AT&T announced a family of Long Term Evolution (LTE) modules to meet the needs of a range of Internet of things (IoT) applications.
These modules are designed to simplify and lower the cost of IoT device designs as well as to improve device performance.
The M14A2A – LTE Only Category 1 is designed to limit the amount of battery drain on an idle device compared to other LTE modules.
The modules are expected to become available from Wistron NeWeb (WNC), with pricing starting at $14.99 each, plus applicable taxes, beginning in the second quarter. Samples will be available for testing in the first quarter.
Where 3G fallback is needed, WNC offers options such as the M14Q2 – Category 1 and M18Q2 – Category 3. AT&T worked with WNC, a module and device manufacturer, to design the LTE modules, which use an industry standard, surface-mount package specified by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
With this standard for module design, companies can build IoT devices that can more easily interchange modules for different uses, and can also simplify a transition to next-generation modules.
"There are several IoT markets that can benefit from these LTE modules, particularly those that have assets with very long product lifecycles, such as a power grid, utility meters, and asset tracking devices, Cameron Coursey, vice president of product development at AT&T IoT solutions," told eWEEK. "These state of the art modules will help companies better prepare their IoT devices for the future at a very affordable price."
The new modules offer multiple options and can run over the AT&T 4G LTE network, so IoT devices can transfer information more efficiently.
In addition, an LTE-only option offers low current to improve device battery life, which can be useful for some IoT applications.
Other module variants include built-in GPS, voice and data. Modules also are available that support both 4G and 3G networks for IoT devices that need the ability to use either technology.
"We expect that future standards will be more tailored toward devices and services that use low-power bandwidth, since these devices and services have different network requirements compared to smartphones or tablets and need to use technologies that can make the IoT environment more robust and cost effective," Coursey said.
The IoT market continues to gain momentum as vendors and enterprises begin to embrace the opportunities this market presents, according to a June 2015 report from IT research firm IDC.
The worldwide IoT market is expected to grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9 percent.