierra Wireless was releasing the GX450 device with a 3 year warranty instead of a 5 year warranty. The option to buy a full 5 year uplift exists, but the standard warranty term is now 3 years.

“Wait a minute! Doesn’t Sierra Wireless AirLink stand behind their product any more?” some readers may be asking. Well that was my first impulse as well, until I looked carefully at the price-points. The price for the GX450 WITH the full 5 year warranty is the same as the GX440 with the 5 year warranty. The price for the GX450 with the 3 year warranty is $100 less than the GX440. Now this makes sense. While many critical infrastructure clients expect a 5-7 year lifecycle out of their cellular gateways, some clientele in the M2M space who are more attuned to “speeds and feeds” than the SCADA crowd, cycle their units in 2-3 years. So Sierra Wireless AirLink is making a play for that demographic. That only makes sense as IOT and a whole new world of applications for cellular gateways emerges on the horizon.

Check out the specifications for the new, Verizon Wireless LTE/XLTE Sierra Wireless GX450 (part number 1102326) here.

 

CalAmp Vanguard 3000 Is One Modem That Works On Multiple Carrier Networks

Supply chain managers are constantly looking for innovative ways to do more with less. In the cellular space one sticking point for enterprise procurement strategies is the fact that for most product cellular modem/gateway/router product lines, there is not an option to buy a single device and have it operate on all three major carrier networks (Sprint, Verizon & AT&T).

Today I’d like to write about one cellular modem that can, indeed, be used for all three carrier networks. The single device that is compatible with all three public carrier networks is the CalAmp Vanguard 3000.

HOW IT WORKS

The CalAmp Vanguard 3000 uses a Qualcomm GOBI radio module that is software delineated as to which carriers networks it will use. The cellular carrier can be selected any time after purchase. What this means is that the end-user can select which carrier (Sprint, VZW, or AT&T) that will be the network associated with the device. Although, the Vanguard 3000 can, in practice, be activated with live data plans for all three major US carriers, the most common scenario is that the device is provisioned for one carrier only at the time of deployment.

WHY THIS MATTERS

There are only two part numbers for the Vanguard 3000. There are not separate part number variants for every carrier and carrier combination. The adaptability of the CalAmp Vanguard 3000 makes for an easier-to-manage supply chain since only one part needs to be warehoused. This type of flexibility has other benefits. If corporate telecommunication contracts undergo a major change–for example, one carrier is supplanted by another on a corporate level–there is no need to buy all new cellular modems. The Vanguard 3000 can be provisioned for a different carrier and does not need to be replaced.

3G ONLY TODAY

Today the CalAmp Vanguard 3000 is available only for 3G networks. This is more than sufficient for many remote data acquisition applications but is not appropriate for high-bandwidth applications like video monitoring. To learn more about the CalAmp Vanguard 3000, in both its iterations (140-7230-110 and the 140-7230-000), click here.

End-Of-Life For Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven X Sooner Than Expected

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.