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SkyAirplane
Paper Tape
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-10-2018
Location: DE
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Message 1 of 13

Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

Hi everyone,

 

I'm a student and planning to buy the Campus version of the Thinkpad T480s with the Nvidia chip. It doesn't come with a WWAN module, but I'd like to add one. Information on that topic seems sparse and I tried to look for M.2 slot WWAN modules at different online stores.

 

I found a few ones, namely

- Huawei ME906S, listed to be compatible with 2016 Thinkpads

- Sierra EM7455, listed to be compatible with the *70 series Thinkpads

- Fibocom L831-EA (Intel XMM 7160), listed to be compatible with *70 series Thinkpads

 

According to this reddit, at least the Huawei and Sierra ones are incompatible unauthorized for a T480s which, if true, is simply inconvenient, annoying and disappointing. As I mentioned above, buying a Thinkpad with a pre-installed LTE module is not an option because I'd like to have the Nvidia chip and am buying a Lenovo Campus Thinkpad which comes at a reduced price (and in Germany, it's the only way to get one with an Nvidia chip).

 

As the Lenovo configurator and the T480s platform specifications indicate, the Fibocom L830-EB (Intel XMM 7262) and Fibocom L850-GL (Intel XMM 7360) are officially used and should definitely be compatible. However, I can't find them anywhere except pre-configured with a Thinkpad, which is not an option for me.

 

Can anyone please help me with either of the following:

- Is the Fibocom L831-EA (Intel XMM 7160) authorized for and compatible with the T480s?

- Is there any place where I can get a Fibocom L830-EB or Fibocom L850-GL? If so, where? Best would be somewhere in Europe, better Germany, or if not, then with shipping costs to Germany not too high.

- Is there any other WWAN module known to be compatible with the T480s? If so, where can I get it (again, preferably from within Germany / Europe)?

 

Thanks a lot for the help!

Community SeniorMod
Community SeniorMod
Posts: 11,682
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Location: RU
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Message 2 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

Welcome to the Community

According to the T480s' parts list the laptop supports the following wwan cards:
Fibocom L850-GL, FRU 01AX786
Fibocom L830-EB, FRU 01AX761

Unfortunately, I don''t know official Lenovo stores with these cards in sale presently. Try to contact EMEA parts sales desk in Germany
+49 01805 11 6235

Regarding other wwan cards, if you are able to get them at least to test, read this thread
https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/Thinkpad-x1-carbon-6th-generation/m-p/4037626

...and the one linked there in the post #2.

Take a note: there is a big chance the laptop without wwan card preinstalled will not have a wwan antennas kit either.



x220 • Gobi 2000 3g | hdd, msata ssd, wwan, wifi, gps -- unique hand-made config
ThinkPad 25 Special Anniversary Edition. #retro. Signed by D.Hill
T470p | X1 Carbon Gen3 | Miix 2 10" | Yoga Tablet 2-1050F (Android) + BT Keyboard
ThinkPad Stack • 2.4/5 Wireless Router, HDD 1 TB, BT Speaker, Power Bank, Mobile Projector

Do it well, worse becomes itself

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SkyAirplane
Paper Tape
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Location: DE
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Message 3 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

Thanks for the reply and your help!

 

Unfortunately, the linked thread(s) didn't really help. The Ali Express link the user posted is no longer valid, so I can't see which product they actually referred to, and the other thread linked in post #2 reads as follows:

- Someone installs a non-supported Sierra modem and the Thinkpad won't boot

- They remove the integrated WiFi card, the Thinkpad now boots with the Sierra modem

- They reinstall the WiFi card, the Thinkpad boots with both cards installed

=> Since I can't get any of those cards to test without buying, it's not an option for me to risk getting them if they might now work. :/

 

I haven't called the sales desk yet since it's a paid hotline, but I might if I run out of options - thanks for hint.

 

I have actually found a German shop where you can order the Fibocom L830-EB. Here or here for students, however the delivery time for students is currently >4 weeks, so I haven't ordered it yet and will keep looking.

 

If anyone has more ideas, I'd be happy to hear them! Thanks again!

aramosizq
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Location: US
Views: 5,266
Message 4 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

I run an IT shop and handle a bunch of Thinkpads.  I have an EM7455 laying around and a new personal T480S that has the WWAN antennas already buily in.  Gonna be trying this out later and report back if anyone is interested.

aramosizq
Paper Tape
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Message 5 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

So I just put the EM7455 into my T480S.  I downloaded the latest EM7455 driver package from Lenovo and installed it, put in my T-Mobile Sim Card and it worked fine!

 

I did get a pre-boot message ONCE that I had an "unauthorized network card... system halted".  I powered down and powered back up and it didn't crop up again.  I've shut down the machine a few times and powered back on and it hasn't re-appeared.  I powered down and pressed the battery reset pin hole button and it didn't crop up again either.

 

My WiFi and blue tooth still work perfectly so far as well so I'm calling this compatible so far.

 

Any particular tests anyone wants me to run or check?

Community SeniorMod
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Posts: 11,682
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Location: RU
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Message 6 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

Hi, aramosizq

What's the BIOS version on the laptop?
There is a chance some new BIOS update will prevent this modem to work in T480s.



x220 • Gobi 2000 3g | hdd, msata ssd, wwan, wifi, gps -- unique hand-made config
ThinkPad 25 Special Anniversary Edition. #retro. Signed by D.Hill
T470p | X1 Carbon Gen3 | Miix 2 10" | Yoga Tablet 2-1050F (Android) + BT Keyboard
ThinkPad Stack • 2.4/5 Wireless Router, HDD 1 TB, BT Speaker, Power Bank, Mobile Projector

Do it well, worse becomes itself

Communities:   English    Deutsche    Español    Portugues    Русскоязычное    Česká    Slovenská    Українська   Moto English

aramosizq
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Location: US
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Message 7 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

Lenovo Vantage reports: N22ET35W 1.12

 

Just went to T-Mo and got a sim card on my business plan.  Working fine so far.  Just as fast as my One Plus 6 on the same network.

aramosizq
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Message 8 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

I had another pre boot system halt message just now but on the next boot I hit Enter and then escape and it continued booting normally again and everything still works fine.  Seems silly how Lenovo is trying to block certain network card configurations from working.

 

Or is there something else technical that is in play for such a decision?

SkyAirplane
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Message 9 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

Thanks for testing! After reading through your posts, I highly doubt there is anything technical in play for that, which makes the decision pretty despicable (or in less harsh words, truly disappointing for customers) in my opinion. If I knew I'd never be updating my UEFI, I'd definitely get one of those modems you tested, but so far I haven't decided and still don't need it that urgently. And as x220forme said, I also think there's a fair chance the modem will be blocked in the future.

aramosizq
Paper Tape
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Location: US
Views: 5,163
Message 10 of 13

Re: Which WWAN module to add to a WWAN-ready T480s

Indeed, best to stay with what Lenovo recommends and buy the card they specify.  But not so great when you have older perfectly serviceable equipment laying around

 

I'm gonna keep using it and if it does get blocked in the future I'll cancel my sim card and just use hotspot. 

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