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Posted Jan 1, 2008
10:34:47 AM
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No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard
 I am trying to use a Sierra 881 Aircard with my Toshiba laptop running XP.  I have tried both the AT&T communication manager software and the Sierra 3G Watcher software, but I keep getting a “No SIM card” error.  The folks at the at&t store tried replacing the sim card and tried a different Aircard with the same result. They also made sure I had the proper PCMCIA drivers.  So I would think the problem’s not at their end

I’ve been looking online for some idea of what I need to check in xp, but evidently everyone else just loads the software, plugs in the modem, and they’re good to go.

Any ideas?

 I am trying to use a Sierra 881 Aircard with my Toshiba laptop running XP.  I have tried both the AT&T communication manager software and the Sierra 3G Watcher software, but I keep getting a “No SIM card” error.  The folks at the at&t store tried replacing the sim card and tried a different Aircard with the same result. They also made sure I had the proper PCMCIA drivers.  So I would think the problem’s not at their end

I’ve been looking online for some idea of what I need to check in xp, but evidently everyone else just loads the software, plugs in the modem, and they’re good to go.

Any ideas?

No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 1, 2008 5:43:33 PM
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Just a wild shot in the dark...

By any chance does your Toshiba have built-in WWAN (a device like your aircard)? If so, the software may be looking for a SIM card installed on the motherboard. Try checking out the specs for your Toshiba, and you might look in Device Manager as well. While in device manager, look for any red X's or yellow !'s.

If you have more than one PCMCIA Card slot, try the other slot.
Just a wild shot in the dark...

By any chance does your Toshiba have built-in WWAN (a device like your aircard)? If so, the software may be looking for a SIM card installed on the motherboard. Try checking out the specs for your Toshiba, and you might look in Device Manager as well. While in device manager, look for any red X's or yellow !'s.

If you have more than one PCMCIA Card slot, try the other slot.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 1, 2008 6:32:17 PM
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 Thanks for the response DeeBat.

I do have a wireless LAN Mini PCI card, but it is disabled. I expect to use it later but I thought it may be interferring with the aircard.  So I disabled it.

I just checked the Device manager, again to be sure.  There are no yellow exclaimation points.  Only red X's from things I've disabled as possible conflicts. They are the firewire port, the infrared port, the wireless LAN card, an SD card reader, a MAC Bridge miniport, and an Intel PRO/100 VE Network Connection (is this the CAT5 port?).

There is only one PC card slot so that rules out a problem there.

Could there be a conflict between my dialup modem or software and the wireless card?

Again, thanks for the input. 
 Thanks for the response DeeBat.

I do have a wireless LAN Mini PCI card, but it is disabled. I expect to use it later but I thought it may be interferring with the aircard.  So I disabled it.

I just checked the Device manager, again to be sure.  There are no yellow exclaimation points.  Only red X's from things I've disabled as possible conflicts. They are the firewire port, the infrared port, the wireless LAN card, an SD card reader, a MAC Bridge miniport, and an Intel PRO/100 VE Network Connection (is this the CAT5 port?).

There is only one PC card slot so that rules out a problem there.

Could there be a conflict between my dialup modem or software and the wireless card?

Again, thanks for the input. 

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 2, 2008 4:09:23 AM
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plute wrote:
 Thanks for the response DeeBat.

I do have a wireless LAN Mini PCI card, but it is disabled. I expect to use it later but I thought it may be interferring with the aircard.  So I disabled it.

I just checked the Device manager, again to be sure.  There are no yellow exclaimation points.  Only red X's from things I've disabled as possible conflicts. They are the firewire port, the infrared port, the wireless LAN card, an SD card reader, a MAC Bridge miniport, and an Intel PRO/100 VE Network Connection (is this the CAT5 port?).

There is only one PC card slot so that rules out a problem there.

Could there be a conflict between my dialup modem or software and the wireless card?

Again, thanks for the input. 





The wireless LAN Mini PCI card should not cause your described problem. I was talking about a WWAN card, such as the Sierra Wireless Embedded Module MC8781.

http://www.sierrawireless.com/product/mc878x.aspx

Look in Device Manager for possible Network Devices, Multifunction Adapters, and Modems that would indicate that you have a built-in WWAN card. Likely you do not have a WWAN card installed, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to check.

You could try disabling your dial-up modem then reboot and see if this makes any difference.

I really don't know what would give you the no SIM error. You could have a defective PCMCIA card slot. I had one defective slot out of two on a previous laptop of mine. The card inserted in the defective slot powered up and gave no errors, but it just didn't work.

By any chance, did at&t test your card in another laptop? This would rule out a problem with the AirCard, the SIM card, and provisioning of data service on your data card phone number.

You might try uninstalling any communication software that you have installed for your AirCard, then uninstall the PCMCIA card device in Device Manager (right-click on device to uninstall it) and reboot. Windows *should* reinstall the PCMCIA drivers on reboot and fix possible errors on the driver installation. Be sure and install the communcation software for your AirCard before inserting the card in your laptop.

plute wrote:
 Thanks for the response DeeBat.

I do have a wireless LAN Mini PCI card, but it is disabled. I expect to use it later but I thought it may be interferring with the aircard.  So I disabled it.

I just checked the Device manager, again to be sure.  There are no yellow exclaimation points.  Only red X's from things I've disabled as possible conflicts. They are the firewire port, the infrared port, the wireless LAN card, an SD card reader, a MAC Bridge miniport, and an Intel PRO/100 VE Network Connection (is this the CAT5 port?).

There is only one PC card slot so that rules out a problem there.

Could there be a conflict between my dialup modem or software and the wireless card?

Again, thanks for the input. 





The wireless LAN Mini PCI card should not cause your described problem. I was talking about a WWAN card, such as the Sierra Wireless Embedded Module MC8781.

http://www.sierrawireless.com/product/mc878x.aspx

Look in Device Manager for possible Network Devices, Multifunction Adapters, and Modems that would indicate that you have a built-in WWAN card. Likely you do not have a WWAN card installed, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to check.

You could try disabling your dial-up modem then reboot and see if this makes any difference.

I really don't know what would give you the no SIM error. You could have a defective PCMCIA card slot. I had one defective slot out of two on a previous laptop of mine. The card inserted in the defective slot powered up and gave no errors, but it just didn't work.

By any chance, did at&t test your card in another laptop? This would rule out a problem with the AirCard, the SIM card, and provisioning of data service on your data card phone number.

You might try uninstalling any communication software that you have installed for your AirCard, then uninstall the PCMCIA card device in Device Manager (right-click on device to uninstall it) and reboot. Windows *should* reinstall the PCMCIA drivers on reboot and fix possible errors on the driver installation. Be sure and install the communcation software for your AirCard before inserting the card in your laptop.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 3, 2008 2:29:15 PM
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For what it's worth I was getting the same error with a brand new Sierra Aircard 881. "No Sim". I replaced the sim with one with another known good sim and it did the same thing. I spoke with Advanced Laptop Connect Tech Support, who after checking that the sim was inserted properly, advised that about 3% of the 881 cards have a mechanical defect that does not allow proper contact when the sim is inserted. There is no firmware update to apply since they ar new and an update would not resolve the issue because it is a defect in the sim slot itself.

He advised that I should return the Aircard to the store from which I bought it and change it out for a new card. He also advised that I bring a laptop in with me so that the new card could be checked onsite before leaving so as to avoid getting another of the defective cards.
For what it's worth I was getting the same error with a brand new Sierra Aircard 881. "No Sim". I replaced the sim with one with another known good sim and it did the same thing. I spoke with Advanced Laptop Connect Tech Support, who after checking that the sim was inserted properly, advised that about 3% of the 881 cards have a mechanical defect that does not allow proper contact when the sim is inserted. There is no firmware update to apply since they ar new and an update would not resolve the issue because it is a defect in the sim slot itself.

He advised that I should return the Aircard to the store from which I bought it and change it out for a new card. He also advised that I bring a laptop in with me so that the new card could be checked onsite before leaving so as to avoid getting another of the defective cards.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 9, 2008 1:20:00 PM
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Glad to see I'm not the only one experiencing this issue, and interesting to know about the 3% figure... it ought to be a lot higher. Every AC881 I have deployed in the last week (at least five) has failed due to the exact same problem. Chalk that up as a 100% failure rate for me- it's been a pain dealing with XBM on all of these, but I haven't received the replacements quite yet to see if they're any better. One of the 1500+ people I oversee telecommunications for in our company, one guy spent a couple hours dealing with AT&T on his own yesterday- the representatives apparently have not all been notified about this issue yet because they were just as confused as he was. Once the buck landed on my plate as the account's AOP, I had to set them straight that it was a manufacturer defect. Save your time troubleshooting.
 
This topic is getting stickied at the top of the PC Cards forum index because I think we're about to have a recall on our hands. Unfortunately, AT&T has pulled the PCMCIA Option GT card (even refurb now), so I have no solution to deploy using this type of slot on this network. Awesome.
Glad to see I'm not the only one experiencing this issue, and interesting to know about the 3% figure... it ought to be a lot higher. Every AC881 I have deployed in the last week (at least five) has failed due to the exact same problem. Chalk that up as a 100% failure rate for me- it's been a pain dealing with XBM on all of these, but I haven't received the replacements quite yet to see if they're any better. One of the 1500+ people I oversee telecommunications for in our company, one guy spent a couple hours dealing with AT&T on his own yesterday- the representatives apparently have not all been notified about this issue yet because they were just as confused as he was. Once the buck landed on my plate as the account's AOP, I had to set them straight that it was a manufacturer defect. Save your time troubleshooting.
 
This topic is getting stickied at the top of the PC Cards forum index because I think we're about to have a recall on our hands. Unfortunately, AT&T has pulled the PCMCIA Option GT card (even refurb now), so I have no solution to deploy using this type of slot on this network. Awesome.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 12, 2008 1:50:20 PM
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Bingo!  Took forever to connect with ATT tech support, but it was worth every minute because the guy was way helpful.  He finally decided that my aircard was faulty and suggested I take it back to the AAT store.  There we tried a new card and I was up and running in twenty seconds.  I didn't realize it would be that simple.  And what really threw me was that we had already tried a replacement sim card and another aircard on the first day when I bought the card.  It too must have been bad.  The tech support guy mentioned that they were having about a three percent failure rate on them.  But it's beginning to look like it may be a bit more than that.

Now if I can just get my Phoebus replaced.  It arrived the same day I got the aircard to work, but it quit within 24 hours. 

Not having the best luck with this wireless thing. 

Thanks for all of the suggestions and sharing of knowlege.  You folks make it do-able and I really appreciate the help.
Plute
Bingo!  Took forever to connect with ATT tech support, but it was worth every minute because the guy was way helpful.  He finally decided that my aircard was faulty and suggested I take it back to the AAT store.  There we tried a new card and I was up and running in twenty seconds.  I didn't realize it would be that simple.  And what really threw me was that we had already tried a replacement sim card and another aircard on the first day when I bought the card.  It too must have been bad.  The tech support guy mentioned that they were having about a three percent failure rate on them.  But it's beginning to look like it may be a bit more than that.

Now if I can just get my Phoebus replaced.  It arrived the same day I got the aircard to work, but it quit within 24 hours. 

Not having the best luck with this wireless thing. 

Thanks for all of the suggestions and sharing of knowlege.  You folks make it do-able and I really appreciate the help.
Plute

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 18, 2008 7:53:52 AM
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This is definitely a manufacturer defect, and the problem has still persisted this week- I can't believe AT&T is still selling these and allowing them to get out in the open! Their XBM department must be going nuts- I have probably 10 units to return on Monday.
 
And a correction, the Option GT card is in fact still being sold, at least through Premier- I hate the flimsy antenna design (for our rough guys out in the field who use these), but it will have to do until this fiasco gets sorted out. I really hope AT&T comes to its senses soon.
This is definitely a manufacturer defect, and the problem has still persisted this week- I can't believe AT&T is still selling these and allowing them to get out in the open! Their XBM department must be going nuts- I have probably 10 units to return on Monday.
 
And a correction, the Option GT card is in fact still being sold, at least through Premier- I hate the flimsy antenna design (for our rough guys out in the field who use these), but it will have to do until this fiasco gets sorted out. I really hope AT&T comes to its senses soon.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Jan 21, 2008 6:40:07 AM
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Edited by jwoc on Jan 21, 2008 at 6:40:25 AM
Blast! The Option GT card is MIA again on Premier...
 
I should see at least one new AC881 arriving today, so we'll see if it's any good.


Message Edited by jwoc on 01-21-2008 08:40:25 AM
Blast! The Option GT card is MIA again on Premier...
 
I should see at least one new AC881 arriving today, so we'll see if it's any good.


Message Edited by jwoc on 01-21-2008 08:40:25 AM

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Feb 6, 2008 7:24:59 AM
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Edited by jwoc on Feb 6, 2008 at 7:25:20 AM

Here is a snippit of the memo I just sent to my team this morning so I can update this thread as well...

 

Evidently, Sierra Wireless is still having issues with defective AC881 aircards in the distribution channels. Either the firmware is bad or the SIM tray is ajar on the PCB or both- I will look to firm up the actual cause today. AT&T took this out of stock last week for several days, in what appeared as an obvious move to fix the problem. But ignorance is bliss, as they are back in stock this week after going on holiday, and still shipping with the same issue for some reason. This is going to severely impact our ability to deploy AT&T aircards in the immediate term unless we adapt a different type of bus interface (ExpressCard or USB).

 

To compound matters further, AT&T has discontinued the PCMCIA-based Option GT Max aircard, leaving us no useable PCMCIA data platform.



Message Edited by jwoc on 02-06-2008 09:25:20 AM

Here is a snippit of the memo I just sent to my team this morning so I can update this thread as well...

 

Evidently, Sierra Wireless is still having issues with defective AC881 aircards in the distribution channels. Either the firmware is bad or the SIM tray is ajar on the PCB or both- I will look to firm up the actual cause today. AT&T took this out of stock last week for several days, in what appeared as an obvious move to fix the problem. But ignorance is bliss, as they are back in stock this week after going on holiday, and still shipping with the same issue for some reason. This is going to severely impact our ability to deploy AT&T aircards in the immediate term unless we adapt a different type of bus interface (ExpressCard or USB).

 

To compound matters further, AT&T has discontinued the PCMCIA-based Option GT Max aircard, leaving us no useable PCMCIA data platform.



Message Edited by jwoc on 02-06-2008 09:25:20 AM

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Feb 7, 2008 1:28:59 PM
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I can firm what jwoc says.  I have about 140 of these and over 50% of them were bad and I received more bad ones today, all the bad ones giving the "No SIM" inserted error.
I can firm what jwoc says.  I have about 140 of these and over 50% of them were bad and I received more bad ones today, all the bad ones giving the "No SIM" inserted error.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Feb 7, 2008 1:34:34 PM
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Thanks, layr- more than 50% of yours is credible enough for them announcing a recall (I have eight, all bad). I can't believe they haven't done so already.
 
In lighter news, the Option GT Ultra just came out yesterday or today or Premier, so PCMCIA is back. More soon if I hear anything.
Thanks, layr- more than 50% of yours is credible enough for them announcing a recall (I have eight, all bad). I can't believe they haven't done so already.
 
In lighter news, the Option GT Ultra just came out yesterday or today or Premier, so PCMCIA is back. More soon if I hear anything.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Mar 14, 2008 9:20:30 AM
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Here is the issue with the "No SIM" issue.
 
Chances are when you put the SIM card in, you had some resistance. Then,  you had the No SIM error.  I push out 50-75 of these a month and had a batch of 20 that did this.
Getting frustrated with this, I took a broken one and cracked it open.
What I found was 1-3 pins at where it contacts the sim card get "Pushed" forward with the insertion of the SIM Card, effectively breaking it. I then verified this on 5 other cards.
 
SOLUTION
After you get a replacement, and BEFORE you put the card in, do the following.
1. remove SIM from the card.
2. with copper side down, bevel the insertion side on a flat surface (25-35 degrees) and burnish an edge on it.
3. inset SIM card.
 
This solution has worked on a batch of 25 cards we just recieved (broke 5 coming up with solution.)
Here is the issue with the "No SIM" issue.
 
Chances are when you put the SIM card in, you had some resistance. Then,  you had the No SIM error.  I push out 50-75 of these a month and had a batch of 20 that did this.
Getting frustrated with this, I took a broken one and cracked it open.
What I found was 1-3 pins at where it contacts the sim card get "Pushed" forward with the insertion of the SIM Card, effectively breaking it. I then verified this on 5 other cards.
 
SOLUTION
After you get a replacement, and BEFORE you put the card in, do the following.
1. remove SIM from the card.
2. with copper side down, bevel the insertion side on a flat surface (25-35 degrees) and burnish an edge on it.
3. inset SIM card.
 
This solution has worked on a batch of 25 cards we just recieved (broke 5 coming up with solution.)

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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Apr 4, 2008 11:55:31 AM
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I too have had 25+  881 AirCard cards not work out of the box Same error each and every time.  Also, get a different one with No Card Detected. AT&T has sent out replacements that too did not work. It is a big waste of my time to have to deal with this each and every time. Something should be said to Sierra Wireless about this ongoing and annoying problem.
I have two on my desk right now that I am going to send back again. Need to move out of using the SIM cards, The other carrier to remain nameless does not have a USER installable SIM card on there card.
I too have had 25+  881 AirCard cards not work out of the box Same error each and every time.  Also, get a different one with No Card Detected. AT&T has sent out replacements that too did not work. It is a big waste of my time to have to deal with this each and every time. Something should be said to Sierra Wireless about this ongoing and annoying problem.
I have two on my desk right now that I am going to send back again. Need to move out of using the SIM cards, The other carrier to remain nameless does not have a USER installable SIM card on there card.

Re: No sim error for Sierra 881 Aircard

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