u-blox has introduced a portfolio of new LTE low data-rate cellular modules supporting LTE Cat. 1 for IoT and M2M applications in the industrial and automotive markets. The modules are designed for M2M/IoT devices that are expected to operate for years in the field and need to incorporate LTE technology in order to ensure longevity.
The portfolio consists of multi-mode, multi-carrier and of LTE-only modules specific for large North American carriers. All modules provide long-term LTE technology at lower speeds, ideal for industrial and connected-car applications (10Mb/s download, 5Mb/s upload), at a significantly lower cost than typical LTE Cat. 4 modules.
All modules operate from -40°C to +85°C, making them suitable for demanding industrial and automotive devices in M2M applications such as telematics and smart metering, as well as security and surveillance systems with the need for Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).
“Building on our philosophy of customer-driven innovation, u-blox is once again delivering a competitive advantage with cost-effective and long-term solutions for IoT and M2M applications. The new Cat.1 modules will enable our customers to develop devices supporting LTE technology at an acceptable cost, because LTE Cat. 1 delivers lower speed at a lower cost,” explained Stefano Moioli, Director Product Management Cellular at u-blox. “We expect LTE Cat. 1 technology to become the future norm for M2M applications,” he added.
The u-blox LTE Cat. 1 module portfolio includes the following variants:
• TOBY-R201 (LTE bands 2, 4, 13, 17 and HSPA bands 2, 5) is a multi-mode, multi-carrier LTE Cat. 1 module with HSPA fallback for North America. Its form factor in a 24.8 x 35.6 mm2 LGA package is the same as the TOBY-L2 Cat. 4 modules designed for applications requiring high data rates. The first samples will be available in October 2015.
• LARA-R200 (LTE bands 4, 13) and LARA-R202 (LTE bands 2, 4, 17) are LTE Cat. 1 modules for the largest North American carriers, available in a compact 22.0 x 27.5 mm2 LGA form factor, and fit on the nested design pads compatible with other u-blox form factors. The first samples will be available in early 2016.
Additional variants for Europe and APAC are planned.
The modules also follow the u-blox “nested design” philosophy to maintain form factor and software continuity. This allows customers to easily upgrade their products with each new generation of u-blox wireless modules without having to change the PCB designs. It allows for easy migration contributing to maximised investment, simplified logistics and drastically reduced time-to-market.
All the modules are expected to be certified soon by major US and Canadian mobile carriers.