Archive

Posts Tagged ‘cellular’

Turn Your Raspberry Pi into a “Smartphone” or Cellular IoT Gateway with PiTalk 3G HAT (Crowdfunding)

December 11th, 2017 9 comments

The Raspberry Pi boards are used in a countless number of projects, and some of those turn one of Raspberry Pi boards into a (thick) smartphone powered by Linux. The first one was probably PiPhone based on Raspberry Pi 1 Model B, and other followed suit such as TyTelli based on Raspberry Pi Model A+, and more recently ZeroPhone powered, as its name implies, by Raspberry Pi Zero board.

UK based SB Components Ltd is offering another option with their PiTalk HAT based on a Quectel 3G UMTS module, and kits adding a 3.2″ to 5″ display, an optional camera, and/or Raspberry Pi 3 board.

PiTalk Camera Kit

PiTalk board specifications:

  • Cellular Connectivity
    • Quectel UC15 3G/2G UMTS/HSDPA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE module with up to 3.6 Mbps download, 384 Kbps upload
    • SMA antenna connector
    • Push push SIM card holder
    • Voice, SMS and data support
  • Audio – 3.5 mm audio jack, speaker and mic support via unpopulated headers
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for comm., 1x micro USB port for power only
  • 40-pin Raspberry Pi A+, 2/3, Zero/Zero W compatible header
  • Expansion – 2-pin ADC header
  • Misc – On/off switch; Status & “Netlight” indicators
  • Power Supply – 5V via header or micro USB port

Pi Talk HAT

The board can be controlled with Python code, but the company did not provide any details at this stage. A PiTalk GUI interface to control the board will also be offered, and the Open Hardware and Open Software logo are shown on the Kickstarter page, but again no detailed information about that part.

PiTalk Software

Somehow PiTalk “smartphone” is supposed to be powered via the RPi’s micro USB port, as there’s no battery provided, but you could always use a power bank, which will make it even bulkier, but should do the trick if you need some portability. Quectel UC15 module comes in three variants: UC15-E for EMEA/APAC, UC15-A for America, and UC15-T for Thailand, but it’s unclear whether SB Components will offer PiTalk with any of the three versions.

PiTalk has launched on Kickstarter with a 10,000 GBP funding target.  Rewards start at 47 GBP ($63) for PiTalk boad and an antenna, but if you need a kit, you’ll need to pledge 65 GBP ($87) and up starting with the 3.2″ LCD kit. Shipping adds 3 GBP to the UK, and 10 GBP to the rest of the world, and you can expect the rewards to ship in March 2018 if the project can be completed on time.

Via MickMake

Riot Micro RM1000 NB-IoT and eMTC Baseband Chip Unveiled for the Cellular IoT Market

December 5th, 2017 3 comments

Telecommunication providers don’t intend to let newcomers like Sigfox or Semtech (LoRa) get all the fun and money with the Internet of Things, and that’s why LTE Cat M1 (eMTC) and Cat NB1 (NB-IoT) have been standardized.

We have already covered module and silicon vendors products such as U-blox SARA-R4 / SARA-M2 modules, or Mediatek MT2625 SoC supporting the new protocols defined in 3GPP release 13 specifications. U-blox even have a module that supports both NB-IoT and eMTC in a single chip, but they are not alone anymore, as a startup called Riot Micro introduced RM1000 baseband NB-IoT & eMTC chip.

Click to Enlarge

RM1000 key features & specifications:

  • MCU – ARM Cortex-M0 processor
  • Storage – QSPI Flash interface
  • Connectivity
    • LTE-M Baseband supporting 3GPP Release 13
    • NB-IoT Baseband supporting 3GPP Release 13
    • SIM interface with power control
  • Peripherals
    • Digital data and control interface to popular RFICs (RBDP/DIQ/SPI)
    • 3x UART interfaces
    • General purpose I/O
  • Integrated power management for external components
  • Temperature Range – -40 to +85°C

The MCU core is said to handle LTE-M/NB-IoT L1/L2/L3, IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP, SSL protocol stacks, as well as the AT Command stack. The company explains they applied techniques from the “BLE/Wi-Fi architecture to design the chip with cost/power levels characteristic of short-range wireless systems”.

Riot Micro RM1000 is available now in either an 8×8 mm 68-pad QFN package, or a 3.5×3.2 mm WLCSP, and reference designs for evaluation and module design can be provided to customers. More details may be found on the product page.

Categories: Hardware Tags: cellular, IoT, lpwan, lte, riot micro

Mediatek MT2621 Supports Dual Mode NB-IoT and GSM/GPRS for IoT, Wearables, and Industry 4.0

December 1st, 2017 5 comments

Mediatek introduced MT2625 ARM Cortex-M SoC supporting NB-IoT (aka LTE Cat NB1/NB2) compatible with 3GPP Release 14 last summer, and designed for global cellular IoT devices.

The company has now unveiled a new NB-IoT part with Mediatek MT2621 ARM7 dual-mode IoT SoC that is capable of both NB-IoT R14 and GSM/GPRS connectivity for applications such as smart trackers, wearables, IoT security, smart metering and industrial applications. The chip would allow you to start deploying devices with GSM connectivity, and once available in your locale, switch to the more efficient NB-IoT protocol.

Mediatek MT2621 specifications:

  • Processor – Single ARM7 core @ up to 260MHz
  • Memory – 160KB + 4MB PSRAM
  • Internal Flash
  • Connectivity
    • Integrated Baseband, RF, Antenna, and Modem DSP
    • NB-IoT ultra-low/low/mid bands defined by 3GPP Rel-14
    • GSM/GPRS
    • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Display – LCM interface
  • Camera – Camera interface
  • Audio – Audio Amplifier
  • Integrated PMU

Mediatek is really light on details, but still confirms a single SIM and antenna covers both cellular networks (NB-IoT & GSM) with dual standby functionality (SSDS). This will allows a single UICC and mobile number for both networks, “saving PCB space, simplifying design, minimizing cost and speeding time-to-market”.  The company also claims “applications can be built using an easily customizable Linux-based OS”.

You may visit the product page, but you won’t find much there.

Thanks to TLS for the tip.

Categories: Hardware, Linux Tags: bluetooth, cellular, IoT, lpwan, lte, mediatek

Compulab IOT-GATE-RPi Industrial IoT Computer is Powered by Raspberry Pi CM3 Module

November 28th, 2017 5 comments

We’ve seen several industrial products powered by Raspberry Pi 3 board or CM3 module recently, with the likes of Industrial Shields Panel PC, TECHBASE ModBerry, or Pi/104 PC/104 compliant carrier board among others.

We can now add another industrial computer based on Raspberry Pi CM3 module with Compulab IOT-GATE-RPi IoT gateway, with dual Ethernet port, support for 3G/LTE modems, a rugged case, and working in a wide temperature range of -40°C to 80°C.

Click to Enlarge

Compulab IOT-GATE-RPi specifications:

  • SoC –  Broadcom BCM2837 quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2
  • Storage – 4 to 64GB of soldered eMMC flash,  micro SD socket
  • Connectivity
    • 2x 100Mbps Ethernet
    • WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 BLE
    • 3G / LTE cellular modem via mini-PCie module)
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.3, up to 1920×1080
  • Audio – 3.5mm stereo line out jack, HDMI audio
  • USB – 4x USB2.0 host port
  • Serial
    • 1x RS232 port, ultra-mini serial connector
    • 1x RS485, RJ11 connector with EB-RPI-FCSD HAT board
  • CAN – 1x CAN bus, RJ11 connector with EB-RPI-FCSD HAT board
  • Expansion
    • RPI HAT expansion interface
    • 6x DIO, 5V tolerant, 100-mil header implemented with EB-RPI-FCSD HAT board
  • Misc – RTC Real time clock with back-up battery
  • Input voltage Unregulated 10V to 36V DC input
  • Dimensions – 112 x 84 x 25 mm (Aluminum housing)
  • Weight – 450 grams
  • Temperature Range – Commercial: 0° to 60° C; extended: -20° to 60° C; industrial: -40° to 80° C
  • Shock, vibration, dust and humidity resistance

Click to Enlarge

The gateway uses passive cooling, so no fan is needed, it supports both VESA and DIN rail mounts, and hardware protection against unintentional DC plug pull out and unauthorized boot from external storage.

The gateway runs Raspberry Pi 3 OS images such as Debian Linux (Raspbian), Ubuntu Core and Windows 10 IoT Core, and is compatible with IoT frameworks like Microsoft Azure IoT or AWS Greengrass.

Click to Enlarge

Compulab IOT-GATE-RPi will start selling next month with price starting at $110 for volume orders. Visit the product page for further information.

Giveaway Week – Wio GPS Tracker Board

November 3rd, 2017 106 comments

It’s Friday, and the fifth day of giveaway week on CNX Software. Today, I’ll be giving away Wio Tracker, an Arduino compatible board based on Microchip / Atmel SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0 MCU with GPS, Bluetooth, 2G GSM/GPRS connectivity.

Click to Enlarge

My review of the board was rather negative, as I only managed to make Bluetooth 3.0 work while following the documentation as it was back in May. Since then the documentation seems to have improved, and other people have been more successful than me, and made the blink LED, and GPS samples to work. This version of the board only support 2G, so make sure it is still supported in your region/country.

Click to Enlarge

To enter the draw simply leave a comment below. Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org, and announced in the comments section of each giveaway.
  • I’ll contact the winner by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping
    • $5 for registered airmail small packet for oversea shipping payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest (for a given product) is complete.
    • If Paypal is not available in your country, you can still play, and I’ll cover the cost of sending the parcel by Sea and Land (SAL) without registration if you win.
  • I’ll post all 10 prizes at the same time, around the 8th of November
  • I’ll make sure we have 10 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this giveaway week, I’ll draw another person.

Good luck!

The board is now sold for $24.95 on SeeedStudio, but if 2G sunset has happened or is coming soon in your country, you may consider Wio LTE board instead with 3G/4G connectivity. But as with other 4G capable devices, it is quite more expensive as it costs around $100.

SixFab Launches Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2 for $31.20

October 20th, 2017 16 comments

Development boards with 4G LTE are still quite expensive, at least compared to 2G or 3G solutions, with for example Wio LTE GPS Tracker board selling for around $100. So when I saw Sixfab introducing a 3G/4G shield for Raspberry Pi 3 for just $31.20 (pre-orders), I first thought it was an incredible deal.

But I soon realized I missed the “base” word in the name, as the shield just includes the SIM card slot, and mPCIe connector where you can connect Quectel’s UC20-G Mini PCle 3G module or EC25 Mini PCle 4G/LTE Module which adds respectively $59 or $89 to the price. That’s still an interesting HAT board, so let’s have a look.

Raspberry Pi 3 + 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield + Quectel EC25-E 4G Module

Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2 specifications:

  • Clip-in Mini PCIe socket for:
    • 4G/LTE Module (Quectel EC25) up to 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink data rates, GPS/GLONASS
    • 3G Module (Quectel UC20) up to 14.4Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink, GPS/GLONASS
  • Micro SIM card socket
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Compatible with 40-pin Raspberry Pi header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or external 5V source
  • Dimensions – 65 x 55 mm

The new version improves on the first model for the shield by reducing the area by 25%, removing the need for screws for the cellular module, using a micro SIM card socket on the top of the board, a more efficient power circuit, and removing the DC barrel jack.

While the board is mostly designed to be used with Raspberry Pi 3 board, it can also be used standalone with your computer, laptop, or another development board over the micro USB port. A blog post explains how to make a PPP Internet connection with the shield connected to RPi 3, and you can get supports in their forums.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

PingPong IoT Development Board Supports Cellular Connectivity, WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRa, Sigfox, and More

October 19th, 2017 No comments

Round Solutions, a supplier of products, services and concepts for industrial M2M and IoT markets, has introduced PingPong IoT development board with either Microchip PIC32MZ running an RTOS, or PIC32MZ DA running Linux, and equipped with a Telit modules for either 2G or 3G cellular + GNSS connectivity.

The board can also support WiFi, Bluetooth, ISM/RF, NFC/RFID, LoRa, Sigfox, Iridium satellite, and serial interface thanks to a range of expansion boards.

PingPong IoT board specifications:

  • MCU / Flash
    • RTOS version – Microchip PIC32MZ 32-bit Microcontroller @ 200 MHz, with 512 KB RAM and 2 MB Flash Memory + 4 MB external memory
    • Linux version – Microchip PIC32MZ DA  (Full specs TBA)
  • Connectivity
    • Cellular connectivity
      • Telit xE910 module with 2G, 3G and/or 4G LTE (coming soon)
      • Data
        • GSM/GPRS – Uplink/Downlink: 9.6 kbps
        • UMTS – Downlink: 384 kbps, Uplink: 384 kbps
        • HSPA+ – Downlink: 42.0 Mbps, Uplink: 5.75 Mbps
        • LTE – Download: 100 Mbps, Uplink: 50 Mbps
      • Frequency Bands (MHz) – 1800, 1900, 2100, 850, 900
      • 2x SIM card slots, SIM on chip
      • u.FL antenna connector
    • GNSS
      • Telit SL869 module for GPS, Glonass, and Galileo E1
      • u.FL antenna connector for GPS
    • 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45)
    • Connectivity stackable expansion boards for
      • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: with webserver on board
      • Satellite communication: Iridium
      • ISM/RF:433MHz/868MHz/915MHz/2.4GHz
      • NFC/RFID: Protocol EPCglobal Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6C)
      • Sigfox/LoRa: Ultra low power transmitter
  • Other stackable expansion boards:
    • I/O & Serial Board: 10 digital/10 analog/4 frequencies, RS485, RS232
    • Still image and video camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • I/Os
    • 2x connectors for stackable extension boards with UART, SPI, CAN, I²C
    • 1x CAN interface, 2x analog inputs, 4x 3-state logic inputs, 4x NMOSFET outputs, 1-wire interface
    • 2x current measurement inputs (24-bit resolution)
  • Sensors – Magnetometer, accelerometer
  • Power Supply – 9 to 60V DC
  • Dimensions – 85 x 52 x 23 mm
  • Temperature Range – -40 C to +85 C (industrial grade)
  • Certification CE

 

The RTOS version uses C/C++ and Python and comes with a USB CDC bootloader, while the Linux version is more versatile with support for Open VPN, IPSEC tunnels for example for IoT gateway / router functionality. The source code is available for both operating system, and the company can also provide ready-made software packages for remote metering, asset tracking, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth gateway, MODbus over TCP, or MODbus RS485.

The board is also compatible with MPLAB Harmony, and can connect to Cumulocity IoT Cloud Platform or Telit m2mAIR Cloud out of the box.

The Linux & 4G versions of the board still appear to be in development, but PingPong IoT 3G/RTOS board is available now, starting at 197 Euros with the board only, and up to 445 Euros with the WiFi/Bluetooth, and RF/ISM add-on boards.

Hologram Unveils Nova 3G USB Dongle and Python SDK; 200 Raspberry Pi Zero W Kits Given Away to Developers

October 6th, 2017 No comments

This summer I discovered Hologram global cellular IoT SIM card, and since they provided free developer samples with 2MB of monthly data includes, I decided to get one to try it out. I received it a few weeks later, and to my surprise it worked, despite my country of residence having some strict requirements with regards to SIM card registration. The SIM card uses roaming, but with a low fixed worldwide pricing, and does not come with a phone number by default, so maybe that’s why I did not have to register.

The company is now back with Nova, an open source hardware cellular modem certified by OSHWA (ID #US000077). It’s basically 2G/3G USB dongle that’s controlled by Hologram Python SDK, specifically suited to Debian systems like Raspberry Pi 3 or BeagleBone Black. Hackster.io is also involved in the launch with a worldwide contest offering 200 free kits comprised of Nova 3G USB dongle and Raspberry Pi Zero W board for the best project ideas leveraging cellular IoT.

Nova will eventually come in three versions

  • 3G (in production now) – Ublox Sara-U201 module;  Global 3G/2G GSM;  GPRS/GSM/UMTS/HSPA: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz;
  • Cat-M1 (November 2017) – Ublox Sara-R404M module; USA LTE Cat M-1; FDD: 13 (Verizon)
  • Cat-M1/NB1 (Q1 2018) – Ublox Sara-R410M-02B module; Global LTE Cat M-1+ NB; FDD: 1,2,3,4,5,8,12,13,17,18,19,20,25,26,28

All should have the same other interfaces and other specs:

 

  • u.FL Antenna Connector
  • Nano SIM card holder
  • UART GPIO Pads
  • USB Serial
  • Network Status LED; Power LED
  • Fully end certified (FCC, PTCRB, CE, and AT&T)
  • Dimensions – 46mm x 19mm x 6mm (Plugged in PCB);  71mm x 23mm x 9mm (w/ case)
  • Weight – 8 grams

The hardware kit includes the dongle, Hologram global IoT SIM card, a transparent enclosure, 2 Quad-band flexible u.FL antennas, and access to Hologram Developer Tools for modem and data management.

 

The dongle can be controlled using Hologram client tool, or Hologram Python SDK requiring ppp and Python 2.7 packages, and will allow you to send SMS, setup data connection, and more. Any SIM card should work, and it’s not tied to Hologram SIM card. While the company claims OSHWA certifications, the number US000077 is not present (empty line) in the OSHWA certification list yet, and so far, they’ve only released the PDF schematics. However, Python SDK is fully open source and released under an MIT license on Github.

More details can be found in the product page, and Nova 3G kit can be purchased now for $49.

But as mentioned in the introduction, if you have a great project idea, you could also get the kit for free, and possibly another “grand prize” (Apple Watch Series 3)once the project is completed. The contest is opened worldwide (except to US sanctioned countries) with the following timeline:

  • Submit your proposal by October 27, 2017
  • Best project ideas will be selected, and be sent their kit within around 14 days
  • Build and submit your project to Hackster.io by January 5, 2018
  • 8 Grand Prize winners will be announced on January 8, 2018 for four categories: gateway, asset tracking, remote controlling, and remote monitoring.

There are already 135 participants. Good luck!