Some little technical blog

Sierra Wireless EM7445: A dead-born king

em7445-small

As a natural development of their previous XMM7160 LTE chipset, Intel presented a new generation, named XMM7260. It was announced about 2 years ago and only now some first real devices made it to customers.
XMM7260 supports more LTE bands than XM7160 and also supports LTE carrier aggregation. It conforms to LTE Cat.6.

The following LTE bands supported: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 38, 41

Wow, that’s 18 LTE bands supported!

The following LTE bands supported with carrier aggregation: 1+5, 8, 18, 19, 26; 2+4, 5, 13, 17, 29; 3+5, 8, 19, 20, 26; 4+5, 13, 17, 29; 7+20; 4+4

em7445-details

That technical details look very good and I was desperate to test the new Sierra Wireless EM7445. Below is my review.

em7445

I’m still using a previous generation Lenovo laptop, X240. It includes an m.2 slot for WWAN devices. All WWAN devices are currently using USB interface, and none are using PCI-E, so only USB connectors are required to function in laptop’s m.2 slot. USB version in X240 and X250 is 2.0 only. And Sierra Wireless EM7445 supports USB 3.0 already, so even if the device is capable of receiving LTE data very fast, using carrier aggregation, there still can be a real bottleneck in data throughput, because the device will need to fallback to the older USB 2.0 protocol when coupled with a previous generation laptop, like X240 or X250.

Also every time I turn my laptop on or wake up it from sleep, I’m getting a Windows notification “This device can perform faster. Please connect it to a USB 3.0 port”.

em7445-usb2

While this notification is harmless and doesn’t affect the device workings, it’s pretty annoying to see it every time. X240 already includes USB 3.0 in the chipset and has two USB 3.0 external ports, so the question is why they used USB 2.0 for the m.2 slot connectivity?
Sierra Wireless EM7445 doesn’t have a driver package available on the Lenovo website or anywhere else. Supported laptops Lenovo P50 and Lenovo P70 don’t list EM7445 drivers for download on their corresponding pages. There is a reason for that and I will explain it below. For drivers, EM7345 drivers for previous generation laptops include EM7445 support, according to INF files:

em7445-drivers

So I used the latest driver package for EM7345 from Lenovo website and EM7445 was detected and recognized:

em7445-devicemanager

em7445-drivers-settings
If you have Windows 8 and up, proceed to the driver installation from Lenovo website as well to have drivers for GNSS and COM ports, as those won’t be recognized by standard Windows 8/10 drivers.

The Vendor and Product ID for EM7445 is 1199 and A004 respectively.

Unfortunately, Sierra Wireless EM7445 is intended for the newest Lenovo laptops, such as P50 and P70, so older laptops don’t include EM7445 in their white list. If you just install EM7445, then turn it on, your laptop will abort booting with the following message: An unauthorized network card is detected:

em7445-whitelist

To get over it, it is possible to change the Vendor and Product ID to those which are accepted by Lenovo BIOS. For X240 and X250, we will use the IDs from EM7345, which are 1199 and A001 respectively. So basically we just need to change the Product ID from A004 to A001 to make the laptop boot normally.

So remove EM7445 from the laptop, boot up Windows, put your laptop to sleep, then install EM7445 and connect the antennas. Then wake up the laptop.

Sierra Wireless EM7445 is using the same method of changing IDs, device/manufacturer name strings and also the device “composition” and enable COM and GNSS ports. To achieve that, we will use the following script for the Intel MBIM tool:

You also can download and run the following file. After a couple of minutes, check the device in Device Manager. It will be shown there as Sierra Wireless EM7345 4G LTE, because we changed IDs to ones belonging to EM7345. But now we can successfully reboot the laptop and it won’t complain about an unauthorized device plugged in. To fix the incorrect device name in Device Manager we can use the following:

Open EM7345 device in Device Manager and select “Uninstall Device”. When uninstalling, also tick “Delete device software”. After that, press F5 to refresh the device list. Then open Unknown device, and press “Update driver” in the device properties in the Driver tab. Select “Browse my computer for driver software” and then “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer” and then “Have Disk”. Press “Browse” and navigate to unpacked drivers files and open file “SWMBIM01_ss.INF”. Then untick “Show compatible hardware”. Then select “Sierra Wireless EM7445 4G LTE” from the list and press “Next”. Drivers for EM7345 and EM7445 are exactly the same, and you can omit this step completely, even if it shows as EM7345, it won’t affect the device functioning. What we doing here is just to have EM7445 with changed Product ID to be shown as EM7445 in Device Manager.

You can repeat the above procedure for COM and GNSS port devices: “Sierra Wireless EM7345 AT Port”, “Sierra Wireless EM7345 Trace Port”, “Sierra Wireless GNSS Sensor EM7345 4G LTE” and “Sierra Wireless EM7345”.

After drivers are installed, we can start using EM7445 for internet access and use COM port to control it. All commands are basically the same with some new ones. I haven’t been able to test carrier aggregation with EM7445, I also don’t know any of AT commands that might control carrier aggregation. My tests were brief and EM7445 was able to connect to a LTE carrier and Internet was working, that’s all what I can say. Carrier aggregation is not supported by carriers here, otherwise the device is working identically to the old EM7345, but the overall stability is worse, there are crashes, some AT commands not working, etc.

The firmware version is “XMM7260_V2_REV_3.0_M2_BDREV_3_NAND_ROW_GNSSS” and “M27260_V2.3_WW_01.1530.102” dated July 22 2015:

em7445-firmware-version

I couldn’t find any newer firmware version for EM7445. The latest driver package from Lenovo website contains only firmware for EM7345, there is no firmware for EM7445. Also, the firmware is buggy. I have had several device crashes, device is crashing to “1 CDC” many times. Also it’s showing some crash logs with AT+XLOG=0 command:

em7445-crashlog
The crash was in module “metrics_engine”. What metrics? Are we talking about Carrier IQ here? What other metrics can we think of? Not only device manufacturers haven’t removed Carrier IQ from the device firmware, they even made it worse so now it crashes when processing those spying “metrics” functions.

Also the device always hangs when I enter AT+CNUM command to display the phone number of the inserted SIM. Also it ALWAYS crashes to “1 CDC” when the reboot command AT+CFUN=16 is entered with crash logs saying it was another error in “metrics_engine” module.

And the last thing, the EM7445 module I’ve got is most likely an engineering sample for internal Lenovo testing. The IMEI number of my EM7445 device is: 01440500000XXXX. It doesn’t look as a genuine IMEI number, because it contains too much zeroes. Five zeroes in a row, I’ve never seen a genuine IMEI containing so much zeroes. For test and engineering sample devices, however, IMEI can contain zeroes and most engineering samples I’ve seen contained a lot of zeroes for the IMEI number.

FRU list for P70 dated October 29 2015 contained EM7445 as an WWAN option:

https://download.lenovo.com/parts/ThinkPad/p70_frubom_20151029.pdf

p70-FRU

Let’s check the white list in P70 BIOS:

It doesn’t contain EM7445! The only allowed WWAN device for Lenovo P70 is EM7455 (1199/9079 and 1199/9078). The white list is the same for the oldest BIOS version 1.06 and the latest available version 1.40. We can say that despite the FRU document, the actual BIOS for Lenovo P70 never listed EM7445 as an allowed WWANΒ  card!

I’ve also checked the Lenovo P50 white list for BIOS version 1.10 and 1.23:

p50-whitelist

It also contains only EM7455 in both BIOS version 1.10 and 1.23. No trace of EM7445 for Lenovo P50.

 

The only actual BIOS that contained EM7445 for a WWAN device is Lenovo Yoga 260. The first available BIOS version 1.06 contained EM7445 in the white list (1199/A004), but the latest BIOS version 1.40 DOESN’T INCLUDE IT ANYMORE, but includes EM7455 as the only allowed WWAN device (1199/9078). Below is the comparison of two BIOS white list:

 

y260-whitelist-1.06

y260-whitelist-1.40

For now, I haven’t been able to find any Lenovo device that is supposed to have Sierra Wireless EM7445 as the WWAN option! The only mention about EM7445 is in the FRU list for P70, but that’s a 100% outdated document.

So what happened at Lenovo so they changed their mind about EM7445? I guess they’re disappointed of the module performance, numerous bugs and problems using it in newer laptops. If we remember the story about EM7345, we can see that it was a big unsuccess for Lenovo and they surely don’t want to step into the same water again.

Intel WWAN XMM platform is pretty much dead and Lenovo effectively abandoned it. All new laptops will be using EM7455, which is based on QUALCOMM MDM9230 chipset that supports LTE Cat.6 carrier aggregation. And it is much more stable and already has firmware and drivers available for download on Sierra Wireless website. No doubt there will be new firmware versions released soon for EM7455.

EM7435 and EM7445 never had any drivers or documentation available on Sierra Wireless website, moreover, recently Sierra Wireless removed any mention about EM7445 from their website.

All EM7445 modules available for sale now are most likely engineering test samples intended for Lenovo internal testing and are not recommended to buy.

46 Responses to Sierra Wireless EM7445: A dead-born king

  • I am interested in buying a Sierra EM7445 – 4G LTE-A for my lenovo P70 Laptop, if installing it is not
    too epic. I can follow instructions well. But it seems there must be some very fundamental problem with
    this product. Lenovo advertises it an an option but in fact it is not available. Is there a known good laternative such as the 7345 that works with a P70?

    • The white list for Lenovo P70 contains only EM7455, according to my post and BIOS research. Any other module you install will cause Error 1802 “Unauthorized network card” when booting. Unless you change the ID of the module to mimic EM7455. I think it’s not worth it, and your best option is to get a genuine Lenovo EM7455. Note, though, that EM7455 doesn’t support 2G technology (GPRS and EDGE) and only supports 3G and LTE. In some remote areas that can be critical.

    • https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-P-and-W-Series-Mobile/sierra-em7445-4g-lte-a/td-p/3313760
      Proof that EM7445 is not working with P70. EM7445 is not going to work for ANY Lenovo laptop. Like I said, Lenovo abandoned EM7445 and P70 and P50 owners should get EM7455, despite of what FRU and compatible parts list say about EM7445.

  • If this is the same device as Sierra Wireless EM7455 Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE-A you can find the driver/firmware package on the Lenovo website for machines t460s and others from that generation.

    https://download.lenovo.com/pccbbs/mobiles/n1lwj05w.exe

    It seems to be using the inbox wmbclass drivers and it seems just as flaky as previous generations.

    • No, EM7445 is based on the Intel XMM7262 chipset and in fact is the most buggiest module I’ve ever seen. EM7455 is based on the Qualcomm chipset, and those, if we look at the previous generation devices, like EM7305, EM7355 are pretty stable. Firmware gets updated regularly, drivers are stable too.

  • AFAIK Lenovo has given up on EM7445 because of EM7345 issues https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-Tablets/Sierra-Wireless-EM7345-Beta-Build-4389/m-p/2199690/highlight/true#M31891

    There is also Huawei ME906S option. It does not support LTE-A but still have the 2G data support that is important in countries with underdeveloped mobile networks like over here (Czech Republic). There are still locations where GPRS/EDGE is the only available coverage … in 2016

    The number of LTE bands supported by the EM7445 is impressive but as long as the firmware is still crappy like the EM7345 one the whole device is spoiled πŸ˜•

    • Yes, the EM7445 firmware is very buggy and is even worse than the first available firmware for EM7345 when that one just came out. EM7445 firmware is dated the last year and there’s no any update for it. But the hardware is very good indeed and the number of LTE bands and availability of 2G nowadays when newer devices already getting rid of 2G is really impressive.

  • how to use the script ? please share.

  • Hi,

    Is there anyone who can helpme in telling the steps to change the vendor and hardware id’s? Step by step.

  • Hi Dear Zukota,,,

    How can i get GPS (Windows maps Google maps etc.) to work on Sierra Wireless EM7445 (Vodavone LTE 4g works fine ) on my new Lenovo 20FQ Yoga X1
    i working on Windows 10 Pro with the latest Windows and Lenovo driver…updates…
    Thanks in advance…
    Semy

  • If I get EM7455, is there any way to bypass “Unauthorized network card” and make it work in my T440s ?

  • Dear Zukota…maybe helps….

    Technical-specification

    IN THE DEEP

    of the Sierra wireless em7455…..

    https://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiZ1evvruTPAhVMDcAKHSpMAz4Q

  • Where can I get Intel MBIM tool to modify the ID?

  • I have an EM7455 on my X1 Carbon 20FB running Windows 10.
    It works fine for data, but I need some software to use SMS and – if possible – voice.
    Please Help.
    Thanks.

  • I have the same question as above: Where can I get Intel MBIM tool to modify the ID?

  • Ooops, I just realized that with my X240 there is no whitelist-warning anymore for the EM7455. I have the newest BIOS 2.37 and I installed from the Lenovo website the driver for the EM7345 (2.32.10970.4625). So no need anymore to flash some ids….

  • Well, I was wrong: the warning comes again. Not after reboot, but after entering the BIOS.
    So we still need to know, how to change the Id.
    The driver leaves in the C:\Driver directory an exe file, which is an archive. It can be unpacked with uniextract161 and provides to whole installation tree, which is deleted after normal driver installation.
    Here I found the subdirectory MBIM Driver with some cat, inf , and sys files. But I have no clue how to proceed. Any hint is welcome.

    • What 4G device do you exactly have? If it’s EM7445 it’s possible to change the ID using the Intel MBIM tool mentioned in this post. If it’s EM7455, changing the ID is also possible but more tricky. I will post some tutorials regarding EM7455 when I test and try them with my EM7455.

      • my device is a em7445.

      • This MBIM Toolkit is very mysterious. After unpacking the Lenovo driver for the em7455 and after installing the driver for the em7355 (which is currently built into my X240) I found only one single evidence for this Toolkit on my entire C drive: $APPDATA\local\Intel\Lenovo MBIM Toolkit. This directory contained two logfiles.
        This is very confusing.
        What exactly do I have to do with this script starting with dtc… ?

        • Just run this one: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rwbyyvocr8ou9u0/EM7345_MBIM_ACM.exe?dl=0

          It will set the ID of your EM7445 to those mimicking EM7345 so the BIOS won’t complain about an authorized network card on boot.

          • thank you for your effort. I applied this patch and in the device manager I saw an EM7345. I don’t remember what I did next, most probably experimenting with drivers. But from then on this card disappeard from the device manager. I also have an Sierra EM7355, which works ok and appears in the device manager.
            The EM7445 (now EM7345) also is not recognized by an Ubuntu linux using lsusb, whereas the EM7355 is recognized. So it looks like the EM7445 is a kind of dead.

          • Try to completely power off your laptop, disconnect the external battery and disable the internal battery in BIOS if applicable. Changing the ID can’t kill EM7445, as well as experimenting with drivers.

  • Lenovo changes supplier of WWAN modules to a Fibocom that use Intel XMM chipsets https://www.thinkscopes.com/2016/12/28/lenovo-announces-new-thinkpad-t470-kaby-lake-thunderbolt-3/ New firmware issues are coming ? πŸ˜₯

  • today I had access to another X240. I made a fresh Install of Windows 10: again the EM7445 did not show up in the device manager whereas the EM7355 does. Whatever was the reason, the card seems to be dead.

  • Today I got my new EM7445.This time I succeeded in changing the ID. So it must have been a stupied conincidence, that my first card died just when trying to change the ID.
    But I couldn’t manage to install a working driver. It looks like Lenovo removed the support for the EM7445 from the EM7345 driver package.

    Is there any way to change the ID in the same way for the EM7455 ?

    • I guess I know what happened. When you changed the ID of your EM7445, the drivers must be automatically flashed a firmware intended for EM7345 into your EM7445, effectively ruining it, because the ID were matching the EM7345. I always delete or rename the files that do automatic flashing after I install the EM7345 drivers. The files are: “c:\Program Files (x86)\Sierra Wireless Inc\LENOVO MBIM Toolkit\FirmwareApp.exe”, “c:\Program Files (x86)\Sierra Wireless Inc\LENOVO MBIM Toolkit\FirmwareCmd.exe” and (in the recent version drivers) “SwiService.exe”. Install the drivers, then delete (rename) the above files so they cannot be executed BEFORE you insert your EM7445 into your laptop. Then make sure none of those files exist on your disk and reboot (or kill all those processes if they are running in the Task Manager).

      The drivers for the EM7345 should support the EM7445, if not, just install a previous version drivers. As of the EM7455, yes, it’s possible to change the ID, so it works in laptops which only have EM7345 and EM7355 whitelisted in the BIOS. But that’s tricky and I’ve already bricked my EM7455 (and recovered it) for a similar reason: the EM7355 drivers flashed a wrong firmware into my EM7455 with changed IDs. I will post a tutorial soon about how to make the EM7455 work with previous generation laptops, like X240 and T440, X1 Carbon 2nd gen, etc

  • The new driver package for the EM7345 has an option: just before installing the driver you can choose whether you want to flash the newest firmware. This time I choosed not to flash the firmware.
    The last driver package can be unpacked (with 7z) but the result is again some kind of archive and I don’t know how to unpack it. So I can’t check the inf files.
    A tutorial for the EM7455 would be highly appreciated.

    • The latest EM7345 driver unpacked: https://mega.nz/#!LdV2FS5J!5Q26SIu_I5IXnq80iI_69wh4hv8H-5AvoUU3CDEytCg
      You can install the drivers by pointing Windows to the corresponding folders after you unpack the archive. EM7445 is present in the INF files.

      • thank you for your effort.
        I’m afraid to say, that I was not able to make anything useful out of it. After a lot of experimenting I got a Generic Mobile Broadband Device (instead of a Sierra EM7345 device) which was not working. It always claimed that there would be no signal. I double checked the antenna cables but I had no success.
        Even your utility didn’t work, when executing MBIM.exe <MBIM_interface_only.txt the first two commands had success, but the last two failed.

  • @zukota Thank you for hard work compiling this guide! I would like to ask your advice.

    Ordered Lenovo-branded EM7445 by mistake… I also have a non-Lenovo laptop without WWAN whitelist which currently has EM8805 (HSDPA+ Global, no LTE) and runs Windows 10. Is it worth a try to make it work, or should I just return it right away?

    • If your laptop has no whitelist it’s no matter what EM7455 device you get, all of them (Dell, Lenovo, Sierra) would work fine.

  • Hey Zukota,

    Thanks for all of your hard work with this stuff. Were you ever able to get the EM7445 to run stable at all? I’m hardly the type to be using AT commands once the module is setup. I ask this, because they can be found for ~$40 on eBay, and maybe I’ll grab one if you think it’s not a total waste of money/time. Otherwise I’ll wait until I get a deal on a 7455.

    • I don’t recommend getting the EM7445. I’ve experienced sporadic device crashes when doing the same stuff I’ve been doing with EM7435. EM7445 had only one firmware version, which never had any updates. If you really want to get the EM7445, ask the seller about the firmware version and compare that with the one from my post. If the seller has a newer version, you may want to try your luck πŸ™‚

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