Will Boron work with Telus Cat M1 in Canada?


If that was so, there would be little need for a dedicated 2G/3G device shipping to other countries with LTE Cat M1 support.


when you say “if that were true” it implies you are not certain if that is the case. ScruffR, please, correct me if i’m wrong. i base what i say on what i understand to be correct. if i’m not correct, please correct me. with facts. not “ifs” thanks.


@peekay123 my post was about general pricing of LTE/3g related connectivity costs in regards to iot devices and point of comparison from foreign operators. Obviously I cant find a single Cdn operator that has to date posted pricing of this on any Cdn website.

As we all know, Canadians generally get hosed when it comes with wireless data rates, so here’s to hoping Particle strikes a good deal or one/more of the existing operators come up with a sensible pricing package that anyone could sign up with a sim and choose a price plan. I have to see it to believe it!!!

I believe Bell Canada has had the LTE Cat M1 network operational longer than Telus has, but no pricing info anywhere.


LTE CAT-M1 modems can only connect to LTE CAT-M1 providers and do not have fallback to 2G/3G. The Ublox SARA modem used for LTE also supports NB-IoT which uses even lower power but uses smaller messages not suitable for implementing Particle cloud connectivity.


@peekay123, isn’t fallback different than initial handshake? reason i ask is wouldn’t every single answering modem on at&t network have to be one that understood CAT M1 protocol to handshake the incoming and route it to the part of at&t CAT M1 network ? when someone plugs in a boron and calls a local exchange number do all the local exchanges have only CAT M1 capable modems answering? the part about this particular module not having 3G “fallback” is unfortunate aspect of particle being early adopter of the tech because ublox has now released [or will very soon] a CAT M1 module that does. so, yeah, seems like if something happens to at&t CAT M1 network all boron V 1 owners are dead in the water until it comes back up.


@kennethlimcp I’ll do some more testing with it over the holidays and get back to you.


the Boron LTE module can only connect to the LTE Cat M1 network and the Boron 2G/3G can connect to traditional 2G and 3G networks.

think wifi 802.11xx (a/b/g/n/ax blah blah blah) some of the newer devices may not be able to connect to 802.11b routers anymore.

The LTE module used in the Boron LTE version can only connect to operators that support Cat M1 band which is specifically used for IoT solutions (as mentioned by @peekay123) , the Cat M1 is a clever play to utilize the large LTE deployment used for traditional smartphone network, its a stopgap measure of sorts by wireless operators to jump into IoT connectivity.

the alternative to all of the cellular based solutions is LoraWan and Sigfox

I am sure Particle could have chosen to use a modem that supports Cat M1 and 3G/2G but it would likely be too expensive etc instead they chose to provide two variants.

Maybe there could be a Lorawan/Sigfox option in the future.

noticed something interesting:
Looking at the section “Recommended Operating condition” Under Technical Specifications, The 26/3G peak current consumes 1800ma when using the 2G fallback.

compare that with the peak LTE Cat M1 at 490ma. Big difference in power efficiency due to Cat M1



well, in looking at this, [start page 45]

it seems as if the module is capable of some things that are locked by at&t. but i wonder if that means the “factory programmed” settings can not be re-programmed by a user. probably can not.
anyway, i stand corrected on this. i learn something new everyday. seems these modules scan for a suitable cell before connecting. hopefully there are suitable cells located near where my boron is. :thinking:


@dkryder what are you after?

attempting to connect a Boron LTE Cat M1 modem to a non Cat M1 cell tower???


the thought occurred to me that if a project was created that relied on the Cat M1 network and some issue specific to Cat M1 caused problems either connecting and/or dropped connections, or too many connection attempts upon a specific tower, that a design feature of the module could find another path on the overall network to get the data through. outside of NB1, which might not yet be completely operational, that seems to not be the case. i also remember when cells first started there were not always enough cell sockets on every tower and so it was at times impossible to connect until the phone company physically added more capability to the tower which sometimes took months. i specifically remember at&t were good at foot dragging about that. i would guess it just depends on the area you live in as well as the specific tower and how crowded the Cat M1 traffic is at that location in relation to the number of Cat M1 cells on the tower. i’m very impressed with the fact that with all the advancements in technology it seems at&t has created a module with limited pathways. i’m thinking maybe because it gives them better control over the data plans and total bandwidth.


@dkryder ahh gotcha. With the proliferation of IoT solutions, its in the operators best interest to ensure there is ample capacity to handle the surge of devices connecting via Cat M1. a bad name is no good for business!

in due time, a modem module supporting Cat M1 and 3g/4G for fallback is is inevitable as it becomes cost effective at the loss of power efficiency. perhaps this is where Lorawan and Sigfox could shine.

NB-IoT could be possible but requires a large investment from what I understand at the infrastructure level. again Lorawan/Sigfox could shine.


@dkryder, if you are referring to the SARA-412 which can fallback to EGPRS then that’s not really a long term solution since 2G (EGPRS = “edge” or 2.5G) is being phased out FAST. Some US and European areas are not just phasing out 2G but 3G as well. The LTE CAT-M1 and NBIoT hardware is designed for low power operation and the wisest choice for IoT solutions IMO. So this is not about being “an early adopter” of Particle devices.

I don’t believe so as M1/NBIot uses different hardware than 3G and the latter is being phased out quicker than I would have thought. North America is betting on CAT-M1/NBIoT while it seems that Europe is adding SigFox/LoraWan. However, the nature of LoraWan doesn’t lend itself to supporting Particle Cloud connectivity well and doesn’t seem to have gained much traction in North America. A British company called Pycom put out their Microphython-based FiPy which hits all bases by having LTE-M1/NBIoT, Sigfox, LoraWan, WiFi and BLE all in one package. The Boron specializes in the most or soon to be most commonly available service. It is even available in 2G/3G for areas that are slower to migrate with an easy upgrade path when the time comes.


maybe remove the boron as the mesh gateway and use an argon with an initial outbound connection to something like the omega2 that would normally route the traffic to a standalone boron via ethernet but if a problem was detected then the omega2 would route to an electron via ethernet. this would require 2 accounts but only one is used for data at any time. either that or have the omega2 log the data until the boron resumes solid connection. one could use a lot of other available technologies but in doing so probably get away from the value of the particle cloud. my thought is to have a safety valve in getting the data to the cloud as soon as possible in the event of issues with Cat M1 hence suggestion of electron as alternate path. my understanding of particle mesh network plans would probably allow this setup as a mesh network with only one gateway since the argon [the gateway] would be the only device that was a part of the mesh network. the boron and electron would be standalone.


@natedog hows your trial with telus LTE M1 and Boron going so far…


I haven’t done anything extensive yet but I will say that it stays connected. I have had more disconnect events from both an argon and an ethernet xenon than I have from the boron.


I just ordered some Cat M1 sim from Telus as well for my Boron test bed. Let you know the outcome as well.


Please keep us posted!!



As suspected by @kennethlimcp, Boron becomes unresponsive to Particle.function calls or OTA updates only a few minutes after start. Device still breathing cyan, but unreachable.

Going to experiment with different keepalive times, and maybe see if Telus has any documentation about this.


120s appears to be too long! I have it set at 60s now and it so far seems to be staying connected.


Got a Telus IoT sim chip which was pre-tested to verify that it has data and is on the LTE-M cat 1 network, confirmed.

Got a Boron

installed particle cli and associated files to flash the latest firmware

followed the instructions from https://docs.particle.io/support/particle-devices-faq/electron-3rdparty-sims/#setting-up-a-3rd-party-sim-card-boron and as posted by @natedog but running into issues when trying to claim the device

so I can identify the device, got the iccid of the device

then I go to claim the device but before I do that, I need to put the Boron onto breathing Cyan mode, but it only keeps flashing green and never gets out of that…

any suggestions?


If your device is stuck in blinking green it means the the device cannot connect to the cellular network.

In your case:

  • Switching to the external SIM didn’t take, and your device is still trying to use the built-in Particle SIM.
  • Your Telus SIM isn’t activated.
  • No LTE Cat M1 service on a nearby tower
  • Hardware issue, antenna, or something along those lines.
  • ???

Getting a Boron Cloud Debug Log may be helpful in figuring out what’s wrong.