Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Qualcomm UNDP-1 Gobi 1000 WWAN

It's hard to even figure out where to begin, there is a lot of ground to cover here and a fair amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about the Qualcomm UNDP-1 (Universal Notebook Data Platform) Gobi 1000 OEM WWAN card. For starters Qualcomm isn't a device manufacturer, they aren't even a chip manufacturer. They are a group of Design Engineers who are very bright and very innovative. They designed the chips for the Gobi 1000 and a lot of their older chipsets but they outsource all of the IC manufacturing. They make Reference Designs for their chips and that is basically what the UNDP-1 Gobi Module is. This has become fairly common lately with the manufacturing done in a lower educated/skilled countries like China with the designs coming out of Japan, Taiwan, the US and Europe. This technique of designing a chip and a reference board has brought a proliferation of cheap USB to serial, Bluetooth and WLAN USB dongles, nearly all of which use the Reference Design lock, stock, and barrel which means their only real cost is the cost of manufacturing. No circuit design and no PCB design is necessary, just a few low skilled people to push buttons and do the few things the robots can't do. Nearly all of the UNDP-1 modules are made by the Taiwanese Foxconn division of Hon Hai Industries. Foxconn is an OEM supplier of computer parts, most notably for Compaq and HP. They made nearly all of Compaq's motherboards and peripherals for over a decade.


Almost every major OEM computer maunufacturer is using the UNDP-1 module in their laptops, tablet PC's, and netbooks. ALL UNDP-1 Gobi modules have GPS, none of them have the GPS disabled in hardware because they can't. Roughly half of OEM's are taking advantage of the GPS capabilities while the other half aren't. Dell, Lenovo and Panasonic (As well as carrier Sprint) use a 3G connection manager that's licensed from Smith Micro which includes an API that supports the Gobi 1000 GPS. HP and Acer (As well as carrier AT&T) use a 3G connection manager licensed from Birdstep Technology while Asus uses a 3G connection manager licensed from Avanquest, neither of which have an API to support the Gobi 1000 GPS. Acessing the GPS is a two step process. First you need to turn on the GPS which streams the NMEA data to the connection manager which will usually show you when you have acquired satellites, position data, etc. The second step is to enable the NMEA serial port and stream the NMEA filtered data through that port. I have found a couple of program managers (Most OEM ones won't install on anyone else's hardware) that could turn the GPS on but nothing yet for one that turns on the NMEA port. I'll have more to say about the GPS function after I finish making a one-click solution to starting it up and streaming it to a virtual serial port where our GPS mapping programs will be able to connect up to it (Actually we'll be able to use several programs at once with a virtual port splitter)

Next up we'll take a look at the inside of the UNDP-1 module and explain how it works loading firmware in 'real time' so it can reconfigure itself to different networks and cellular standards as well as listing most of the OEM's that use this module and what they call it

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between the Gobi1000 and Gobi2000 WWAN modules?

I have a Lenovo X200 Tablet PC and would like to upgrade it with WWAN that includes GPS. Which card should I order (do you know Lenovo P/N?)

J.R. said...

The Gobi 2000 is am improved module that also supports Assisted GPS (A-GPS) to improve accuracy and prevent dropouts

Anonymous said...

Is possible to unlock it ?
Regards
Fabio

Anonymous said...

Is possible to unlock it ?
I have 9202 modem
Regards
Fabio

jke said...

Interesting facts, always been wondering about this connection between Qualcomm and the rest, as well as the proper name for this modem.

Am using mine on an HP 6930p and have been wondering how to disable this detail that the wwwan will only work when the main battery is inserted (according to HP, to prevent the SIM from being removed while in use, which is really stupid).

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