U-Blox LTE-M and NB-IoT module fits small spaces

  • July 19, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Swiss firm U-Blox has announced an LTE-M and NB-IoT module customised for size-constrained applications.

The Lexi-R4 measures16 by 16mm and supports all LTE-M and NB-IoT bands with an RF output power of 23dBm, also offering the possibility to operate on a 2G network.

The most common use cases comprise small asset trackers, such as pet and personal trackers, micromobility devices, and luggage tags. Yet, its versatility lets it encompass other applications, such as alarm systems, vending machines and stolen vehicle recovery.

The module has been conceived for size-demanding designs that proved challenging for previous modules, although still providing the same capabilities. There is a 40% reduction in dimensions compared with the Sara-R4. The gained space can be used to host larger antennas, which can improve RF performance, or to accommodate larger-size batteries.

Another feature is its 2G fallback capability. Whenever LTE-M or NB-IoT coverage conditions are not optimal, it keeps functioning by falling back onto a 2G network. This is convenient in countries where LTE-M and NB-IoT networks have yet to be fully deployed.

Natively designed to support GNSS AT commands, the module is also ready for GNSS bundling. Its dedicated port enables integration with any of the firm’s M10-based GNSS module, for instance the Mia-M10, hence offering better performance and low-power consumption. Moreover, the module can also connect to additional positioning services such as AssistNow and CellLocate.

“The U-Box Lexi-R4 is ideal for size-constrained applications,” said Samuele Falcomer, senior product line manager at U-Blox. “Since the module supports the U-Blox M10 GNSS platform, customers save execution time and resources. This is because the AT commands and a dedicated I2C port can operate the GNSS core, thus eliminating the need to integrate additional code into the MCU. In addition, the Lexi-R4 module offers a single SKU with global LPWA coverage that simplifies logistics.”

The first samples will be available by the end of this quarter.

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