Archive-March 2017-Tech Bulletin-IPv4 Announcement-Cradlepoint And Sierra Wireless-EOL LS300 AT&T

As an active adviser to your wireless communications initiatives, USAT Corp. has information to share:

*IPV4 & IPV6 INFORMATION*
 
VZW recently announced that it will stop issuing new public static IPv4 IP addresses on June 30th 2017. USAT has analyzed how this will affect our critical infrastructure clients and an initial summary is below:

  • If your organization’s communication devices are currently sending data on a Verizon private network, you will not be affected by this change.
  • Any existing IPv4 public static IPs currently in use will continue to operate as usual after June 30th 2017.
  • Any devices activated on the VZW network after June 30th MAY NOT be assigned an IPv4 public static IP address. USAT has received no guarantees that exceptions will be made.

 
IN ADDITION, PLEASE ALSO CONSIDER: that if your organization has reserved IPv4 public static IP blocks but do not have the associated IPs assigned to an active device on the VZW network, it may be in your best interest to activate them before June 30th, or VZW will have the right to reclaim those unused IPs from your organization.
 
Below find two statements from USAT’s key manufacturer partners about IPv6 support for their product lines post-June 30th. In both cases, the news is good:

 
If you have any concerns about a specific wireless gateway/router or if you are questioning whether your application requires a public static IP, please contact your USAT Corp. sales account manager or respond to this email.
 
*SIERRA WIRELESS FIRMWARE—IMPORTANT ACTION REQUIRED—UPGRADE TEMPLATES TO 4.7*
 
It is important to note that all new devices in the GX450, RV50, and ES450 product lines from Sierra Wireless are shipping from the factory with 4.7 pre-loaded. Once a device has 4.7 on it, the device cannot be downgraded to an earlier firmware.  In preparation for new deployments, USAT recommends that all current users of the GX/ES and RV families upgrade an existing unit in their stock to the latest firmware and validate that all of their configurations work with their solutions. 
 
More information about the ALEOS 4.7 firmware update can be viewed here: http://usatcorp.com/key-points-sierra-wireless-aleos-4-7-0-firmware-release/

*SIERRA WIRELESS End Of Sale (EOS) ANNOUNCEMENTS*

 
–All GX400s will EOS on April 30th 2017 with the last ship date set for 12/30/2017.
–The AT&T LS300 will also EOS on April 30th 2017 with the last ship date set for 12/30/2017.
–Please note the VZW LS300 is still actively in production and EOS has not yet been announced.
 
Do not hesitate to contact USAT with specific questions related to your business applications. Remember that we are your partners for all elements of a wireless project—including cabling, antennas and enclosures. Check out the spec sheet for the new log periodic LPDA antenna by Poynting that is making a significant difference in connectivity in fringe locations for clients using 4G only LTE Advanced network devices.

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.

Critical Firmware Update For CradlePoint Routers XXXLE-VZ

Part of managing a 4G cellular wireless modem or router deployment is keeping up with firmware releases and understanding what each firmware release means to the stability/functionality of your 4G cellular platform. Recently it came to light that for the following CradlePoint routers, with GPS enabled, using the VZW LTE chipset, memory corruption could occur that would compromise performance of the routers. Read the important bulletin about this issue here.

What this bulletin does not say is why it is critical to make that update. The answer is that if the update is not performed, the CradlePoint Router can be bricked. The modem flash can become corrupt after a period of months if the GPS functionality is enabled. This can eventually cause the modem firmware to be overwritten on the device. When this happens, if the device is rebooted or power cycled, the modem will not come back up afterward. And since there is typically only a year warranty on CradlePoint devices, you really don’t want this to happen. CradlePoint urges that any organization using the following devices performs the radio firmware update:

List of LE-VZ products that could be affected:

  • Cradlepoint AER2100LE-VZF (MC300LE-VZ)
  • Cradlepoint ARC MBR1400LE-VZ
  • Cradlepoint ARC CBA750B-LE-VZ (MC200LE-VZ)
  • Cradlepoint COR IBR600LE-VZ,Cradlepoint IBR650LE-VZ
  • Cradlepoint COR IBR600LE-VZ-PWD (GPS is enabled as default setting)

CradlePoint has made access to firmware free and available again without a subscription. You can sign up to access the free firmware upgrade by visiting https://cradlepoint.com/firmware.

Slimline MIMO LTE Antenna Will Fit On Utility Cabinets

Image

I had a front row seat on the development of a very unique MIMO 2G/3G/4G/LTE/XLTE antenna for fixed-point cellular connectivity. What has been created, and is currently in pre-production  is a slim line MIMO antenna assembly that has been designed to easily fit on the top of a NEMA utility cabinet, or other type of enclosure, requiring that only one hole be drilled, not two. As I have blogged about previously, in order to optimize the speeds of an LTE antenna, there needs to be two antenna fixtures attached to the LTE router/gateway/modem. That is because LTE is a true “multiple-in-multiple out” technology and requires two fixtures to be in use simultaneously for an optimized performance. In the past, with 3G cellular network devices, I really did not advocate for the diversity antenna for every installation. In the 3G world, the addition of the diversity antenna meant a very incremental change in connectivity that was not always noticeable in real-world performance for the router or gateway. However, having seen extensive bench tests showing the differences in speeds and feeds for LTE routers using one antenna versus two antennas, the clear answer is that two antennas make very noticeable difference in performance. Below see  pictures of the new antenna and how it has been carefully designed to take up very little real estate when mounted. The narrow, oblong shape of this LTE antenna allows for this antenna to mount to the top of most standard NEMA enclosures or environmental cabinets used by utility companies and other energy companies. This single device can replace the current status quo, which is mounting two “stubby” or “salt and pepper shaker” form factor antennas. This is an early look at this device, which will be made available by Mobile Mark. Once the costing has been formalized and a part number has been assigned, the antenna will be made available. For now an engineering sample can be ordered using the part number EDN324. If interested, make an inquiry here referencing that part.

EDN 324 CaptureEDN 324 #2

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.

 

Multiband AWS XLTE Rubber Ducks Antennas Available

I have heard, from the engineers that I work with,  XLTE disparaged as a “marketing term.” However, for the record, I find it is aptly named–as it is, indeed, extra LTE spectrum that Verizon wireless is building out to enhance their current 4G network. In markets where standard LTE performance is hindered as the network hits “critical mass,” Verizon in adding AWS to its bag of tricks so that the overall user experience will be better across the board. Does XLTE matter to ever user, everywhere? No. Does XLTE add more bandwidth in markets that risk saturation? Yes. All, in all, good for VZW for rolling out XLTE. But now on to the practical nuts-and-bolts matters involved in wireless solution building. As more companies begin to evaluate whether to start testing modems, cellular gateways and cellular routers that incorporate the AWS XLTE spectrum it is good to know a source for antennas that cover the 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and XLTE (AWS) bands. XLTE rubber duck dipole antennas, mini rubber ducks dipole antennas, and two high-gain mast antennas that support XLTE can be procured here. At our test bench in a very small city, we were surprised to discover, when testing these AWS band antennas, that XLTE had already reached us.

Dual-Network Public/Private LTE Vehicle Router Is Correct Solution For One Municipality

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.

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.

MIMO Antenna Systems For Verizon Wireless/AT&T LTE Networks

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.

http://usatcorp.com/accessories/usat/multiband-mast

http://usatcorp.com/accessories/usat/multiband-yagi-12-n

http://usatcorp.com/accessories//multiband-puck-hard

http://usatcorp.com/accessories/usat/multiband-mini-duck

http://usatcorp.com/accessories/usat/multiband-duck

http://usatcorp.com/accessories/usat/multiband-mini-duck