Cellular Quectel modems 01

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This article will contain example on how to configure Quectel cellular modem in using PPP interface in RouterOS v6.xx

Article covers following models:

  • UC15-MiniPCIe
  • UC20-MiniPCIe
  • EC20-MiniPCIe
  • EC21-MiniPCIe
  • EC25-MiniPCIe
  • EP06-MiniPCIe
  • Possibly others also.

  • In RouterOS v6.xx all of these modems will use PPP interface for communication, which means that maximum achievable connection speed for all of them is limited to around 35Mbps (limit of serial interface).
  • In RouterOS v6.39 and newer the EC25-MiniPCIe module can be configured as a LTE Interface which can support local IP address from modem. Use this AT command to enable it and after that reset the module: at+qcfg="usbnet",1
  • In RouterOS v6.42 and newer the EP06-MiniPCIe module can be configured aa a LTE interface which can support local IP address from the modem. Use this AT command to enable it and after that reset the module: at+qcfg="usbnet",1
  • In RouterOS v7.xx for modems that support MBIM drivers like EC20 model, LTE interface support will be possible and it will allow to achieve full LTE connection potential.

Quectel compatibility details

To make EC20/EC21/EC25 working fine, you will need to upgrade RouterOS to version 6.37 or later. Earlier versions may also be supported, but it will require to change USB ID's of the module with special AT-command, this method was used before, now it's not recommended.

  • All the related documents are possible to obtain on Quectel website: http://www.quectel.com/
  • Latest firmwares and technical questions replies are available on: support@quectel.com

To make the EP06 modem working on most of the mini-pcie slots of the RouterBoard you need to tape the USB 3.0 pins on the modem or tape the PCIE pins on the mini-pcie slot as the USB3.0 pins are not compatible with the PCIE pins - modem will not be recognized in the board. Also some reports from the MikroTik users reports that a firmware upgrade is suggested to make the modem work more stable. Latest confirmed firmware version is EP06ELAR02A01M4G.

Configuration example / Comments

In this example we will assume that you already have basic router configuration in place (if not consult these articles: accessing router and initial configuration using webfig)

This example will be covered in CLI (command line interface) configuration method. Some additional screenshots will be included so quick view for Winbox would also be there for reference.

1. Prepare modem for use in your Router

  • These steps should be performed while router is powered off! Or else there is a chance of damaging the modem or router.
  • Insert sim in sim-card slot that is on your router.
  • Add required antennas to modem (if required) and insert it in mini-pcie slot.
  • Power on the router.

2. Check if router sees the added device

Now let's check if router sees the device that you just added and can work with it.

  • Check if ROS sees the modem with command: "/interface print"
[admin@MikroTik] > interface print 
Flags: D - dynamic, X - disabled, R - running, S - slave 
 #     NAME                                TYPE       ACTUAL-MTU L2MTU
 0  R  ether1                              ether            1500  1600
 1  X  wlan1                               wlan             1500  1600
 2  R  ppp-out1                            ppp-out          1500

We can see that interface #2 is ppp-out1, it will be the modem that you just added (presuming that it is not ppp interface from some other modem/configuration that you added previously).

Additional info to check (if required/needed).

  • Ports, command: "/port print"
[admin@MikroTik] > port print 
Flags: I - inactive 
 #   DEVICE NAME                    CHANNELS USED-BY                  BAUD-RATE
 0   1:2    usb1                           5 PPP <ppp-out1>           9600     
  • If ROS sees modem as USB device, command: "/system resource usb print"
[admin@MikroTik] > /system resource usb print 
 # DEVICE VENDOR                  NAME               SPEED  
 0 2:1    Linux 3.3.5 ohci_hcd    Tile-Gx OHCI       12 Mbps    
 1 1:1    Linux 3.3.5 ehci_hcd    Tile-Gx EHCI       480 Mbps    
 2 1:4    Quectel, Incorporated   UMTS/HSPA Module   480 Mbps   
  • IF you want to use modem in one of RB9xx series devices with MiniPCIe slot and system does not see modem. It's worth checking

if this device modem has shared USB port. Some of RB9xx series share one usb data like between USB port and MiniPCIe slot. And to make mPCIe modem that requires USB connection to work you will need to switch to required value.

More info in Switching USB type switching

3. Configure the modem

Modem configuration part.

  • Check ppp-client menu for required interfaces, command: "/interface ppp-client print"
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface ppp-client print
Flags: X - disabled, R - running 
 0  R name="ppp-out1" max-mtu=1500 max-mru=1500 mrru=disabled port=usb1 
      data-channel=3 info-channel=2 apn="internet.example.com" pin="" user="" 
      password="" profile=default phone="" dial-command="ATDT" modem-init="" 
      null-modem=no dial-on-demand=no add-default-route=yes 
      default-route-distance=0 use-peer-dns=yes keepalive-timeout=30 
  • Configure ppp interface, command example:
    /interface ppp-client set 0 dial-on-demand=no use-peer-dns=yes add-default-route=yes \
      data-channel=3 info-channel=2 apn=internet.example.com 

Note: Modem sample which was tested worked with combination of channel 3 for data and channel 2 for info. Channels which are used may vary per modem model and firmware.

break down of this command:

     dial-on-demand=no <---  This option specifies if modem should be active only when someone is 
                             trying to use it or all the time.
     use-peer-dns=yes <--- use DNS servers that are provided by your cellular service provider.
     add-default-route=yes <--- Should default route be added (YES, if this is going to be the only
                                WAN interface on your router).
     data-channel=3 <--- Data channel over which you will access your wan connection.
     info-channel=2 <--- Info channel used for gathering debug info on modem and connection quality.
     apn=internet.example.com <--- Access point name provided to you by your operator,
     pin <---Pin code if required by sim which you are going to be using.

This part will depend on what you need to configure, first five options will be a requirement. Starting with APN other options like pin, etc configuration becomes dependent on what your cellular ISP requires. to get all available options in console while inputing press tab.

  • After executing previous command to check if modem has connected you can run the same: "/interface ppp-client print" command and check if ppp interface have running flag "R". Or run monitor command: "/interface ppp-client monitor 0"
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface ppp-client monitor 0
          status: connected
          uptime: 34m12s
   connect-speed: 115200
             mtu: 1500
             mru: 1500
   local-address: x.x.x.x

And gotten IP address from ISP.

[admin@MikroTik] > /ip address print 
Flags: X - disabled, I - invalid, D - dynamic 
 #   ADDRESS            NETWORK         INTERFACE                              
 0 ...                              
 1 D x.x.x.x/32     x.x.x.x     ppp-out1  <----

4. Additional configuration

One last configuration piece to allow access from LAN to WAN, command: "/ip firewall nat add chain=srcnat out-interface=ppp-out1 action=masquerade"

Now to confirm that every thing has been configured correctly I suggest to run ping to some web resource from both your router and PC that is connected to lan. As if there is some problems this step might indicate where you should look for the.

5. Whole modem related configuration in short

[admin@MikroTik] > export
/interface ppp-client
add apn=internet.example.com data-channel=3 dial-on-demand=no disabled=no \
    info-channel=2 name=ppp-out1 port=usb1
/ip firewall nat
add action=masquerade chain=srcnat out-interface=ppp-out1
[admin@MikroTik] >