APU4 with Sierra MC7355 LTE



  • I have my pfsense up and running on the new APU4 board I'm looking for a versatile LTE/3g/4g broadband wireless card but wanted to know if anyone had this particular model working yet. I am going to want AT&T and Verizon alike to work with the same hardware. I know there is a simcard slot on the APU4 board but I'm not sure how pfsense makes the minipci and sim card slot work together.

    This is the card I was looking at and its specs.

    http://m2msupport.net/m2msupport/sierra-wireless-mc7355-4g-lte-module/

    This is the board I'm using

    http://www.pcengines.ch/apu1d4.htm



  • Chances are not good of it working, but if you already own the module you could post your boot.log and let me glance at it. Most newer 4G module ship with QMI as default so you need to switch it to DirectIP mode if there is such a thing for that module.
    From my testing Seirra MC7700 are the only 4G/LTE -mPCI-e modules supported. I wanted to test that module or MC7305 but freebsd support for hardware support lags sometimes so the newest is not always the best option. And the cost was prohibitively high for me.
    I have noticed some of the newer mPCI-e modules show up as USB Ethernet device(unsupported). Check your ethernet device assignments for an "UE0" device to determine if so.



  • Did you say you want GSM and CDMA both from one card? I have never heard of that and seriously doubt you could pull that off even in Windows with full support. Maybe if you did 2 modules a MC7700 and MC7750 dual WAN you could do it…



  • Thank you for the response, I have not purchased anything yet but I am willing to if you think that its something I can get running. The reason I picked this card was because it appeared to be universal as far as supporting Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. I don't mind running a different card for each provider I just figured that would actually be more difficult than getting 1 card working.

    My other goal is to get one that works with international carriers as I have a customer in South Africa using Telenova as a carrier and I think they're GSM. I'd gladly pay someone if they could help me get something going as I've been trying to find an out of the box working solution for a while with no luck.



  • I would be glad to help for free. I think we need to narrow your needs more.
    So do you need simultaneous access to GSM and CDMA or just want to be able to try different networks/carriers?

    I appreciate that the spec sheet allows for both both networks but i don't see that working anytime soon.

    If you want both simultaneously you would need the dual wwan setup I prescribed earlier (with MC77xx series) and it would eat up both mPCI-e slots and you would need to an sim adapter because you would need 2 sims/accounts. You could run one module externally in a USB to mPCI-e adapter with an sim slot.

    If you simply want carrier choices than buy the modules as needed and swap-out is only 2 screws.

    Caviet: I know for sure that CDMA networks are more restrictive than GSM in the US. Switching modules between computers will kick out the activation on the SIM card invalidating it. Phone calling required to reset.

    Linux doesn't support the Sierra MC73xx/EM73xx sieries(also see Gobi5000) and they are the cutting edge. So dial back your scope some and use the prior generation Sierra that is supported and I can help.



  • Sorry for the confusion, the only reason I picked that card was because it supported what seemed to be all the carriers I would ever want to use. I figured it would be harder to get multiple boards working (one for each carrier) than it would to just get one working and change the carrier. I only plan to use one carrier on any given instance at a time.

    If its better to use one board for each carrier then I am good with that. Again these will be primarily backup connections but there are a couple of them that the cellular would be used as a primary connection as no other broadband carriers are available in the area. The one I am using as a test case is Verizon here locally but would definitely like to get AT&T working on another unit as a test. In the case of the install in South Africa that I'm working on they use VodaPhone.



  • I can help with that. ATT is easiest. Sierra MC7700 module works with both T-Mobile and ATT, And you can get the Straighttalk prepaid working at 15 bucks for one gig data. Either carrier with them as well. Good entry method -although throttled/mvno.
    pfSense works seemlessly with the "SIM" and all you really need is an APN and valid SIM to connect.

    My suggestion is to have a Windows computer at your disposal that has both an mPCI-e slot and sim socket. Flashing of the module ROM from QMI to DirectIP mode is necessary most of the time and this requires a Windows computer and a SIM slot.

    If this is too much work for you I may put some cards up on ebay flashed to DirectIP.  Anyone else in need of a DIP flashed MC7700 just yell. I have bought over 10 modules and will never need that many. Most were sold new although with ebay who knows.

    Basically just follow the pfSense 3G/4G instructions and use the correct data interface (cuaU0.4) and it is easy.

    I have a bunch of cellular modem related posts here so check those out..

    Ask any question you need to…



  • I was digging around Sierra site and see this for the MC73xx Sierra Modules.

    USB drivers Linux DIP Software 3.6_1.7.50

    I don't have an account to download it to see what is there.

    I see an EM7355 on ebay at 40 bucks used(similar card -different connector and HP branded maybe). Was thinking of getting a M.2 NGFF adapter to mPCI-e for it, but then i would need an sim adapter too. So adapter in an adapter. Might work but i don't really need the big "V" and their crappy CDMA prepaid plans. Great network though..

    The Upload and Download speeds look exactly the same as MC7700.. So why bang my head against a wall for something that only works on Windows..

    Maybe… Ubuntu works??

    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/kernel-team/2014-June/043443.html



  • jc did you ever get anything internal working with you APU? I have 2 of those apu1d's as well and wanted to try getting a Verizon card working in one of them …. please update on your progress, thanks :)



  • I actually bought an EM7355 and MC7355(dell) off ebay for cheap and need to test them. I seriously doubt they work in pfSense as there are no firmware tools available and they are QMI from factory. I was planning on Windows or Ubuntu installs with them but obviously I will test with pfSense.

    I really think you should consider the MC7700 for pfsense lte.

    Check my threads regarding MC7700/MC7710 for procedures. It is the only known working LTE internal modem arrangement.

    Disclaimer" you must activate SIM used with MC7750/Verizon with Windows. I am unsure if you can swap to another machine like GSM sims. So MC7750/APU combo out.



  • I also see in my above post how naive i am about cellular modems. I have bought and rehabbed about 4 Netbooks since my initial post about GSM and CDMA modes working in in Windows. I have learned from them that both cell networks are possible with the Qualcom Gobi1000 modules and the Gobi2000 modules. Seems the connection manager handles the switching and drivers. Switching seemed clunky but usable with a installation of the connection manager and a reboot.



  • @Phishfry:

    I can help with that. ATT is easiest. Sierra MC7700 module works with both T-Mobile and ATT, And you can get the Straighttalk prepaid working at 15 bucks for one gig data. Either carrier with them as well. Good entry method -although throttled/mvno.
    pfSense works seemlessly with the "SIM" and all you really need is an APN and valid SIM to connect.

    My suggestion is to have a Windows computer at your disposal that has both an mPCI-e slot and sim socket. Flashing of the module ROM from QMI to DirectIP mode is necessary most of the time and this requires a Windows computer and a SIM slot.

    If this is too much work for you I may put some cards up on ebay flashed to DirectIP.  Anyone else in need of a DIP flashed MC7700 just yell. I have bought over 10 modules and will never need that many. Most were sold new although with ebay who knows.

    Basically just follow the pfSense 3G/4G instructions and use the correct data interface (cuaU0.4) and it is easy.

    I have a bunch of cellular modem related posts here so check those out..

    Ask any question you need to…

    I am going to take you up on your offer, whats your ebay link so I can buy one of those 7700 cards thats already setup to work with AT&T? I recently upgraded my family share plan to 60 gigs of data to share so thats more than enough if my primary provider craps out to use it as a backup. I want to use this as a test so that if it works well I can easily get another from you and set it up as the primary connection on another router I have out there. Is the up and down throughput on those fast enough to use as a primary connection?



  • Quote:
    "Is the up and down throughput on those fast enough to use as a primary connection?"

    Kind of subjective. I use my mifi at work and i am happy with it. Mostly CAD stuff so nothing intense.

    On ATT i see good speed at work. At home i see better speed with T-Mobile. Both locations less than 2 miles from respective tower. So i would say depends on towers and your local LTE coverage.
    You need both antenna's for max speed.

    I will PM you with module details….Bought mine from ebay seller "cheapslob" but they need flashing to DIP.



  • @Phishfry:

    Quote:
    "Is the up and down throughput on those fast enough to use as a primary connection?"

    Kind of subjective. I use my mifi at work and i am happy with it. Mostly CAD stuff so nothing intense.

    On ATT i see good speed at work. At home i see better speed with T-Mobile. Both locations less than 2 miles from respective tower. So i would say depends on towers and your local LTE coverage.
    You need both antenna's for max speed.

    I will PM you with module details….Bought mine from ebay seller "cheapslob" but they need flashing to DIP.

    Alright I will look for the message, I though you said you had some that were already converted to DIP though?


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