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.

 

Sierra Wireless GX440 Part Number List & Feature/Specification Summary

Below find a parts list that includes a features and functionality summary on each model of the Sierra Wireless AirLink GX440.

Important Tips & Notes On The GX440:

  • The GX440 ships without antennas.
  • The GX440 ships without a SIM card. It takes a MINI sized SIM, not a MICRO size SIM.
  • As of this writing, the GX440 does not have a model designed to run on the Sprint network, but that is on the roadmap.
  • The AC adapter version of the GX440 is a world-wide adapter that ships with a kit with many interchangeable heads designed to work with multiple outlet styles.

GX440 Verizon Models

Cellular Modem GX440 Part Numbers Power Assembly GX440 Xcard Slot 4G/3G WWAN Ethernet Port Serial Port GPS
Verizon GX440 1101413  AC Power Empty LTE/EVDO 1 1 Y
Verizon GX440 1101414 DC Power Empty LTE/EVDO 1 1 Y
Verizon GX440 1101530  AC Power WIFI Module LTE/EVDO 1 1 Y
Verizon GX440 1101531 DC Power WIFI Module LTE/EVDO 1 1 Y
Verizon GX440 1101729 DC Power I/O Module LTE/EVDO 1 2 Y
Verizon GX440 1101816 AC Power I/O Module LTE/EVDO 1 2 Y
Verizon GX440 1101728 AC Power Ethernet Module LTE/EVDO 2 1 Y
Verizon GX440 1102024 DC Power Ethernet Module LTE/EVDO 2 1 Y

 

GX440 AT&T Models

Sierra Wireless Cellular Modem GX440 Part Numbers Power Assembly GX440 Xcard Slot 4G/3G WWAN Ethernet Port Serial Port GPS
AT&T GX440 1101689 AC Power Empty LTE/HSPA+ 1 1 Y
AT&T GX440 1101688 DC Power Empty LTE/HSPA+ 1 1 Y
AT&T GX440 1101690 AC Power WIFI Module LTE/HSPA+ 1 1 Y
AT&T GX440 1101691 DC Power WIFI Module LTE/HSPA+ 1 1 Y
AT&T GX440 1101809 DC Power I/O Module LTE/HSPA+ 1 2 Y
AT&T GX440 1101880 AC Power I/O Module LTE/HSPA+ 1 2 Y
AT&T GX440 1101960 AC Power Ethernet Module LTE/HSPA+ 2 1 Y
AT&T GX440 1101810 DC Power Ethernet Module LTE/HSPA+ 2 1 Y

 

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

Image

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.

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.

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 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.

Installing A SIM Into A Sierra Wireless GX400W Or GX440W With WiFi

Many of our clients who order Sierra Wireless AirLink GX400 or GX440 cellular gateways with WiFi (like these models 1101531,  1101691 ) find out the hard way that the SIM is very difficult to install. The SIM does not come pre-installed, and the process is not quick to perform. Do it incorrectly or incompetently and risk doing damage to the device itself.  I highly recommend opting to have the SIM installed at the time of sale. Companies like USAT Corp. do that service for a very nominal fee and it comes as a standard part of the device provisioning (DevProv+) professional services. However, if you find yourself in the situation of having to install the SIM yourself, know this key information:

The SIM slot is located on the front left (as you are looking at the side with the lights and the reset button) behind the plastic cover. To access the SIM slot on the device you must remove the plastic cover with a 2mm or 5/64” hexagon Allen wrench.

Step 1: Unplug your GX400/440 from power source.

Step 2: Remove the four hex screws on top of the unit (used to secure the black cover) using a 2mm or 5/64” size Allen (hex) wrench. Place screws in a safe spot, these screws will be used again.

Step 3: Remove the nut and washer from the front facing SMA connector using a 5/16 or 8mm socket torque wrench to a torque spec of 8in-lbs. Place nut and washer in a safe spot, these will be used again.

Step 4: Slide the top black cover off of the device.

Step 5: Install the SIM card with the gold contacts facing down and the cut-out facing to the right.

Re-Installing The Cover Plate

The cover has a tab to mechanically secure the SIM in place during extreme vibration. When replacing the cover:

Step 1: Install the black cover by lining up the SMA antenna connector with the hole in the cover, tilt the rear of the cover slightly to make sure the front bottom of the cover seats in the front ridge, and then push the top of the cover down.

Step 2: Re-install the 4 hex screws on top of the unit.

Step 3: Place the lock washer onto the SMA antenna connector and push to the face of the cover.

Step 4: Install then tighten nut with a 5/16 or 8mm socket torque wrench to a torque spec of 8in-lbs.