Tier ones certify U-Blox module for LTE-M

  • October 21, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Swiss firm U-Blox’s Sara-R5 LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular series is now in production and LTE-M certified with several North American tier-one operators.

The Sara-R5 is the first product family based on the UBX-R5, the firm’s low power wide area (LPWA) chipset, to achieve North American operator certification.

The chipset achieved MNO certification earlier this year and was also the first IoT chipset to be certified by Global Certification Forum (GCF).

The Sara-R5 is aimed at LPWA IoT applications, such as industrial automation, sensors, connected health, metering, asset and vehicle tracking, and telematics.

Secure by design, the series offers robust cloud connectivity. Each module has built-in secure cloud functionality with a unique and immutable identity derived from a hardware-based robust root of trust – hosted inside a secure element – that forms the basis for a trusted set of security features including the management of encryption keys.

Available as IoT security-as-a-service (SaaS), this functionality solves the longevity and safety problems of IoT devices in sensitive or confidential applications.

By bringing all the technology building blocks in house and having full hardware and software ownership, U-Blox says it can guarantee long-term device availability and provide lifetime support of the entire platform down to the chipset level.

The fact that the Sara-R5 is 5G-ready also means users will be able to software upgrade their deployed devices once 5G LTE has been rolled out by mobile operators, improving end-product scalability and lifetime.

“We are thrilled to see our Sara-R5 with our own LPWA chipset now LTE-M certified in the USA and entering production,” said Samuele Falcomer, senior product manager at U-Blox. “The Sara-R5 series is unique for the level of security it brings with a root of trust embedded in a hardware-based secure element and a key management system that is highly optimised for low bandwidth LPWA applications.”

The Sara-R5 series has three product variants, all with secure cloud functionality and supporting IoT SaaS. The Sara-R500S offers LTE connectivity, while the Sara-R510M8S includes an integrated U-Blox M8 GNSS and a separate GNSS antenna interface, providing reliable and accurate positioning data simultaneously with LTE communication. This makes it suitable for mobile applications such as fleet management, tracking and telematics.

The Sara-R510S is designed for low-power battery applications such as metering, smart city, connected health, security and surveillance, and remote monitoring.

With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, U-Blox has offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.