Thursday, February 22, 2024

Cellular And Satellite IoT Module With Embedded Positioning

By Akanksha Sondhi Gaur

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  • Unleash precise low-power positioning for asset tracking, fleet management, maritime transportation, and more. 
  • This compact module thrives in challenging environments, ensuring connectivity where terrestrial networks fall short. 

U-blox introduces the SARA-S520M10L, an Internet of Things (IoT) module for seamless cellular and satellite connectivity. With precise low-power positioning, this module is tailored for asset tracking, fleet management, maritime transportation, mining, utilities, and smart agriculture applications. It also caters to anti-theft systems, industrial monitoring, control, and safety-critical communication needs. It ensures seamless connectivity even when no terrestrial cellular network is available.

It is the most compact multi-mode cellular and satellite IoT module. This module offers seamless connectivity via terrestrial cellular networks and geostationary (GEO) satellites. With dimensions around 400 mm2, it incorporates LTE-M/NB-IoT, L-band satellite connectivity, and embedded navigation capabilities. It maintains pin compatibility with other u-blox cellular-only modules in the SARA form factor. With support for up to four satellite constellations, this module can deliver precise location fixes. Remarkably, it features the latest u-blox UBX-R5 chip’s second generation, tailored to enable satellite IoT communication in conjunction with LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular standards. Key specifications encompass:

  • Maximum supply [V]: 4.5
  • Minimum supply [V]: 3
  • Maximum temperature [°C]: 85
  • Minimum temperature [°C]: -40
  • Dimensions [mm]: 16.0 x 26.0 x 2.2

Various factors have contributed to the growing demand for satellite communication to complement standard cellular connectivity in the IoT ecosystem. The quest for worldwide, omnipresent connectivity has been on a steady rise for years and has surged due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The necessity to track critical goods in the supply chain remains despite the limited coverage of terrestrial cellular networks across the Earth’s surface. The IoT market has been expanding consistently, encompassing use cases that necessitate connectivity support in regions where cellular coverage is unreliable or absent. This System-on-Chip (SoC) amalgamation with distinctive GNSS capability presents the optimal solution for mobile and stationary IoT applications operating in challenging environments, such as remote locations, mountains, or even the sea.

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Alessandro Bonetti, senior product manager at u-blox, states, “Our debut IoT module seamlessly integrates cellular and satellite connectivity. Unlike comparable solutions on the market that require two separate subsystems—one for cellular and another for satellite connectivity—it is centred around a single, highly-integrated, multi-mode modem System-on-Chip (SoC), reducing size and complexity.”

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