Simless modems?

Sorry if this question is answered, but I couldn’t find it. Is there a way to use Hologram service with a 3G modem from a 3rd party if it does not accept SIMs? The modem uses an internal IMEI that must be registered with the service provider. I am specifically looking at the Nimbelink 3G Skywire EVDO modem ( I’m considering Dash hardware as well, but need to vet all my options.

Hi @bioagbob,

Great question! We would need to chat further about a specific modem, but we can support modems that do not use physical SIMs (in general).

The key to selecting modems that work with our network is that they must use a radio technology standardized by the entity known as 3GPP, and not a technology standardized by the entity known as 3GPP2.

The easiest way to check if a modem will be compatible with our network is to see if the radio technology supported by the modem is found in this table and identified as part of the “3GPP family” (not the “3GPP2 family”).

You will also want to select modems supporting a radio technology that is at least 3G if the modem will be used in the U.S. (e.g. UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, …).


Thanks @HologramPat. Good info. I’ve only used the 3G EVDO and that is 3GPP2, so no go there. They do make a 3G HSPA+ version (with SIM slot!), but it’s sleep mode current is almost 100x worse. They make a 4G LTE Cat 1 version with 10x sleep current, so maybe that’s the middle ground. I assume your SIMs will work for an LTE device?

bump. @HologramPat Can I use with an LTE device? Like 4G LTE CAT 1 NA - Airgain ?

@bioagbob currently Hologram’s cellular network does not support LTE. The nimbelink skywire modem would not work on our network. [NO LONGER THE CASE, SEE UPDATE]

Although we have the widest support for hardware. We are compatible with USB modems, FONA boards from Adafruit and many others. What are the requirements for your application?

UPDATE: LTE devices are now supported by the Hologram cellular network. See below in this thread.

@benstr Looking for a very low-power (sleep current) cellular modem for a sensor network gateway. A lot of the stuff out there hasn’t been very well tested in low power applications. I know there are also issues with modem wake and tower handshaking that burns data, but I’m still learning about when that issue comes into play (maybe it depends who I ask). I plan to push somewhere between 10-30 MB/mo. I’ve played with the Electron, but haven’t tried Holo gear yet. I welcome your advice.

Yeah. Hologram would fit your need much better, especially if you are planning to deploy multiple gateways and the fact you are flexible on the hardware.

Have you looked into any of Intel’s IoT gateways?

We’ve looked at Intel too. Thanks for the info.

As a quick update to this post Hologram now supports LTE and we have out first CAT-M1 device (The CAT-M1 Nova) coming out this November 2017!

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It is working as an external internet modem which is popular nowadays. Samsung making a sinless device that supports internet modem. I have visited linksys customer service for good router which is very useful for my system