Smallest LTE Cat 1 Module Offers Worldwide IoT Connectivity

The new LARA-R6 and LENA-R8 units launched by u-blox provide global cellular coverage with seamless roaming in compact formats.

Many wireless carriers will finish their 2G and 3G network by the end of 2022, to make way for more advanced network services, such as 5G. This means that many cell phone users will need to replace their old cell phones. Moreover, this causes the device compatibility issue with connected IoT devices. u-Blox’s two new LTE Cat 1 modules allow IoT device makers to design IoT devices with LTE connectivity while still providing 3G and 2G connectivity.

u-blox claims that the new LARA-R6 is the smallest LTE Cat 1 unit (24mm x 26mm x 2.6mm) with global coverage on the market. The u-blox LENA-R8 includes a Global Navigation System (GNSS) receiver based on the u-blox M10 platform. Together, the modules comprise five approved global, multi-region and regional product variants, simplifying logistics for product developers and increasing design flexibility.

“These modules provide device makers facing the imminent sunset of their 2G and 3G network, a future-defining transition path to 4G technology for data flow applications,” the company said.

In addition, the modules are claimed to provide MQTT Anywhere and MQTT Flex connectivity via the company’s Thingstream platform out of the box, enabling low-power, low-cost connectivity with seamless roaming everywhere globally.

The LARA-R6 is engineered for maximum performance in tough undercover conditions. This professional unit series features dual Rx (receiver) antennas for reliable signal reception in difficult coverage areas such as indoors as well as for use cases that require VoLTE (Voice over LTE) communication.

In terms of security, the module provides trust rooting, secure booting, and secure communication with regular security updates. Its unique set of features makes the LARA-R6 an ideal cellular modem for IT, tracking and health applications, as well as alarm panels, smart meters and point of sale devices.

The LARA-R6 series includes a globally approved variant with 18 LTE frequency bands and 2G/3G backup for global connectivity. It also includes a variant that is certified by North American mobile operators (AT&T, Verizon, FirstNet, or T-Mobile), as well as a multi-region variant for use in the EMEA, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Latin America and the Caribbean markets, supporting all mobile phone bands and technologies. LTE required.

The second unit, LENA-R8, is designed for cost-sensitive tracking and telematics use cases. Costs associated with bill of materials and data charges are expected to be reduced. The combined unit balances cost and performance with a single Rx antenna and is primarily targeted at customer deployments in EMEA, Asia Pacific and South America regions.

The LENA-R8 supports a wide range of frequency bands with 2G back-up, providing maximum roaming coverage for global tracking applications using a single SKU.

The LARA-R6 and LENA-R8 are significant additions to our LTE Cat 1 portfolio, meeting the growing demand for small IoT solutions targeting global markets, with seamless roaming and low data costs. Both units provide global roaming using a single SKU, which greatly simplifies logistics and supply chain management. The smaller size of both modules gives product developers greater design flexibility and the ability to create smaller form factors,” says Drazen Drinic, Cellular Products Department at u-blox.

Engineering samples will be available in February. For more details, see the full press release.

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