MBIM (Mobile Broadband Interface Model)

The Mobile Broadband Interface Model (MBIM) was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) as the networking solution for USB-based mobile broadband devices, as well as embedded modems. MBIM 1.0 is a protocol for host and device connectivity for any device with USB support, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The specification supports multiple generations of GSM and CDMA-based 3G and 4G packet data services, including LTE.

Essentially, MBIM standardizes the transport of data by supporting multiple IP connections per single USB interface. Previously, USB devices that contained multiple functions had to expose each of those functions through a separate USB interface. For example, a broadband device might have separate interfaces for controlling connectivity, IP traffic, device management, GPS, and diagnostics. Having multiple interfaces consumes multiple USB endpoints, which then requires multiple host drivers to manage the device.

MBIM benefits include:

  • Reduction in certification criteria, accelerating device launches and enabling flexible, efficient, economical device implementations
  • Reduction in required drivers, lessening the risk of driver-related issues and subsequent support calls to the operator
  • Improved data transfer efficiency to support 4G LTE network speeds
  • Implementation of device-agnostic MB class drivers in diverse operating systems for desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices

Without MBIM support, different devices will have disparate connection managers, requiring trained employees to support each device, forcing subscribers to adapt to each device’s method of connecting. Standardization across platforms via MBIM not only simplifies initial development, but also streamlines ongoing maintenance and support of each device, post-launch.

Additional Information

Smith Micro Resources

  • QuickLink Platform - Information for how MBIM is implemented into Smith Micro's QuickLink solutions

MBIM Document Links