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What's new in 15.11

This is the highlights of the new features released from May to November 2015 on the AirVantage Platform.

Top 3 new features

Effective IoT communication using the MQTT Broker

Target use cases

We recommend the use of MQTT Broker in the following use cases:

  • Connect a fleet of heterogeneous hardware, including Sierra Wireless legacy and 3rd party hardware to AirVantage
  • Avoid IoT data to be stored in a foreign data center
  • Assure low latency between the devices and a real-time dashboard with flexibility and security

Supported features

The MQTT Broker supports all the features specified in the MQTT standard version 3.1:

  • Publish / Subscribe on user defined topics
  • QoS 0, 1 (at least one delivery) and 2 (exactly one delivery)
  • Support Wildcards for subscription to multiple topics
  • Last will & Testament: publish a message when a client disconnect
  • Retained Messages: last value available for subscribers connecting
  • Websockets support to connect from Web browsers: real-time dashboards

Reserved topics and User defined topics

All MQTT Broker features are available for these 2 types of topic:

  • Reserved topics can be used to push or retrieve messages, tasks or commands. Note that these topics are stored, visible and can trigger alerts in AirVantage. Find out more about reserved topics on MQTT with AirVantage .
  • Customer defined topics can be delivered to any customer MQTT client: devices, servers or dashboards. Note, these topics will not be stored in AirVantage.

In all cases, devices must be registered on AirVantage to publish data or subscribe to topics.

Find out more from the MQTT documentation .

New compressed time series format

A new format is now supported by AirVantage to send time series data effectively. It is based on standards: JSON Binary (CBOR) format, Encode delta value and Compress binary stream with zlib (optional). This format can save a significant amount of communication cost and improve the reliability through the reduction in over-the-air transmissions. Moreover, the format can easily be implemented on any constrained devices.

Take a look at the documentation for more information.

Errors topic for troubleshooting

Error logs are published to a predefined topic namely errors to facilitate troubleshooting. Developers and operation staff. Developer is notified when a message contains an invalid payload in both JSON and time series format. Here’s an example:

{IMEI or SN}/errors/json:

    {IMEI or SN}/messages/json
    {12346013564 : { "temperature" : 42 } }
    invalid character '1' looking for beginning of object key string

Have a look to the documentation for more information.

Apply individual MQTT Passwords in a single bulk import

We highly recommend users to define a unique password for each of their devices, to limit the risk of exposing all devices to unauthorized access. User can now include the individual MQTT passwords when importing a list of new systems into AirVantage with a bulk system import in the Register and the Inventory activity.

GATEWAY[IMEI],GATEWAY[SERIAL NUMBER],NAME,LABELS,MQTT[password]
100000000002013,AB0000004002013,My Optional Name,optional_label,1Pwd4MAPP!

It is also possible to update the MQTT password manually using the Inventory activity.


HL module tutorials for Raspberry Pi, Linux Host & Arduino

If you are interested in Sierra’s HL series modules, these new tutorials are for you:

These 2 tutorials detail how to initialize MQTT communication between the HL module and AirVantage from the host processor.

In the first tutorial, we will use the HL module as a pure modem and use the Linux IP stack to setup the MQTT connection. In the second tutorial, the Arduino will require the use of AT commands to send MQTT messages.

These tutorials work for both HL6 and HL8 modules.

For a complete getting started guide to connect an HL module to AirVantage, click here.


Monitor the usages of your connected devices

This feature allows the AirVantage account administrators to monitor:

  • the usages and data consumption
  • the account details and status
  • the sub-accounts (if the option is enabled) Use the top right menu and click on My Account to access the Usages and Sub-accounts dashboards.

The Usages dashboard provides an overview of the size and the data consumption of all the systems in your AirVantage account:

This dashboard provides the following information to manage:

  • the total number of data points in the current month
  • the monthly data point usage over the past 12 months
  • the total number of systems in the current month
  • the monthly system deployment over the past 12 months
  • A monthly report with the key metrics is available for export. If you have sub-accounts, you can also view the metrics of each account in a specific tab.

For more information, please refer to the documentation .


Other improvements and API changes

Simplified firmware upgrade

Several new functionalities have been released to simplify the firmware upgrade operations.

Upgrade Status widget

The new Upgrade Status widget gives you a quick view on whether your fleet is up-to-date with the latest firmware. The systems will be split into gateway and module types, and for each type, you will see a summary icon aside. Here are the icons and the related status:

  • All your devices are up to date with the latest firmware.
  • Some of the devices are up-to-date with the latest firmware, but some devices need to be upgraded.
  • None of your devices is using the latest firmware. You should consider upgrading.

In case an upgrade is suggested, an upgrade button will be provided to kick start the upgrade to the latest firmware version.

The “Upgrade Status” widget is available on the start page. Use the button on top to add this widget to your dashboard.

Upgrade firmware through the Monitor/ Systems page

You can also apply Firmware Upgrade to one or more devices from the Monitor/ Systems page. By default, you will be proposed to upgrade the selected devices to the latest firmware version. You can also choose to select another destination firmware version from our online repository.

Binary selection by the user

From now on, you can select the type of binary to be sent to the module during a firmware upgrade operation. 3 choices are available:

  • Full binary: the complete binary will be sent to the module
  • Delta: only the changes between the previous and the new firmware will be sent. This enables saving in bandwidth consumption and module resources like memory.
  • Delta+Reverse delta: user can choose to come back to the initial firmware version if something goes wrong.

By default, AirVantage selects the Delta+Reverse binary, as the binary size is the smallest and it limits the risk of disrupting the module’s operations. If it is not available, the second choice will be the Delta binary. And the Full binary will be used if the other two are not available.

In some cases, the most appropriate binary is not Delta+Reverse. For example, when the module’s resources cannot support such a “big” binary. In this case, the user should manually select a smaller one.

New Hardware Support

The following Sierra Wireless modules are ready to be managed in AirVantage:

  • New MC modules: MC7350, MC7304, MC7330 and the variants for each carrier.
  • New HL modules: HL7518, HL8549 and HL8549-G.
  • New Legato module: WP8548-G
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