How do I enable Multi-Carrier Software-Defined Radio Switching?

Multi-Carrier Software-Defined Radio Switching

Products Supported: Any Cradlepoint router or modem with a LPE designation.

Firmware Version: 5.3.0 or newer – for information on upgrading firmware

Summary

With firmware 5.3.0 all LPE devices can switch the modem firmware to a different carrier. This Multi-Carrier Software-Defined Radio functionality is unique to Cradlepoint products and provides customers the flexibility to expand their coverage options, reduce inventory risk, and future-proof their carrier networks.

Please note that this only changes the modem firmware. To connect with this modem, you must also have an activated SIM from the new carrier in the device. Some LPE devices allow you to insert two SIM cards, so you can include SIMs from two different carriers in a single modem and remotely switch the modem firmware with ECM.

Although a single Cradlepoint modem may have two SIM card slots (e.g., IBR1100 integrated modem), it can only have one modem firmware version on that modem, and therefore only one carrier at a time. The exception is that the AER 2100 could have two distinct, integrated MC400 modems, each with two SIM slots. So while each modem by itself can only have one firmware version, the AER 2100 can support two integrated modems – on distinct carriers- simultaneously.

Select from the following methods for instructions on switching the carrier of the modem firmware.
1. USB flash drive
2. Local administration pages
3. ECM Carrier Switching


Configuration

Configuration Difficulty: Intermediate

Manual Carrier Switching

Preparation:

To update the Modem Carrier (switching the modem between Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or Generic (T-Mobile in USA and Rogers, Bell, Telus in Canada), the following conditions must be met:

  • Compatible product with a Cradlepoint “LPE” modem. (designated in the router or modem Part Number)
  • Router Firmware version of v5.3.0 or newer.
  • USB flash drive (at least 256MB capacity) or a computer locally connected to the router.
  • An activated SIM card for carrier being changed to and provisioned for the IMEI of the modem being changed. (This is especially important for Sprint)
Manual Carrier switching using USB drive:

Note: This process will force all attached LPE modems to the updated modem firmware. In the case of an AER 2100 with two MC400 integrated modems, you may not want both modems to have the same firmware. Either use one of the other methods to update modem firmware or remove one of the MC400s during this process.

  1. Download the appropriate Modem Carrier firmware from the CradlePoint connect portal. This will be a ZIP file labeled specifically for each carrier or Generic:
    • “MC7354_Sprint.zip” for Sprint in North America.
    • “MC7354_Verizon.zip” for Verizon in North America.
    • “MC7354_AT&T.zip” for AT&T in North America.
    • “MC7354_Generic.zip” for T-Mobile, Rogers, Bell and Telus in North America.
  2. Save the file to your computer.
  3. Unzip the file contents to extract the files to your computer.
  4. Locate the extracted files. There will be an “MDM” file and a “JSON” file.
  5. Copy the “MDM” and “JSON” files from the extracted location to the root of your USB stick. The files must be in the root of the flash drive.
  6. Safely eject the USB flash drive from your computer.
  7. Locate the SIM slot, door, or panel on the Cradlepoint router or modem, and insert the new SIM (this must be performed while the power is OFF).
  8. Power on the Cradlepoint router (and connect the modem if it is not embedded in the router).
  9. Wait for the router to start-up completely. This can be verified by navigating to the router’s admin page (192.168.0.1 by default).
  10. Plug the USB flash drive into any of the router’s spare USB ports.
  11. The MODEM firmware update process begins automatically
    • PLEASE WAIT. Do NOT remove the USB flash drive at this time. The router will reboot immediately if the USB flash drive is removed. The process takes up to 10 minutes.
  12. PRIOR TO REMOVING THE USB DRIVE, verify the modem is attempting to connect with the new carrier and SIM: In a browser, log into the router’s administration page, 192.168.0.1 by default. Enter the password when prompted.
  13. Browse to Internet > Connection Manager and watch for the Internal LPE connection status to progress from “Connecting” to “Connected”.
  14. If you receive an error:
    • Consider that you may have to manually update the APN if your SIM is provisioned for one other than the carrier’s default APN. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.
    • You may also need to make sure you are trying to use the same interface and SIM slot. Some products contain two SIM slots, and, therefore, there are two “Internal LPE” interfaces displayed in Connection Manager. If your active SIM is in slot 1, the “Internal LPE (SIM1)” will be the one to connect with that SIM; SIM slot 2 will correspond to “Internal LPE (SIM2)”.
    • Other troubleshooting steps may be found on Cradlepoint’s Support site or by contacting Cradlepoint Support.
  15. Regardless of the status at this time, the USB flash drive can be removed.
  16. The router will reboot itself, and attempt to connect using the new carrier/SIM.

Manual Carrier switching using a PC:
  1. Download the appropriate Modem Carrier firmware from the CradlePoint Connect Portal. This will be a ZIP file labeled specifically for each carrier or Generic:
    • “MC7354_Sprint.zip” for Sprint in North America.
    • “MC7354_Verizon.zip” for Verizon in North America.
    • “MC7354_AT&T.zip” for AT&T in North America.
    • “MC7354_Generic.zip” for T-Mobile, Rogers, Bell and Telus in North America.
  2. Save the file to your computer.
  3. Unzip the file contents to extract the files to your computer.
  4. Login to the router admin page and navigate to Internet > Connection Manager.
  5. In the WAN Interfaces table, select the desired LPE modem. *Note that for modems with two SIM slots, changing the firmware affects both SIM cards.
  6. Click Control.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  User-added image
  7. Click Firmware.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 User-added image
  8. Then click Manual Firmware Upgrade.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               User-added image
  9. Locate the files extracted in step 3 and select the .MDM file.
  10. The router UI will provide the progress status for every step and will eventually reboot. This process will take several minutes.
  11. After the router reboots it will, then attempt to connect to the new carrier.
  12. The new carrier SIM can be inserted either before or after doing the above steps. Remember that inserting a SIM on a COR model requires the router to be powered off.
  13. If you receive an error:
    • Consider that you may have to manually update the APN if your SIM is provisioned for one other than the carrier’s default APN. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.
    • You may also need to make sure you are trying to use the same interface and SIM slot. Some products contain two SIM slots, and, therefore, there are two “Internal LPE” interfaces displayed in Connection Manager. If your active SIM is in slot 1, the “Internal LPE (SIM1)” will be the one to connect with that SIM; SIM slot 2 will correspond to “Internal LPE (SIM2)”.
    • Other troubleshooting steps may be found on Cradlepoint’s Support site or by contacting Cradlepoint Support.

ECM Carrier Switching

Preparation:
  • Compatible product with a Cradlepoint “LPE” modem (designated in the router or modem Part Number)
  • Router Firmware version of v5.3.0 or newer
  • An activated SIM card for carrier being changed to, and provisioned for the IMEI of the modem being changed (This is especially important for Sprint)
ECM Carrier switching steps:
  1. Log into Enterprise Cloud Manager.
  2. Select the devices tab and then Network Interfaces from the drop down menu at the top.                                                                                                                                                                                        User-added image
  3. At the far right side of the page click the User-added image icon and make sure Modem FW, Modem FW Status, SIM, and Model fields are selected then close the column select window. The Modem FW column will show you which carrier the modem is configured for and the SIM column displays the carrier of the SIM card.
  4. Next we need to locate the modem we want to switch to another carrier. The easiest way to do this is by sorting the Router Name or Router ID column, or to search by a specific router name using the search tool.
  5. In the example shown below, the grid is filtered using the search tool (searched by a specific router name, IBR1100LPE) and the filter tool (selected Modems) in the top toolbar so that only the two relevant interfaces display.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              User-added image
  6. To switch the carrier of the modem firmware, first select the desired interface. *Note that integrated modems with two SIM slots show two interfaces in the grid. Both will always have the same modem firmware, so selecting either one will have the same results.
  7. Once you have selected an interface, click Commands in the top toolbar and Switch Carrier in the drop down menu.                                                                                                                                                User-added image
  8. Please review the agreement notes before proceeding. This process could knock your device offline.
  9. Once you click the I Agree button, you can now select the desired carrier. *Note that the Generic modem firmware is equivalent, regardless of whether you select T-Mobile, Bell, Rogers, or Telus.                               User-added image

 

  1. After the selection, ECM checks one more time to make sure you want to change the firmware because of the risk of disconnecting the modem. Click OK to continue.
  2. The modem firmware switch takes a few minutes. The Modem FW Status column shows the state of the update, e.g., “Downloading (38%),” and the Modem FW column shows the update that is in the process:        User-added image
  3. Once complete, the Modem FW Status column says, “Upgrade Successful” and the Modem FW column is updated with the new firmware version:                                                                                                    User-added image
  4. If the update fails for some reason, reboot the router before trying again.

Troubleshooting

  • You may have to manually update the APN if your SIM is provisioned for one other than the carrier’s default APN. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.
  • You may also need to make sure you are trying to use the same interface and SIM slot. Some products contain two SIM slots, and, therefore, there are two “Internal LPE” interfaces displayed in Connection Manager. If your active SIM is in slot 1, the “Internal LPE (SIM1)” will be the one to connect with that SIM; SIM slot 2 will correspond to “Internal LPE (SIM2)”.
  • A factory reset will not affect the software defined radio.

 


Category: CradlePoint Services

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