SixFab is now taking pre-orders for its “Raspberry Pi 5G Development Kit” equipped with either Quectel RM50xQ or Telit FN980 5G modem fitted to SixFab’s Raspberry Pi 5G HAT, all housed in a plastic and acrylic enclosure with four antennas.
The selected modems rely on the worldwide 5G NR Sub-6GHz and mmWave frequency bands, and the company says a data throughput of up to 5.0 Gbps (download) and 1.0 Gbps (upload) is possible with the kit. SixFab explained the 5G devkit is designed to help with the development, optimization, and testing of MTC (Machine-type Communication) and M2M projects leading to products such as IoT gateways, indoor and outdoor CPE, high bitrate video streaming, real-time sensor data broadcasting, high-speed mobile 5G hotspot, etc.
SixFab Raspberry Pi 5G Development Kit specifications:
- Works with Raspberry Pi 4 or compatible SBC’s with USB 3.0 port
- Raspberry Pi 5G HAT with M.2 socket optionally fitted with either
- Quectel RM50xQ 5G sub-6GHz modem with up to 2.5 Gbps downlink and 900Mbps uplink
- Telit FN980 5G sub-6GHz and mmWave modem with up to 5.5 Gbps downlink and 1.5 Gbps uplink (But somehow limited to 5Gbps/1Gbps with the kit?)
- 4x LTE/5G antennas connected via SMA connectors
- 5x adapter cables for modem to SMA antenna connections
- USB 3.0 bridge for Raspberry Pi to 5G HAT
- Misc – Cooling fan, mounting bracket inside the enclosure for Raspberry Pi and peripherals
- Power Suply – 5V/3A via USB Type-C port
Since the hardware is basically a USB modem, the company also explains the 5G HAT could be used connected to other boards with a spare USB 3.0 port such as NVIDIA Jetson Nano developer kit, ASUS Tinker Board, NXP i.MX 8 SBC’s or even PCs with drivers available for both Windows 10 and Linux. SixFab has been manufacturing cellular hardware for Raspberry Pi boards for several years and has published some good documentation which I had previously used with another 3G HAT. The documentation website does not have anything specific to the Raspberry Pi 5G development kit just yet, but it should probably be ready by the time the kit ships.
It’s actually been possible to connect the Raspberry Pi 4 to 5G networks at least since 2020 thanks to a Waveshare devkit based on a Snapdragon X55 5G HAT, but SixFab is neater as everything is housed inside an enclosure. What has sadly not changed is the high price of 5G hardware, likely because of the patents associated with the technology, as SixFab is taking pre-orders for $595.00 for a “complete” kit with either Telit or Quectel modem (you can’t select which one), and $175.00 with the same kit without modem. I put “complete” in quotes because, as I understand it, the Raspberry Pi 4 board is not included in the kit. Shipping is scheduled to start in May 2022.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.