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Messages - WJR1989

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New Product Ideas / Re: 3G Shield
« on: June 05, 2016, 01:09:58 AM »
One of the biggest obstacles has to do with the lengthy (months to well over a year: having to get in the "queue" to get your unit certified, it can be costly to have this certification performed - can be in the tens of thousands of dollars) and without a LARGE quantity (as in many tens of thousands of units) this can often derail a product/project like the one being proposed - having worked for a cellular carrier in the USA, I have been through the process - and it is beyond painful.

That said, there are already a couple of options that are off the shelf today:

* One option MIGHT be to take a look at the stacking cellular module that Microduino has developed as a stackable module (similar to the Tinyduino form factor, but the connector system is significantly different.  Most likely, you would build the entire project using the Microduino system.  NOTE: I have not worked with this device, and do not know what carriers it is certified with or the countries in which it was designed to operate.  With the sunset of 2G GSM/GPRS in the USA, it will not a viable candidate for very long if the product must work in the USA since support for 2G GSM/GPRS - largely provided by AT&T is going away in the USA by 2017.

* A more simple approach that accommodates various antenna options and supports GPS on some of the units is the Eurotech ReliaCELL (a USB-connected cellular modem).

* It comes in various flavors: 2G-only (1xRTT) in the $90 range in qty., 2G/3G in the $130 range in qty., or LTE.

It is worth noting that some cellular carriers, such as Sprint, will continue to support CDMA 2G 1XRTT for a number of years - which means that a less expensive 2G-only unit could be used for a while).  However, the 3G-capable and LTE-capable models will have a longer useful life.

* The antenna can mount directly to it and it can be mounted to the outside of the device enclosure or even be mounted remotely (as in outside of a vehicle or building since it is weatherproof) at distances as far away as you can "legally" run USB according to the standard (active USB repeater cables can extend this distance significantly). 

* The ReliaCELL approach has several advantages since cellular coverage can vary in different locations/environments/buildings and the cellular receiver may need to be mounted remotely from where the embedded device needs to be located.  When that is the case, the Reliacell can be treated almost like an intelligent antenna that is USB-connected.  No long coax runs are needed (and so no RF signal loss from those long coax runs) since USB is used.

The biggest advantage, though is that the ReliaCELL devices are already carrier certified.  That means you can begin deploying in production immediately and not go through the pain, cost, and delay of carrier certification.

This is discussed in further detail along with additional info regarding adding cellular connectivity as well as the data sheets for the ReliaCELL, Microduino 2G shield, and the AT&T 2G GSM/CDMA sunset in the following thread on this forum:

Hope this was helpful...


New Product Ideas / Re: Cellular/LTE Tiny Board
« on: June 05, 2016, 12:32:16 AM »
If you are looking for a third-party solution that is available immediately, the Microduino stackable system has a GSM/GPRS unit.  It is designed to be stacked directly onto one of their Microduino "core" controller units and can be found here:

However, it is important to note that this is a 2G (not a 3G) cellular devices.  If this product is intended to be used in the United States *AND* it is intended to be in use beyond 2016, please be sure to review the following announcement from AT&T regarding their sunset of 2G coverage to ensure the cellular module will work for your intended lifecycle:

Another product line you may want to consider for cellular communication is the ReliaCELL USB-connected cellular modems available from Eurotech:

You have a number of ordering options available to you with the ReliaCELL:

* 2G (1xRTT) for CDMA-based carriers who will support 2G for a number of years (i.e.: Sprint in the USA)

* 2G/3G - I have not heard any announcements about sunsetting 3G anytime soon (typically 3G units will still cost less than LTE for a while)

* LTE-Only - If you require a LONG product lifecycle and the LTE coverage is sufficient in your intended deployment geographies.  LTE is not supported for ALL carriers, and will likely come at a premium.

* Global connectivity options

NOTE: While the ReliaCELL is not in a stackable form factor as small as the Tinyduino/Microduino form factors, it can be remotely mounted where the cellular signal can be best received (for example, the ReliaCELL can be mounted OUTSIDE of the enclosure, or even mounted many feet away (since it connects via USB)).  Depending upon your enclosure material, you may find numerous benefits to this approach.

Essentially, you can treat the ReliaCELL as if it were a remote antenna (except in this case, you do not have to deal signal loss created by long coax runs (it connects via USB can run for several feet - and even be expanded with active repeaters, if needed to get outside of a building, a vehicle, etc.).  The antennae mount directly to the ReliaCELL and it can be mounted outside due to its extended temperature range.

One key consideration: The Eurotech ReliaCELLs are already certified with various carriers and will not require going through the lengthy and expensive carrier certification process that some of the carriers require when modules are embedded into products that connect to their cellular network.  The ReliaCELL approach gets you to market immediately (no additional carrier certification needed).

Anyway, I have probably given you a bit more info than you wanted.
However, having previously worked at a cellular carrier here in the USA, I thought I would try to save you some of the grief that developers typically encounter which ends up derailing their development schedule.

Hope this helped...


Just curious if any thought has been given to converter boards that would provide hardware interconnection to other systems.

Some examples:

* A Tinyduino conversion board that would accommodate connecting Tinyduino shields onto a Raspbery Pi or Pi Zero.

* A Tinyduino conversion board that would allow a Tinyduino system to add on one or more Microduino peripherals and sensors.

* A Tinyduino conversion board to enable one or more traditional Arduino shields with the "Arduino standard" pinout to be connected to a Tinyduino system.

* A Tinyduino to Seeeduino sensor expansion board to tie into other off-the-shelf sensor systems.

* A Tinyduino carrier board that would allow multiple Tinyduino stacks (perhaps up to four laid out 2 x 2) that could be added to an traditional pinout Arduino (where higher processing power might be needed, etc.) but a lot of Tinyduino peripheral boards/shields could be laid out in a low-profile arrangement - or each stack could be grown as needed, but with four times the physical density than a traditional Arduino shield format could provide.

* Allow an RF board with the Digi "X-bee" pinout/layout to be added to a Tinyduino stack. The Xbee pinout accommodates both traditional Zigbee modules as well as Digi's longer-reach versions.

All in all, it would seem that by creating additional interoperability options, this would create a larger market for all of the Tinyduino peripherals that you already have created as well as allow a tremendous amount of flexibility for developers to quickly add other existing Arduino shield boards that may only be available in the traditional pinout format, but where the size of the Tinyduino stack continues to be important.

Just noting that there are already some converter boards on the market to add Arduino shields with the "traditional" pinout to be added to a Raspberry Pi system.

Any thoughts?

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