Posts Tagged UMTS

Summary of WWAN cards configuration

In this github repo, I put together my knowledge about WWAN cards setup, alongside with all initialization scripts.

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Novatel E371 WWAN LTE modem for APU

Novatel E371 (also known as Dell DW5804) is sold for less than $30 at Aliexpress, and it’s so far the cheapest 4G/LTE WWAN card suitable for PC-Engines APU.

The initialization is fairly simple, although it was tricky to find the right command (AT$NWQMICONNECT=,,).

cat >/etc/chatscripts/lte_on.E371 <<'EOT'
ABORT BUSY
ABORT 'NO CARRIER'
ABORT ERROR
TIMEOUT 10
'' ATZ
OK 'AT+CFUN=1'
OK 'AT+CMEE=1'
OK 'AT\$NWQMICONNECT=,,'
OK
EOT

cat >/etc/chatscripts/lte_off.E371 <<'EOT'
ABORT ERROR
TIMEOUT 5
'' AT\$NWQMIDISCONNECT OK
AT+CFUN=0 OK
EOT

cat >/etc/network/interfaces.d/wwan0 <<'EOT'
allow-hotplug wwan0
iface wwan0 inet dhcp
    pre-up /usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/lte_on.E371 >/dev/ttyUSB0 </dev/ttyUSB0
    post-down /usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/lte_off.E371 >/dev/ttyUSB0 </dev/ttyUSB0
EOT

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One more 3G modem (Gobi2000) and a watchdog script

Qualcomm Gobi 2000 is quite old (released 2009), but decent 3G modem, able to deliver up to 7Mbps in downstream in PPP mode. These modems in mini-pcie packaging are available at Aliexpress for less than $10, and make up a great option for 3G connectivity for PC Engines APU boards.

The modem needs a binary firmware to be loaded at the start. Numerous sources in Internet describe the ways to retrieve these files. The kernel driver in Debian 8 recognizes the modem as generic Qualcomm one, and sets up a QMI device (wwan0). But this model does not support packet mode, and you need to run PPP over ttyUSB1 device.

apt-get install -y gobi-loader wvdial
mkdir /lib/firmware/gobi
cd /lib/firmware/gobi
wget --no-check-certificate -nd -nc https://www.nerdstube.de/lenovo/treiber/gobi/{amss.mbn,apps.mbn,UQCN.mbn}

cat >/etc/wvdial.conf <<'EOT'
[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet"
Phone = *99#
New PPPD = yes
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB1
Dial Command = ATDT
Baud = 9600
Username = ''
Password = ''
Ask Password = 0
Stupid Mode = 1
Compuserve = 0
Idle Seconds = 0
ISDN = 0
Auto DNS = 1 
EOT

cat >/etc/network/interfaces.d/ppp0 <<'EOT'
auto ppp0
iface ppp0 inet wvdial
EOT

Also this script is useful for 3G connections, because with some providers, the Internet connection gets stalled every few days and needs to be re-connected.

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3G connectivity for PC Engines APU (MU609)

HUAWEI MU609 Mini-PCIe card is available at aliexpress.com for about $40. Comparing to DW5550 card, MU609 is more expensive, but it”s a current hardware, actively supported by the manufacturer.

MU609 supports the traditional PPP interface, as well as CDC Ethernet interface for Linux.

It also has a built-in support for mobile voice calls, but its audio is only available on the physical PCM GPIO interface, which is wired to pins 45, 47, 49, and 51 on the Mini-PCIe plug. These pins are not standardized and marked as “reserved” in Mini-PCIe specification. The PC Engines APU board does not connect these pins to anything.

The card initializes 5 serial-USB devices (ttyUSB0 – ttyUSB4). ttyUSB0 can be used for modem control with AT commands. Detailed documentation for the rest of devices is available at Huawei website. The CDC Ethernet card is initialized as eth3 (because eth0-eth2 are onboard Ethernet adapters).

Setting up the card for automatic startup under Debian:

apt-get install -y picocom ppp

cat >/etc/chatscripts/sunrise.MU609 <<'EOT'
ABORT BUSY
ABORT 'NO CARRIER'
ABORT ERROR
TIMEOUT 10
'' ATZ
OK 'AT+CFUN=1'
OK 'AT+CMEE=1'
OK 'AT\^NDISDUP=1,1,"internet"'
OK
EOT

cat >/etc/chatscripts/gsm_off.MU609 <<'EOT'
ABORT ERROR
TIMEOUT 5
'' AT+CFUN=0 OK
EOT

vi /etc/network/interfaces
allow-hotplug eth3
iface eth3 inet dhcp
    pre-up /usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/sunrise.MU609 >/dev/ttyUSB0 </dev/ttyUSB0
    post-down /usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/gsm_off.MU609 >/dev/ttyUSB0 </dev/ttyUSB0


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3G connectivity for PC Engines APU (DW5550)

In addition to Sierra Wireless MC8775 3G modem, there’s now a new offering for Dell DW5550 (or Ericsson F5521gw, which is the same hardware) mini-PCIe 3G cards at Aliexpress.com, in the price range of $20. This is a newer hardware (the ones I received were manufactured in mid-2012), and it supports higher UMTS speeds and an CDC Ethernet interface in Linux.

This page refers to Ericsson F3507g card, but all instructions are relevant for DW5550. The device identifies itself as Dell DW5550, firmware version R3B01 (Command for retrieving the version: AT+CGMR).

Default Linux kernel 3.2.0 in Debian Wheezy names the CDC Ethernet interface as usb0, and 3.16.0 from Wheezy backports names it as wwan0. Other than that, everything else works the same.

Out of 3 ordered cards, two worked immediately, and one was broken. The seller has kindly offered a replacement for additional $10.

for n in `ls /sys/class/*/*{ACM,wdm,usb0}*/device/interface`;do echo $(echo $n|awk -F '/' '{print $5}') : $(cat $n);done

usb0 : Dell Wireless 5550 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband Mini-Card Network Adapter
ttyACM0 : Dell Wireless 5550 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband Mini-Card Modem
ttyACM1 : Dell Wireless 5550 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband Mini-Card Data Modem
ttyACM2 : Dell Wireless 5550 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband Mini-Card GPS Port
cdc-wdm0 : Dell Wireless 5550 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband Mini-Card Device Management
cdc-wdm1 : Dell Wireless 5550 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband Mini-Card USIM Port

The following commands initiate a 3G connection for a sunrise.ch SIM card:

apt-get install -y picocom ppp
picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyACM1

AT+CFUN=1
AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet"
AT*ENAP=1,1

Ctrl-a Ctrl-x
dhclient usb0

This Debian wiki page explains how to bring up the connection automatically at Linux startup:

cat >/etc/chatscripts/sunrise.DW5550 <<'EOT'
ABORT BUSY
ABORT 'NO CARRIER'
ABORT ERROR
TIMEOUT 10
'' AT+CFUN=1 OK
\dAT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","internet" OK
\d\d\dAT*ENAP=1,1 OK
EOT

cat >/etc/chatscripts/gsm_off.DW5550 <<'EOT'
ABORT ERROR
TIMEOUT 5
'' AT+CFUN=4 OK
EOT

vi /etc/network/interfaces

allow-hotplug usb0
iface usb0 inet dhcp
    pre-up /usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/sunrise.DW5550 >/dev/ttyACM0 </dev/ttyACM0
    post-down /usr/sbin/chat -v -f /etc/chatscripts/gsm_off.DW5550 >/dev/ttyACM0 </dev/ttyACM0

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3G connectivity for PC Engines APU (MC8775)

PC Engines’ APU board has its mPCIe slot 2 wired to the SIM card socket, which allows using any standard mPCIe 3G modem. Most of modern modems are quite expensive, but there are plenty of Sierra Wireless MC8775 cards at aliexpress.com for around $20 apiece. This is a decent hardware, manufactured around 2007-2011. It doesn’t deliver the highest UMTS speeds possible, but still can be used in situations where speed is unimportant.

The cards that I bought came with firmware version 1_1_8_15, dated 2007/07/17. I didn’t test it fully, but there are some failure reports in the internet.

The firmware upgrade requires an adapter with a SIM card slot. I got mine from this eBay seller.

This page describes the firmware upgrade process. The links to istudioz.net are still valid, but you need to remove # (%23) from the URLs. The 3G watcher for the AirCard 875 is unavailable at its original place, but easy to find with Google. I got mine at this site. The upgrade requires a 32bit Windows machine, and takes about 20 minutes. I upgraded the firmware successfully with my old Vista laptop.

Also I bought the 3G antenna and the pigtail cable at aliexpress.

After inserting the 3G modem into mPCIe slot 2 and booting Debian Wheezy, the device was immediately visible as three serial USB interfaces (/dev/ttyUSB0  /dev/ttyUSB1  /dev/ttyUSB2). ttyUSB0 is used for data, and ttyUSB2 can be used for controlling the device with AT commands. The command “AT^CARDMODE” will tell if the SIM card is inserted, and “AT!GSTATUS?” displays the network status information. “AT+GMR” displays the current firmware version. Ctrl-a Ctrl-x sequence will finish the picocom session.

apt-get install -y wvdial picocom
picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyUSB2 
AT^CARDMODE
AT!GSTATUS?
AT+GMR
Ctrl-a Ctrl-x

The following /etc/wvdial.conf works with Sunrise.ch 3G network:

[Dialer Defaults]
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Baud = 460800
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Phone = *99#
Username = ''
Password = ''
Ask Password = 0
Stupid Mode = 1
Compuserve = 0
Idle Seconds = 0
ISDN = 0
Auto DNS = 1 

Execute “wvdial” comand from the command line, and it should immediately connect to the internet. The rest is easy: you can place wvdial into a startup script and execute it automatically at boot time.

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