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Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

X230 and later series specific matters only
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aprco
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Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#1 Post by aprco » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:32 pm

Looking at purchasing a few X230 for some of our execs. Absolutely required is internal
WWAN with connectivity in both North America as well as Europe. Purchasing a SIM card
when any one of them arrives overseas is not an option; these have to be ready to go.

As recently as last Friday 9/7, there were two WWAN options - to the best of my recollection
it was Gobi 3000 and Gobi 4000 for Verizon and AT&T respectively. Today, 9/10 there
is still the 'Mobile Broadband Upgradeable' option, but no option to choose a WWAN card OR
the 2x2 or 3x3 antenna (which I still don't fully understand).

I have spent a lot of time researching options and still can't come up with a definitive answer.
What WWAN card should I buy to use in the U.S. and Europe? Carrier doesn't matter (but Verizon preferred).
Cost does not matter. If I have to put in a SIM card here in the U.S., that's ok.
It appears the Ericcson H5321gw might fit the bill. But I have plugged
in the Ericsson part number and the Lenovo part number and it doesn't come up on the U.S. Lenovo site.
This leads me to believe they are not offering it? I am reluctant to buy from anywhere else.

Need some help here. Thanks in advance for your guidance.

Andrew

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Re: Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#2 Post by TTY » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:06 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum :-)

While the X230 can't be configured with a WWAN option now, WWAN cards are available as accessories. In Europe, UMTS networks are very common, while EV-DO networks are very scarce. So you should get UMTS capable cards.

Lenovo U.S.A. lists two UMTS capable WWAN cards for the X230:

Sierra Wireless MC8355 - Gobi 3000 (TM) Part number: 0A36185
Sierra Wireless MC7700 - Gobi 4000 for AT&T LTE and HSPA+ Part number: 0A36320

Sierra Wireless claims that the MC8355 can be used with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, while the MC7700 is AT&T only. Here is the source to that information:

http://www.sierrawireless.com/en/produc ... dules.ashx

The only troubling thing in all of this is, that this page

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/detail. ... D=PD014511

says "country support" is U.S. only for both of the cards mentioned above. I find it difficult to believe that the cards would work only in the U.S. According to Lenovo, they sell the MC8355 in most of the world:

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/product ... MIGR-77146

The MC7700 is a more recent product than the MC8355. Its 3G is much faster and it is LTE capable.

Lenovo's support section has detailed information on both cards:

MC7700:
http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/product ... D=PD024211

MC8355:
http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/product ... MIGR-77145

I suppose the 2x2 and 3x3 antenna options refer to Wireless LAN. You can still select any of these options when you choose display type.
Last edited by TTY on Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#3 Post by bill bolton » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:59 pm

aprco wrote:Absolutely required is internal WWAN with connectivity in both North America as well as Europe. Purchasing a SIM card
when any one of them arrives overseas is not an option; these have to be ready to go.
You are out of luck then - there is simply no good option from any vendor of laptops, WWAN cards or ISPs that supports your concept of always ready-to-go WWAN interoperability, even just across the US and Europe at any cost.

Also, the cost of "global roaming" on WWAN is astronomical (even in terms of executive level expense accounts).

Things are starting to get better, but the global telecoms industry is still some way off having the sort of solution you are seeking.

IMO, the best solution right now would be to use a Vodafone SIM in Europe and a AT&T SIM in the US, together with a WWAN card that supports 3G operation on the 850MHz, 900MHz and 2100MHz bands.

Don't even think about 4G at this stage, its too different everywhere in terms of bands and service offerings. Also, Verizon uses several WWAN technologies which are not much used (if at all), outside North America, so finding a WWAN card that works with Verizon in the US and is also going to be a good performer in Europe (rather than merely mediocre) just adds an extra degree of difficulty!

Cheers,

Bill B.

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Re: Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#4 Post by Puppy » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:55 am

aprco wrote:Absolutely required is internal WWAN with connectivity in both North America as well as Europe.
No way with Lenovo limited number of officially supported (non-blacklisted in BIOS) WWAN devices if you want to use the latest (fastest) technology available. For Europe you need a device that operates with 3G/HSPA+ networks on 900/2100 MHz and 4G/LTE on 800/1800/2600 MHz. In most of European countries you can get 3G/HSPA+ at the best (while Germany have already very good 4G/LTE coverage). Some countries like Czech Republic have almost zero 3G coverage with no chance of impove that you are forced to use slow 2G/EDGE (~200 kbps, up to 3000 ms latency) connection in most of places.

Vodafone offers service called Vodafone Passport that allows you to connect in almost all European countries for double price of local plan.

List of networks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LT ... rks#Europe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UM ... rks#Europe

The Sierra Wireless MC8355 is probably the most versatile available solution for you that works both in the US and Europe but you get slower speed everywhere (14.4Mbps max). As for changing SIM cards in the SIM slot be very careful when you pull out the SIM card especially if MicroSIM to SIM adapter is used (better to avoid MicroSIM at all). The pins in the sim slot are fragile and can be easily damaged. The only way to repair it is to replace the system board.
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Re: Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#5 Post by TTY » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:56 am

Puppy wrote:The Sierra Wireless MC8355 is probably the most versatile available solution for you that works both in the US and Europe but you get slower speed everywhere (14.4Mbps max).
The ThinkPad GOBI 4000 Mobile Broadband AT&T a.k.a. known as the Sierra Wireless MC7700, P/N 0A36320 is faster, and, if the user has an AT&T data plan, sufficiently versatile.

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Re: Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#6 Post by Puppy » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:08 am

TTY wrote:The ThinkPad GOBI 4000 Mobile Broadband AT&T a.k.a. known as the Sierra Wireless MC7700, P/N 0A36320 is faster, and, if the user has an AT&T data plan, sufficiently versatile.
MC7700 does not support 3G at 900 MHz while MC8355 does. The 900 MHz 3G network has better coverage than 2100 MHz one. Yes, you will lose 4G/LTE in the US and 3G/HSPA+ 21/42 Mbps in Europe but you get versatile solution for both continents.
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Re: Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#7 Post by TTY » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:31 am

Puppy wrote:MC7700 does not support 3G at 900 MHz while MC8355 does.
It's interesting that Lenovo makes no mention of the MC8355 being capable of using the 900 MHz band for 3G/UMTS in their specs. I wonder if the 900 MHz band has been disabled in the Lenovo version.

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Re: Struggling with X230 WWAN Options

#8 Post by Puppy » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:35 am

TTY wrote:It's interesting that Lenovo makes no mention of the MC8355 being capable of using the 900 MHz band for 3G/UMTS in their specs. I wonder if the 900 MHz band has been disabled in the Lenovo version.
Good catch. That would ruin the idea of a US/Europe versatile WWAN device at all. There is chance that these specs are incorrect on the Lenovo site. Unfortunately there is noone to ask. Lenovo will redirect you to the specs page, Sierra Wireless will redirect you to Lenovo. No solution in todays world, just buy&try :(

If the Lenovo specs are correct (no 900 MHz band 3G support) it is better to go with MC7700 and hope you will find 2100 MHz 3G network in Europe at your locations. I can't imagine a reason why would Lenovo disable the 900 MHz band support but there are many things Lenovo does that I can not understand.
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