SparkFun LTE CAT M1/NB-IoT Shield - SARA-R4

The SparkFun LTE CAT M1/NB-IoT Shield equips your Arduino or Arduino-compatible microcontroller with access to data networks across the globe. This shield adds wireless, high-bandwidth cellular functionality to your IoT project while maintaining low power consumption and a small footprint. The SparkFun LTE CAT M1/NB-IoT Shield is based off the Arduino R3’s footprint that allows you to easily incorporate it with favorite Arduino-based device.

At the heart of the LTE Cat M1/NB-IoT shield is a u-blox SARA-R410M-02B LTE Cat M1/NB-IoT modem. Cat M1 (Category M1) and NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) are both Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies that are designed to provide cellular communication to small IoT devices. They operate on LTE network bands just like most smartphones, and should be supported by most cellular network carriers. The u-blox SARA-R4 module communicates over a UART via a simple AT command set. We’ve provided a library to help you get started with everything from sending SMS text messages to communicating with servers over a TCP/IP connection. Additionally, both the module and library support an I2C GPS interface via a Qwiic connector, so you can plug in a u-blox GPS module and start remotely tracking your project.

Each SparkFun LTE CAT M1/NB-IoT Shield also includes a ceramic, Molex 1462000001 SMD antenna. The antenna has a gain of 3.8dBi around 1.7GHz to 2.7GHz. However, if you would prefer to use an external antenna, we have provided a U.FL connector that can be utilized by simply slicing through a jumper with a hobby knife.

Please be aware that there are a few extra parts required to get this shield fully functioning, other than an Arduino-based device. First, you'll need to supply your own SIM card, such as this one from Hologram (we do also offer this shield with an included one as well) and your own headers which will need to be soldered on.

Note: Be sure to check the Hardware Overview section in the Hookup Guide for compatible GPS modules. The onboard Qwiic connector is only designed to support u-blox-based GPS modules. It does not support any other GPS modules or sensors. We are continuing to add more modules so be sure to check back every so often to find out more!

SparkFun LTE CAT M1/NB-IoT Shield - SARA-R4 Product Help and Resources

Three Quick Tips About Using U.FL

December 28, 2018

Quick tips regarding how to connect, protect, and disconnect U.FL connectors.

LTE Cat M1/NB-IoT Shield Hookup Guide

November 20, 2018

The SparkFun LTE CAT M1/NB-IoT Shield equips your Arduino or Arduino-compatible microcontroller with access to data networks across the globe. This shield adds wireless, high-bandwidth cellular functionality to your IoT project!

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

1 Soldering

Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Comments

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  • Would the library in the documentation work for any STM32 Nucleo boards? I currently want to add cellular capability to my Nucleo board and was wondering if I could use this shield with my board(it is Arduino shield compatible) and program it using the mbed online compiler as opposed to the Arduino IDE.

  • I don't see the Ublox on the schematic. Is it on there?

    Is it possible to communicate with the Ublox directly over USB? For example, talk between a RasPi and this board.

    • Sorry, looks like only the first page of the schematic made it onto the .pdf file. I am updating that right now.

      I believe you can communicate with the shield over USB. The is a small section covering that in the hookup guide.

      • Thanks. It came right up after closing the USB-DET jumper, and pressing the power switch.

        If you guys ever get it running with a PI over USB, please share!

        • Awesome.

          I'll mention it to the development team. However, it might be a while before someone has a chance to work on that and create some documentation with the AT command set. If you are looking for something more simple to plug and play on the Raspberry Pi, I recommend taking a look at the Hologram Nova. I have the 3G version and it was very simple to set up and the online documentation is excellent.

  • Hi we got couple of these shield and were trying to interface with this ncd.io ESP32.

    for debug purposes we tried to connect this to a PC through USB. we did solder the usb detect solder pad. as soon as we connected it killed the USB port and came with a warning that usb port is consuming too much current. nothing else was connected to this shield any idea whats going on?

    Thanks

    • Please, head over to our new forums to post a topic for assistance. That being said, there is a possibility that you burnt out the GPIO pins. I believe the ESP332 is a 3.3V logic level board and the LTE shield is a 5V board on the Arduino header pins.

  • Would This work with blynk? Will this modem work if LTE Cat-M1/NB-IoT is not available, but 4G LTE is available?

    • Do you mean the Blynk app? I am not very knowledgable on how boards are integrated into their application. I assume you could try to use it with a supported microcontroller board and were able to integrate code blocks for specific AT commands, but that sounds like a question for Blynk.

      I believe that is a cellular carrier specific question. However, this forum post seems to answer that well.

  • Will this modem work if LTE Cat-M1/NB-IoT is not available, but 4G LTE is available?

Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

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0 of 1 found this helpful:

NB IOT

  1. easy to use and clear lable to read very good design

  2. at little bit confuse on the the TIME to press and hold on
    POWER active on PIN5 wkether over 3 seconds or under 3 seconds (by data sheet)