The RP2040 Connectivity Board — An IoT solution combining LTE, Wi-Fi, and BLE into a single platform

iLABs (Invector Labs), a European embedded equipment manufacturer, has released a new device, the RP2040 Connectivity Board, an IoT development board that is based on Raspberry Pi’s signature microcontroller IC, the RP2040. The RP2040 Connectivity Board features key IoT connectivity options such as LTE, Wi-Fi, and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). It is compatible with both Arduino and PlatformIO and is designed for professional and hobbyist users with wide-ranging connectivity needs.

ilabs rp2040 connectivity board

The SARA-R412M series module from u-blox handles cellular communication (LTE) and can be configured to enable multi-regional coverage in both GSM and LTE-M/NB-IoT radio transmissions. It features a unique and immutable root of trust and supports IoT security as a service.

The RP2040 Connectivity Board also includes an Espressif ESP32-C3FN4 chip for Wi-Fi/BLE communication based on a RISC-V microcontroller core and implementing a Wi-Fi subsystem that complies with the IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard and supports various operating modes. The Bluetooth Low Energy subsystem supports both Bluetooth 5 and Bluetooth Mesh.

The BConnect (Bus Connect) interface on the board is iLabs’ proprietary solution that is designed to take up less space than Groove, Stemma, and Qwiic connectors. It employs a Flexible Flat Cable (FFC) to connect peripherals such as NFC readers, accelerometers, etc.

RP2040 Connectivity Board specifications:

  • Microcontroller – Raspberry Pi RP2040, with a dual-core Cortex-M0 processor at 133MHz and 264kB of integrated RAM.
  • Storage – 8MB of flash memory
  • USB – USB Type-C port
  • Connectivity
    • Wireless
      • LTE (Cat M1/NB-IoT/eGPRS): SARA-R412M module for international GSM and LTE-M/NB-IoT coverage
      • Wi-Fi/BLE: ESP32-C3FN4 chip, supporting various operating modes and advanced features for Wi-Fi and BLE
    • BConnect interface connector
    • U.FL connector for attaching a GSM/LTE antenna
  • Misc – Buttons (reset/UF2 mode), nano SIM card slot, on-board chip antenna for the Wi-Fi/BLE radio, 26-pin expansion header
  • Weight – 15 grams
  • Dimensions –  5 × 4.2 × 0.72 cm
lte antenna
LTE antenna

A nano SIM Card is needed to connect to an LTE network and transfer data. You can either get one yourself or use prepaid cards from 1NCE. The SIM card provided with the board is for evaluation only. Users who want to access 1NCE’s top-up option and APIs are advised to get in touch with them.

The RP2040 Connectivity Board is designed for IoT applications, such as remote monitoring systems and smart connected devices. iLabs has partnered with Earle F. Philhower, Arduino-Pico’s developer, to provide support for their RP2040 boards. Installation instructions can be found on Earle’s GitHub page.

The Connectivity Board is currently available for 795 Swedish Krona (about $80). You can find more information about the board on the product page. We have covered several other RP2040 boards from iLabs over the years such as the Challenger RP2040 board, Challenger RP2040 LoRa, and the Challenger RP2040 UWB.

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One Reply to “The RP2040 Connectivity Board — An IoT solution combining LTE, Wi-Fi, and BLE into a single platform”

  1. Nice but… so expensive for a single board. If you add everything that must go with (power supply, case, etc etc.), the price goes up and become noncompetitive.
    Plus it’s a pity that a ublox LTE chip does not embed what has made ublox’s success: GNSS (GPS).

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