Land lines disappearing? Analog Costs Increasing!

Transitioning from Analog to Cellular - Why use a USR3500 Courier GSM Cellular Modem to replace an analog modem?

Many M2M customers are considering making the transition from analog to cellular but may not be sure what that entails. Compare the process and requirements below to see if making the jump to cellular makes sense for your business or your customers.

Transitioning from Analog to Cellular


  1. Confirm system can support Cellular connections (data packets via IP). If the system is analog only alternative options include using “COM port redirector” software to send the data from a COM port to a network port.
  2. Determine and acquire best hardware for the application based on features needed:
    • GPS - Asset Management or Fleet Tracking
    • Persistent Connectivity - Remote Maintenance & Control
    • Intelligent Terminal - Environmental Monitoring and Security Systems
    • Modem Speed (2G/3G/4G) - Failover & Out of Band Management
  3. Acquire data package and SIM through MVNO or other Cellular Provider that will support area needed for services
  4. Configure and install new devices for testing
  5. Rollout new configuration and devices once fully tested and approved

Advantages compared to Analog

  1. Communicate directly to server or host - no modem required on receiving end
  2. Recurring monthly charges typically much lower
  3. Already designed to receive data over the network
  4. "Smart" modem includes additional functionality beyond just communication - configure alarms and sensors, track assets, and in some cases no need for additional processing or the need to attach a computer
  5. GPS functionality allows new applications that include location tracking such as asset management
  6. DC cables make this modem mobile and useable anywhere there is a cellular connection and available battery connection
  7. Integrators and resellers that offer remote management services can control the relationship with the service provider, no longer relying on the customer to pay and maintain telephone services

Things to take into consideration:

  • Cellular to Cellular communication is not possible – If the original solution has a peer to peer, modem to modem setup cellular may not be a viable solution. See the Cellular Network education section for more details.
  • System constraints – cellular data transfer is not the same as analog or may be set up different from the primary connections, additional configuration or programming may be required.
  • Set Realistic Data Expectations – Analog fees were typically quite static (depending on long distance packages), but cellular fees are based on the amount of data transfer. Data plan rates vary widely, but can be pooled across multiple SIMs to help reduce the monthly requirements. Plan appropriately to keep expensive overages from happening.
  • Persistent connectivity – unlike analog modems that allow dial-back options, cellular providers make it difficult to have “always on” cellular connections. Bearer management, aka persistent connectivity is needed for mobile originated calls.
  • Interface constraints – some systems may require specific interfaces. The USR3500 does have an Ethernet Kit and Mobile Kit available.

analog and cellular connections

Cut the cord, and start pooling!

USR3500 M2M Cellular Modem
USR Courier M2M 3G Cellular Modem

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