GSM modem documentation

andrzej zaborowski balrogg at
Sun Jul 15 15:47:58 CEST 2007

On 15/07/07, Harald Welte <laforge at> wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 15, 2007 at 09:30:19AM +0300, Petri Aarnio wrote:
> > GSM modem AT command spec and application developer's guide shouldn't be
> > NDA stuff, since GSM modems are available also as separate boxes which can
> > be controlled by the buyer with PC.  So any part of the interface cannot be
> > kept "secret". So I'm quite sure that if the TI contact person in FIC just
> > asked for the spec, it should be no problem to publish them to developers.
> > I tried to search more information about Calypso in TI's web pages but
> > couldn't find anything.
> 1) Almost any vendor of GSM modems has their complete commandset
>    documentation under NDA.  Please name me a major vendor (Ti, Qualcom,
>    etc.) who has ever made that documentation completely public before
>    spreading such rumours.
> 2) I can assure you, no matter how long which person would ever talk to
>    the TI GSM department, this will not change.  There is nothing more
>    closed in the entire electronics industry than the GSM branch of
>    every big semiconductor vendor.  In fact, it is very hard even for
>    FIC to get any documentation or support from Ti.  For even the most
>    simple response to provide anything _UNDER NDA_ you have to expect
>    at least one month to get a useful reply.

This is true, but it's not a reason enough to not even try, it's
always good to let TI know that there's a demand for open hardware, on
all occasions. There's lots of such petitions going on in the world of
software that deals directly with hardware (drivers, compilers for new
architectures, *emulators* for new architectures).

I'm not saying that the core team should do this. Anyone who wants the
NDA lifted should pester the manufacturer directly, instead of
complaining on this list.

> 3) Yes, there is _NO_ documentation on the calypso hardware on the Ti
>    webpages.  In fact, in the GSM world it is common that only
>    hand-picked selected customers even know what kind of products the
>    semiconductor vendors have.  Yes, even the product catalog is
>    becoming proprietary and under NDA
> 4) You have failed to properly respond to nay of my questions.
>    Please give a concise example of where in the implementation of the
>    GSM part of the Neo1973 would you need any information that is not
>    either visible from gsmd source code, or in GSM 07.05, 07.07, 07.10
>    or similar.

The point is that without the docs you can't know what the modem can
do. We already know that the standard AT command set is enough for all
basic phone functionality, but maybe we're missing some additional
killer-features :-)  take for example the AT%CTZV - you wouldn't know
that you need it, if it wasn't in the gsmd sources. So this question
can't be answered by its addressee.

>    Please show me one.   I carefully reviewed the calypso before we
>    accepted it for the Neo1973.  The main criteria for selecting it (and
>    not some other chipset) was that it is _extremely_ good following the
>    official GSM specs and that there is no proprietary/NDA documentation
>    required.  Very unlike other vendors that we investigated (such as wavecom)
>    which have their own proprietary multiplex (instead of 07.10) and the
>    like


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