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4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

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mzarum
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4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#1 Post by mzarum » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:48 pm

I have started this Topic (4G Broadband LTE WWAN cards / Compatibility) given that mobile broadband carriers are expanding their LTE service areas and my finding information on available WWAN cards for Lenovo ThinkPads and other devices at the time of this writing, that information is scarce and accumulating.

At time of starting this post, it appears that both Sierra Wireless and Qualcomm, offer 4G LTE broadband cards for use in mobile devices, including ThinkPads. However, in talking with both Lenovo Sales and Tech Support in Atlanta, and asking them which Thinkpad models are 4G LTE ready (w/factory installed antenna w/ 3 wire leads), both Lenovo Sales and Tech Support seemed unsure of how to reply at time of this posting.


Part of the reason for the obscure information, is that as major carriers expand their LTE networks, and new devices come out, hardware suppliers need to comply with FCC regulations and ensure device compatibility and ensure that RF interference is not an issue.


Keep in mind that just because a machine is broadband ready, that alone does not ensure it will work and be compatible with 4G LTE.


With the above in mind, and to help other ThinkPad Forum Members,. PLEASE POST YOUR THINKPAD / 4G LTE BROADBAND EXPERIENCE ON THIS THREAD.

Please include the following when posting:

ThinkPad Model and Machine Type used with 4G LTE
4G LTE Broadband Card used (manufacturer, PN, Lenovo FRU)
Mobile Carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, other)
User Experience (worked, didn't work, speeds, compatibility issues)



Hopefully with time this thread will evolve into a useful resource for ThinkPad Forum members to refer to when making purchase decisions for 4G LTE devices.

Best,


Michael Zarum




Web Links – By Category (Restricted to informational only)


4G
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G

LTE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTE_%28tel ... ication%29

List of LTE Networks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks
Last edited by mzarum on Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#2 Post by bill bolton » Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:11 pm

You need to keep in mind that in North America the term 4G means whatever the each carrier individually wants it to mean for their marketing purposes, so the situation there over 4G technology is quite messy compared to other regions... and its likely to remain so for the forseeable future. :jhem:

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#3 Post by Puppy » Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:44 pm

bill bolton wrote:You need to keep in mind that in North America the term 4G means whatever the each carrier individually wants it to mean for their marketing purposes
Same here, T-Mobile CZ provided an obscure UMTS TDD service called "Internet 4G" :) They had to give up on it because the only mobile hardware was PCMCIA card and the vendor went bankrupt. The only purpose of it was to delay standard 3G/UMTS/HSPA+ service to make it more "exclusive" (read: expensive) later.

As for (real) 4G/LTE modules, only those provided by Lenovo would work. Currently there are Lenovo Gobi 4000 (Sierra Wireless MC7750/MC7700) for x30 series.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#4 Post by pjk » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:21 pm

bill bolton wrote:You need to keep in mind that in North America the term 4G means whatever the each carrier individually wants it to mean for their marketing purposes, so the situation there over 4G technology is quite messy compared to other regions... and its likely to remain so for the forseeable future.
Actually I don't think that's quite accurate either.

Yes it's true that the US carriers were determined to call their "pre-4G" or "3.5G" networks 4G for marketing purposes - but as I understand it, they actually succeeded in strong-arming the ITU into relaxing their previously "settled" definition of 4G (which I believe required, among other things, a pure IPv6 infrastructure, a minimum 100Mbps link rate, and various other details of the air interface ie OFDM encoding) so that it encompassed their existing post-3G or "3.5G" networks. (ie HSPA+ for ATT/T-Mobile, WiMAX for Sprint, and the initial version of LTE for Verizon)

IIRC, the only network amongst that group that satisified most of the ITU's previous definition of "4G" at the time of the "definition change" was Verizon's LTE, with the main exception that the link rate for mobile devices does not reach 100Mbps.

Here's a couple of articles about that little political move:

http://www.worldofapple.com/archives/20 ... /4g-or-_4g_/
http://www.abiresearch.com/blogs/the-it ... was-wrong/
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#5 Post by GomJabbar » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:18 am

I bought a Sierra Wireless Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G (AT&T). Problem solved. Device supports 4G LTE — LTE, 4G — HSPA, HSPA+, E — EDGE, G — GPRS.

Connect to the device over WiFi or via USB cable. Device has it's own battery that seems to outlast the laptop battery on a charge. Can be charged via 'wall wart' or USB cable. Using the WiFi connection, it should be compatible with most all laptops and other WiFi enabled devices such as iPads, iPods, and smartphones.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#6 Post by pjk » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:55 am

GomJabbar wrote:I bought a Sierra Wireless Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G (AT&T). Problem solved. Device supports 4G LTE — LTE, 4G — HSPA, HSPA+, E — EDGE, G — GPRS.

Connect to the device over WiFi or via USB cable. Device has it's own battery that seems to outlast the laptop battery on a charge. Can be charged via 'wall wart' or USB cable. Using the WiFi connection, it should be compatible with most all laptops and other WiFi enabled devices such as iPads, iPods, and smartphones.
This is similiar to what I use, the Verizon "Jetpack" made by Novatel.

I've had several 3G/4G units, I started out with a UML290 USB device (bought it the first week VZW introduced LTE) which as an early adopter was somewhat flaky and inflexible. Then I tried a Samsung LTE MiFi unit which was handier in some ways, but in an RF congested area it was a problem and the battery life and display were not that great. The new "Jetpack" has a better display than the Samsung, better battery life, and the ability to tether through USB which was a big deal to me because without that you could be somewhere with a great 3G/4G signal but no way to link to it.

For my dad who has a T500, it would be more convenient to have a built-in device, like a GOBI. But it looks like my promise to him a few years ago will end up being a false one, as I had suggested that the T-series Thinkpad was one of the few laptops that would quite possibly be able to accept an updated 4G replacement at some point to replace his 3G WWAN card which has worked great for him all over the country. (He's an RV'er) Oh well.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#7 Post by bill bolton » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:12 pm

pjk wrote:Actually I don't think that's quite accurate either.
It is for the North American region, which is more than just the USA :idea:

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#8 Post by floridarandy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:05 pm

I purchased a Lenovo T430-2342 in December and did not include the WWAN at that time. The item I could have purchased was listed as "Sierra Wireless MC7750 –Gobi 4000 Integrated Mobile Broadband for Verizon 4G/LTE".

In investigating this as something to add now I find that Lenovo reports not selling the item individually, outside a new build, although the laptop is wired for it.

As I check around online I can buy what appears to be the correct card (see:

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/tec ... .aspx?IM=0

It doesn't appear, though, that Verizon, or Lenovo for that matter, support windows 8 for the Access Manager software:

see Verizon: http://www.vzam.net/download/supported.aspx

see Lenovo: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloa ... D=DS029028

Any thoughts on the ability to add and use the card successfully on my T430 Windows 8?

Thanks

Randy in Florida

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#9 Post by viktorprasanna » Sat May 11, 2013 1:51 pm

I purchased a X230 almost a year ago, I still cannot get the 4G to work.

It has been repaired, sent back to Lenovo, etc., etc.
I have given up, I ran into this forum.

Wondering if anyone experienced this?
It connects but it hangs up after about 10 mins or so.
I does not reconnect, the only way to connect again (to any wireless network) is to reboot.

X230
Win 8
AT&T 4G

Note, I am able to use an external (Samsung) USB modem with the same sim card though.

Thanks, Viktor

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#10 Post by BillMorrow » Sat May 11, 2013 2:19 pm

maybe a software issue..?

does this happen in multiple and widely divergent locations..?

just a thought or two..

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#11 Post by viktorprasanna » Sat May 11, 2013 2:39 pm

Lenovo seems to think that way, but I never received an update.

It does happen at various locations I tried, Viktor

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#12 Post by GomJabbar » Sat May 11, 2013 4:34 pm

I am not familiar with Lenovo's software for controlling the 4G connection. Are you able to select the speed anywhere with the connection software (i.e.: LTE, 4G, 3G, 2G, etc.)? If so, try using a different speed. Is your WiFi card turned on when you are connected to 4G? If so, try turning off WiFi (and Bluetooth if applicable) before connecting to 4G.

Try powering your adapter off, then back on to reset. Alternatively, you might be able to use ipconfig commands from a cmd box to reset your 4G adapter without needing to reboot.
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/docu ... x?mfr=true

I have seen my cellular hotspot exhibit similar behavior from time to time. I usually just power off the adapter then turn it back on to reestablish the connection. This seems to happen in areas where competing cellular carriers have a stronger signal than cellular carrier I am using. If possible, try to look at the signal strength, and align your computer where you get the best signal. This is one advantage of the hotspot. I can place the hotspot by the window, but my laptop can be some feet away.

Also look for potential sources of interference, such as microwave ovens. Try to eliminate those if possible.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#13 Post by Puppy » Mon May 13, 2013 6:58 am

viktorprasanna wrote:It connects but it hangs up after about 10 mins or so.
I does not reconnect, the only way to connect again (to any wireless network) is to reboot.
The reconnecting issue sounds familiar :( It is the same with Ericsson F5521gw 3G/HSPA+ WWAN card and Windows 7. Lenovo is not willing to accept the issue and investigate it (there is a new firmware available for similar HP branded WWAN card but every mentioning it in Lenovo official forums leads to deleting the post ... call it 'support'). Currently the only workaround is to restart its device driver from Device Manager by Disable/Enable before every reconnection (that can be automated using devcon Windows Driver Kit utility)

It is strange that wireless module from different vendor (Sierra Wireless) has the same issue. Is there something rotten in Lenovo customized drivers in general ? I would try to turn off power management for wireless devices.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#14 Post by AIX » Mon May 13, 2013 7:44 am

@viktor - use Puppy's advice about restarting the driver when the connection is lost and the WWAN card isn't responsive, so you wouldn't have to reboot. However, when you're using the Broadband Mobile connection, open a command prompt and start a continuous ping (ping *.*.*.* -t option), it really helps to keep the WWAN connection alive.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#15 Post by Puppy » Mon May 13, 2013 9:23 am

I also have to comment that (again). I understand that mobile technologies are very complicated and software is complex and thus buggy. What drives me crazy is the absolutely unconstructive attitude of companies (Lenovo) when it comes to solve such issues. They are usually silent or just giving a 'manager-like' advices: try to replace the WWAN device, try to replace motherboard, try to reinstall operating system, try ... try ... try. The correct attitude would be to diagnose the issue, especially since it is reproducible. It seems as they are scared to go deeper into the technical details of the issue. I'm sure that the vendor of these WWAN modules have internal tools that are able to collect diagnostic logs. I have been trying to ask for it many times in Lenovo forums without any success :roll: Frustrating.

Five years ago I had similar issue with an external device for mobile Internet access. After exchanging few emails with clueless provider's support (try, try, try) I finally got email to appropriate person with strong technical background. I got internal vendor's diagnostic tools to collect logs from the device and yes, the issue had been identified. Well, that was five years ago, time has changed.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#16 Post by bill bolton » Tue May 14, 2013 6:58 pm

Puppy wrote:It is the same with Ericsson F5521gw 3G/HSPA+ WWAN card and Windows 7.
Yet again, this card and OS combination works fine in many places in the world - so its not the same at all.... :roll:

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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#17 Post by Puppy » Wed May 15, 2013 3:04 pm

bill bolton wrote:Yet again, this card and OS combination works fine in many places in the world - so its not the same at all.... :roll:
And again, it does not work in many (European) places either. The issue is confirmed by multiple customers and it is reproducible. So my previous argument is valid. I already spent 40+ hours trying to debug and resolve the issue. If I had access to the vendor's tools and information (logger tools and description of driver registry values) I think it would be already solved. I know that nobody cares.

EDIT The solution is here http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/X-Series-Th ... 071#M49816
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#18 Post by Radioguy » Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:20 am

I possess a NETGEAR/Sierra Wireless 771S (Sprint Zing) AirCard portable hotspot, with an activated Sprint SIM.

While I can use the LTE-to-Wi-Fi MyFi-type hotspot with any device (including several), I have been using it via USB cable for a more secure connection without Wi-Fi.

Now, considering the primary devices I use are ThinkPads with available Mini PCI-E slots (and even unused WWAN antennae) I wonder if I can pop any LTE Mini PCI-E card (Lenovo or not, my TPs have modded BIOSes), into a slot, and add the SIM for access right off the bat.

I assume the Lenovo (whitelisted) versions of the cards they issued with OPT/FRU's are locked to the listed carriers, so an unlock would be required if there were no Sprint version (Which I don't remember there being one)

However, when it comes to the Sierra Wireless AirPrime options, and considering the age of the MC7700 era cards, I wonder, even were they unlocked, if those cards might have other incompatibilities with Sprint, and whether those cards might default to 3G speeds compared to the newer era of LTE technology used in the AirCard I have.

That also goes for the fewer non-Sierra Wireless models, and especially the other Novatel, Huawei, etc generic cards out there which might be listed as 4G LTE, but may or not be unlocked for multiple carriers.

I should also say I have a couple old 3G era Lenovo cards pulled from other ThinkPads, but I have yet to try the install, and wonder if they would even work with a potential unlock (Have to dig that box out).

So, going forward, these are my specific questions:

  1. Will my Sprint SIM work in any Lenovo whitelisted cards (4G LTE, or older 3G) as-is?
  2. Will my Sprint 4G LTE SIM work in an older 3G Lenovo whitelisted card at those lower default speeds (even if unlocked)?
  3. Can I unlock Lenovo whitelisted cards to other carriers as easily as I can with a cellphone?
  4. Do I absolutely need to do such an unlock?
  5. Are there any specific generic (non-Sierra AirPrime) unlocked cards which will work right off the bat?
  6. Is there a Lenovo whitelisted version of the newer MC7354 and MC7350 AirPrime cards, and would they need to be unlocked as well?
[/b]

I want to make as informed a decision as possible, and without spending much (perhaps not at all for the short term if my 3G cards can somehow work for a time). I appreciate any information.

Thanks. :)
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#19 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:32 am

You only need to unlock the laptop's BIOS. Most cards will then work.
If T61, check here: http://ali.dj/blog/sata-ii-support-for- ... 61-x61-r61
If X301, check here: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=104900

Can't answer any specific Sprint questions.
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Re: 4G LTE Broadband WWAN cards Product Migration Compatibility

#20 Post by Radioguy » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:17 pm

Thanks. Hopefully someone else can fill me in on the other stuff. :)
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