u-blox: 5G-ready cellular module and chipset for low power wide area IoT applications

u-blox has announced the SARA-R5 series of LTE-M and NB-IoT modules for low power wide area (LPWA) IoT applications, its most advanced, secure and highly integrated cellular product. The module, built on the u-blox UBX-R5 cellular chipset and the u-blox M8 GNSS receiver chip, offers unmatched end-to-end security and long product availability, making it ideal for IoT applications with long-term device deployments.

The module also features a lightweight and low power pre-shared key (PSK) management system that is tailored to the needs of IoT applications, along with a comprehensive set of security features.

With mobile network operators announcing their plans to roll out 5G networks, 5G readiness is becoming a key factor in selecting cellular communication modules. LTE-M and NB-IoT are forward-compatible with 5G networks and, by implementing key LTE-M and NB-IoT features from 3GPP Release 14, SARA-R5 offers customers a smooth transition towards 5G via software upgrades to already deployed devices.

The SARA-R5 series builds on the new u-blox UBX-R5 LTE chipset and the u-blox M8 GNSS chip, which means that production and product lifetime are not dependent on third party chipmakers. For customers, this translates into long-term availability, roadmap stability, and technical support down to the silicon level. Core technology ownership enables new features, relevant for positioning, timing, connectivity, and security. 

SARA-R5 comes in two product variants. Featuring a built-in u-blox M8 GNSS receiver, SARA R511M targets mobile applications in the automotive, fleet management, tracking, and telematics sectors. The GNSS receiver’s chip-down design includes a dedicated GNSS antenna interface and can run in parallel with the cellular connection. This assures maximum design flexibility, while preserving overall system power consumption.

The second product variant, SARA-R510M, is optimized to deliver the lowest achievable power consumption, drawing less than 1 microampere of current in power save mode, making it ideal for metering, smart city, connected health, security and surveillance, remote monitoring and other battery-powered applications.

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