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260 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 86141 1-Jul-2011 20:26
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Hi All

We have several CallDirect CDR-990 (now Netcomm)  connected to a private APN on the Vodafone network.  All of these devices are fixed locations, and are used for realtime monitoring purposes.  The device itself in a simple terms is an industrial 3G to Ethernet device.

We have been having issues with these devices, which Vodafone have been investigating for us; and progress is been made, however a resolution is still not in site (Vodafone are investigating with Netcomm, and there Network Equipment Supplier), and this is starting to have serious implications for the delivery of projects within our company. 

We have also tried other industrial devices in the same location that these devices are deployed, such as the Digi Connect WAN 3G – however these have suffered the same fate.

The issue at hand, the device does work, however several time a day the device appears to disconnect from the network; however the PPP session between the device and the Vodafone network remains intact.

Out of frustration we tried a Netcomm Travel Router, connected to a Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick (Huawei Version), and this device works without issue, however this couldn’t be called an industrial device, and the durability of the device long term does raise some concerns.

We have been looking for other devices to try, however most (all that we can find actually) are based around the Sierra Wireless Mini PCI-e Cards – which is the same device that is used in both the CallDirect/Netcomm and Digi devices (although both are using different models of the cards). 

Does anyone have any ideas on what other options exist in the market – that do NOT have Sierra Wireless modules.

Many Thanks
David



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260 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 490244 6-Jul-2011 20:17
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Anyone, any ideas please?  Getting desperate now...

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  Reply # 490272 6-Jul-2011 21:24
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I have built what I think is close to industrial quality:

-A POE powered 3G router with built-in ethernet and wifi access hotspot
-Is using an external 3G antenna because of its location

The gear I used is..

1x 411uahr Mikrotik router
1x sierra wireless MC8704 HSPA+ mini-pci wireless card 850,900,1900,2100 3G MHZ, 
1x Wifi ABGN
1x spare mini pci slot for another wireless (maybe for mesh integration)
suitable antenna

This device is highly configurable, with an endless possibility of different scripts/code that can be run on it, ie, Dynamic DNS, reboot on certain conditions, status updates, etc etc...

What are you needing this for? Redundancy?

Sorry just reread your post, you can any mini pci 3G card you want not just sierra. What is wrong with them anyway? Works fine for me.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 490281 6-Jul-2011 21:35
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It is for remote monitoring of equipment in the field.  Needs to be online 24x7.

Issue that Vodafone appear to have with the SW devices is the dont respond to a certain message from the Vodafone network, which means comms are lost for upto 2 minutes to the device.  While this may seem minor, it happens 20 odd times a day, which make the device not suitable for our purpose.

The path to get it resolved appears to be a very long path....  which while I know Vodafone are trying, we have a business to run... and the timelines of each do not equal.

The SW chipset you are using is a differenet model to the two we have been testing with Vodafone, so I'' see if I can get hold of one and try it out.

Cheers
David

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  Reply # 490294 6-Jul-2011 21:46
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So I take it the 2 minute window is very critical to your application. My device is currently running 24/7, and is used to access Mobotix IP cameras remotely while also providing a wifi hotspot to customers.

I have found that the Telecom network was better suited in my case as it had better pings/faster upload speeds as well as a little more stability in the connection.

With these routers, you can write a bit of code to say that if a valid 3G connection is not available, disable then reenable the modem to reengage the connection. This can all be completed within about 10s. Is that satisfactory?
 

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  Reply # 490298 6-Jul-2011 21:51
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Glazza:
The SW chipset you are using is a differenet model to the two we have been testing with Vodafone, so I'' see if I can get hold of one and try it out. 


I couldn't find any supplier in NZ, so I had to use the Aussie Sierra authorised supplier. Can give you their contact details if you like.  



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 490300 6-Jul-2011 21:51
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We have a private APN with both providers, with a preference to use Vodafone, as most of our equipment can be purchased with radio gear ready to work on the 900Mhz frequency.  This issue doesnt occur on Telecom - only Vodafone :(

If there is traffic (ping a remote address for example) the device will stay connected, but when we are polling every 30 seconds there are issues...

The issue is, as far as the device is concerned the PPP session to the mobile network remains in place, there is just no bi directional communication....

And as both networks charge moon money for APN data, we want to avoid any additional data where possible.

Cheers
David



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 490303 6-Jul-2011 21:52
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jjnz1:
I couldn't find any supplier in NZ, so I had to use the Aussie Sierra authorised supplier. Can give you their contact details if you like.  


Yes Please.



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Ultimate Geek
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Reply # 491908 11-Jul-2011 10:36
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A bit of an update - I got hold of a Gobi 2000 device, and got this running on the RB411, and while this was a little more reliable, it was still unable to hold pass data consistently - same issue as earlier.

In order to ensure the hardware was able to do this, I installed a Telecom XT sim card (public APN however), and everything worked for around 18 hours, at what point I shut the device down to move it.

Naturally after powering the device back on, it got a new IP address, but it has been working for another without issue...

Totally understand that the networks are difference etc - but needless to say it is frustrating that I can't get any hardware to work 100% on the Vodafone network!

Cheers



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  Reply # 491923 11-Jul-2011 10:55
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Has it anything to do with your Vodafone private APN? Have you tried a public  VF APN?

What about polling at smaller time intervals? say 2-10 seconds? If that works, could you renegotiate with your Vodafone business manager your data rates to reflect the increase in data due to their incompatible gear?

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  Reply # 491954 11-Jul-2011 11:34
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Normally pinging the default route (or the first hop) shouldn't generate billable traffic against your account.  Otherwise you can rightfully argue that they shouldn't be generating billable CDR's for local ICMP traffic (or find something that is zero rated, such as the Vodafone Live site, and ping or telnet on port 80 to that).

Perhaps a NTC-790 might work?? Not that I can personally say that I have worked with one.

It also could be to do with the PCH/FACH/DCH transitions.  Which has been well documented by sbiddle's post on Vodafone vs XT a while ago.
Normally pinging the default route (or the first hop) shouldn't generate billable traffic against your account.  Otherwise you can rightfully argue that they shouldn't be generating billable CDR's for local ICMP traffic (or find something that is zero rated, such as the Vodafone Live site, and ping or telnet on port 80 to that).






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