u-blox Introduces its First Multi-mode Cellular and Satellite IoT Module with Embedded Positioning - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

u-blox Introduces its First Multi-mode Cellular and Satellite IoT Module with Embedded Positioning

The u-blox SARA-S520M10L is designed to ensure seamless connectivity even when no terrestrial cellular network is available.

u-blox, a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies and services, has announced its SARA-S520M10L, a cellular and satellite IoT module with accurate, low-power positioning, and ubiquitous connectivity. The module’s communication and tracking capability is ideal for asset tracking, fleet management, maritime transportation, mining, utilities, and smart agriculture applications. It also serves market segments such as anti-theft systems, industrial monitoring and control, as well as applications that require communication in safety-critical scenarios.

The u-blox SARA-S520M10L is the smallest multi-mode cellular and satellite IoT module on the market. It provides connectivity through terrestrial cellular networks and geostationary (GEO) satellites. Measuring approximately 400 mm2 with LTE-M/NB-IoT, L-band satellite connectivity, and embedded navigation capability, it is pin-compatible with other u-blox cellular-only modules in the SARA form factor. The module can provide location fixes using up to four satellite constellations.

This is the first u-blox module designed with the 2nd generation of the u-blox UBX-R5 chip, the UBX-R52/S52. The S52 variant was developed to support satellite IoT communication alongside LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular standards.

Several factors have contributed to increasing demand for satellite communication to complement standard cellular connectivity within the IoT ecosystem. The need for global, ubiquitous connectivity has been rising steadily for years and has grown significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Critical goods in the supply chain must be tracked, although only a small proportion of the Earth’s surface is served by terrestrial cellular networks. In parallel, the IoT market has expanded at a steady pace, including use cases that need connectivity support in regions where cellular coverage is unreliable or absent.

“The u-blox SARA-S520M10L is our first IoT module that integrates both cellular and satellite connectivity. Comparable solutions on the market require two distinct subsystems, one for cellular and another for satellite connectivity. SARA-S520M10L is built around a single, highly-integrated, multi-mode modem system-on-chip (SoC), which reduces size and complexity,” says Alessandro Bonetti, Senior Product Manager, Product Center Cellular at u-blox. “Combining this versatile SoC with u-blox’s unique GNSS capability offers the perfect solution for mobile and stationary IoT applications in challenging environments such as isolated places, mountains, or in the middle of the ocean.”

The first samples will be available by Q1 2024.