Frequently Asked Questions
In short there are two technology offerings for service carrier data plans: GSM and CDMA. GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications and CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access.
CDMA and GSM are widely deployed in the United States and GSM is the world’s most widely adopted standard.
One of the first questions that must be answered is, “Where will the device or product be used?” The answer will drive the cellular modem choice and service carrier selection. If the deployment is the United States, then CDMA or GSM can be used, however once the need to operate worldwide comes into play, GSM becomes the predominant choice in most markets.
MNOs versus MVNOs
There are two types of operators where cellular data services can be procured, Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).
MNOs have licensed frequency allocations of radio spectrum and own the infrastructure to run a mobile network. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile are examples of MNOs.
MVNOs provide cellular data services but do not own network assets such as licensed spectrum(s) or cell towers. Instead, these assets are acquired through wholesale partnership agreements from MNOs and enhanced with their own specialized business support systems (BSS).
Why choose a MVNO over a MNO?
Typically a MNO focuses on larger opportunities, and in many cases may not have the resources to support a smaller embedded client. Secondly, some MVNOs have formed relationships with many leading regional and global carrier partners.
This is important because many of the issues related to technology options, roaming outside your home area, or global service availability have been solved by the MVNOs. Without their service offering options you would need to negotiate multiple carrier agreements by yourself for each region or country of interest.
What is a SIM card?
Another difference between GSM and CDMA enabled devices are Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. GSM devices use SIM cards, whereas CDMA devices do not.
A SIM card is an integrated circuit that securely stores subscriber identity, network specific information, and other carrier specific data such as the Short Message Center number and Service Provider Name. SIM cards can be moved from one device to another without having to deactivate and reactivate service.
CDMA devices use a unique Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) or Electronic Serial Number (ESN), which is stored in the device itself, and is used by the carrier to bind it to CDMA network services.
Why is understanding bandwidth important?
Data payload, message latency, and the frequency of data transmissions are requirements that need to be understood, e.g., does the device only report on exception, or is it always communicating its status?
The application, data payload, and latency can affect your service carrier selection and plan cost. Also, requirements such as Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) updates should be considered as part of the overall data plan needs and cost model.
Questions to ask your customer:
Do embedded customers use SMS messages?
Certain Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications can benefit from using Short Message Service (SMS) as a data bearer to send messages between devices in the field and a customer’s server.
For example, a remote site monitoring application can use SMS messaging to transmit alarm notifications from remote equipment and use them to alert the appropriate service personnel.
SMS commands are also used for remotely starting, restarting or turning off a device if it needs to be “woken up” or shut down for troubleshooting and battery life management.
SMS plans are available where messages can be charged individually or bundled as part of a service carrier data plan.
Is there an activation fee for service?
With No-Wire Access we are proud to say we do not have any activation fees!
What is Roaming?
Roaming is the ability for a cellular customer to automatically send and receive data, or access other services, when outside the geographical coverage area of the home network, by means of using a different network. It is technically supported by mobility management, authentication, and billing procedures.
If the visited network is in the same country as the home network, this is known as National Roaming. If the visited network is outside the home country, this is known as International Roaming or Global Roaming.
No-Wire Access Machine-to-Machine Solutions
No-Wire Access’s M2M Solutions offer wireless expertise, a vast selection of products from world-class suppliers, unmatched M2M engineering support, comprehensive services and renowned supply chain management capabilities.
No-Wire Access’s Solutions can be tapped at any point, from concept to production, and at each step of your design cycle, to maximize efficiencies and streamline your journey to market.