Sierra Wireless Airlink Fastrack Xtend GSM modem

The Airlink Fastrack Xtend FXT009 GSM modem is the successor of the popular Wavecom line of GSM modems, Wavecom is now owned by Sierra Wireless.

Like the Wavecom modems, the Fastrack Xtend is fully programmable and can be extended with modules for GPS or networking through TCP/IP. This new model has a USB port in addition to the traditional RS232 serial port.

Sierra Wireless Airlink Fastrack Xtend EDGE FXT009 specifications
Connection RS232, USB 2.0
GSM Frequency bands 850, 900, 1800, 1900
Network protocols GSM, GPRS, EDGE

*Other models support different frequency bands and network protocols

Fastrack Xtend

Fastrack Xtend

RS232 serial port

Setting up the modem for operation with the RS232 serial port is straightforward. Just plug in the modem to the power supply, attach the external antenna and RS232 cable and insert the SIM card. Don’t forget to lock the SIM card with the lock switch, without the lock the SIM card cannot be read. The modem is detected immediately by Diafaan SMS Server and everything works as expected.

USB port

The use of the USB port requires installation of a USB driver, the driver that is supplied with the modem needs a Java Runtime Environment but apart from this there are no special requirements. The advantage of the external power supply is that the USB connection also works on USB hubs that supply limited power, sometimes a problem for other USB GSM modems.

Optional settings

To increase the reliability of the modem, you can set the “RebootBeforeInitialization” option to “True” in the advanced properties of the GSM modem Gateway after the initial setup. This option instructs Diafaan SMS Server to send a full modem reboot command to the modem whenever a problem occurs and prevents lock ups of the modem.

Daily operation

During the test period I found no major problems, except for one issue with the USB port. Using the device on both the serial port and USB port proved to be very reliable. Unfortunately, the modem supports a full reboot option only when the serial port is used. The USB connection is lost after a reboot and is not restarted automatically. This means that this modem is not ideal for unsupervised use when you have to use the USB port.

SMS send speed

Network Vodafone
Signal quality High
Time to send 500 messages of 160 characters, delivery confirmation enabled. All messages sent to the same number (concurrent send and receive) 47 minutes 22 seconds

The Sierra Wireless Airlink Fastrack Xtend FXT009 is a GSM modem that is suitable for continuous use in critical SMS operations, as long as it is used with the serial port. The external power supply and antenna makes it suitable for use in a server room or other technical environments.

Update: We have received reports from a few of our customers that the Fastrack Xtend FXT009 sometimes hangs after a number of days of operation. It does not respond to AT commands anymore and the modem must be disconnected from the power to restart it. The problem seems to be related to compatibility with the mobile network, in most situations the modem worked fine for years and the hang-ups started after a technical update to the mobile network.