Hologram Nova SARA-R410M-02B - Cannot Receive SMS Texts from Dashboard

After having worked through the issues of not being able to receive socket messages from the dashboard on this thread Unable to receive message from dashboard

Changing configuration for EDRX and PSM (power saving functions of the modem) ultimately led to success and allowed socket communications to pass from the dashboard.

However, I am still unable to receive SMS texts from the dashboard. I have attempted to receive them using both the CLI and the SDK and in neither case does the SMS text arrive.
sudo hologram receive --sms
import time
import datetime
import sys
from Hologram.HologramCloud import HologramCloud #this one helps the most
credentials = {‘devicekey’: ‘###mydevicekey##’} #from SDK docs - setup for response
hologram=HologramCloud(dict(), network=‘cellular’) #setup hologram cloud
hologram.enableSMS #tell hologram to listen for sms

Periodically checking the value of hologram.popReceivedSMS() manually re-executing.

Here are the modem specifics:

Dom suggested on the thread linked above (unable-to-receive-messages) that “We have seen inconsistent behavior over Cat M1 devices with SMS”.

I cannot seem to find forum threads where the issue was ever isolated or discussed. Does this suggest that there is a problem with Hologram Nova 410 devices and passing SMS over Cat M1? Is it device specific, network specific? Does Hologram have a workaround? Or, is this a “known issue” and there is no resolution as of yet?

As with the other issue I’m happy to test - but if there are known reliability issues it requires a substantive change in approach to develop a front end to interact with the hologram using socket messages vs a more generalized access method via common SMS.


It is hard to say specifically if this is an R410 issue but receiving an SMS on the modem is not something that usually requires something special or that we created a process for. It just uses the AT command AT+CMGL over and over again to see if there is a message waiting to be retrieved by the modem. There are configuration options that you can change around though I would be careful doing that, its in the AT command datasheet from ublox: https://www.u-blox.com/en/docs/UBX-17003787 page 76 onward.

My 410-02B also does not receive messages but I have a BG96 in the office that does. My R410 is on sprint while my bg96 is on tmobile. It certainly seems like a modem issue but I don’t want to say that with certainty since we have seen SMS fail to be sent to other devices due to issues with carriers and international numbers associated with the SIM.

Thanks Dom - appreciate the assist.

If it is carrier related - could the R410 be forced to another network? (Verizon over ATT)

Also - if it is carrier related - where does that issue get resolved? The SIM, the modem, or the carrier?

Is SMS send and receive an expected part of the feature set for these products? (The Hologram SIM in tandem with the Hologram Nova R410).

I’m happy to “try” things - but I’m not really certain that this is a consumer issue to noodle out and resolve? If it is carrier, isn’t that between Hologram and AT&T to work out? If it is SIM, does the issue not also exist with Hologram? If it is the R410 - as you mention one should be careful “poking around” with AT commands - would it not be ideal to work through these issues with a willing customer before more of these devices make it to the channel?

Yes, thats what AT+COPS is for

Its not the SIM, try putting the SIM in another modem and it will probably get the SMS message. Carriers can have a litany of reasons for stopping a message go through, spam protection, misconfigured SMSCs etc… Thats why I said we can never 100% rule that out but its uncommon and if that does happen it usually requires talking with the carrier to get that resolved.

I mean ideally but we can’t guarantee anything, the CAT-M1 standard is still being phased in and its been inconsistent at best, the R410 Nova should be seen as a prototyping board just due to the nature of how new CAT-M1 is and how new the chip is. It might not seem that new but in the telco world technology moves at glacial paces, the SMPP 3.4 standard was ratified nearly 20 years ago and even now it doesn’t have 100% implementation…

Not always, we’ve had messages fail to be delivered to verizon devices where the end user had to talk to verizon to get them to allow international numbers to send them SMS.

I give this as a warning as in read the documents closely and be aware that going back and resetting all the settings can be time consuming, especially since there is no factory reset command like on the U201.

If its anything I am pretty sure its the modem as my R410-01B is able to receive SMS messages using the same SIM as the R410-02B. We can look into it more but its not going to be fixed right away.

Thanks for the follow up Dom!

I appreciate the delicacy of rapidly evolving technology and glacially slow carriers/standards.

By the same token, I don’t want to build a product on shifting sand.

This product has a viable need - past products are reaching obsolescence due to declining availability of 2G. The natural evolution is to 4G/LTE, and frankly to IoT communications. The market segment for it is niche but the limited selection of product is exceptionally expensive - maybe that is due to what appears to be high variability in the 4G/LTE space and you are paying for stability and support - who knows :slight_smile:

Can Hologram provide any recommendations on production boards that should have bedrock stability? Or is the entire industry the Wild West? SMS communications to the device would be ideal - it doesn’t require a separate app, development for iOS & Android, web hosting infrastructure, etc. Virtually everyone with a phone has SMS capability.

If I dev on the R410 - what is the migration path to production if it is a development only board?
Thanks :slight_smile:

I’d be careful about assuming that, are you sending SMS to the device or receiving from the device? That manner of communication is not as plug and play as you might think. Put one of our sims in your phone and send an SMS and then try to respond to that SMS from another device and see if it goes through.

Thats true but sorta depends on where you are deploying. America and Asia? absolutely. Other parts of the world? not so much. 2G still has utility in a lot of areas and places like brazil are still mostly 2g/3g with spotty LTE coverage so unfortunately the answer is there is no single correct technology you can rely on for worldwide coverage. I would research the countries you are looking to deploy in and their telco roadmaps if possible before assuming anything. https://blog.telegeography.com/2g-is-fading-away-but-it-might-outlive-3g-in-europe

Depends where you are looking to deploy, your power needs, and up/down speeds. Like I said there is no single correct answer to this and even newer technologies come with their own pitfalls. We just released our euicc offering (https://www.hologram.io/products/hyper) and cat-m1 modems don’t play along nearly as well as some other ones because the process of switching profiles on euicc relies heavily on SMS and data transmission rates. Some of them work just fine and we are trying to make a list of them but like I said things really depend on your use case.

Thanks Dom - it gave me a lot to think about. My entire project will be US contained and is solely in response to the dwindling availability of 2G, EDGE, GSM for these kinds of projects. I get that Hologram is focused on “the bigger picture” of getting their SIMs out to access a global network and the technical complexities of of working “everywhere”. Perhaps one day I can think beyond the US with it - but at present I’m fully contented to just get 1 single pilot to work reliably.

Finally had some time to put back into to this project - real world job had too many demands for a few days there. I’m documenting my steps here mostly for anyone that follows. I’m throwing this up here for what its worth and what I learned.

I was able to read the docs and found a few helpful AT commands - I think I’m using them right - its been a few years since my Hayes 9600 days (man I loved the lights on those) :wink: AT Commands for the UBLOX modem (on which the SARA R410 was built): https://www.u-blox.com/sites/default/files/SARA-R4_ATCommands_(UBX-17003787).pdf

NOTE: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK - I cannot guarantee I am even using these correctly. Not responsible if you end up connected to Joshua and begin a nice game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

All of these will become good friends:
AT+CSQ (Signal strength on any network you lock into - if you take yourself out of auto mode and assign yourself to a network you may have multiple access points for the same vendor - you will likely want the strongest signal especially if your project will be stationary)
AT+COPS? - Returns your current network registration information.

AT+COPS=? - Returns available networks around you, example:
(2,“AT&T”,“AT&T”,“310410”,7) (1,“313 100”,“313 100”,“313100”,7) (1,“311 882”,“311 882”,“311882”,7) (1,“311 490”,“311 490”,“311490”,7) (1,“310 120”,“310 120”,“310120”,7) (1,“312 530”,“312 530”,“312530”,7) (0,1,2,3,4) (0,1,2)

I was never able to register a network by the “network name” (AT&T, TMO, Verizon or VzW, Sprint, etc) and I was largely guessing at first. I finally figured out above that each set in () - like (1,“311 882”,“311 882”,“311882”,7) is a reference to an “available” network (the vendor may not let you register with it).
In my case I broke it down to the available networks:
(1,“313 100”,“313 100”,“313100”,7) FirstNet
(1,“311 882”,“311 882”,“311882”,7) Sprint
(1,“311 490”,“311 490”,“311490”,7) Sprint
(1,“310 120”,“310 120”,“310120”,7) Sprint
(1,“312 530”,“312 530”,“312530”,7) Sprint

I was registered with AT&T. I read elsewhere in the hologram forums that 313 was a network that Hologram doesn’t have access to (first responders) and eventually found this reference to the mobile network codes (MCC (“prefix” - carrier) and MNC (Network)) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Network_Codes_in_ITU_region_3xx_(North_America)#U

I was able to join them individually using:

Carrier: AT&T

Carrier: Sprint
AT+COPS=1,2,“311882” (No network service)
AT+COPS=1,2,“311490” CSQ:7
AT+COPS=1,2,“310120” CSQ:9
AT+COPS=1,2,“312530” CSQ:9

So I eventually made it onto Sprint’s network - and had much of the same problems I had with AT&T and could not send or receive data. This time setting the power settings as recommended in another thread did not resolve the issues with Sprint. Though I do see in my dashboard a Sprint connection, it never returns my IEMI. Maybe it just never registers with the network… (Though an AT+COPS? does show it on the “Sprint Hologram” network). I’m also having more frequent disconnects where the device /dev/ttyUSB1 just disappears.

I’ve gotten it back on AT&T now and validated I can send data to the device still… but only with “cloud data” and there is still a 30 second+ lag to message receipt and it doesn’t fit the scope of what I’m trying to do.

I will make one more stab at it - take it “on the road” an see if I can pick up some other networks than those listed above - but the struggle to get the Nova R410m to work reliably is definitely showing the “development” side of this board… and as Dom mentions above “If its anything I am pretty sure its the modem as my R410-01B is able to receive SMS messages using the same SIM as the R410-02B. We can look into it more but its not going to be fixed right away.” I don’t see any way to request a 01B from the channel and Hologram is dutifully engaged elsewhere. If my field trials on the road ultimately fail I will likely look into the aforementioned BG96 modem and see where that gets me and box up the R410-02B as a fun diversion but fruitless pursuit.

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