Smallest LTE Cat 1 Module Offers Worldwide IoT Connectivity

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The new LARA-R6 and LENA-R8 modules launched by u-blox offer global cellular coverage with seamless roaming in small form factors.

Many wireless carriers will be sunsetting their 2G and 3G network by the end of 2022, to make room for more advanced network services, like 5G. This means that many cellular phone users will need to replace their older cell phones. Furthermore, this will cause device compatibility problem for connected IoT devices. Two new LTE Cat 1 modules from u-Blox allow IoT device makers to design IoT devices with LTE connectivity while still providing 3G and 2G connectivity.

u-blox claims that the new LARA-R6 is the smallest LTE Cat 1 module (24 mm × 26 mm × 2.6 mm) with global coverage on the market. The u-blox LENA-R8 includes a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver based on the u-blox M10 platform. Together, the modules comprise five certified global, multi-regional, and regional product variants, simplifying logistics for product developers and increasing design flexibility.

“The modules offer device makers facing imminent 2G and 3G network sunsets a future-proof migration path to 4G technology for data streaming applications.”, the company touted.

Additionally, the modules are claimed to offer MQTT Anywhere and MQTT Flex connectivity via the company’s Thingstream platform out of the box, thereby enabling low-power, low-cost connectivity with globally ubiquitous, seamless roaming.

LARA-R6 is designed for maximum performance in difficult coverage conditions. This professional grade module series features dual Rx (receiver) antennas for reliable signal reception in difficult coverage areas such as indoors as well as for use cases that require voice communication over VoLTE (voice over LTE).

In terms of security, the module provides a root of trust, secure boot, and secure communication with regular security updates. Its unique feature set makes the LARA-R6 an ideal cellular modem for telematics, tracking, and health applications, as well as for alarm panels, smart meters, and point-of-sale devices.

The LARA-R6 series includes a globally certified variant with 18 LTE frequency bands and 2G/3G fallback for universal connectivity. It also includes a variant certified by North American mobile network operators (AT&T, Verizon, FirstNet, or T-Mobile), as well as a multi-regional variant for use in the EMEA, APAC, Japan, and LATAM markets, supporting all the required LTE bands and technologies.

The second module LENA-R8 is designed for cost-sensitive tracking and telematics use cases. It is expected to minimize costs associated to their bill of material and data charges. The compact module balances cost and performance with single Rx antenna and primarily targets customer deployments in the EMEA, APAC, and South America regions.

LENA-R8 supports a broad range of frequency bands with 2G fallback, providing maximum roaming coverage for global tracking applications using a single stock keeping unit (SKU).

“LARA-R6 and LENA-R8 are important additions to our LTE Cat 1 portfolio, meeting growing demand for small IoT solutions targeting global markets, with seamless roaming and low data costs. Both modules offer global roaming with a single SKU, which greatly simplifies logistics and supply chain management. The small size of both modules gives product developers greater design flexibility and the possibility to create smaller form factors,” says Drazen Drinic, Product Management Cellular at u-blox.

Engineering samples will be available in February. For more details, view the full Press release.

 

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