Monday, 12 October 2015

Hardware Failover with Peplink High Availability Mode


3Gstore has recently moved to a new warehouse, and along with that move came some major upgrades to our network infrastructure. A new server cabinet has been installed featuring multiple redundant internet connections and power sources, access for our remote employees to securely connect to the network, and much more. Today we’re going to take a look at our hardware failover option, which utilizes two Peplink routers to ensure we are never offline.


Our previous warehouse utilized a single Peplink Balance 380 router to run our network. That router had multiple internet connections active at all times in the event that our primary connection failed. The first connection was our Comcast line which handled all our networking needs. We had a backup connection, which was an AT&T DSL line, in case Comcast dropped. Finally, there was an LTE backup running on the Verizon network if the first two lines were to fail.


New Server Cabinet

Our new warehouse still has the Comcast line, but due to location we no longer have the DSL. This means we are relying on Verizon LTE as our backup internet connection. Backup internet is great since the failover is automated and within seconds we are back online, but what if we were to have a hardware failure? What happens if our Balance 380 router was to fail?


Although this has never happened in the multiple years we have been running the Balance 380 as our primary router, we aren’t prepared to let that happen either. Our remote employees wouldn’t be able to connect, and the warehouse would be unable to process and ship orders without our internet connection. How did we solve this possible issue? With a second Peplink Balance 380 running in high availability mode.



High Availability mode is built on VRRP, or Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol. VRRP is a simplified hardware failover that sets up a master and slave router. The master router handles all of the networking and internet connectivity, where the slave router is waiting to take over if the master router fails. High Availability mode is also configured so that in the event of a hardware failure, we can easily drop in a replacement Balance 380 without disturbing the network. We just provide the new master router the serial number of the new slave, enable automatic configuration, and let the Balance do all the work. Within minutes new hardware is deployed in a live environment without taking anybody offline.


Two Balance 380 Rotuers in High Availability Mode

As you can see in the video below we have created a demo environment using two Balance 380s like we have in our new warehouse. The primary internet connection is split to both routers with a switch, and then both routers are joined with a switch. In less than 15 seconds of a hardware failure, the second router has taken over and the network is online! No panic waiting for a replacement router, and aside from a 15 second window, nobody would know the difference. IPs are retained, no settings changes are required, the WiFi access point doesn’t need to be reconfigured, VPNs will automatically reconnect, etc.

High Availability mode is available on the Peplink Balance 210, 310, 305, 380, and up. For more information on how a High Availability deployment can keep your network online, contact the experts at 3Gstore or view compatible Peplink routers at 3Gstore.

Last Updated ( Monday, 12 October 2015 )
Thursday, 08 October 2015

CloudCam Digital Input - Trigger Recording From Switches and Sensors


The CloudCam is a camera that you can have up and running in a few minutes anywhere in the world! There is nothing else on the market that offers a hassle free setup like you get with a CloudCam, and the CloudCam even works on private cellular connections where other camera solutions don’t work at all. One of the more overlooked but very robust features on the Cloudcam Pan/Tilt and the CloudCam Pan/Tilt HD is the Di/Do (Digital Input / Digital Output) settings. With the Di/Do feature any external sensor can be connected to the CloudCam (Digital Input) to trigger the camera to record, and the CloudCam can then trigger an external device to operate (Digital Output).

3Gstore has recently moved to a new warehouse, and along with that move came some major upgrades to our network infrastructure. A new server cabinet has been installed featuring multiple redundant internet connections and power sources, hardware failover, access for our remote employees to securely access the network, and much more. We are now leveraging the Di/Do function found on the CloudCam Pan/Tilt to help us track who accesses our server cabinet and when.


3Gstore Warehouse Server Cabinet

Once we decided to start tracking access to the server cabinet, we had to determine how we wanted to do this, and of course automation is the best way. Into the door of our cabinet, we installed a momentary switch.


Basic Momentary Switch

When the door closes, the momentary switch is depressed, and the circuit running to our camera is completed.


Switch Installed
CloudCam Position

In the web administration interface of the CloudCam, we told the camera the ‘Normal’ state of the Digital Input was ‘Close circuit’. This means that when the circuit is broken, in our situation when the door is opened and the switch released, we can trigger the camera to start recording.


CloudCam Di/Do Settings

The recording we then have going to multiple different locations. First, it is stored locally to the SD card on the camera for easy access. With a 32GB card only recording brief times when the door is opened, realistically it could take years to run out of space. Second, we have set up the camera to push video to a local NAS drive (network attached storage). This gives us a second copy of the access. Optionally we could push the video to Dropbox (HD model only) or set up an email alert, however for our purposes the video stored locally is enough.

Pulling video off the NAS drive is done from any computer on the network, and we even have remote access to the NAS to do this anywhere in the world. We can then stream the recorded video with VLC player, and both the file name and camera have recorded the time and date.


Caught Taking the Photos for this Article

Beyond our triggered recording, we can also tell the CloudCam to use the Digital Output. If we were using the CloudCam as more of a security device, we could attach an external speaker and alarm to go off when the Digital Input was triggered. We could even run the Digital Output of the camera directly or our building security system for an additional level of security to protect our equipment.

For more information on the CloudCam and to learn how it can work for you, visit 3Gstore or contact the experts at 3Gstore .

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 October 2015 )
Wednesday, 07 October 2015

Verizon’s Zombie Cookie, Back From the Dead



Earlier in 2015 , and originally in 2014 , EVDOinfo reported a new way that Verizon was tracking their users across the internet. By attaching a Unique Identifier Header to all traffic that passes through their network, Verizon could effectively build profiles about users habits, the sites they visit, and deliver targeted advertisements based on this tracking. This Unique Identifier Header was then popularly renamed the ‘Zombie Cookie’ since even after being deleted, the tracking cookie would be added back to the network and users would be tracked again.

Verizon finally announced an opt out program after much public outrage, but the tracking is still enabled by default and you must disable it by calling Verizon or logging into your account online.

Since that announcement, the Zombie Cookie news went away. That is, until this week when quietly released a privacy notice on their site, detailing new ways the tracking cookie would be used. Remember in May of this year, Verizon purchased AOL for $4.4 billion dollars. Verizon is now going to be sharing the Zombie Cookie data directly with AOL and their ad network. This means AOL will be able to pair up data on millions of Verizon users. Included would be information like your “gender, age range, and interests.”

This tracking cookie has new life, and reaches a major portion of the internet now sine AOL and their ad network are part of at least a third of all websites. This Unique Identifier Header, or Zombie Cookie, doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. If you want to opt out, you can follow the information below, which came from the Verizon privacy notice .

The privacy of our customers is important to us, and if you don’t want to participate in these programs, you don’t have to. You can opt out of Relevant Mobile Advertising by visiting your privacy choices page in MyVerizon or calling 1.866.211.0874. If you have previously opted out of Relevant Mobile Advertising, you do not need to opt out again. You are only part of Verizon Selects if you have joined or choose to opt in to Verizon Selects in the future. You can see your participation status and makes changes at your privacy choices page in MyVerizon.

You also have choices about how AOL uses information for advertising purposes. Please note that using browser controls such as clearing cookies on your devices or clearing your browser history is not an effective way to opt out of the Verizon or AOL advertising programs.

You have to give Verizon a few points for irony though, bringing attention back to their Zombie Cookie so close to Halloween.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 October 2015 )
Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sprint: Unlimited Data Going From $60 to $70 a Month




Sprint and T-Mobile are the last two of the big four cellular carriers that still offer an unlimited data plan. Verizon and AT&T stopped offering unlimited plans and have switched over to those with monthly data caps across the board. T-Mobile has unlimited data for $80 a month, and through October 15th, 2015, Sprint will have them beat by $20. October 16th, 2015 Sprint will be raising the price by $10 a month. Nothing in their unlimited plans will change except for the pricing.

“At Sprint, we give customers what they want – and they want the option of unlimited data,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said. ”At $70 a month, Sprint still beats the competition. Rather than increase the price without warning, we want to give customers one last chance to take advantage of the $60 rate.”

Current Sprint customers on the $60 plan will be able to stay on the same plan and even upgrade as long as they still meet the plan requirements. Read the full Sprint release here.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 September 2015 )
Monday, 28 September 2015

How to Test and Improve Your Cellular Signal

One of the most common questions we hear at 3Gstore is, "How do I know if one of your antennas or amplifiers will help my situation?" By accurately identifying what your current signal/RSSI strength is and by doing a few simple tests in and around the area where you use your device, you will be able to predict whether an antenna or amplifier will improve your device's performance before you invest in signal boosting equipment.

What is RSSI?

RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) is a measure of the power level that a RF client device is receiving from the cellular tower. It’s often expressed in decibels (dB). The closer the figure is to zero, the better. For example, RSSI of -65dB is better than -85dB. As a general example, a good signal would be -50, a reasonable one would be -75, and a bad signal would be -90. -100dB and above on the other hand, would provide no service at all.

If you'd like to learn more about RSSI and how to do a site survey, check out our Will an Antenna or Amplifier Help Me page.

One of the easiest solutions to determine RSSI and your cell tower location is by downloading the OpenSignal App. Here are some steps:

  1. Download the App (Android - iOS)
  2. Click on the Cell Tower Icon
  3. You will get a Map with RSSI, Location



Last Updated ( Monday, 28 September 2015 )
Monday, 28 September 2015

 9/28/15: Facebook down for desktop users, mobile OK

As of 2:34pm CST on 9/28/15, Facebook users trying to access the site from their computer are seeing this error:

facebook down 9/28/15

The Facebook app on mobile does NOT appear to be having the same issue - the issue seems to be limited strictly to

We'll monitor and update when anything changes. Share your experience below and note whether you're accessing from mobile or desktop!

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 September 2015 )
Friday, 25 September 2015

Novatel SA 2100 In Stock at 3Gstore


Now available at 3Gstore, the Novatel MiFi SA2100 is a powerful and cost effective M2M solution providing cellular connectivity to both mobile and fixed locations. The device may carry the MiFi name, but don’t let that confuse you. Although this may be categorized as a MiFi hotspot, this is definitely not a consumer grade device when it comes to performance. 3Gstore has extensively tested the SA2100 in house, and based on those results we’ve decided it is a worthy addition to our growing list of cellular solutions.


Use cases include, but aren’t limited to:

- Video Surveillance

- Digital Signage

- Connected Cars

- Kiosks

- Vending Machines

- Parking Meters

- Fleet Management


- POS Terminals

- Primary or Backup Cellular Connectivity

Design and Exterior:

The SA2100 is a compact device measuring in at only 4.5” x 3” x 1” and weighs just under half a pound. Its rugged exterior means it can handle everything from in office use as a cellular backup device or be installed in the most demanding M2M environments. With an operating temperature of -22F to 158F there are very few places the SA2100 can’t work for you.


The face of the SA2100 has status LEDs for cellular signal strength, power, and WiFi. Around the back are dual cellular antenna ports, USB, reset, ethernet, and power connectors.


The bottom of the unit has the device details as well as the battery cover. The SA2100 battery can be either the primary means of powering the device if it is being used in the field or as a backup to the included AC adapter. This gives the SA2100 a built in UPS not found on other embedded routers and a way to keep the cellular connection running at all times.



If you have ever used a Novatel device before, the admin interface will be familiar. Even if you have no IT experience, the SA2100 is simple to manage and configure. The user interface is laid out in an easy to read style with simple menus and easy to understand settings.



Embedded Verizon LTE Modem: The SA2100 features a built in, enterprise grade cellular modem that works on the Verizon network. 800/1900 Mhz 3G, 700Mhz 4G LTE, and 1700Mhz XLTE are all supported on this device. This means that mobile environments can fallback to 3G if needed, and speeds through Verizon XLTE are available for the highest bandwidth possible. In our testing at 3Gstore, we ran the SA2100 for nearly 2 weeks straight without a drop in connectivity (measured via an internet ping test). This proves the reliability of an embedded modem compared to consumer grade USB modems or hotspots that have the tendency to disconnect or overheat.


WiFi Hotspot and LAN port: A built in WiFi access point at 2.4 Ghz provides connectivity for up to 10 devices simultaneously. This makes the SA2100 an ideal device to install in work vehicles that require cellular connectivity. The addition of a wired LAN port vs. WiFi only on traditional consumer hotspots means wired devices can safely connect to the cellular network. VoIP phones and PoS terminals now have a reliable cellular option. Credit card terminals can wire directly to a secure cellular network without compromising PCI compliance.


IP Passthrough: The default operation of the SA2100 is in a router mode to allow connectivity of multiple devices via WiFi or ethernet. When IP Passthrough is enabled, the SA2100 becomes a powerful cellular modem that passes all IP traffic to the device connected to its LAN port. You can use the SA2100 as a cellular adapter to bring LTE connectivity to routers that don’t have cellular capabilities built in. This will function as a primary or secondary WAN port for backup, or provide easy remote access to M2M equipment without the need to set up a router or complex port forwarding.

Cellular Antenna Ports: The antenna ports are the industry standard SMA size. If the built in antenna isn’t powerful enough, high gain external antennas or a cellular amplifier can be easily attached to the SA2100. Traditional hotspots use a push in antenna connector which can be unreliable and detach from the device. The SA2100 has dual screw on antenna connectors which provide a much more reliable way to improve cellular signal strength and throughput. The SA2100 automatically switches from the internal, to the external cellular antenna ports.

Regardless of if you are using this as a rugged mobile hotspot, providing cellular connectivity to an M2M device like an ATM or digital sign, or using this as a backup connection to a primary internet connection in a home or office, the SA2100 does exactly what it is supposed to do and it does so with excellent reliability.


The Novatel MiFI SA2100 is available now at 3Gstore.

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 September 2015 )

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