U-Blox service combines cellular and MQTT

  • November 17, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Swiss firm U-Blox has introduced a service that provides IoT sensor network developers with the flexibility to combine any cellular connectivity with MQTT communications.

The MQTT Flex service lets any SIM-based connectivity leverage MQTT-SN communications at predictable cost with on-demand scalability. MQTT Flex is built on top of the foundation of a scalable, high-performance MQTT broker and data flow manager, making it simple to communicate data between IoT devices and the enterprise.

The service is optimised for asset tracking, sensor networks and monitoring applications, especially those that need little bandwidth and must operate at low power.

The company already offers global connectivity for any type of IoT device through its MQTT Anywhere service and IoT SIM card, enabling seamless global roaming on 2G, 3G and LTE networks. MQTT Flex expands the addressable market by allowing users to bring their existing cellular connectivity together with U-Blox’s IoT communication-as-a-service.

A benefit of MQTT Flex is it offers a bring-your-own-SIM strategy that lets users take advantage of MQTT communications without the operational, logistical or cost impact of changing their mobile network operator. MQTT Flex also allows compliance to IoT project requirements where government or local municipalities might mandate the use of a local network operator.

In some countries, such as Turkey, Brazil and Australia, network operators do not allow permanent roaming, which precludes the use of the MQTT Anywhere global roaming IoT SIM. MQTT Flex overcomes the problem of permanent roaming restrictions by retaining the home network connectivity.

The service also enables MQTT-SN communications over NB-IoT, specifically in regions where global roaming agreements for the low-power, low data-rate radio technology have yet to be agreed. The features of NB-IoT, including extended cellular coverage, may be useful for connecting to systems deep within buildings or below ground, such as utility meters.

All U-Blox services are delivered via the Thingstream IoT service delivery platform. The interface provides a self-serve environment from which users have autonomy to manage IoT device fleets, manage billing, monitor events and have complete API control of functionality. Thingstream enables a frictionless business experience because it eliminates complexities and allows users to engage more efficiently and reduce time to market.

Litigation between U-Blox and Dutch telecommunications operator Koninklijke KPN has been dismissed and the two companies have entered a worldwide, non-exclusive, patent licence agreement for a defined term.

The agreement covers the sale of U-Blox products and services that KPN believes to be essential for telecommunication standards.

“U-Blox respects the intellectual property rights of others and has always been and continues to be a willing licensee to standard essential patents,” said Thomas Seiler, CEO of U-Blox. “In fact, U-Blox views this as a value-added differentiator that benefits U-Box customers and positively distinguishes U-Blox within the module industry. U-Blox remains committed to this strategy; it’s how we create value for our customers.”

With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, the company has offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.