Sunday, December 4, 2022

Compact IoT Module With An Embedded SIM

By Sharad Bhowmick

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SARA-R500E is u-Blox’s first module with an onboard embedded SIM (eSIM). The module is based on u-blox’s UBX-R5 cellular chipset and is designed for space-constrained IoT applications. The module is 5G ready and employs the SARA-R5 AT command interface. Moreover, it is pin-to-pin compatible with other modules in the SARA family. The elimination of a removable sim card allows the product designers to design a compact and robust and tightly sealed device that can meet the demanding IP67 and IP68 criteria. The module is ideal for rugged IoT applications such as surveillance cameras, asset trackers, smart meters, etc.

According to the company, the SARA-R500E module with an onboard eSIM is also bundled with LTE-M connectivity. The module is ready to use right out of the box as the eSIM contains all the attributes and features needed to connect the module to the cellular network. Currently, the module is specifically intended for the North American market. SARA-R500E supports a comprehensive set of 3GPP Rel. 14 features that are relevant for IoT applications, like improvements to power consumption, coverage, data rate, mobility, and positioning.

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The SARA-R500E module is 5G-ready and will allow next-generation connectivity through firmware updates on their deployed devices, once 5G LTE has been rolled out by mobile operators, greatly improving end-product scalability and lifetime. The eSIM eliminates the requirement of additional components such as a SIM card holder and related circuitry, thus saving costs, design time and board space. The SARA-R500E gives the option to subscribe to a general purpose connectivity plan or the u-blox MQTT Anywhere communication service.

The module comes in a compact 96-pin LGA package measuring 16.0 x 26.0 x 2.2 mm, and weighing less than 3 g. The eSIM eliminates the requirement of additional components such as a SIM card holder and related circuitry, thus saving costs, design time and board space. The module is suitable for a wide variety of surveillance, tracking and IoT applications.


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