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Linux-supported mini-PCIe modules offer Cat-M1 and Iridium modems for IoT

May 10, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 1911 views

Gateworks announced two mini-PCIe modems for its Linux-based SBCs aimed at IoT duty: a “GW16126” with Cat-M1 and BLE 5.0 and a “GW16130” satellite modem with an Iridium 9603N transceiver.

Gateworks announced a pair of mini-PCIe modems that have been tested — and offer tech support — only on the company’s Linux-based SBCs. Most recently, these include the Cavium Octeon-based Newport GW6100 and GW6200. The GW16126 with Cat-M1 and BLE 5.0 and the GW16130 satellite modem will likely work with other mini-PCIe equipped computers. The GW16126 requires a Linux host computer, while it appears the GW16130 may also work with other operating systems.



GW16126 Cat-M4 modem (left) and GW16130 satellite modem
(click images to enlarge)

 
GW16126

The GW16126 supports Bluetooth 5.0 LE (BLE), as well as Verizon’s new low-power wide-area (LPWA) Cat-M1 service, which we saw recently on Advantech’s ICR-3211B router. Cat-M1 offers 375Kbps, half duplex up/down speeds for IoT or machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. It’s is touted for its low power consumption and exceptional in-building range.

The Cat-M1 modem is based on a U-blox SARA-R410M module. A nano-SIM socket integrates a Hologram IoT starter SIM. The mini-PCIe interface uses USB 2.0 signals to communicate with the host.

The Bluetooth radio is a U-blox NINA-B301 module with a Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 chipset running Zephyr and a Bluetooth HCI UART host interface. Dual u.Fl antenna connectors are also available.



GW16126 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The GW16126 has a networking stack based on a Linux 4.17+ kernel and supports Ubuntu and OpenWrt. The 30 x 60.8 x 6mm card supports -40 to 85°C temperatures. The 3.3V card typically runs on 0.3A.

 
GW16130

For more remotely deployed IoT sites, Gateworks has also launched a GW16130 mini-PCIe satellite modem with an Iridium 9603N satellite transceiver for two-way communications over Iridium’s global, 66-satellite network. The device supports “cost-effective, short burst satellite connectivity for asset tracking, fleet management, telemetry, oceanographic data, grid monitoring, and IoT applications,” says Gateworks.



GW16130 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

As with the GW16126, the device uses USB 2.0 signaling to the host. Serial communications are enabled via an FTDI USB-to-UART bridge. The modem operates at 1616MHz to 1626.5MHz with 1.6W average transmit power and -117dBm receiver sensitivity. There’s a single u.Fl antenna connector.

The 30 x 50.95 x 11.6mm, 3.3V card typically runs at [email protected] C, with a [email protected] C peak transmit rate. It supports -40 to 85°C temperatures. The product requires an Iridium data plan, which typically cost $20 per month with 12KB of data.

 
Further information

The GW16126 Cat-M4 modem and GW16130 satellite modem are available now at an undisclosed price, although they should eventually appear on Gateworks’ mini-PCIe shopping page. More information may be found on the GW16126 product page and GW16126 wiki, as well as the GW16130 product page and GW16130 wiki.
 

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