B Series LTE Australia Release

Hi, I see in the latest press release mention of the new B Series SOM being a global device. Is there a timeline for the device roll out?

I am in Australia and watching this keenly. As the 3G shutdown gets closer it becomes hard to justify rolling out devices that I know will become obsolete with blackout in 2024.

Particle not having a supported LTE device in Australia is leading me towards investigating other platforms.

any update or information will be appreciated.

Jared

There are two B Series SoM models.

The B402 (LTE Cat M1) can only be used in the United States, Canada, and Mexico due to roaming limitations.

The B523 (LTE Cat 1) is currently only supported in Europe because the Coronavirus limited testing in other areas. That module is expected to work across all EMEAA (Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia) and also Australia and New Zealand. The B523 will not work in the Americas (different frequencies).

Thanks for the response.

It seems that Particle no longer supports the LTE Boron for Australia and from what I can see there aren’t any other LTE devices made for Australia. The products we are designing are for government roads authority and are required to have a minimum life of 5 yrs. We currently have 140+ Particle devices in the field. Our client is now querying how we can meet design specs given the 3G network shutdown deadlines. It does not really suffice to say “we expect a replacement at some time, hopefully…”

My question around timeline is so that I am able to give some context to our client.

I understand that Covid has impacted testing, was there a scheduled timeline pre-Covid? 1 year? Going from “expected to work” to fully approved and accredited I would expect involves a bit of work.

I understand that you would prefer to keep people on the Particle bandwagon though if these devices are not likely to be ready in the near term it would be appreciated if it was communicated so that contingencies can be put in place.

I would be willing to “test” one here. Is there a way of changing the MFF2 sim so that it will operate locally?

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Sorry, I did not explain that well.

There is currently no plan to make the B402 (LTE Cat M1) available on countries other than the US, Canada, and Mexico. LTE Cat M1 has limited ability to do global roaming, and in fact many carriers require per-carrier certification in order to use their LTE Cat M1 networks. This isn’t very scaleable.

LTE Cat 1, on the other hand, currently behaves like existing 2G/3G networks. The B523 has a global SIM and should work in countries where the Electron U270 did (EMEAA), limited by frequency band support, though the carrier list is a different.

We only released the B523 this year. It has the same modem as the Tracker SoM 523 and we expect both to work in all of EMEAA. Testing was only completed in Europe, which is why the B523 is only advertised for Europe at this time, but it’s a testing issue, not a SIM or certification issue.

Perfect.

Thanks for the clarification. We will purchase a few for testing.

@Jared

How did you go with the B523 SOM?

I purchased.some Boron LTE’s and like you am wondering whether I should just look elsewhere. I like the Particle environment but Particle seem to lurch from one issue to another. I planned on using the Boron LTE’s with M2M sim’s - I have yet to try so would appreciate my pointers you can give me.

Thanks

We bought a couple of units for testing. We have been using the E-Series without much issue for 2+ years with 180 deployed. So we are somewhat invested.

In the prelim testing we have done the B523 was easily able to connect to LTE Network, device was registered on Particle and OTA code updates performed. We then had the device publish vitals at set intervals of 2 seconds to detect any issues with drop out, none was evident at this interval.

We are happy enough with the outcome to proceed to further development when time permits. I hope this helps.