31 Replies Latest reply: Feb 18, 2014 6:26 AM by bn2dave RSS

GSM/GPRS certified module selection

Novice

Hello! I need a little help with module manufacturer selection. Basically, we want to include in our design a pre-certified module and we are currently considering Telit, Sierra wireless and Cinterion. Based on Your experience, which one do you recommend and what are the major differences?

 

Thank You in advance.

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Newbie

    Hello Johnny,

     

    You actually chose the leaders in the M2M arena: Telit, Sierra Wireless and Cinterion share more than 60% of the total M2M market.

    Each one of them offers a variety of modules, so you can easily select the required technology and necessary features.

     

    Usually, the M2M products designed to be in the field for at least a decade, so the technical/business support and financial stability of the partner you choose to work with is a very important factor of your consideration.

     

    Telit is a fast-growing (both organically and through the acquisitions) wireless M2M company, achieving steadily increasing sales in the last four years.

    Telit market share increased from 12% in 2009 to 16% in 2010 and to over 21% in 2011

    Please follow the link for the quick financial data: http://www.telit.com/en/about/investor-relations/financial-summary.php

    If you compare Telit market share and revenue growth with its competitors, you will defenitely notice the difference.

     

    Finally, Telit is the only pure M2M Company dedicated to the wireless modules. Telit's Core Values are Reliability, Quality and Customer Orientation. We are always here to support you during the evaluation, development, certification and deployment phases.

     

    Please feel free to approach me directly at: ts-northamerica@telit.com

     

    Regards,

    Vitaly Kurduban

    Telit Wireless Solutions

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Curtis Govan Expert

    Hi Johnny,

     

    As noted by Vitally, you've selected the top players.  Are you looking for a 2G or 3G module?  If it's 2G, make certain it's one that will be in distribution throughout your products deployment lifespan.

     

    Regards,

    Curtis

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Harald Naumann Expert

    Hi Johnny,

     

    for a Telit GE865 plus Fastrax UP501 I can help with an inexpensive evaluation kit für estimated USD 200 including the evaluation kit for the uC called TDGL002.

    If you plug the two PCBs together, then you will get a cheap M2M system on open source schematic diagrams. If you do not plan GPS, then just ignore the receiver. If you want another Telit in your final application, then just use it. All Telit GSM cores are the same. Even if you plan to use a 3G module, then the start with a 2G module eval kit is ok. In your redesign you can replace it. Nevertheless at my blog http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/ I am writting once a week about wireless M2M. Most of my hints and proposals are based on a Telit module right now.

    Table with Arduino´s

    The prices at the table are catched in November 2011 on Internet. The BUDGETARY prices of Microchip you can get by using their Microchip Advanced Part Selector . The parameters of the Microchip micro controllers are picked by cut  and paste. The technical data of the ATMEL are a manual selection from  the website of ATMEL. Please excuse mistakes. Any hint on mistakes are  welcome.


    chipKIT Max32 IOT, AVL, Smart Home, AAL, M2M and M2M2P on ArduinochipKIT Uno32 IOT, AVL, Smart Home, AAL, M2M and M2M2P on ArduinoPIC24F Android STK 300x214 IOT, AVL, Smart Home, AAL, M2M and M2M2P on ArduinoArduino Mega 2560 150x150 IOT, AVL, Smart Home, AAL, M2M and M2M2P on ArduinoArduino UNO SMD 150x150 IOT, AVL, Smart Home, AAL, M2M and M2M2P on Arduino

    PIC32MX795F512LPIC32MX320F128LPIC24FJ256GB110ATmega2560ATmega328
    * The   prices is for BUDGETARY USE ONLY, shown in USD, and is subject to   change.1: 10.40
    26: 9.53
    100: 8.63
    1000: 7.94*
    5000+  6.83*
    1:5.58
    26:5.11
    100: 4.63
    1000: 4.26*
    5000+ 4.05*
    1: 7.01
    26: 6.42
    100: 5.82
    1000: 5.35*
    5000+ 5.09*
    1:    $20.04
    10:  $13.14
    25:  $11.43
    100:  $11.30
    1:    $5.69
    10:  $5.29
    25:  $4.89
    100:  $4.35
    250:  $3.42
    Part   number eval kitTDGL003TDGL002DM240415??????
    Evaluation   kit with Arduino footprint andchipKIT Max32™ Prototyping   PlatformchipKIT Uno32™ Prototyping   PlatformPIC24F Accessory Development   Starter Kit for AndroidArduino Mega ADKArduino Uno
    Android   accesory libariesyesyesyesyesYes
    Core32-bit PIC3232-bit PIC3216-bit PIC248-bit AVR8-bit AVR
    Price per   eval kitUSD 50USD 27USD 80USD 88USD 30
    P.Memory   (Kbytes)512 Flash128 Flash256 Flash256 Flash256 Flash
    P.Memory   (Kwords)1283285

    Self-Write   FlashYesYesYes??
    RAM   (Bytes)128K16K16K8K2K
    EEPROM   (Bytes)0004K1K
    I/O Pins8585848623
    Max CPU   Speed80 MHz (80 MIPS)80 MHz (80 MIPS)32 MHz (16 MIPS)16 MHz (16 MIPS)20 MHz (20 MIPS)
    Internal   OSC8 MHz, 32 kHz8 MHz, 32 kHz8 MHz, 32 kHz32 KHz RTC32 KHz RTC
    CodeGuard   Security

    Basic

    System   Mgmt FeaturesBOR, LVD, POR, WDT, RTCC, WUR,   8-DMA, nanoWatt-[Low Speed, Fast Wake, Pwr Modes]BOR, LVD, POR, WDT, RTCC, WUR,   nanoWatt-[Low Speed, Fast Wake, Pwr Modes]BOR, LVD, POR, WDT, RTCC,   nanoWatt-[Low Speed, Fast Wake, Pwr Modes]

    Analog   Peripherals2-Comparatorsw/SRLatch, Bandgap –   Internal, OpAmp, ShuntReg; 1A/D, 16×10-bit @ 1000ksps2-Comparatorsw/SRLatch, Bandgap –   Internal, OpAmp, ShuntReg; 1A/D, 16×10-bit @ 1000ksps3-Comparatorsw/SRLatch, OpAmp,   ShuntReg; 1A/D, 16×10-bit @ 500ksps; CTMU1-Comparator, 16A/D, 16×10-bit @   15ksps1-Comparator, 16A/D, 8×10-bit @   15ksps
    Digital   Comm. Peripherals6-UART, 4-SPI, 5-I2C2-UART, 2-SPI, 2-I2C4-UART, 3-SPI, 3-I2C, PPS4-UART, 5-SPI, 1-I2C1-UART, 2-SPI, 1-I2C
    Connectivity1-FS Host/OTG-USB 2.0 OTG, 2-CAN,   10/100 Base-TX Mac, LIN, IrDALIN, IrDA1-Full Speed-USB 2.0 OTG, LIN,   IrDA

    Capture/   Compare PWM Peripherals5-Output Comp. & Std. PWM,   5-Input Capture5-Output Comp. & Std. PWM,   5-Input Capture9-CCP, 9-Output Comp. & Std.   PWM, 16-bitPWM, 9-Input Capture16-Output Comp. & Std. PWM,   4-Input Capture, PWM channels 156-Output Comp. & Std. PWM,   1-Input Capture, PWM channels 6
    Digital   Timers5×16-bit, 2×32-bit5×16-bit, 1×32-bit5×16-bit6x???bit, 32kHz RTC3x???bit
    Application   Peripherals16-mTouch, PMP16, EBI-No16-mTouch, PMP16, EBI-No16-mTouch, PMP, EBI-No

    Debug/Develop.   FeaturesJTAG-Debug/Program/Boundary Scan,   ICSP, ICDdebug – IntegratedJTAG-Debug/Program/Boundary Scan,   ICSP, ICDdebug – YesJTAG-Boundary Scan, ICSP,   ICDdebug – YesJTAG
    Package   (Pins)TFBGA, TQFP (10 )TFBGA, TQFP (100)TQFP (100)TQFP (100) CBGA (100)MLF (VQFN) 32, TQFP 32, PDIP 28
    Operating   Voltage(2.3V-3.6V)(2.3V-3.6V)(2V-3.6V)(4.5V-5.5V)(1.8V-5.5V)
    Temperature   Ranges(-40 to 105)(-40 to 105)(-40 to 85)(-40 to 85)(-40 to 85)

    The Arduino´s in the table and a long list of further Arduino clones are supported by adapter boards with wireless modules. The origin  Arduino´s are on 5 Volt. All clones I have seen are on 3 Volt. The  GSM/GPS adapter and further I will make public will support 5 Volt and 3  Volt CMOS level. A basic Arduino has one UART and one SPI only. Later  versions or clones offer more serial interfaces. Nevertheless one UART  you can drive one wireless module normally only. With the SPI it is  close the same. The new generation of adapters listed here (also called  shields) are supporting some kind of multiplexing. Based on this feature  it is possible to build “sandwiches” of several adapter PCBs on top of  an Arduino. Arduino´s are cheap. The clones are even cheaper. The  Ardunio clones of Microchip together with GSM/GPS adapter build the  cheapest evaluation kits for AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) the world  ever have seen. My ignoring the GPS you get a inexpensive telemetry  playground. Everything is open source. Everybody can copy it. Last but  not least it is supported by engineering offices to redesign the Arduino  plus adapter board to one industrial PCB with switched DC/DC regulator  for example. The benefit is that the software development on Arduino  plus adapter can be processed parallel to the hardware development.

    Arduino with GSM/GPS adapter

     IOT, AVL, Smart Home, AAL, M2M and M2M2P on Arduino

    Arduino Shied with GSM and GPS module

     

     

    If you are interested in a your own IOT, AVL, Smart Home, AAL, M2M or  M2M2P solution, then send an email to harald.naumann (at) gsm-modem.de  or give me a call at +49-1755774832. I will present you my experience  (25 year in radio / 15 years in GSM and GPS). On request you can get  references to wireless projects for all over the world. Thank you in  advance for any challenge.

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    rmorgan Novice

    You might also want to take a look at Simcom module http://wm.sim.com/Sim/FrontShow_en/wireless/detail.aspx?pid=40&cid=6&nid=770

    • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
      Harald Naumann Expert

      The problem with SIMCOM is support. Send all vendors and me the same question and wait for the result. A module without support is in commerical applications useless. Other problem is that they ship today firmware A , tommrow version B amd the day after version C. This will drive your quality management crazy.

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Novice

    Thank You all for the answers. So basically, if i understood correctly, any of the 3 top players is ok to go with regarding support and overall service and product quality. Then the decision will probably be made base on quotation.

     

    Another question regarding module selection is about GPRS/GPS embedded modules. Our product requires a GPS and as i see, there are 2 options: to buy a combo GPRS/GPS module or to buy them separately. What are the major differences and what do You recommend?

     

    Thank You.

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Newbie

    As a developer I have used both the Telit modules and Simcom and would recommend the combined Simcom module SIM908, an excellent module. Their technical support is excellent and it's direct from Simcom which is unusual today, most of the big players including Telit use forums to answer customers questions. If you're in a different time zone like me you'll get an answer from Simcom technical support next day. Telit used to be the module of choice for me but Simcom wins on all counts especially price.

    • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
      Harald Naumann Expert

      SIMCOM 908 in comparison

      GPRS Receiver type

        Sensitivity

                  -Tracking:        -160 dBm

                  - Cold starts:    -143 dBm

      Time-To-First-Fix

                  -Cold starts:       30s (typ.)

                  -Hot starts:           1s (typ.)

      Accuracy

                  - Horizontal position: <2.5m CEP  

      Power consumption (GSM  engine in idle mode) 

                  - Acquisition    77mA = 77 mA x 4 Volt = 308 mW

                  - Tracking        76mA   = 76 mA x 4 Volt = 304 mW

      I will use a GPS module with features as below:

       

      GPRS Receiver  type

        Sensitivity

                  -Tracking:       -165 dBm

                  - Cold starts:   -148 dBm

      Time-To-First-Fix

                  -Cold starts:       31s (typ.)

                  -Hot starts:           1s (typ.)

      Accuracy

                  - Horizontal position: <2.5m CEP  

      Power consumption (GSM  engine in idle mode) 

                  - Acquisition   35 mW

                  - Tracking        35 mW

       

      Further technical details

      •    Store location information  to internal flash memory at predetermined  interval  (default 15 sec)  up  to  16 hours. The host may later on dump and parse location information from the log via host port.

      •    Server Assisted A-GPS by file transfer, which can extend external assistance up to 14 days.

      •    Self assisted A-GPS which is derived internally from broadcast ephemeris data and which allows fast Time to Fix 3 sec typ. over 3 days.

      •    Autonomously periodically activation for providing location information. This consumes typically only 3 mW average powers depending on moving scenario. As a result, updated location information is optimized vs. receiver movement without compromising battery life.

      •    It removes up to 12 CW (Carrier Wave) type EMI sources by using Active Interference Cancellation (AIC). This feature can be used as a fix in the end product until the jamming issues are revised. Wireless and portable consumer electronics products are packed with a dense collection of fast CPU, memory bus, displays, radio transmitters and other spurious signal sources.

      •    Extremely tiny form factor 9.6 x 9.6 x 1.85 mm

      •    Up to 10 Hz Navigation Rate

      •    Secondary UART for RTCM

      •    DGPS support with RTCM & SBAS

       

      On a SIMCOM 908 you can cook an egg. It is just burning energy. The sensitivity is worst. It offers no A-GPS and no internal clever data logger or storing of location on movement.

      BTW, I am working on a GSM/GPS tracker with maximum 65 gram. If I will use SIMCOM 908, then the bird is easy to track. The battery will be so big, that the bird will not fly any more. I will get a bird that will stay on ground all the time.

       

      If somebody recommends the wrong concept then you cannot expect a  “Porsche”. Worst case you get a “Trabant” and pay the same than for a  “Porsche”.

      Trabant and history of Sachsenwerke at Wikipedia

       

      If you want a “Trabant”, then please be so kind and send no e-mail to  harald.naumann (at) gsm-modem.de because I am the wrong person. I just  can help with a “Porsche” with price level for a “Volkswagen” or  something in between. I love to use my skills and experience to make  hardware concepts on an economic price level and I have no interest to  design something on low quality level. Only happy customers will help  with recommendation and references.

    • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
      Newbie

      Well, I have my opinion different, SIMCOM has very poor support but cheap in price and Telit has better support through FAE but costly.

      SIMCOM website is slow, many document fail to download and few found to be in Chinese language only, while Telit documentation is good.

       

      - Pavan

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Newbie

    I'm a developer not a salesman and have no connection with Simcom, my opinion is based solely on my experience developing with the modules and I have been developing GSM products for many years using the Telit range. There's nothing wrong with the Telit modules and their documentation is good and at a push their support is also available but I'm staying with Simcom now as they offer good M2M modules at competitive prices. It's easy to criticise the specs if cost is not a factor but for me and my customers cost is an important criteria. Well done Simcom.

    • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
      Newbie

      I am also a developer, not represeting either SIMCOM or Telit in anyway. And probably agree with you that SIMCOM is now come up with good offers and value for money such as SIM900 which seems comparable with GL865, it looks to have feature to get position coordiante support without any GPS, using AT+CIPGSMLOC and with GPRS. I got the respective document from multiple sources but this seems not supported in the module as standard firmware and not listed in latest full AT command listing. I am just waiting for around 10 days or so to get any reply on the same. At the same time, I do not find any good or official user forum for SIMCOM.

      • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
        Novice

        Thank You all for the answers. So, speaking of Telit vs. Simcom, what is the actual price difference?

        • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
          Harald Naumann Expert

          Johnny, a Telit is much cheaper if you caluclate:

          - Buying price
          - Fault by no support

          - Risk to loss everything

           

          I am working as a Field Applicatin Enginer Wireless Why customers pay 50% more to get my support? Why they accept to replace a module with name A to a module with name B?

           

          If somebody recommends the wrong concept or no support you cannot expect a  “Porsche”. Worst case you get a “Trabant” and pay the same than for a  “Porsche”.

           

          The Trabant the cheapest car in Germany - Out of production - Why?

          Trabant and history of Sachsenwerke at Wikipedia

          If you want a “Trabant”, then please be so kind and send no e-mail to  harald.naumann (at) gsm-modem.de because I am the wrong person. I just  can help with a “Porsche” with price level for a “Volkswagen” or  something in between. I love to use my skills and experience to make  hardware concepts on an economic price level and I have no interest to  design something on low quality level. Only happy customers will help  with recommendation and references.

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Newbie

    Depends where you buy of course but the best Telit distributor, Round Solutions sells the GE863 GPS for around 60 euros, EBV the biggest Simcom distributor sells the Sim908 for around 23 euros. Quite a difference!

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Newbie

    I would recommend you to take a closer look on QUECTEL GPRS and GPS modules. There are various very powerful state-of-the-art engines offered at perfect price/performance ratio.

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Novice

    So, Telit has much higher cost initially than Simcom, but it's more reliable over the years (regarding support). And what about Sierra wireless and Cinterion ? Does anyone have experience with them?

    • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
      Newbie

      It depends on the module you are working with and on your geografical region. In general they offer good support, but are even more expensive. I have newly tried few QUECTEL GPRS modules. They work really fine and the support was surprisingly good.  

    • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
      Newbie

      Well, if you are looking for producing few pieces, then TELIT may be good option due to its support, but if the numbers are large, then it makes sense to use the cheaper one. As the support needed only during development phase, and poor support can result in extra time and effort for once, provided product itself is not bad or inferior quality. Usually if the documentation is good, then there is less requirement of support.

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Newbie

    I would suggest that you decide on commited availability and life cycle planning  of the module and prevent an early end of live announcement...

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    santi Newbie

    a good post for rookies like me

  • GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Harald Naumann Expert

    Johnny, just select the manufacturer with the distributor that will offer the best support. I have written the M2M IoT Cookbook and my book will not name any manufacturer:
    http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/m2m-faq/m2m-iot-cookbook/

  • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
    Daniel Armstrong Newbie

    I use FlyportPRO GPRS quadband that has also a powerful microcontroller onboard. There's a sw framework and a free IDE and it speeded up a lot my developments.

    Last but not least: it's open hardware. Here you find it www.openpicus.com

    • Re: GSM/GPRS certified module selection
      Yashavanth.Kuntavalli Newbie

      Hello Experts,

      Could you please suggest me a GPS/GPRS module for bellow requirement

      1. Should be power efficient
      2. Should be tiny and easy to mount on a board (Target device will be size of key bunch)
      3. Minimum development effort to send location data to a cloud based service through GPRS data
      4. Should work with 2G signal
      5. Should be able to send data in absence of GPS signal (by using cell triangulation)
      6. Should be Reliable

      I have compared TeliT GE865-GPS, UBlox-MaxM5Q and SIM908 modules but I am not able decide!

      Also what would be the cost difference among these, I see SIM908 is less expensive! ( I have read previous posts, I am wondering if there are any changes after that, as this thread discussed SIMCOM in 2012)

      Is there a way in which I can test these modules using RaspberryPi as a development board?

      Your help is greatly appreciated.

      Thanks

      Yash