You might find a need to use your Notecard with an external SIM for certain deployments, for instance, if a device needs to operate in a region that is not currently covered, or if you need to ensure network redundancy for your application. In these cases, provided you are using a Notecarrier which includes an external SIM slot or you have added one to your own board, the Notecard provides support for switching to an external SIM.
You must know the 3rd-party carrier's Access Point Name (APN) in order to connect to their service. Several carriers will have a website dedicated to manually configuring devices, while other can be discovered using APN discovery websites like apn.how. For example, to operate a Notecard in India, you may wish to use an Airtel SIM with their "Internet" APN.
Once you have determined the correct APN, the Notecard requires very minimal
setup to be configured to utilize an external SIM card. The APN can be
configured using the
apn parameter of the
Following on with the Airtel example:
mode for the Notecard is
auto, which is the appropriate setting
for the majority of scenarios. However, if a Notecard is known to be limited to
a specific region and you want to speed up network registration, you can specify
the frequency band associated with the carrier's service.
This can be accomplished using the
mode parameter of the
API. You can select from modes Cat-M1 (5G eMTC) (
m), Cat-NB1 (5G NB-IoT)
nb), and GSM/GPRS/EDGE (2G) (
If you need to revert from using an external SIM to using the embedded SIM on
the Notecard, simply remove the external SIM and the Notecard will automatically
switch to the default carrier. You can also reset the APN setting and frequency
band to their defaults by using the following
card.wireless API request.
In scenarios where the SIM in use on the Notecard is unable to connect (whether it's due to coverage limitations or roaming restrictions), you may configure a SIM as a failover/backup connectivity option.
The card.wireless API
is used to configure SIM failover via the
method argument, including setting
apn that the Notecard will use only when using the external SIM.
There are five possible values for the
"-"resets the Notecard to the default value. In this state, the Notecard uses the external SIM exclusively if it detects the presence of an external SIM, otherwise it uses the internal SIM.
"dual-primary-secondary"will attempt to register with the internal SIM first and switch to the external SIM upon a network registration failure.
"dual-secondary-primary"will attempt to register with the external SIM first and switch to the internal SIM upon a network registration failure.
"primary"- will exclusively use the internal SIM, even if an external SIM is present.
"secondary"- will exclusively use the external SIM, but only if an external SIM is present.
As of Notecard firmware v5.3.1, you also can use the
hours argument to specify
the number of hours after which the Notecard should attempt to switch back to
the preferred SIM.
As of the latest Notecard firmware release, the active SIM will be used as long as the Notecard is able to register on a cellular network. There is currently no way to programmatically switch between using internal and external SIMs without the Notecard experiencing a registration failure.
For example, if the Notecard experiences a registration failure on the internal SIM and then successfully registers on the external SIM, it will not re-attempt to use the internal SIM until it experiences a registration failure on the external SIM.
- Q: What type of external SIM does the Notecarrier support?
- A: The type of external SIM used is a Nano SIM.
- Q: Can I use an external SIM to access 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE networks?
- A: The answer is two fold. First, it's up to the 3rd party carrier/SIM provider as to whether or not 2G/3G/4G is available. Second, you must select a wideband Notecard to access 3G or 4G networks.
- Q: Can I specify the frequency band I want to connect to, when multiple frequencies are available (Cat-M1, Cat-NB1, EGPRS)?
- A: Yes. You will need to
select a narrowband Notecard, and
you can specify the network using the
modeparameter of the
- Q: Does the card.wireless setting take effect immediately – or after a restart of the card?
- A: It takes effect immediately, but is used only when an external SIM is plugged in. The apn setting on card.wireless is applicable only to an external SIM. When there is no SIM, the default carrier will be used, and when there is a SIM, the provided APN (or the default for an internally-supported SIM) will be used unless failing over to a different SIM has been configured separately.
- Q: Is it possible to programmatically switch between an internal and external SIM card?
- A: The Notecard does automatically recognize and use an external SIM card when present, but programmatic switching between SIMs is not currently supported.