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Using multiple cellular aircards on laptops

We use Sprint and Verison. We have 60 aircards and 100 laptops. We never know which laptop will use which aircard, so we install both providers on all laptops.

After the Verizon software installs the Sprint software can no longer detect it's modem. To remedy this we decided to just use the dialup connectins instead of the connection manager software. Now we have a new problem- It seems that the Wireless connection tries to use the onboard modem to dial the connection instead of using the wireless card after a card is removed. I've been working with Sprint and Verizon to find a solution and none of us can seem to get anywhere. We've also tried using Aircards of the same model with no success.

The question is does anyone:
A) know how to define a specific modem for a connection to use (the modem disappers once the card is removed, I need the connection to remember which one it should use.)?
B) know of a way to make the different connection managers to work together?
C) know of a universal card manager software?
D) anything that will work?
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BenchmarkGroup
Asked:
BenchmarkGroup
1 Solution
 
ccosbyCommented:
Stupid question but does anyone use the dial up modems? If no have you tried just disabling them?

Also have you tried setting the evdo cards to ndis mode? Once the card is configured to that it will auto connect to the provider without using the software. The software still needs to be installed for the drivers though.
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BenchmarkGroupAuthor Commented:
The onboard modem rarely gets used, but it does occasionally.
We can't seem to get good results out of NDIS mode either.

I should have mentioned those things. Sorry.
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BenchmarkGroupAuthor Commented:
Adding my regular email address so I don't miss replies...
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reswobslcCommented:
I have used aircards on both Verizon and Sprint, and have had occasional troubles with each.

Here is something you can try that tends to work well.  (This works well for BOTH - since they both appear to the system as CDMA modems).  You will still use the Sprint and/or Verizon software for provisioning the cards (i.e. initial account setup), but for daily connecting to the Internet, you can skip the software entirely and go straight to the Windows Dial-Up Networking screen, and make a connection.

To Windows, BOTH aircards are just dialup modems.  It doesn't really even know that they are cellular.  If you use Windows Dial-Up Networking to dial the number "#777" (pound seven seven seven), you'll be able to connect to the Internet.  You may notice that both the Verizon and SPrint software already add pseudo-entries in Dial-Up Networking with these very same numbers.

Problems arise when Windows loses track of which modem belongs to the connection.  As I stated before, Windows doesn't know the difference between a cellular and landline modem.  So when you remove your cellular modem, Windows is sometimes dumb enough to reconfigure the connection to use your laptop's built-in landline modem, to dial #777.  As you might have guessed, that won't work.  In fact, you've just said this yourself.  It's happened to me countless times.

But as long as you are in the REAL control panel that decides what modem will be used, you can go to the advanced properties and force Windows to use the correct hardware.  Before dialing, go in, uncheck your laptop's "built-in" modem, and check whatever cellular modem is present.  Exit out.  Make your connection.  It should work.

Good luck.

PS - Dial Up Networking usually asks for usernames and passwords.  They may be ignored, or there may be suggested values that you're supposed to use - the same works for everybody.  If I recall correctly, on Verizon it's recommended you use "yournumber@vzw3g.com" and the password vzw (replace "yournumber" with your 10-digit telephone number).  I don't recall what it was for Sprint, but it can be easily Googled - assuming that it doesn't just accept any bogus value to begin with.  (They already know your account due to your card's ESN number, so the username and password serve no purpose)
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BenchmarkGroupAuthor Commented:
reswobslc: This is exactly what we are currently doing. The problem is that most of the people that check out our laptops have little to no understanding of all of this. I have to find a seamless (dummyproof) solution.
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reswobslcCommented:
How about this: can you go to Device Manager and uninstall the driver for the landline modem?

Or about disabling it (making it have a red X over it).  (Sometimes when you "uninstall" a driver for something not physically removable, it shortly comes right back.)

If you eliminate the landline modem as a potential source of problem, then you know you'll at least never have to deal with Windows mistaking it for your air cards.
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BenchmarkGroupAuthor Commented:
Thanks, but see previous reply to similar suggestion: The onboard modem rarely gets used, but it does occasionally.
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reswobslcCommented:
In that case, I'm not sure a better solution really exists...
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BenchmarkGroupAuthor Commented:
Thank you for taking the time to work on this. Ultimately this solution was the lesser of evils. Since the onboard modem gets used very rarely we bit the bullet and disabled it. We also began having luck with NDIS mode (which previously hadn't worked).

Thanks also for reminding me never to give up on the easy solutions, however unpalatable they may seem. :)
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Tim_D_WagnerCommented:
Do the different providers provide you different hardware?
In our case, we have three shortcuts on the desktop Bell, Rogers, and land line. The Bell is a Dun connection locked to the x720 cards they use, the Rogers is a DUN to the x950d, and the dial up is internal modem. We did not install provider software, just drivers, and use #777 with no user/pass to connect. On the plastic aircard protrusion we have a sticker with the provider name.So far so good, seems fairly low octane user friendly.  We did not to pressure the providers to trade in some hardware to standardize.
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