Question about data usage before buying hardware

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I consider buying a particle electron 2G/3G to monitor distance from an ultrasonic sensor. I’ve been working with a hologram dash previously and It was working great(1kb hourly connection), but dash developpment board is now too expensive to continue that way. I also want to say I’m pretty noob with thoses hardware and I would like recommendation to know what I should expect.
1)I want to monitor a distance, battery charge level every hours or depending the measurement, the electron could skip transmitting data for couple of hours to save on data. I think the average could be 1 transmission every 3 hours.
2)I read some info about data consumption and I not sure to understand them correctly. I’m in Canada, the carrier is Rogers. The ping must be every 23minutes to avoid a new handshake of ±4kb. However I may choose Things mobile 3rd party sim card because it cost less. Someone says on the forum he had to ping Rogers every150sec with a particle sim card, so in this case I should consider both sim card to eteblish a new handshake every time and not bother to keep the connection alive. 4kb every 3 hours is about 1mb/month which is fine.
3)Can I use particle webhook to send my data to thingspeak with any brand of sim card? I need to graph the measurements.
4)How will be the transition to electron cat-m1 when this band will be avalable in Canada. Does my code will fit this new unit without modification. I ask because I may spend many hours, just to debug my stuff as a novice and would like to export the same sketch to new hardware.
Excuse my poor language and thanks in advance to share your thought on that


Hi @Squid, I’ll answer what I can:

yes! The sim card helps in transporting the info from the Electron to the Particle Cloud.
Once on the cloud, you can hit any service you want with a webhook - in no relationship with any sim you may be using.

If you are moving from Electron 2G to Electron 3G, the code will not change at all, I’m pretty sure.
If you meant from Electron to Boron 2G/3G or LTE, then I suspect there will be some minor changes, depending on the libraries you would use.

Good luck!


thanks for your reply. Do you know something with the data consumption?


Particle uses CoAP for it’s messaging. CoAP is a stripped down version of HTTP that i understand, so it should be fairly data efficient.

In addition to data usage, you will want to make note of the data used for KeepAlive packets as well.

When using a Particle SIM card, I believe the KeepAlive timeout is around 23 minutes, approximately. For most third party SIM cards, this can be anywhere from 90 seconds to 7 minutes, meaning much more frequent pings for KeepAlive. This can result in a noticeable difference in data usage, depending on whether or not you make use of a first or third party SIM card.


I’m dealing with saving battery(would like to run 2 months with 2000mah) ma and low data cost operation. Particle sim cost 3$,3mb/month, things cost something like 0.60$mb/month. I would like to fit the data into 1 or 2 mb/month.

let’s take the worst case with ping every 90s. First it will consume more battery than waking up every 2-3 hours and data will be roughtly (correct me if I’m wrong) 130bytesevery time. 120 ping over 3 hours = 15kb. Another solution is to put the board for a 3 hours deep sleep with modem off then wake up and get a ±5kb every message(1.2mb/month), this is 3 time less data and it reach my goal buth with less communication.

With particle sim card, it cost more every months, need 8 ping over 3 hours = 1kb (under 1 mb/month)

is this what I should expect with both sim card?



few resources I came across that may help you a bit:

One: a wildly inaccurate power consumption calculator (and data?)



that’s some great links. I did find the first one but I doubt it’s ok for handshake stuff. But I did find couple of data info on the second one. But does using other Sim could affect handshake usage? There is probably tons of users here using non-Particle sim card. Briefly, how data will be used, same as particle sim?


If you are only sending data every hour or so, regardless of which SIM card you are using, you probably will want to handshake from scratch with the cloud for both battery and data savings.

If you are handshaking every time anyways, you’ll use the exact same amount of data no matter what SIM card you use (assuming you are staying awake for only a very short amount of time).

Keep in mind that the price for access to the Particle Cloud includes the data cost. You will have to pay the $3 per month no matter what for the privilege of accessing the Particle Cloud, and that includes the 3MB of data (might be moving up to 5MB now/soon too?).

Given that, it sounds like you should probably just use the Particle SIM and use SLEEP_MODE_DEEP.


Thanks a lot for your compete reply.
I see in some place I can have 100 electrons connected to the cloud and using webhook for free, regardless the sim used. More thant that, there is a added price per unit. However, when I click buy a kit, there is written 3 months free cloud access and 3mb/month but says nothing for the 100units free cloud access.

I did not specify earlier, but I would in the possible to pause my SIM cards 2 to 3 consecutive months to pay no fees. Then reactivate the Sim cards while retaining the previously established webhooks for each of the devices. Otherwise the other approach would be to drop the webhooks and directly communicate electron-thingspeak, but I can not find any information regarding the consumption of data in this regard.


Yes, when you have up to 100 electrons together in a Particle Product under your account, the device cloud costs will be waived forever if and only if you use a third party SIM card. The three months free access is a separate promotion.

You could absolutely pause your SIM cards and pay no fees, though it’s possible you may need to put them into a “product”.