Raspberry Pi Gets 5G Cellular Connectivity with Snapdragon X55 Powered HAT

The Raspberry Pi board has long been able to connect to cellular networks either via USB dongles or 3G or 4G LTE HATs that often include GPS as a bonus.

But you can now connect your Raspberry Pi 4 or other RPI SBC with a 40-pin header to 5G networks thanks to Waveshare SIM8200EA-M2 5G HAT for Raspberry Pi powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 multi-mode multi-band modem offering 5G/4G/3G cellular connectivity.

As we can see from the photo, the 5G add-on comes as part of a cool-looking kit with bottom and top acrylic plates, spacers, a cooling fan plus five antennas for cellular and GNSS connectivity.

But the HAT itself integrates a SimCOM SIM8200EA-M2 M.2 module and offers the following specifications:

  • Compatibility – Works with Raspberry Pi boards with a 40-pin GPIO extension header
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • SIM8200EA-M2 core module based on Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 platform with multi-mode multi-band support
    • 5G/4G/3G networks support
    • SIM card slot compatible with 1.8V / 3V SIM card
    • Frequency bands and peak data rate
      • 5G Sub-6G
        • Bands – n1, n2, n3, n5, n7, n8, n12, n20, n25, n28, n40, n41, n66, n71, n77, n78, n79
        • 4 Gbps (DL)  /  500 Mbps (UL)
      • 4G LTE
        • LTE-FDD bands – B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B13/B14/B17/B18/B19/B20/B25/B26/B28/B29/B30/B66/B71
        • LTE-TDD bands – B34/B38/B39/B40/B41/B42/B48
        • 2 Gbps (DL)  /  200 Mbps (UL)
      • WCDMA / HSPA+
        • Bands – B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8
        • 42 Mbps (DL)  /  5.76 Mbps (UL)
  • GNSS – Multi-constellation dual-band positioning: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, and QZSS (part of SIM8200EA-M2 module)
  • USB – 1x USB3.1 port for testing AT commands ( based on 3GPP TS 27.007, 27.005, and V.25TER), sending messages, cloud communication, making phone calls, getting GNSS positioning data, etc.
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack for audio operations (e.g. phone calls)
  • Misc – 2x LED indicators for power and net status, on/off switch, reset button
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56.7 mm (Compatible with Raspberry Pi HAT form factor)

The company states the 5G HAT works in most of the world including China, Europe, the Middle East, South America, North America, and supports both 5G NSA (4G+5G non-standalone networking) and SA (5G standalone networking).

Waveshare claims the HAT works with Windows, Linux, and Android, probably because it’s simply controlled via AT commands over the USB 3.1 port. The wiki page is up but currently empty.

There are some important shortcomings. First GNSS is not working right now, and it’s not possible to make phone calls now, but both should be fixed in future firmware updates. Then 5G looks to be encumbered by too many patents that increase the cost of hardware, and the kit sells for $399 with all parts minus the Raspberry Pi board that you need to purchase separately. Believe it or not, that’s actually a great deal, as the cheapest price I could find for SIMCom SIM8200EA‐M2 module only on Aliexpress is around $525.

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