Arduino Support for Quectel BC66 NB-IoT Module

Quectel has several LTE IoT modules such as BG96 with NB-IoT + eMTC connectivity, but the company has also a smaller, cheaper NB-IoT only module called Quectel BC66, and Georgi Angelov (Wiz-IO) informed me he implemented Arduino support for the module with BC66-DVK board.

Quectel BC66

Let’s first have a look at BC66 specifications:

  • Frequency Bands
    • Available now – B1/B3/B5/B8/B20
    • Under development – B2/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B25/B26/B28/B66
  • Output Power – 23dBm ±2dB
  • Sensitivity – -129dBm
  • Data
    • Data Rate
      • Single-Tone: 25.5kbps (DL)/16.7kbps (UL)
      • Multi-Tone: 25.5kbps (DL)/62.5kbps (UL)
    • Protocol Stacks – UDP/TCP/CoAP/LwM2M/SNTP/MQTT/PPP/TLS/DTLS/HTTP/HTTPS/FTP
    • SMS – Text/PDU Mode
  • Interfaces – 1x USIM, 1x  PSM _EINT, 3x UARTm 1x ADC, 1x RESET, 1x PWRKEY, 1x NETLIGHT, 1x antenna, 1x SPI, “OpenCPU” version only: 1x I2C, 1x I2S, and configurable GPIO
  • Supply Voltage – 2.1 to 3.63V (3.3 typ.); I/O: 1.8V
  • Power Consumption (Typ.)
    • 3.5μA @PSM
    • 0.29mA @Idle Mode (eDRX=81.92s)
    • 0.43mA @Idle Mode (DRX=2.56s)
    • 110mA @LTE Cat NB1, 23dBm
  • Dimensions – 17.7mm × 15.8mm × 2.0mm
  • Weight – 1.2g±0.2g
  • Temperature Range – -40°C ~ +85°C
  • Approvals –  CE/GCF (Europe), FCC (North America), JATE/TELEC/KDDI (Japan), PTCRB (North America) all pending approval

Note that some of the features are work-in-progress (e.g. TLS support), so maybe that’s why we don’t see that many BC66 boards yet.

BC66-DVK Quectel BC66 Development Board
The module can be found on BC66-DVK / BC66-TE-B sold on Tekmodul’s online store for 29 Euros (ex. VAT), and that’s apparently what Georgi used to implement this little demo reporting connection status, signal strength, analog input level, and digital input status in a web interface with data gathered using MQTT protocol. He published the Arduino code on Github. The code will work on “OpenCPU” (MediaTek MT2625) modules such as BC66NB, and maybe BC66 (no tested), but not on BC66NA module.

More details about the module can be found on the product page.

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Philipp Blum
Philipp Blum
1 year ago

Interesting, the price dropped already a lot. But still: 29 USD is way too much. I hope we will soon see some modules for < 10 USD.

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