NCOS: Multi-Carrier Software-Defined Radio Switching
Products Supported: Any Cradlepoint router or modem with a LPE designation. Click here to identify your router.
NCOS Version: 6.0.0 or newer - for information on upgrading NCOS Versions, click here
NOTE: LP6 firmware is stored locally on the Modem, unlike the LP4 firmware that is stored on the Cradlepoint router. For more information on LP4 firmware, click here
With NCOS 5.3.0 all LPE devices have the ability to 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 have the ability to include SIMs from two different carriers in a single modem and remotely switch the modem firmware with NCM.
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 or AER 3100 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 or AER 3100 can support two integrated modems - on distinct carriers- simultaneously.
Note: To switch the modem carrier between Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or Generic (T-Mobile and US Cellular* 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 v6.0.0 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.)
* US Cellular is approved on the following products:
MC400LPE-GN (NCOS v05.05.58.00 only)
AER1600LPE-GN (NCOS v05.05.58.00 only)
IBR6x0LPE-GN (NCOS v05.05.58.00 only)
IBR110x0LPE-GN (NCOS v05.05.58.00 only)
Local Carrier Switching Configuration
Configuration Difficulty: Intermediate
Manual carrier switching using a local PC:
- Step 1: Open your web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) and log into the Customer Connect Portal.
Step 2: Click FIRMWARE DOWNLOADS.
Step 3: Within the Select Router box, click the drop-down and then select your router model.
Step 4: Scroll to the bottom of the page to locate the MODEM FIRMWARE section.
Step 5: Click the link in the FIRMWARE DOWNLOAD column to save the carrier-appropriate file to your computer.
- Note: If you do not get a prompt to select the location where to save the file, your browser most likely automatically saved it in your Downloads folder.
- Note: If your browser automatically tries opening the file instead of saving it, right-click the firmware link and select Save Link As to bring up the prompt to save the file.
Step 6: Log into your router's NCOS Page. For help with logging in please click here.
Step 7: Click on the System tab in the navigational pane.
Step 9: Select the System Control submenu to expand it.
Step 10: Select Modem Firmware.
Step 11: Choose the modem which you'd like to perform the carrier switch on. Note that for modems with two SIM slots, changing the firmware affects both SIM cards, so either slot can be selected for this step.
a) Firmware version 6.0.x:
b) Firmware version 6.1.x and later:
Step 12: Click Manual Firmware Upgrade.
a) Firmware version 6.0.x:
b) NCOS version 6.1.x and later:
Step 13: Select the Select Firmware File button, browse your computer for the .mdm file saved in step 6 and select it, then click Begin Firmware Update.
The router UI will provide the progress status for every step and will eventually reboot. This process will take several minutes.
After the router reboots it will then attempt to connect to the new carrier. The new carrier SIM can be inserted either before or after doing the above steps.
NCM Carrier Switching Configuration
Configuration Difficulty: Intermediate
Step 1: Log in to NetCloud Manager.
Step 2: Navigate to the Devices tab, then choose Network Interfaces from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.
Step 3: Select the Column Selection icon and make sure Modem FW, Modem FW Status, SIM, and Model fields are selected, then close the column select window.
Step 4: Locate the desired modem for carrier switching. Simplify the search by sorting the Router Name or Router ID column, or to search by a specific router name using the search tool.
- Note: If you have a lot of devices, the most specific way to search is by Router MAC. To do this, make sure the Router MAC column is enabled.
- 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.
Step 6: Select the Switch link next to Carrier.
Step 7: Please review the agreement notes before proceeding. Then select I Agree This process could take the device offline.
Step 8: Select the desired carrier in the New Firmware drop down menu then select Ok
- Note that the Generic modem firmware is equivalent, regardless of whether you select T-Mobile, Bell, Rogers, or Telus.
Step 9: A Switch Carrier Confirmation window is displayed stating the risks of changing the modem firmware if you do not have the appropriate SIM installed. If this is the case, the modem will no longer connect and may require manual intervention/recovery. Select Ok to confirm.
Step 10: 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 process.
Step 11: Once complete, the Modem FW Status column says, "Upgrade Successful" and the Modem FW column is updated with the new firmware version:
If the update fails for some reason, reboot the router before trying again.
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 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. To switch back to the original carrier, it is necessary to repeat this carrier switching process with the original carrier's modem firmware file.
Published Date: 07/14/2017