SG-3100 - which cellular module



  • I have a SG-3100 unit and it looks like the sim slot is connected to an M.2 ‘B’ slot. Does anyone know a working cellular module that will fit the slot and work with pfSense, 2.3.5 or 2.4.1 for the North American bands?



  • Potentially something like Sierra Wireless EM7455, not tested it on pfSense though.



  • I have a SG-3100 unit and it looks like the sim slot is connected to an M.2 ‘B’ slot.

    The older sierra wireless EM series could be matching well to that, cheap to get hands on and if
    running well a nice modern internal modem card.

    Does anyone know a working cellular module that will fit the slot and work with pfSense, 2.3.5 or 2.4.1 for the North American bands?

    UMTS/HSPA, 3G, 4G or what band you mean? I am pretty sure that the SG-3100 is to new to answer that question
    by us users, this should be answered by someone of the staff or development team. The ARM tree from pfSense is
    really pretty new and I don´t think that the driver support of any modem will be given at this time. But who knows it
    really?



  • have ordered a Sierra Wireless EM7455 from Techship.com will update once i have it.


  • Netgate Administrator

    I have a Sierra EM7305 in there that is recognised and can be used. That’s the EMEA version, the EM7355 would be the US version which should also work. Not tried the 7455 but I imagine it would alos work.

    Those modems have a number of device ‘profiles’ and some of them are not compatible with pfSense.

    OK
    AT!UDUSBCOMP?
    !UDUSBCOMP: 14
    
    OK
    AT!UDUSBCOMP=?
    0  - reserved                                     NOT SUPPORTED
    1  - DM   AT                                      SUPPORTED
    2  - reserved                                     NOT SUPPORTED
    3  - reserved                                     NOT SUPPORTED
    4  - reserved                                     NOT SUPPORTED
    5  - reserved                                     NOT SUPPORTED
    6  - DM   NMEA  AT    QMI                         SUPPORTED
    7  - DM   NMEA  AT    RMNET1 RMNET2 RMNET3        SUPPORTED
    8  - DM   NMEA  AT    MBIM                        SUPPORTED
    9  - MBIM                                         SUPPORTED
    10 - NMEA MBIM                                    SUPPORTED
    11 - DM   MBIM                                    SUPPORTED
    12 - DM   NMEA  MBIM                              SUPPORTED
    13 - Config1: comp6    Config2: comp8             NOT SUPPORTED
    14 - Config1: comp6    Config2: comp9             SUPPORTED
    15 - Config1: comp6    Config2: comp10            NOT SUPPORTED
    16 - Config1: comp6    Config2: comp11            NOT SUPPORTED
    17 - Config1: comp6    Config2: comp12            NOT SUPPORTED
    18 - Config1: comp7    Config2: comp8             NOT SUPPORTED
    19 - Config1: comp7    Config2: comp9             SUPPORTED
    20 - Config1: comp7    Config2: comp10            NOT SUPPORTED
    21 - Config1: comp7    Config2: comp11            NOT SUPPORTED
    22 - Config1: comp7    Config2: comp12            NOT SUPPORTED
    

    In composition 14 like mine is it can be made to appear as 6 or 9 using USB quirks. It appears as 6 by default which importantly give you an AT interface (which I’m using to get that info!).

    If your device is in mode 9 which many are it only presents an MBIM interface which pfSense/FreeBSD cannot talk to. Fortunately it’s possible to change the USB composition back to something with AT in Linux even from mode 9.

    Steve



  • @conor:

    have ordered a Sierra Wireless EM7455

    Not a good idea IMHO, because
    @stephenw10:

    MBIM interface which pfSense/FreeBSAD cannot talk to

    Without MBIM or QMI we have only [speed limited] PPP option left, but for that you can use a cheap USB stick, probably half of the price of EM7455.
    That’s why I’m using EM7455 with another router, not pfSense.
    Same story with most Huawei modems - there is no support for NCM (Network Card) in pfSense, those modems are again limited to RAS (PPP) mode.



  • Just for reference Sierra Wireless MC/EM73xx devices are end of life.



  • Just for reference Sierra Wireless MC/EM73xx devices are end of life.

    Thanks for the information, I was changing my tip from above based on this information.
    But then it could be to get the hands on that cards for less money or to get them cheap on eBay or amazon perhaps.



  • I’m still unclear what the solution is. I want to be able to pop my SIM out of my hotspot and into my SG-3100 in the event my main provider is out of service. What do I need to purchase to be ready? I assume if I have a card installed it would be a matter of changing the WAN port assignment to the wireless option until service is restored on my main link. Or perhaps have two gateways assigned with one down until I install the SIM. Without clear documentation (that I can find) I don’t know what my options are other than to wait until the option is sold as an add-on and copy the parts list.

    As explained in another thread, my current answer is hotspot wifi to Airport Express wifi which will bridge to the ethernet port and allow me to connect a cable from the Express to the WAN port of my pfSense router. It works fine when needed but it would be nicer to just put a SIM card in and go.



  • Have a EM7455 module in the SG-3100 image below shows the slot I put it in (airbrushed out the full circuit board to protect Netgate intellectual property). I have a sim in the sim slot to the front and the radio module can see the sim so right slot.

    A small warning the EM7455 requires a antenna connector of IPEX MH-4 not a IPEX U.FL which is common with miniPCIe modules.

    Running version 2.4.1

    The u3g picks up the device and creates 5 ports in /dev/

    cuaU0.0
    cuaU0.1
    cuaU0.2
    cuaU0.3
    cuaU0.4

    When using tip to connect to them using the following settings: br#9600:pa=none: I get connected to all of them however only cuaU0.2 replies to AT command, so I’ll check the other ports and map their speeds if thats the issue.




  • Connecting to cuaU0.2 I enter the following commands:

    Password to unlock commands:
    at!entercnd=“A710”

    Checking USB composition settings:
    AT!USBCOMP?

    Get Reply:
    Config Index: 1
    Config Type:  1 (Generic)
    Interface bitmask: 0000050D (diag,nmea,modem,rmnet0,rmnet1)

    So my understanding at this point is as follows:
    cuaU0.0 ==> diag
    cuaU0.1 ==> nmea
    cuaU0.2 ==> modem
    cuaU0.3 ==> rmnet0
    cuaU0.4 ==> rmnet1

    Using cuaU0.2 in PPP I get the following:

    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2] Bundle: Interface ng0 created
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] Link: OPEN event
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] LCP: Open event
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] LCP: state change Initial –> Starting
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] LCP: LayerStart
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] CHAT: +CGDCONT=1,“IP”,"xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] CHAT: Detected Hayes compatible modem.
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] CHAT: Dialing server at 99#…
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] CHAT: ATDT
    99#
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] CHAT: Connected at 150000000.
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] MODEM: chat script succeeded
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] Link: UP event
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] LCP: Up event
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] LCP: state change Starting –> Req-Sent
    Dec  5 14:04:01 pfSense ppp: [opt2_link0] LCP: SendConfigReq #1

    It then proceed to request an IP address but I don’t get one, but that ok its dialing out which is ok.

    So I want to be able to use AT commands while a PPP tunnel is up, to do that I need to have another serial port to connect to. The Sierra documentation refer to a modem port and a AT port. Need to research how to activate that in the USB composition setting.



  • Good work. I will at some point soon add a cellular module to my 3100. I won’t need it much but I do want the feature as a backup for the few times my ISP is out of service. Plan is to add the second gateway but leave it offline until needed. My SIM normally lives in a hotspot that travels with me.


  • Netgate Administrator

    I don’t think you will be able to use two ports for AT and PPP separately.

    Try running:```
    AT!UDUSBCOMP=?

    
    That should show you what modes are available.
    
    Steve


  • @stephenw10

    Thanks but had tried that. On the 7455 that command responses with “Obsolete command”

    In their document you can see the modem and AT interface are separate. (see image below).

    The Huawei ME909-521 and ME909-523 have a modem port and a AT port so you were able to check your connection while the PPP tunnel was up. (The huawei 521 and 523 are end of sale from January 1st).

    I’ve opened a ticket with the distributor and they have asked Sierra hopefully there is a mask that can be set.




  • on the 7455 the equivalent command is:

    AT!USBCOMP=?

    which gives:

    !USBCOMP:
    AT!USBCOMP=<config index="">,<config type="">, <interface bitmask=""><config index="">      - configuration index to which the composition applies, should be 1

    <config type="">      - 1:Generic, 2:USBIF-MBIM, 3:RNDIS
                            config type 2/3 should only be used for specific Sierra PIDs: 68B1, 9068
                            customized VID/PID should use config type 1

    <interface bitmask="">- DIAG    - 0x00000001,
                            NMEA    - 0x00000004,
                            MODEM    - 0x00000008,
                            RMNET0  - 0x00000100,
                            RMNET1  - 0x00000400,
                            MBIM    - 0x00001000,
      e.g.
      10D  - diag, nmea, modem, rmnet interfaces enabled
      1009 - diag, modem, mbim interfaces enabled

    The default configuration is:
      at!usbcomp=1,1,10F

    OK</interface></config></config></interface></config></config>


  • Netgate Administrator

    Ah interesting, maybe then.

    Does it show more options if you run that in ‘command mode’?

    What does the rmnet interface present as?

    Steve



  • Got a reply from distributor, the EM7455 only supports one modem/AT port, so if you use PPP you can’t check the status/signal while the PPP connection is up.  😞

    Sierra suggested looking at MBIM for data and that then frees up the modem/AT port for command and control.



  • Just for reference for anyone looking at this.

    The diag port is Qualcomm chipset encrypted log stream. You need to have a QXDM license from Qualcomm if you want to decrypt this data.


  • Netgate Administrator

    @conor:

    You need to have a QXDM license from Qualcomm if you want to decrypt this data.

    Urgh.

    I suspected that might be the case with the ports.

    It looks like you need to use either QMI (rmnet) or MBIM to pass the data in order to leave the AT interface for status as you say.

    It also looks like you can’t use Direct IP as you could with some earlier Sierra devices. Though I wonder if config type 3 (rndis) might give that….

    And as mentioned in this thread that you will be limited to non-LTE speeds if you use ppp.  😕

    Still looking into it.

    Steve



  • Yeah, PPP and Serial mode is not really the way to go anymore. In some cases, even USB CDC Ethernet with the on-card configuration interface (and basically a full router) is the fastest way to go.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes, often easiest as long as it presents an interface pfSense can use.

    The EM7345 looks interesting. Offers an AT and USB-Ethernet interface. Not sure if either are usable though right now.

    I’m still waiting for Three to deliver a SIM card I can use to test some of this is real world conditions.  😠

    Steve


  • Netgate Administrator

    Got a SIM eventually.

    Connected up no problems to Three in the UK using the EM7305. Seeing ~32/9Mbps here in London.
    http://beta.speedtest.net/result/6887753572

    That’s using a ppp connection on the AT port so I imagine it’s using HSPA+. No easy way to know since as we’ve seen there no way to interrogate the modem once it’s dialed up. Unless I’m missing something.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Got a SIM eventually.

    Connected up no problems to Three in the UK using the EM7305. Seeing ~32/9Mbps here in London.
    http://beta.speedtest.net/result/6887753572

    That’s using a ppp connection on the AT port so I imagine it’s using HSPA+. No easy way to know since as we’ve seen there no way to interrogate the modem once it’s dialed up. Unless I’m missing something.

    Steve

    PPP/AT mode is fairly limited, not much you can do there. Tried CDC mode yet?


  • Netgate Administrator

    As far as I can see there is no way do that on the EM73XX devices. There is no direct IP mode any more like there was on earlier hardware.

    I’d love to be wrong though.  😉

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    As far as I can see there is no way do that on the EM73XX devices. There is no direct IP mode any more like there was on earlier hardware.

    I’d love to be wrong though.  😉

    Steve

    Someone else had some problems with MBIM, but QMI works which is pretty fast too: https://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/modemmanager-devel/2015-April/001875.html
    There are a bunch of people enabling dual interface mode, Debug mode etc. and accessing GPS via AT and serial with QMI on (but not MBIM at the same time it seems – I have only spotted MBIM on Windows so far).


  • Netgate Administrator

    Mmm, well as I said I could be wrong but I don’t think there are any QMI drivers in FreeBSD and definitely no MBIM.

    There is an older driver for Direct IP devices but I don’t believe anything recent can expose that.
    https://github.com/freebsd/freebsd/blob/master/sys/dev/usb/net/if_usie.c

    Steve



  • I’m using an external hotspot connected to OPT1. Works fine as a backup. Reading through this I’m not clear what the final solution is if I want to integrate my cell service and make use of the built in SIM slot. I see benefits either way with internal vs external but only currently understand how to use external. Will Netgate have a solution in the near future?



  • @johnkeates:

    Someone else had some problems with MBIM, but QMI works which is pretty fast too: https://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/modemmanager-devel/2015-April/001875.html
    There are a bunch of people enabling dual interface mode, Debug mode etc. and accessing GPS via AT and serial with QMI on (but not MBIM at the same time it seems – I have only spotted MBIM on Windows so far).

    Correct me if i’m wrong here but that link is for linux, the lib_qmi module is only in linux not FreeBSD, as far as I know there is no qmi support in FreeBSD. OpenBSD appears to have MBIM support in https://man.openbsd.org/umb.4. Again as far as i know thats not ported to FreeBSD.

    For anyone wondering the Sierra EM7455 works in SG-3100 with 2.4.2 when you use PPP to connect to /dev/cuaUX.0 where X is the interface it appears on usually 0 (zero). You just can’t see your technology (3G/4G) or your signal strength etc.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Pretty sure you’re limited to 3.5G over PPP. What speeds are you seeing?

    I was looking at that OpenBSD driver too, looks ideal! BUt as you say it’s not ported to FreeBSD not could I find any evidence of anyone currently porting it. Unfortunately it’s beyond my coding skills  😞

    Looking at the EM7455 it really looks like it might support other USB compositions. Some of Sierras other embedded devices built on the same or similar hardware do support two AT ports as well as other usb Ethernet type connections. It looks like the AT command is limiting what is allowed there. It also looks like you should be able to set muliple USB compositions by setting a different config index but only index 1 is allowed. And there are config types 2 and 3 defined (3 being rndis) but they are also not possible to set and I could find nothing documented.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Pretty sure you’re limited to 3.5G over PPP. What speeds are you seeing?

    I was looking at that OpenBSD driver too, looks ideal! BUt as you say it’s not ported to FreeBSD not could I find any evidence of anyone currently porting it. Unfortunately it’s beyond my coding skills  😞

    Looking at the EM7455 it really looks like it might support other USB compositions. Some of Sierras other embedded devices built on the same or similar hardware do support two AT ports as well as other usb Ethernet type connections. It looks like the AT command is limiting what is allowed there. It also looks like you should be able to set muliple USB compositions by setting a different config index but only index 1 is allowed. And there are config types 2 and 3 defined (3 being rndis) but they are also not possible to set and I could find nothing documented.

    Steve

    Can connect on 4G but get a max download speed of 20Mbps.

    Contacted the supplier and they contacted Sierra, apparently there is only one AT port now in the modules. Where as Huawei have 2 ports in their ME909-521 and ME909-523.

    I don’t know enough about ppp but i’m researching if MPD5 can be modified to send AT CHAT commands on the interface after the link has been established and if the modem will respond to AT commands.

    Other than that it will need umb ported across, but as you say not trivial.



  • The one thing that strikes me about this thread is that I feel this problem is a Sierra u3g one. This started for me back on the MC7700 modem.
    I used to be able to use the AT command prompt with CU to see connection status with AT!gstatus=? and other AT! tools. This is while connected.
    After O/S version change I lost the AT command console when I connected. It would lock me out of cu…
    I have not seen the feature since. I am now using MC7355 on FreeBSD and no AT console while connected on that either.
    Wonder if the endpoints in the sierra u3g driver are right. Something tells me they are not.
    Can anyone see connection stats with AT command console using cu while connected with Sierra modem?

    Maybe this came about because of firmware changes and usbcomps on Sierras end.
    I know I used to use cu to monitor my cellular connection. Now I cannot.

    I have tested the Sierra EM7355 m.2 module and it works.



  • Sierra used to provide a modem serial port and a AT port they have since discontinued that approach. So unless you have a MBIM or QMI drivers you can’t check the signal/status and be connected with Sierra. I have gotten the Huawei ME909s-120 to work but that is a miniPCIe interface not an M.2 interface. Also the Telit LE910 range supports the CDC driver, have only started to test it but is looking promising (but again miniPCIe). The fact that you have an M.2 slot on the SG-3100 means that you are stuck with the Sierra, I’m not aware of any other M.2 device that has driver support in FreeBSD and not EOL or EOS. Netgate might be working on something interesting to see what they do.


  • Netgate Administrator

    There are some Huawei m.2 cards that I believe work but I have not tested them myself.

    It is interesting when you look at the hardware it seems like it could do two AT ports if the firmware exposed them. For whatever reason Sierra seems to have chosen not to. With QMI/MBIM I guess there is no reason to.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    There are some Huawei m.2 cards that I believe work but I have not tested them myself.

    The ones that i could find from Huawei that are in “sale” are:
    1. Huawei ME906s-158 M.2 EU

    2. Huawei ME936 - Global

    3. Huawei MU736 - 3G/EDGE only

    4. Huawei ME916s-168 - not yet released.

    I haven’t been able to buy 1 & 2 as the company i buy from are out of stock, so if someone else has tested them i’d be eager to hear.


 

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