Sorry to hear you've been struggling to get your product developed. I've seen dozens of customers go through the same struggles, so don't feel bad.
To answer your first question, first which operator are you planning to deploy on? If the module isn't certified by the operator, that could be another challenge, as it could take 6 months and $250K+ to get the module certified with your operator. Your operator may also not allow a 2G module and/or device.
To see which modules are PTCRB certified, you can go to http://www.ptcrb.com/vendor/complete/complete_request.cfm?tab=Certified . For 2G modules, Telit, u-blox, Simcom, Cinterion, and Sierra Wireless are the top players. All have PTCRB and operator certified modules. Make sure you ask them, even if they say so in the product documentation.
For your second question, Connected Development and Spectrum Design are the 2 design/development consultants that come to mind. When considering using a consultant, remember that you've spent 20+ months trying to figure it out by yourself. The design consultants will likely have you completely certified in as little as 1-3 months, depending on the state of your current design.
Last bit of advice. Check for existing devices that may fit your needs. If you don't have to reinvent the wheel...
Another question regarding Spectrum Design Services. Do you have a direct number and contact person there? The number from their website (assuming I have the right company) goes to a Digi operator. I have been through the voice mail loop with them a couple times and still have not successfully connected to a human at Spectrum. I get operators (from Digi) or voice mail.
Thank you for your initial response and all your help.
I concur with Curtis in regards to Spectrum. I have used them in the past and have had a good experience.
When choosing your modem I do not believe you will be able to have a 2G modem certified by any carrier that is not already PTCRB certified and I would not recommend using 2G and using 3G/4G instead. There are many whitepapers on the repurposing of the 2G network to 3G and 4G.
I concur with the above and want to say there is one more hurdle to consider. On which network will you plan to ride? There are network operators such as T-Mobile and M2M MVNO's who will permit 2G modules on their network, Wyless, Jasper Wireless, Raco Wireless. If you would like to be on the AT&T network, please refer to their list of modules found at ATT.com/modules.
If you would like to save some money on PTCRB you can eliminate the free space OTA performance test if you are a data-only devices with a removable antenna that is connected to the device through an RF transmission line (such as a coaxial cable) greater than 20 cm in length and not physically attached to the host device. The no-testing-required justification document noted above shall include a vendor-provided list of recommended external
antennas. The vendor shall also include this list in the product user manual. This was quoted from the most recent PTCRB release of NAPRD 12_5.
Here is some information on a PTCRB certified Ethernet / Cellular router.
IR791WH01: $799.00 RS232/485/1 Ethernet to GPRS VPN (IPSec/L2TP/PPTP/GRE) OpenVPN supported
Support X.509 base64 CA
1 RJ45 fixed port, 10/100 Mbps
10M/100M Ethernet auto-adaptive MDI/MDI-X auto crossover
- 1.5KV isolation protection
1 RS232 or 1 RS485 optional, baudrate: 1200-115200
Transparent TCP, Virtual COM, Modbus RTU
•Cellular WAN Interface
3V, flip SIM card, Anti-dismantlement
5% ~ 95%, non-condensing
Metal Shell, IP30
12 to 48V DC, Industrial Terminal Block
EN61000-4-2, level 4
EN61000-4-5, level 3
EN61000-4-4, Level 4
EN61000-4-3, level 3
EN61000-4-6, level 3
Oscillatory Wave Immunity
EN61000-4-12, level 3
Variation Magnetic Field Immunity
EN61000-4-8, level 5
DC500V imposed on communication lines to ground and on power lines to ground, r
Built-in hardware watchdog, auto-recovery
PPP link detection & auto-recovery
ICMP heartbeat link detection & auto-recovery
3G: 284399 hours
2.5G: 351123 hours
ICP DAS USA, Inc.
1-310-517-9888 ext 105