Multi-mode cellular and satellite IoT module with embedded positioning

08-09-2023 | U-Blox | Test & Measurement

u-blox offers its SARA-S520M10L, a cellular and satellite IoT module with accurate, low-power positioning and ubiquitous connectivity. The module's communication and tracking ability is perfect for asset tracking, fleet management, maritime transportation, mining, utilities, and smart agriculture applications. It also aids market segments such as anti-theft systems, industrial monitoring and control, and applications that need communication in safety-critical scenarios.

The device is the smallest multi-mode cellular and satellite IoT module on the market. It supplies connectivity via terrestrial cellular networks and GEO satellites. Measuring approximately 400mm2 with LTE-M/NB-IoT, L-band satellite connectivity, and embedded navigation capability, it is pin-compatible with other of the company's cellular-only modules in the SARA form factor. The module can provide location fixes using up to four satellite constellations.

This is the first of its modules designed with the second generation of the u-blox UBX-R5 chip, the UBX-R52/S52. The S52 variant was developed to support satellite IoT communication alongside LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular standards.

Several factors have increased the demand for satellite communication to complement standard cellular connectivity within the IoT ecosystem. The need for global connectivity has grown steadily for years, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Critical goods in the supply chain must be tracked, although only a small proportion of the Earth's surface is served by terrestrial cellular networks. In parallel, the IoT market has grown steadily, including use cases requiring connectivity support in regions where cellular coverage is unreliable or absent.

"The u-blox SARA-S520M10L is our first IoT module that integrates both cellular and satellite connectivity. Comparable solutions on the market require two distinct subsystems, one for cellular and another for satellite connectivity. SARA-S520M10L is built around a single, highly-integrated, multi-mode modem system-on-chip (SoC), which reduces size and complexity," says Alessandro Bonetti, senior product manager, Product Center Cellular at u-blox. "Combining this versatile SoC with u-blox's unique GNSS capability offers the perfect solution for mobile and stationary IoT applications in challenging environments such as isolated places, mountains, or in the middle of the ocean."


By Seb Springall

Seb Springall is a seasoned editor at Electropages, specialising in the product news sections. With a keen eye for the latest advancements in the tech industry, Seb curates and oversees content that highlights cutting-edge technologies and market trends.