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.
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.
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.
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.
As a member of my geographical region’s clean tech business interest group, I am often asked about the role of wireless data communications in clean tech initiatives. Many times I find myself defending the inclusion of wireless data communications technology in the clean tech playbook. I firmly believe that wireless data is a catalyst to clean tech. On an elementary level, wireless data vastly reduces truck rolls, which in turn, reduces pollution emissions and the number of vehicles on the road. In the not-to-distant past, before field-based assets were truly connected, the only way to to acquire data was moving a field technician to the scene. Now it is possible not only to obtain data, but to exert control on a field-based asset remotely. Thus, the negatives associated with vehicular transportation are mitigated.
In addition, because clean tech is heavily data-driven, the real-time data acquisition enabled by wireless data networks allows many other clean tech solutions to be viable. In order to propagate this message, I am going to be blogging about how a cellular modem can be integrated with an EV vehicle charger in a uniquely clean tech application.
I look forward to sharing more updates about this project as it progresses.
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
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