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.

The B523 currently is officially supported only in Europe. However, it is very likely to work in Australia and New Zealand, and that region will be the first to be opened to an official beta later this year. The hardware is the same.

@rickkas7 can I seek clarification please.

I purchased a couple of Boron LTE for development of a telehealth application but for several reasons have not tested them. I am about to do so.

My intention is to use a 3rd party sim from M2Mone who use the Telstra network. One reason being cost and the ability to pool data allowance across a fleet of devices.

I have read that Particle no longer support Boron LTE’s other than in the US but have not been able to find anything definitive.

The Boron LTE uses the SARA R410-02B and a Telstra document states that these SARA modules are approved for use on the Telstra Cat M1 network. I understand that Particle have not sought certification in Australia.

Any insight you can give me would be appreciated,

As a second question, Are the B523 modules limited to an esim hard coded to Particle or is it possible to use 3rd party connections. I would use Particle SIM except for (a) cost compared to the M2M offering snd (b) concerns re limited extent of the Vodafone network cf the Telstra network.

Thanks

The Boron LTE (BRN402, LTE Cat M1, with u-blox SARA-R410M-02B) is only supported with the built-in Particle MFF2 SIM in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

It is possible to use the Boron LTE with a 3rd-party SIM in some cases. Telstra is one that currently works, however you need to manually configure the MNO (“Mobile Network Operator”) profile using AT+UMNOPROF. Telstra is profile 4.

In other cases, such as Verizon in the United States, you cannot use a Verizon SIM or a provider that can use Verizon (like Hologram), because Verizon LTE Cat M1 requires certification of the device and registration of all certified device IMEIs, so after a few days, the device will be blocked from the network if not certified.

No current Particle cellular devices have programmable eSIMs. The ones with built-in SIMs (Boron, B Series, Tracker SoM) are MFF2 SMD SIMs, which are basically the same as 4FF nano SIM cards, except in a smaller solderable SMD form-factor. They cannot be reprogrammed to other carriers.

@rickkas7. Thanks for the quick reply - that is encouraging as it will allow me to experiment with my existing Boron’s using an M2M sim on the Telstra network. That remains my preferred longer term course since we would like to maximise the number of units (possibly as many as 50-100) for a cost-sensitive medical R&D trial.

I can revisit the Boron/B523 choice once I have demonstrated LTE feasibility - I am currently able to transfer the data in realtime using Argon and Boron 3G.