Getac 4G Card Woes

Getac 4G Card Woes

We have had our Getac F110’s in production for about five months, and while we have not had issues with speed of the computer, we have had numerous reported issues of cell signal dropping and not being able to connect unless the tablet was rebooted. Often saying no device detected, or searching… Now, we are using Windows7, and when I first imaged them, they featured the Sierra AirCard watcher utility.

skylight

In September of 2014, Getac released SkyLight, which replaced the AirCard watcher, and did exactly the same thing. It even looked the same. This however, did not resolve our issue. On top of that, it made it harder for us to deploy new Getac’s, since it didn’t seem to activate newly install SIM cards. Well I am here to say that after a lot of frustration, I have found out why, and made it really easy to remedy.

On October 29th, 2014, Getac released a Jpeg called 4G module driver with the description – How to check 4G module Firmware. The image has been uploaded below.

WWAN check FW (1)

 

Note: When we imaged our machines we took all of the drivers from the Windows 7 driver disk that shipped with each Getac and push them onto the image. Most of our current devices were using factory drivers. At the time of imaging them, this was all that was available. Our cards were running firmware version 1.08.16.05. I didn’t see the problem, because when I first imaged the devices, I had no idea how to check the firmware, since there was only one package at the time. On top of that, we have since downloaded, and re-installed the newer driver to the devices. Note: Our Getacs are using the EM7355 cards.

Well after a lot of frustration, I found out what was going on. Even upon installing the newer driver, the firmware was still not updating. I would download and install the 05.05.16.00, and the firmware on Skylight would still show 1.08.16.05. Now, OK, Getac did document this… well sorta. On the download link, you will see the message (only for 4G module firmware version 05.05.16.00 for Skylight. See below:

skylight2

 

Ok, well now the firmware on my device still shows 1.08.16.05, and I need 05.05.16.00. How do I do that? I have downloaded it, and installed it, and it is not upgrading the card firmware. While Skylight does still operate while using card firmware 1.08.16.05, it does not work well… Here is how I found out how to upgrade the firmware.

Now, this may be an easier way to upgrade the firmware, but this is the only way I have figured it out so far. That is to remove the device and driver from the system and install the latest driver. Now, it is finals week, and it is late, and I should be studying, but I am writing this instead, because I would rather do this, instead of re-watching 30 minute lectures on binary search trees. I do not have access to a Getac right now, so I can’t get any screenshots. I will just have to explain it in words.

First off, pop open control panel and remove any software associated with Sierra Wireless. For us it was the driver and Skylight. Once removed, I went to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Device Manger. From there, expand the network devices and find the 4G card (ie: Sierra crappy 4G card thingy) and select uninstall. MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE BOX AND REMOVE THE DRIVER TOO. This will ensure that we get the files for 1.08.16.05 out of the system.

Edit: Turns out you only need to install the new package over the existing one, then upgrade it by going into Skylight and selecting your carrier, and it should auto upgrade the firmware. When you install the package, you get nothing. It installs the new drivers, but the firmware is not yet upgraded. Proceed by going into Skylight settings, and firmware tab and select a carrier. The firmware upgrade should start. If you already have your carrier selected, then you will need to select another carrier, upgrade it, and then select the new one again. Stupid way to do it, but it works.

Spoiler: I am going to jump ahead here. We got the card firmware upgraded, to 05.05.16.00 and it still had the same message. Searching…. The only other idea I had was to upgrade the Getac Utility that was recently upgraded, in some magical attempt that it would do something. Well it did. Once it was updated, the 4G card connected right up to Verizon, and has been happy ever since. We have also only replicated this on machine so far, since we found the issue out when I was off at College. During my winter break, I will be updating the remaining officers Getac’s to see if makes a difference. Fixing issues or not, this post is about upgrading firmware, so yeah.

Now, it is time to upgrade the Getac Utility. Download the latest one from Getac’s site:

utility

 

Install it, and proceed to install the 05.05.16.00 firmware from Getac’s site:

firmware

 

Once the firmware is installed and complete, install Skylight.

And once that is done, make sure your configurations in Skylight are correct.

We use Verizon, so that is our carrier we have selected. Just for giggles, select it again from the drop down menu, even if it was already selected, and see if it changes the firmware again. You should already be up to date, but if not give that a shot.

Also, we have our profiles connect automatically on startup, and connect even when roaming. That is just our priority as a police department.

That should be pretty much it. Make sure you reboot also to test it. I haven’t had much time to play with the new Getac Utility, but it offers some cool options for passthrough while docked, and more fine tuned options.

ALSO! I just remembered, under the ECO tab in the utility, we have started selecting the WWAN to be set to on. By default it is off, but the card still works. We don’t know what it does, but it can’t hurt right?

Thanks for reading, and like always, if you have any questions or comments regarding this post, please email me at gbrewster@agoasite.com

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