Quectel announces smart module at MWC

  • October 13, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

At last month’s Mobile World Congress in Las Vegas, Quectel announced its SC680A smart module with connectivity options including LTE Cat 6, Wifi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0.

The module is targeted at mid-tier IoT devices including PoS and payment terminals, industrial handhelds for logistics and warehousing, in-vehicle infotainment and dashcams, as well as micro-mobility applications and small electric cars.

“We are excited to introduce another highly integrated smart module which gives global customers more flexibility in their IoT device designs,” said Norbert Muhrer, president of Quectel. “It enables a variety of industrial and consumer IoT verticals with high data rate and powerful camera features. The SC680A also has a long lifecycle through to 2028 so that it can satisfy the need for extended hardware availability and help the IoT sector create future-proof IoT.”

Using the Qualcomm QCM4290 platform, the module adopts a customised 64bit Arm v8.0 compliant octa-core Kryo 260 application processor for increased speed and robust on-device performance.

It supports multimode LTE Cat 6 cellular networks with short-range wireless communication technologies such as Bluetooth 5.0 and Wifi 802.11ac and upgradability to Wifi 6. The L1 plus L5 dual-band multi-constellation and high-precision GNSS (GPS, Glonass, BDS, Galileo, NavIC and QZSS) receiver is also embedded to optimise positioning services.

An embedded Android 12 operating system allows for future iterative upgrades to Android 13 or 14 and is suitable for Google GMS certification. Equipped with an Adreno 610 GPU, the module supports four cameras and up to 25MP dual cameras to work simultaneously.

To meet the different needs of various regions around the world, the SC680A comes in multiple variants. The SC680A-NA is for North America with samples available later this month. The SC680A-WF (Wifi and Bluetooth only) is for global markets and will also be available this month. Already sampling, the SC680A-EM is for Emea, Korea, south Asia, India, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Another variant, the SC680A-JP, is under planning for the Japanese market.

Designed with pin-to-pin compatibility with Quectel’s previous generation smart modules such as the SC600Y, SC600T, SC606T and SC686A series, the SC680A can help IoT developers upgrade their smart terminals and accelerate time to market.

Also at MWC, Qualcomm and Quectel showed the first 5G cellular module in the PC and laptop industry that enables wifi and 5G cellular link aggregation, a feature that significantly improves data speeds in poor wifi scenarios.

Wifi and 5G cellular link aggregation supplements poor wifi with cellular data on an as-needed basis to enhance high data speeds while keeping down cellular data usage. This smart, adaptative feature improves a user’s web browsing experience in poor wifi scenarios, including when wifi signals are weak or overloaded, while keeping down use of cellular data, which can have costs associated with its usage.

The demonstration used Quectel 5G cellular modules – the RM502Q-AE and the RM520N-GL powered by Snapdragon X65, X62 and X55 5G modem-RF systems connected with a commercial laptop, enabled by an app developed by their engineering team.

For years, Qualcomm has managed a technical value-added services (Tech VAS) programme to support the mobile ecosystem, helping it develop and deploy advanced and often complex technologies. As part of the Tech VAS programme, the cellular link aggregation feature has already been commercialised in certain smartphones, but this collaboration with Quectel is the first time it has come to the PC and laptop market.

“It’s so great to see the successful results of our collaboration with Quectel,” said An Chen, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm. “The services provided by our Tech VAS team are just one of the many examples of how Qualcomm companies have been spearheading the advanced technology development, enabling our partners through technology collaborations to keep the ecosystem healthy. When our collaborators like Quectel succeed in bringing to market their devices enabled by our fundamental R&D, we consider everyone better for it. This is another example of how we use our technology expertise and leadership to support our customer’s differentiation, global business expansion and success.”

Neset Yalcinkaya, vice president at Quectel, added: “We are very proud of our successful demonstration at MWC Las Vegas and are pleased with our successful collaboration with Qualcomm. Quectel was created in 2010 to pursue the dream of a smarter world. We exist to connect devices and people to networks and services, powering digital transformation and innovation, helping to build a smarter world. Our products and services help make life more convenient, efficient, comfortable, prosperous and secure.”