Skywire® 4G LTE CAT 1 Verizon Embedded Modem

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Products that access the network must have FCC certification, which can take months. Designing in a pre-certified cellular modem eliminates the cost of obtaining certification and allows your device to be immediately activated on a network, reducing risk and speeding ROI.

4G LTE Cat 1 ATT Sierra Wireless

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Skywire® development kit includes baseboard, antenna, power supply, SIM cards, and debug cables. (Does not include Skywire modem).

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This is particularly important because 3G technology is aging. AT&T has already announced that 3G service will be discontinued in 2018, and while Verizon will continue to offer 3G service for several more years, that company is also planning to discontinue it. The solution for IoT and M2M product developers is to start incorporating 4G LTE Cat1 modems into their cellular-enabled products now.

Cost has many components. In comparing cost of various cellular access options, look at development cost versus purchase cost as well as manufacturing and operating costs. Also consider the cost of obtaining certification if your product is not pre-certified.

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We set out to compare performance between two 4G LTE CAT1 Verizon embedded cellular modems, specifically NimbeLinks Skywire vs. Digi Internationals XBee®* Cellular. The intent was to capture empirical data to help customers choose which product is the right fit for their application. Not all applications care about power, but this set of experiments was set up to mimic a real life battery-powered application so we could capture data useful for designers for battery capacity planning

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4G LTE Cat 1 Verizon Gemalto

Skywire® 4G LTE CAT 1 Verizon Embedded Modem

A plug-in modem with a complete development kit will further streamline the process.

When designers are evaluating cellular connectivity, bandwidth is always a discussion point because it is more constrained than traditional Ethernet and Wifi speeds. Typically the cellular technology dictates the bandwidth, but the realized bit rates are oftentimes much lower than the theoretical maximums due to uncontrollable factors like network congestion, poor RF environments, etc. However, there are factors that designers can control which affect the realized bandwidth

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4G LTE Cat 1 ATT Sierra Wireless

Created by award-winning developers, Skywire® plug-in cellular modems are the fastest way to provide cellular connectivity for machine-to-machine (M2M) products and speed them to market. Within months of its introduction Skywire® was recognized for innovation and named a finalist for the ECN Impact Awards, Boards, Modules and Embedded Systems category.

It is easy to deploy, requiring just voltage and a UART connection and is more flexible than other plug-in modules, supporting a wider range of voltages and antenna connections.

Skywire®, LTE CAT 1, Verizon, Firmware 26357+

Skywire 4G LTE CAT 1 modems are an enabling technology for M2M, the technology powering the emerging Internet of Things. Our LTE modules allow systems to independently collect data and transmit it to other systems. This allows systems to make decisions based not just on local input but on input from a far-flung network of sites and sources. Over a short distance its easy to connect separate devices either by wire or wirelessly. But for quick, easy communication to just about any fixed or mobile location its hard to beat the cellular network. Cellular works almost anywhere and is inexpensive to implement and use, but the biggest advantage of cellular may be the speed with which it can be implemented, both by the product developer and by the end user.

4G LTE Cat 1 Verizon Gemalto

Skywire®, LTE CAT 1, Verizon, Firmware 25421

Finally, consider the trajectory of your products future development. If you expect your cellular needs to changein speed, in network technology, or in related capabilities such as GPSconsider buying rather than building. Its easier to change direction when that means buying a different product rather than having to develop a new one yourself. This is especially true if the modems you buy use a standard form factor that allows easy swap-out as generations change.

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4G LTE Cat 1 Verizon Sierra Wireless

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Choosing the right LTE module depends on your application and your location. LTE, sometimes referred to as 4G LTE, supports data speeds of up to 100 Mbps. While LTE can be implemented over several different spectra, compatible devices should work across all LTE spectra around the world. Its high throughput rate makes it ideal for streaming data applications like video and for other high-volume processes.

Skywire® is the smallest end-device certified cellular modem on the market, making it quicker and easier to deploy than module down, external modems, or solder-in modules. It uses the Skywire standard form factor and its pre-certification eliminates months of delay and tens of thousands of dollars of cost for required certification.

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4G LTE Cat 1 Verizon Sierra Wireless

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If size is an issue (as it is in so many devices today) external modems will not be a viable option; even some internal modules/modems may be too large to be practical.

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Consider the cellular network you will be using. If your product will have to access a range of network technologies, you will need to be able to support a corresponding range of cellular modems.

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The volume in which you will produce your product also helps determine your platform options. Designing a module into your board (as opposed to plugging in a certified modem) can make sense when the cost can be amortized over very large volumes (and when you can support the up-front cost). When your volume is less than huge, however, or when you need to pay as you go, purchasing modems makes more sense.

Based on the Gemalto Cat 1 LTE chipset, the Skywire 4G LTE Cat 1 embedded modem is the first Cat 1 LTE modem with FCC and carrier-required end-device-certification. All devices accessing the cellular network require this certification, which can take months to obtain and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Pre-certification eliminates the cost and delay and helps speed products to market.

Like other modems in the NimbeLinks Skywire family, the new Cat 1 LTE modem is the smallest in the industry and is compatible with a variety of NimbeLink development kits, adapters, and microprocessor capes, allowing fast, easy integration of cellular connectivity into new and existing products. It also shares the Skywire standard interface with all other modems in the Skywire family, ensuring long product life. Its U.FL port provides antenna flexibility, and the modem requires just voltage and a UART or USB connection and supports a wide range of voltages for design flexibility.

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If you have the time and resources you can design a cellular module into your board. Or you can streamline the process by incorporating a ready-made pre-certified modem. Designing in a module will take engineering time.

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There are a variety of ways to incorporate LTE modules into a product or device. Key issues affecting your choice include location (as a factor in cellular network availability), product size, available expertise, time, cost, and your anticipated technology roadmap.

NimbeLink is expanding its award-winning Skywire family of cellular modems with the addition of a 4G LTE CAT 1 embedded modem. This new product is comparable in price and speed to 15 year-old 3G technology, but is specifically designed to bring 4G LTE capabilities to the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications.

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Consider what components are built into the modem itself and what will have to be configured separately to make the module/modem work.

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