Product News: Expanded LTE M1 connectivity, Bluetooth and NFC APIs are now generally available

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Today we’re excited to roll out expanded capabilities across two of our newest IoT connectivity technologies to better support your next steps in IoT:

  • Particle LTE M1 cellular connectivity has been extended to Canada and Mexico to better support North American IoT deployments. LTE M1 is now generally available for the US, Canada, and Mexico, and is immediately available for all new and existing LTE-enabled hardware, including the Electron LTE, E402, and Boron LTE.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and NFC APIs are now officially out of beta and are generally available in Device OS v1.4.0 and later (v1.4.0-rc.1 available today).

Learn more about each product release below.

Particle LTE M1 now generally available across North America

As carriers roll out support for LTE M1 connectivity across North America, Particle is working closely with our partners to ensure that these new LTE M1 networks provide robust, reliable connectivity for your devices. With the expansion of service to Canada and Mexico, our LTE M1 service is now generally available to support deployments across multiple North American geographies.

Connectivity is provided in conjunction with the following carrier partners and has been confirmed in the following geographies:

Country Carrier Coverage maps Confirmed geographies
USA AT&T Coverage map All 50 states
Canada Telus (primary), Bell, Rogers Coverage map Burnaby, Calgary, Edmonton, Kitchener, Montreal, North Vancouver, Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Verdun, West Vancouver, Winnipeg
Mexico AT&T Mexico Coverage map Guadalajara, Mexico City, Tijuana, Zapopan

If you already have a Particle LTE device, it will automatically gain access to these improvements to our connectivity offering with no action required. Visit our retail store for the latest LTE-enabled Particle hardware.

Low power, data optimized Bluetooth Low Energy for IoT

The potential of Bluetooth in IoT is substantial, and we’re already seeing how Particle customers are leveraging BLE for better user experience in mobile apps — here’s an example of BLE in action.

From retrofitting legacy Bluetooth-enabled machinery to enabling in field service and diagnostics, BLE and NFC allow you to create more compelling experiences for your product’s end users while maximizing battery life and reducing device-to-device communications latency.

After releasing Bluetooth Low Energy and NFC APIs in beta this past June, these connectivity tools are now generally available on all of our newest hardware (the Argon, Boron, and Xenon) with some additional features not included in the beta.

The latest Device OS v1.4.0 release includes support for:

  • Bluetooth central, peripheral, broadcaster, and observer roles
  • Multi-roles such as a device functioning as a central and peripheral device simultaneously
  • Multi-links including support for up to three central connections to a peripheral at once Bluetooth 5.0 improved features including increased data rate of 2Mbps, long-range mode of 500kbps and 125kbps, an 8x improvement in broadcast capability with advertising extensions
  • Improved channel selection algorithm (CSA #2) which enables better channel coordination and coexistence efficiency with other Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth traffic

We have also made our NFC APIs, which support the built-in NFC Tag functionality of the Argon, Boron, and Xenon, generally available in the same v1.4.0 release. Note – to leverage NFC features, all development kits will require the NFC antenna.

Learn how to get started with BLE in our tutorials here and our API reference documentation here. Update your Device OS to 1.4.0 or later in the Web IDE, Console, or CLI to get access to BLE and NFC APIs.

@dcschelt @will I have asked previously if the importance of BLE could be recognised with its own category in the community forum. Might this be the time to introduce such a category?

Seeing as I am based in Europe - could you indicate when you will be able to release Boron-LTE on this side of the Atlantic. I understand that LTE M1 services are now launched.

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Also, is there Boron LTE connectivity in Chile?

I think this is a great idea – will do so after responding to this post!

This is a complicated question, because M1 network status varies dramatically by country and even by carrier in a particular country. What we have learned from the LTE M1 network rollout in the US is that new networking technologies require time to mature before they approach and exceed the reliability of the one they are replacing (2G/3G).

To illustrate – here is an article from Fall 2016 (!!) where AT&T and Verizon are both claiming to be the first to complete network rollout of LTE M1 here in the US:

The reality is that, three years later, we are still working with the carriers and hardware providers to iron out wrinkles in their deployment and mitigating issues resulting from the rollout of LTE M1. The incentives of carriers to drive activity and adoption on their networks is not aligned with IoT product creators requirements for highly reliable managed connectivity.

Most major European carriers are, in our estimations, about 2 years behind US carriers in terms of the rollout status and maturity of their LTE M1 networks, in part because of an investment in NB-IoT (another can of worms) and in part because of slower sunsets for 2G networks (supported through 2025 by major carriers).

So, in short – we are committed to bringing LTE M1 connectivity to Europe as soon as possible, because we believe that it is the best cellular networking technology for Particle use cases. That being said, we will do so cautiously, and only provide coverage once we believe that it can replace incumbent technologies with a comparable or superior degree of reliability.


Would it possible to build off this work?