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Avnet produces IoT starter kit for AT&T LTE-M network

Steve Rogerson
March 22, 2018



Avnet has boosted its IoT starter kit portfolio with a 4G LTE-M development platform engineered in collaboration with AT&T.
 
The Arizona-based technology distributor has introduced the AT&T IoT starter kit, an LTE-M iteration with the IoT Discovery board from ST Microelectronics. It reduces the complexity of LTE-M device development by bringing together all the elements required to develop and prototype secure, cost-effective and reliable IoT devices connected to AT&T’s 4G LTE-M network.
 
Avnet demonstrated the kit at last week’s STM Technology Tour event in San Diego and it will be on show at upcoming Technology Tour stops across the USA until October 2018.
 
“With an end-to-end suite of IoT products and services, coupled with the best available technologies, Avnet can design, develop and deploy customised connectivity for every customer,” said Jim Fusaro, senior vice president at Avnet. “From capturing data at the edge and securely connecting the data to the cloud, we then work with customers on the development of applications and analytics that drives action. This edge-to-app IoT capability is helping customers take the complexity out of IoT thereby maximising their RoI. Avnet’s on-going collaboration with industry leaders like AT&T, STM, Arm and WNC are fundamental to developing and deploying world-class IoT solutions for our customers.”
 
The two-board LTE-M offering is comprised of the STM32L475 IoT Discovery board and a cellular connectivity daughter card from Avnet, as well as a modem module from WNC, configured for LTE-M operation, and access to lower-cost licensing options for Arm Keil MDK microcontroller software development tools.
 
“Leveraging AT&T’s LTE-M network, this starter kit, with its extensive set of onboard sensors and wireless connectivity capabilities, offers an excellent resource for developers to prototype connected IoT devices for even the most hard-to-reach, challenging environments,” said Peter Fenn, wireless connectivity specialist in Avnet’s engineering and technology team. “The hardware and software enablement also addresses key areas such as security and low-power consumption to cost-effectively implement IoT device applications.”
 
Tony Keirouz, vice president of ST Microelectronics, said that in addition to a wide array of sensors on the IoT Discovery board, this IoT starter kit brought power-efficient LTE-M cellular connectivity along with enablement via user-friendly software tools.
 
“Together with Arm’s class-leading Keil IDE, this offering speeds up the development and prototyping of innovative connected IoT devices,” he said.
 
The board has an M14A2A modem module from WNC, configured for LTE-M operation, as well as an on-board temperature and humidity sensor, multiple interfaces with the host microcontroller, SMA-connected external antenna and USB-connected AC-DC 5V power supply. It stacks onto the ST Discovery board via Arduino Shield connectors to form a compact two-board assembly. A 3FF micro SIM connector accommodates the provided AT&T starter SIM for easy connection to the internet.
 
The IoT Discovery board is an out-of-the-box cloud-ready connectivity board for IoT nodes featuring an Arm Cortex-M4 processor-based MCU clocked at 80MHz, with 1Mbyte flash memory and 128kbyte RAM.
 
“Arm has a vision of a trillion connected devices by 2035, and we’re working closely with partners to provide the tools and technology to enable the rapid development of secure IoT products,” said Reinhard Keil, senior director of embedded tools at Arm. “The level of hardware and software enablement provided by the combination of this highly capable hardware platform and Arm Keil development tools will allow developers to significantly accelerate the development of innovative, connected IoT devices.”
 
The microcontroller-based carrier board functions as a low-power host processor that integrates on-board environmental sensors, motion, gesture and time-of-flight sensors, digital microphones, Bluetooth Low-Energy, a sub-GHz transceiver and wifi, as well as Pmod and Arduino Uno V3-compatible expansion connector interfaces.
 
Designing with cloud-based services is facilitated via AT&T’s M2X Data Services and Flow Designer. In addition, a free 90-day licence and reduced-cost, six-month licence are available for Arm Keil MDK software development tools, which enable rapid development and debugging capabilities.