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Digi modem helps OEMs integrate cellular connectivity

Steve Rogerson
January 26, 2017

M2M and IoT connectivity company Digi has introduced the XBee Cellular embedded modem developed for the North American market. It aims to let OEMs quickly and easily integrate LTE Cat 1 cellular connectivity into their designs.
XBee Cellular provides a path to cellular connectivity solving a major problem for OEMs that need to provide cellular connectivity for remote equipment monitoring and control in precision agriculture, environmental monitoring, smart cities and other industries.
The Minnesota-based company says this is the smallest end device certified embedded cellular modem on the market and enables cellular communications at lower cost points and more efficient power consumption. It transmits embedded serial data via TCP, UDP or SMS over the cellular network and, unlike other embedded modems, provides flexible communications options including a simple transparent serial mode and an API mode with structured frames for more advanced applications.
“Digi XBee Cellular provides a quick way to integrate secure cellular connectivity into our solution without the hassle of dealing with carrier certifications,” said Tim Adkins, embedded systems engineer at IntelliFarm. “The low-power modes for extended battery life make the Digi XBee Cellular a perfect fit for our application in the agriculture industry.”
It is FCC pre-certified and Verizon end-device certified, so no carrier certification is required for OEMs. Over-the-air firmware provides on-going feature and security updates.
The modem operates from 3.3V power with low-power options offering sleep and deep-sleep modes for battery-powered applications. It includes the company’s TrustFence security features such as secure boot, encrypted security keys, secure JTag, and SSL/TLS 1.2 cryptographic protocols.
All XBees share the same footprint and software interface, across multiple wireless technologies. With a single XBee socket, users will have access to technologies such as LTE Cat M1 and Cat NB1 due out in spring 2017.
Development tools simplify integrating the device. The free XCTU utility is for quick configuration of the modem, and XBee libraries for Java and C can be used to accelerate code development for external microcontrollers. A development kit provides everything a developer needs to focus on building cellular-connected products, with a free data plan and pre-activated SIM included for plug-and-play development.
“Digi XBee is known as one of the most advanced and innovative product lines in the industry,” said Joel Young, chief technology officer at Digi International. “With the addition of Digi XBee Cellular to the Digi XBee product line, we’re bringing the same characteristics of reliability, flexibility and value to allow OEMs to quickly and easily integrate LTE Cat 1 cellular technology into their devices and applications.”
The Digi TransPort WR31 intelligent 4G LTE router has been certified to operate on Sprint's 4G LTE M2M networks across North America.