Olimex Launches a Breakout Board with Quectel BC66 NB-IoT module

Quectel BC66 NB-IoT module is found on a few development boards such as Olimex NB-IoT DevKit, works worldwide – at least where NB-IoT networks are deployed -, and can be programmed with Arduino or PlatformIO.

Olimex has now designed a breakout board fitted with Quectel BC66 module for people wanting a smaller footprint (26x26mm) and/or integrate the module easily with their own hardware.

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Olimex BC66 breakout board’s features and specifications:

  • NB-IoT Connectivity
    • Quectel BC-66 with worldwide GSM bands coverage
    • 25.5 kbps uplink and downlink
    • nano SIM card slot
    • u.FL antenna connector + optional antenna
  • I/O Expansion – 3x 10-pin header either unpopulated or fitted with male headers; Level shifters for 5x GPIOs, I2C, SPI, UART
  • Misc – Status LEDs
  • Power Supply –
  • Dimensions – 26×26 mm

As with other LPWAN modules, this module/board would typically be found in remote electricity, water and gas meters, smart city (parking/lighting) management systems, healthcare patient monitoring, smart farming applications, industrial monitoring and control and so on. Contrary to LoRaWAN, you have to rely on network operators to provide connectivity and cannot setup your own private network, but costs are usually low (a few dollars per year or even less), and in most cases, coverage is much better.

Four variants of Olimex board are available:

  • NB-IoT-BC66 board only – 13.50 Euros
  • NB-IoT-BC66-ANT board with cellular antenna – 14.50 Euros
  • NB-IoT-BC66H board with male headers – 14.50 Euros
  • NB-IoT-BC66H-ANT board with make headers and cellular antenna – 15.50 Euros

You can purchase the breakout board and find hardware and software documentation on Olimex website.

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6 Comments
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zoobab
6 months ago

Is it breadboard friendly with 2.54mm pin spacing?

jadam
jadam
6 months ago

It’s 26x26mm and has row of 10 holes along one side, that suggests 2.54mm hole spacing (trust me I’m a mechanical engineer, finally a question I can answer 😉 )

Guest
Guest
6 months ago

What I don’t understand is if this tecnology need a custom SIM, my country TLCs have no idea on what NB-IOT is.
I’ve creaded my own adapter board 2 years ago. But My module does not find any signal.

The same adpter with a SIM800 work perfectly. So the issue can be the NB-IOT module itself or the tecnology in my region that is loked down in some sort of way.

DurandA
6 months ago

Customer SIM cards are typically not allowed to connect to the cellular network via NB-IoT/LTE-M. My local provider in Switzerland requires a M2M contract to connect to the NB-IoT/LTE-M network. Note that it is not yet possible to connect via roaming with NB-IoT until Cat NB2 is deployed.

JoseM
JoseM
6 months ago

It’s because NB-IoT authenticates in a different way to the network

Kaloyan
Kaloyan
5 months ago

Not every telecommunications operator provides NB-IoT service. Then if your operator provides NB-IoT service, you must call the company, to give u NB-IoT provided sim card, which means a sim card that is allowed to access the NB-IoT network.

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