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sxc5678
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Posts: 18
Registered: ‎02-11-2016
Location: CH
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Message 1 of 31

SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?

The performance of the SierraWireless EM7455 WWAN LTE modem in my X1c Gen 5 leaves much to be desired.  Among its flaws:

 

  • It takes about 10 seconds to wake up when I resume the laptop from sleep
  • Its sensitivity is really, really, weak.  I know it's bad because I used to use my old X1c3 in the exact same spots and it used to work much better.  My 3-years old iPhone 6+ also has much better/stable data connectivity.

Sub-par WWAN performance with SierraWireless products fitted by Lenovo is nothing new.  My old X1c3 came with an EM7345 WWAN modem, which suffered from well documented issues in its days.

 

Thankfully Lenovo realized the performance wasn't adequate for the premium products it was sitting in and slowly but surely improved the performance (see previous link for history).  So in the last 6 months or so (out of 2+ years!) of using my X1c3 its performance was finally adequate.  Sadly "upgrading" to the EM7455 is a massive step back!

 

Please post your experience with the EM7455.  Maybe I have a faulty unit?  If not and they're all as bas as mine, we need to make some noise so Lenovo picks up the issue.

dk90103
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Location: DK
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Message 2 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?

I have an EM7455 here, but I can't plug it in my X1C3, so I use my EM7345 in that one still. 

 

But did you already flash the last firmware from here:

https://source.sierrawireless.com/resources/airprime/minicard/74xx/airprime-em_mc74xx-approved-fw-pa...

 

Latest Generic firmware is dated: Jun 06, 2017

sxc5678
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Location: CH
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Message 3 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?

Hi dk90103 and thanks very much for the pointer.  Based on my experience you're probably much better off sticking with the 7345 for now...

 

That said, it looks like my firmware is indeed rather out of date; it's reported as "02.20.03.00_GENERIC" whereas your source appears to have "02.24.03.00"

 

Still, wouldn't you say it's preferable to wait for Lenovo to have tested and packaged the firmware?  I might give it a few weeks...

 

Cheers!

dk90103
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Message 4 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?

If you look at the release notes, you will see that your firmware is referred to as version 16.0. Latest firmware is 18.2 and there are quite some fixes between those firmware levels.

 

Link to release notes:

https://source.sierrawireless.com/resources/airprime/minicard/74xx/mc74xx_em74xx-swi9x30c_02,-d-,24,...

 

Now because there are no updates to the Windows drivers (4624), I doubth Lenovo is going to send out an official new EM7455 package soon. 

 

I would not have any hesitations if it was me. You can always downgrade the firmware back to your existing level, if you find the latest version less stable than the one you have now.

Puppy
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Message 5 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?


@sxc5678 wrote:

Still, wouldn't you say it's preferable to wait for Lenovo to have tested and packaged the firmware?  I might give it a few weeks...

My experience with older EM7345 is that Lenovo actually does zero testing. Otherwise they woudn't have released a device (ThinkPad 8 tablet) where the actual firmware didn't work at all for everyone.

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Puppy
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Message 6 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?


@dk90103 wrote:

Now because there are no updates to the Windows drivers (4624), I doubth Lenovo is going to send out an official new EM7455 package soon.

The device use MBIM so there is no need for dedicated driver. Most of issues, including slow wake-up from sleep mode etc, is due to crappy firmware.

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sxc5678
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Message 7 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?

Thanks for the suggestion @dk90103.  I have taken your advice and flashed the latest Sierra firmware.  This seems to have worked without problems and I now seem to have the latest "modem" firmware; however, it looks like the OEM portion (PRI) is still the old version as this is probably set by agreement with the OEM (ie: Lenovo) - see below.

 

The good news: sensitivity seems to have very marginally improved (right now in the train, my iPhone 6+ has solid 5 dots 4G connectivity whereas the EM7455 next to it shows 2 or 3 bars, where it might have been zero or one before...)

 

The bad news: it still takes over 20+ seconds for the EM7455 to wake up after resume from sleep, so it's a good 30 seconds until connectivity is restored (I actually timed it this time).

 

I remain baffled that Lenovo deems such crappy performance adequate in a $2k+ top end laptop.

 

@puppy: I agree that Lenovo's handling of the very similar story with the EM7345 could have been better and one could argue that if they did proper testing the laptops wouldn't even ship in that state.  However, things did start to improve, albeit slowly, once they took notice and presumably put a little pressure on their manufacturers to sort things out.  Here I fear we're not even up to that stage...

 

In case it's of any use, here's the output of the flashing process (which I ran on Windows just to be on the safe side):

Final images information:
        Current:
                Firmware:
                        ImageId: 002.021_000
                        BuildId: 02.24.03.00_GENERIC
                Configuration:
                        ImageId: 002.021_000
                        BuildId: 02.24.03.00_GENERIC

OEM PRI: 9906456 001.002 Lenovo-Laptop

IMEI: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Total time elapsed: 114484 ms.

Time to switch to boot mode: 16703 ms.

Images downloaded:
        Image ID: ?_?
        Build ID: 02.24.03.00_?
                write time: 4656 ms
                additional flash time: 66406 ms
        Image ID: 002.021_000
        Build ID: 02.24.03.00_GENERIC
                write time: 16 ms
                additional flash time: 62 ms

and here's the current version info (extracted under Ubuntu) - note the older PRI firmware still in use...

$ sudo qmicli -p -d /dev/cdc-wdm1 --device-open-mbim --dms-list-stored-images
[/dev/cdc-wdm1] Device list of stored images retrieved:

	[0] Type:    'modem'
	    Maximum: '4'

		[modem0]
		Unique ID:     '3F:5F:3F:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00'
		Build ID:      '02.20.03.00_?'
		Storage index: '1'
		Failure count: '0'

		>>>>>>>>>> [CURRENT] <<<<<<<<<<
		[modem1]
		Unique ID:     '3F:5F:3F:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00'
		Build ID:      '02.24.03.00_?'
		Storage index: '2'
		Failure count: '0'

	[1] Type:    'pri'
	    Maximum: '50'
		>>>>>>>>>> [CURRENT] <<<<<<<<<<
		[pri0]
		Unique ID:     '30:30:32:2E:30:31:37:5F:30:30:30:00:00:00:00:00'
		Build ID:      '02.20.03.00_GENERIC'

 

Puppy
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Message 8 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?


@sxc5678 wrote:

The bad news: it still takes over 20+ seconds for the EM7455 to wake up after resume from sleep, so it's a good 30 seconds until connectivity is restored.


I understand laptops does not have Connected Standby mode (unlike tablets). You can use Event Log and enable detailed Mobile broadband logging to diagnose the issue.

__________________________________
ThinkPad (1992 - 2012): R51, X31, X220, Tablet 8.
Do you care about privacy and security ? Leave Google behind
sxc5678
Serial Port
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎02-11-2016
Location: CH
Views: 2,560
Message 9 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm actually running Ubuntu rather than Windows so things differ but I'll see if I have a moment to debug as you suggest; however one might wonder what good this will do unless we get some attention...

That said, under the same OS (but different laptop: X1c3 vs X1c5), the EM7345 (once it underwent all the improvements I was mentioning) would reconnect in about 5 seconds where it takes the EM7455 about 30; hardly an improvement...
bmork
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Message 10 of 31

Re: SierraWireless EM7455 (in X1c5) - is Lenovo going to fix its poor performance?


@sxc5678 wrote:

The performance of the SierraWireless EM7455 WWAN LTE modem in my X1c Gen 5 leaves much to be desired.  Among its flaws:

 

  • It takes about 10 seconds to wake up when I resume the laptop from sleep
  • Its sensitivity is really, really, weak.  I know it's bad because I used to use my old X1c3 in the exact same spots and it used to work much better.  My 3-years old iPhone 6+ also has much better/stable data connectivity.

Sub-par WWAN performance with SierraWireless products fitted by Lenovo is nothing new.  My old X1c3 came with an EM7345 WWAN modem, which suffered from well documented issues in its days.

 

Thankfully Lenovo realized the performance wasn't adequate for the premium products it was sitting in and slowly but surely improved the performance (see previous link for history).  So in the last 6 months or so (out of 2+ years!) of using my X1c3 its performance was finally adequate.  Sadly "upgrading" to the EM7455 is a massive step back!

 

Please post your experience with the EM7455.  Maybe I have a faulty unit?  If not and they're all as bas as mine, we need to make some noise so Lenovo picks up the issue.


I believe you must have a faulty modem, or more likely mabey: antenna installation.  In my experience, the EM7455 is one of the best modems I have used wrt signal.  And of course speed.

 

Note that there is exactly NO relationship whatsoever between the EM7345 and the EM7455.  The EM7345 was an unmodified Intel modem with unmodified Intel firmware. The only Sierra Wireless about it was the label and the USB device ID.  And given the reputation it got, I guess they regret doing that...

 

The EM7455 is Sierra hardware based on a Qualcomm chipset, running Sierra firmware.  Like everybody else, they are depending on the Qualcomm baseband firmware of course.  But much of the overlay is Sierra specific, like their well known AT command interpreter.  This firmware is extremely stable in my experience, and as good as it gets.

 

I do understand the wake up time frustration.  Yes, 10 seconds is too much.  The problem is that Lenovo powers down the internal m.2 slot on suspend.  So the modem has to do a cold boot on every resume.  And the EM7455 is a complex thing running a full Linux installation.  So it's a bit like rebooting your Android phone on every resume.

 

I don't know why Lenovo power down the slot.  But I guess it is to force low power consumption during suspend, regardless of the installed modem. I believe they always have done this.  At least they did so on my old X301 too.   It would be nice to be able to keep the slot powered, so that the modem could just go into a low power state as well (with sub second wakeup times).  But as long as this is not possible, then we will have to accept these rather long wakeup times.  Modems are not becoming less complex in the future, so realistically the modem boot times are not going to improve much.

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