How the SmartBox Connects

The Keycafe SmartBox connects to the cloud using a cellular module and a sim card provided by Keycafe. A connection is necessary for the SmartBox to function. The device is designed to operate with minimal data overhead and will function even in challenging signal environments, however, we recommend installing your SmartBox in an environment with strong signal reception. Once set up, the device will check in to the Keycafe server on a regular basis and you will be notified if it loses its connection. We provide a number of tools to monitor the signal of your SmartBoxes so you can optimize and understand the connectivity of each of your SmartBoxes over time.

Importance of Connection Quality

Most operating aspects of the SmartBox require a cellular connection, including key exchanges and diagnostic reporting to your account. Every SmartBox will have a different quality of connection. Even if there is a great signal, in some environments or areas of a city there may be more frequent periods of connection drops in which there is no connection. You should monitor and compare the connection quality of your SmartBoxes and relocate them as necessary. Keycafe is continuing to develop additional features to measure provide transparency into the connection quality of each of your SmartBoxes.

Signal Reading on the Device

To mount the SmartBox at a spot with strong reception, use the signal strength status on the SmartBox.

  • When Setting Up The SmartBox - Plug-in the SmartBox. The signal strength screen is displayed automatically after the initialization process has completed.


Signal Strength Screen During Installation                                        

  • After Linking the SmartBox to a Location - Tap the? button on the bottom right of the screen. Tap on Device Status to see a similar page as below. Please note that the signal strength is updated every 5 seconds.

Signal Status of a Linked SmartBox

Signal Reading in Your Account

To check the SmartBox's signal status from your account, go to your Keycafe Dashboard. Select SmartBoxes from the side menu to see the list of all your linked SmartBoxes.

You can find the Signal Strength status of each SmartBox under its serial number. Please note that the signal strength on your account will update every 15 minutes. The signal strength reading you are seeing is not real-time. It is the signal strength that was reported during the last successful full booking which occurs every 15 minutes.


SmartBoxes' Status Display

SmartBox Heartbeat and Full Bookings

Each SmartBox checks in with the Keycafe server every 7.5 minutes. There are two types of routine bookings:

  • Heartbeat booking occurs every 7.5 minutes and is the SmartBox simply confirming it is online.
  • Full booking occurs every 15 minutes and is the SmartBox reporting health information about itself including its signal strength, power source, and other data.

During a full booking, the SmartBox updates its configuration information if necessary, so any updates or customizations you send to the SmartBox may occur after the next full booking.

Startup & Troubleshooting

Poor Signal or Frequent Disconnections

Move the SmartBox to a spot with stronger signal reception by reading the signal strength status.

Connection Issues

If your SmartBox is not able to connect to the cellular network after being plugged in, you can use the LED light to indicate the issue.

1. Normal - The LED one-touch button will go through the following process upon startup: (i) blink green for several minutes (looking for cell tower), (ii) rapidly blink cyan (connecting to Keycafe), (iii) breathing cyan (connection established), (iv) solid blue (ready).

2. Failing to Connect to the Cellular Network - If the LED blinks green but it never blinks cyan, the SmartBox is unable to connect to the cellular network. In this case:

  • Restart the device and wait for at least 10 minutes.
  • Ensure that the antenna is properly attached to the motherboard. In rare cases, having the antenna disconnected or damaged causes the SmartBox to fail to connect to the cellular network.
  • Check for any cellular outage reports in your area.

3. Failing to Connect to Keycafe - If the LED passes the green blinking stage, but stays on the cyan blinking stage, the SmartBox is unable to negotiate a connection with Keycafe.

  • If you notice an occasional red blink amidst the rapid cyan, this means the device has lost its security key and is unable to authenticate (it can be caused for example by an internal memory failure). The SmartBox will reset itself and reload its credentials. The process may take several resets.

Common Symptoms of a Poor Connection

There are two major patterns you may notice in the event of a poor connection.

1. Poor Signal Issue - If you have a generally poor signal at a location and interactions such as key pickups often timeout, require multiple attempts, or do not result in the right outcome in your account, you should consider testing the SmartBox in another place with a better connection.

2. Connection Drop Issues - The application on the SmartBox screen will freeze if the SmartBox loses its cellular connection. In some cases, if this state persists for a period, the firmware will not be able to recover after the cellular connection has been reestablished and the screen will remain frozen. You must reset the SmartBox for it to begin operating normally again. If you encounter a frozen screen frequently, the area the box is located is prone to connection drops and you should consider a different placement.

Expect a Higher Support Requirement at Locations with Lower Quality Connections

A SmartBox with a good placement will only see the above symptoms on very rare occasions (perhaps a few times per year). SmartBoxes placed into challenging connection environments may be inoperable or require more on-the-ground effort to support. The good news is Keycafe is adding new offline and troubleshooting capabilities that we expect will allow boxes to function in marginal locations with fewer disruptions.

Countries of Operation

Keycafe SmartBoxes work in over 100 countries. Each series of SmartBoxes such as the MS100 Series has various models (e.g. MS100, MS101, MS110, MS111, MS120) that may contain a cellular module specific to your country. If you wish to know which countries a particular model will function in, please reach out to our support team.

In the list below, you can find our comprehensive network of carriers in each country and the bands on which our SmartBox models operate.

Don't see your country? Hang tight. Keycafe is always improving its hardware and geographic reach. Please note that you may not operate the SmartBox in any country under embargo by the US or Canada.

Country Carriers MS100,101,110,111,120 MS102,112,121
Canada Rogers Wireless 2G,3G LTE
United States AT&T, T-MOBILE 2G,3G LTE
United Kingdom Telefonica O2 UK 2G,3G  
Argentina Telefonica Moviles Argentina 2G,3G  
Australia Telstra Australia 2G,3G  
Austria Orange Austria Telecommunication GmbH 2G,3G  
Bahrain Batelco Bahrain 2G,3G  
Belarus JV Mobile Digital Com. Ltd. 2G,3G  
Belgium BASE NV/SA Belgium 2G,3G  
Botswana MASCOM, Botswana 2G,3G  
Brazil VIVO 2G,3G  
Bulgaria BTC Bulgaria 2G,3G  
Burkina Faso Airtel Burkina Faso 2G,3G  
Chad Airtel Chad 2G,3G  
Chile Telefonica Moviles Chile 2G,3G  
China China Mobile 2G,3G  
Colombia Telefonica Moviles Colombia 2G,3G  
Costa Rica Telefonica Costa Rica 2G,3G  
Croatia VIPnet d.o.o., Croatia 2G,3G  
Cyprus CYTA Cyprus 2G,3G  
Czech Republic Telefonica O2 Czech Republic 2G,3G  
Denmark Telenor AS 2G,3G  
Dominican Republic Compania Dominicana de Tel. 2G,3G  
Ecuador Otecel S.A. Ecuador 2G,3G  
Egypt MobiNil 2G,3G  
El Salvador Telefonica Moviles El Salvador 2G,3G  
Estonia Tele2 Eesti AS 2G,3G  
Finland TeliaSonera Finland 2G,3G  
France Bouygues Telecom 2G,3G  
Gabon Airtel Gabon 2G,3G  
Germany Telefonica O2 Germany 2G,3G  
Ghana Airtel Ghana 2G,3G  
Gibraltar Gibtelecom 2G,3G  
Greece Wind Hellas 2G,3G  
Guatemala Telefonica Moviles Guatemala 2G,3G  
Guinea-Bissau MTN Guinea Bissau 2G,3G  
Honduras SERCOM Honduras - Claro 2G,3G  
Hong Kong CSL Ltd 2G,3G  
Hungary Telenor Hungary 2G,3G  
Iceland Siminn hf. 2G,3G  
Indonesia XL Axiata - Robi 2G,3G  
Ireland Telefonica O2 Ireland 2G,3G  
Israel Orange Israel 2G,3G  
Italy Wind Italy 2G,3G  
Japan NTT DoCoMo 2G,3G  
Jersey Jersey Telecoms UK 2G,3G  
Kenya Airtel Kenya 2G,3G  
Korea, Republic of SK Telecom 2G,3G  
Latvia TELE2 Latvia 2G,3G  
Liechtenstein Mobilkom Liechtenstein 2G,3G  
Lithuania TELE2 Lithuania 2G,3G  
Luxembourg TANGO Mobile SA 2G,3G  
Macedonia T-Mobile Macedonia 2G,3G  
Madagascar Airtel Madagascar 2G,3G  
Malawi Airtel Malawi 2G,3G  
Malaysia Maxis Mobile 2G,3G  
Malta Go Mobile Malta 2G,3G  
Mexico Telefonica Moviles Mexico 2G,3G  
Moldova Orange Moldova 2G,3G  
Montenegro Telenor Montenegro 2G,3G  
Montserrat LIME Montserrat 2G,3G  
Netherlands KPN B.V. 2G,3G  
New Zeland Two Degrees Mobile 2G,3G  
Nicaragua Telefonia Celular de Nicaragua 2G,3G  
Niger Airtel Niger 2G,3G  
Nigeria Airtel Nigeria 2G,3G  
Norway Telenor Mobil Norway 2G,3G  
Pakistan Warid Telecom (Pvt) Ltd 2G,3G  
Panama Telefonica Moviles Panama S.A. 2G,3G  
Paraguay Claro Paraguay 2G,3G  
Peru Telefonica Moviles Peru 2G,3G  
Philippines Globe Telecom Philippines 2G,3G  
Poland Polkomtel Poland 2G,3G  
Portugal MEO Portugal 2G,3G  
Puerto Rico AT&T (Puerto Rico) 2G,3G  
Qatar Q-TEL Qatar 2G,3G  
Reunion Societe Reunionnaise du Radio. 2G,3G  
Romania Orange Romania SA 2G,3G  
Russian Federation Beeline Russia 2G,3G  
Rwanda MTN RwandaCell 2G,3G  
Saudi Arabia Etihad Etisalat Company 2G,3G  
Serbia Telenor Serbia 2G,3G  
Seychelles Airtel Telecom Seychelles 2G,3G  
Sierra Leone Airtel Sierra Leone 2G,3G  
Singapore StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd. 2G,3G  
Slovakia Telefonica O2 Slovakia 2G,3G  
Slovenia Si.Mobil Slovenja 2G,3G  
South Africa Cell C (PTY) Ltd. 2G,3G  
Spain Telefonica Moviles Spain 2G,3G  
Sri Lanka Dialog Telekom Ltd 2G,3G  
Swaziland MTN Swaziland 2G,3G  
Sweden Telenor Sverige AB 2G,3G  
Switzerland Sunrise 2G,3G  
Taiwan Taiwan Mobile Co., Ltd. 2G,3G  
Tanzania Airtel Tanzania 2G,3G  
Thailand AIS Thailand 2G,3G  
Turkey Turk Telekom 2G,3G  
Uganda MTN Uganda 2G,3G  
Ukraine Kyivstar Ukraine 2G,3G  
UAE Du Emirates 2G,3G  
Uruguay Movistar 2G,3G  
Zambia Airtel Zambia Limited 2G,3G  
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