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Particle releases LTE Cat M1 IoT module

Steve Rogerson
May 8, 2018

IoT platform company Particle has released an LTE-enabled, cellular E series IoT module. This all-in-one product is said to be the first commercially available LTE hardware module for IoT product creators to future-proof their devices from retiring 2G and 3G networks.
The California company’s LTE module includes built-in cloud and SIM support, and is certified for the newly available LTE networks designed just for IoT.
LTE Cat M1 network technologies are optimised for IoT applications for a number of reasons. LTE hardware is less costly and provides longer battery life and improved connectivity range. These make novel IoT applications – such as distributed sensor networks for agriculture or hard-to-reach industrial monitoring environments – possible, whereas they were not economically feasible in the past.
These features, combined with LTE’s better coverage, will facilitate the next wave of deployed IoT products. Additionally, as US carriers move to eliminate 2G networks and end new 2G and 3G device certifications, this provides a transition path for IoT product creators while avoiding costly disruptions.
“As US carriers are quickly moving to end 2G and 3G support, and global carriers plan for LTE network rollouts, the timing for an LTE strategy is more critical than ever,” said Bill Kramer, EVP of IoT at Kore. “Kore partners with forward-looking, leading IoT ecosystem technology companies like Particle to drive LTE adoption. Particle’s E series product line ensures that IoT builders can meet the new certification standards for LTE, which we see as the longest possible network lifecycle in the market today.”
The LTE modules are part of Particle’s existing E series suite – an enterprise-level collection of cellular IoT products including 2G, 3G and now LTE models that come bundled with the firm’s device cloud, device OS and developer tools. Pre-integrated cellular provides a faster, less complicated path to market by taking care of most of the problems that plague commercial IoT development, not least of which includes the time-consuming and costly certifications required for connected devices, such as FCC, PTCRB and carrier specific.
"We are excited about the LTE-M1 product as it sets us on the right path for long-term sustainability of the connectivity elements,” said George Tsintzouras, CEO of Alert Labs. “Working with Particle has put us in the position to move to the new hardware seamlessly, keeping us focused on improving the service we deliver to our customers."
The LTE line includes two LTE Cat-M1 models (LTE B13 and LTE B2/4/5/12) that are fully certified, low profile, surface mountable for industrial environments, and powered by Qualcomm’s MDM9206 IoT modem and U-Blox’s Sara-R410-02B module.
"Particle's LTE E series is a key partner for our LTE Cat M1 and NB1 modules optimised for professional connectivity,” said Suresh Ram, president of Swiss company U-Blox in the Americas. “Our Sara-R4/N4 series provides a distinct small footprint, low power consumption and a robust design specifically supporting IoT products, all bundled in Particle’s new product line.”
The Particle E series evaluation kit includes an E Series evaluation board with LTE global connectivity, a sample IoT sensor (temperature), and accessories to build an industrial proof-of-concept for $89. Individual LTE E series modules start at $69 per module. Shipping lead time is six to eight weeks.
“We launched our cellular development kit, the Electron, to give our developer community access to the power of cellular,” said Zach Supalla, co-Founder and CEO of Particle. “The following industrial E Series line made go-to-market with 2G/3G scalable for enterprises. Now with our LTE module, businesses will evolve alongside the quickly-changing cellular landscape without missing a beat.”