NB-IoT seminar slides and BC66 datasheets are online

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NB-IoT seminar by Quectel and Comet had more than 130 peoples interested. The hall was full even with people not having place to sit.

It’s understandable as NB-IoT is one of the fastest developing technology.

NB-IoT is new, the standard draft was made in July 2015 and at the beginning of 2016 already has been accepted, just in 6 months.

nb-iot

For comparison LoRa is technology from 2008, but just last couple of years people start using it widely. The other LPWAN Weightless was announced in 2012 but first ever devices were made in July 2017.

Why NB-IoT was developed so fast?

Because Qualcomm, Vodafone, Ericsson and Huawei which are major player in mobile networking are behind it. NB-IoT works with the existing cellular network base station hardware. In practice it’s lightweight LTE implementation and just uses narrow band communication. So to add support for NB-IoT only software upgrade is necessary and it uses the existing infrastructure.

Another boost for NB-IoT is that it was first choice for IoT implementation in China as product with Chinese company (Huawei) involved vs LoRa which is considered technology controlled by US company.

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According to Quectel slides they sold in 2017 36 million modules for about 245 million USD i.e. average price per module is USD 7 which is already in LoRa pricing range.

NB-IoT though offers lot of advantages compared to LoRa. The Narrow Band communication allow the receiver sensitivity to increase many times and with one base station is possible (from the slides) to cover up to 100 km with NB-IoT. Also one single cell base station can serve up to 100 000 NB-IoT nodes!

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Quectel flagman for NB-IoT is BC66

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It’s Multiband: B1+B2+B3+B5+B8+B12+B13+B17+B18+B19+B20+B25+B26+B28+B66 i.e. covers completely all regions US, EU, Asia, Africa, Australia and once you do your design you can scale worldwide.

Anothe major advantage is that it works from 2,1 up to 3.6V. This is very important as Lithium batteries capacities usually are defined when battery is discharged from 3.0 to 2.0 V.

NB-IoT is different from 2G/3G where there are 2A pulses when link to base station is eastablished, here max current drawing is only 250mA when you establish link to base station. Once established link do not need to be re-connected when the module go to PowerSavingMode and wake ups!

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This is why their recommended design has just 100uF filtering capacitor necessary!

Another nice surprise is that in BC66 you have Cortex-M4 78Mhz ARM processor with 400KB Flash and 400KB RAM running FreeRTOS, which you can use for your own applications. There is also ARDUINO support:

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Overall BC66 seems very interesting and we are dedicated to release OSHW boards with it targeting same applications like with LoRa: Smart metering, Parking, Smart City, Industry 4.0 etc.

Who ever have dealt with Chinese vendors know how they hide all info from their potential customers, in this regard Quectel made difference by releasing all BC66 info online after the seminar. You can view all presentations and the datasheets here.

 

PlovdivConf 2018 is this Saturday!

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PlovdivConf is part of IT Tour great initiative, to make regional IT conferences in 5 big cities in Bulgaria: Varna, Burgas, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv. They make it every year and it’s made by the same team which organize the biggest Open Source event in Bulgaria – OpenFest in Sofia.

As Open Fest is huge and there are usually more talks applications than time (OpenFest is just two days)  IT Tour decided to make these regional conferences where local people has more chances to talk on IT subjects.

This year I will have lecture at PlovdivConf and will talk about “How Open Source technologies can help to make our city better place to live”.

Plovdiv municipality recently show interest in Open Source and we will try to help with our expertise and experience. The initial subject they are looking for solutions are: Parking management, City Lighting management, Waste management, Transport management, Bicycle management, and so on. We are already working on FOSS/OSHW solution for all these problems. They are open though to any other subjects which could help them to do their job better, so if you have idea come and share.

In my talk I will try to show the advantages of the Open Source solutions. Everyone is welcome to join the conference. It’s free to attend and we will looking forward to hear you and have after lecture discussions and ideas exchange how we can make our cities better place to live.

 

EDIT-25.09.2018: I’ve just uploaded the translated to English slides on Slideshare. Please pardon errors it was done in no time 😉