u-blox
0121 Mw U Blox Alex R5 Promo 60107a96e6528

Module Melds Cellular and GNSS in a Miniature SiP Form Factor

Jan. 26, 2021
The SiP features the company's secure UBX-R5 LTE-M / NB-IoT chipset and M8 GNSS chip for size-constrained asset tracking, wearable, and healthcare applications.

Small is good, especially when it comes to the IoT and applications such as tracking devices. So is multifunctional connectivity. In its ALEX-R5 dual chipset, u-blox has achieved both objectives. The miniature cellular module integrates low-power, wide-area (LPWA) connectivity and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology into an ultra-small system-in-package (SiP) form factor.

The ALEX-R5 module, which comprises hardware components designed fully in-house, is based on the secure UBX-R5 LTE-M / NB-IoT chipset platform with out-of-the-box Secure Cloud functionality and u-blox’s M8 GNSS chip for world-class location accuracy. With a 14x14-mm footprint, achieved through its system-in-package (SiP) design, the new module is half the size of u-blox’s earlier SARA-R5 while remaining functionally equivalent.

The module’s 23-dBm cellular transmission power ensures that end devices operate effectively in all signal conditions, even at cell edges, underground, or in other challenging scenarios. A dedicated GNSS antenna interface enables fully independent, simultaneous operation of the u-blox M8 GNSS chip, matching the performance of a stand-alone u-blox M8 module. The company’s IoT Location-as-a-Service with CellLocate and AssistNow (online, offline, and autonomous) further enhance positioning performance.

ALEX-R5 is optimized for power-sensitive and battery-dependent applications, addressing common pain points of size-constrained applications such as wearables and connected medical devices. Battery power is preserved by leveraging the lower power modes of the UBX-R5 and UBX-M8 chipsets and giving users options to further balance power consumption and performance using GNSS Super-E mode.

Its rugged SiP construction makes it a perfect fit for harsh environments, where moisture or vibration would be a concern for conventional modules. ALEX-R5 is rated at moisture sensitivity level 3 (MSL 3), offering reduced handling and device production complexity.

ALEX-R5 future-proofs IoT devices and solutions by enabling customers to software upgrade deployed devices for compatibility with 5G networks, offering a seamless transition to the next generation of cellular technology as 5G networks are rolled out by mobile operators.

Engineering samples of the ALEX-R5 SiP will be available by Q1, 2021.

u-blox, www.u-blox.com

About the Author

David Maliniak | Executive Editor, Microwaves & RF

I am Executive Editor of Microwaves & RF, an all-digital publication that broadly covers all aspects of wireless communications. More particularly, we're keeping a close eye on technologies in the consumer-oriented 5G, 6G, IoT, M2M, and V2X markets, in which much of the wireless market's growth will occur in this decade and beyond. I work with a great team of editors to provide engineers, developers, and technical managers with interesting and useful articles and videos on a regular basis. Check out our free newsletters to see the latest content.

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About me:

In his long career in the B2B electronics-industry media, David Maliniak has held editorial roles as both generalist and specialist. As Components Editor and, later, as Editor in Chief of EE Product News, David gained breadth of experience in covering the industry at large. In serving as EDA/Test and Measurement Technology Editor at Electronic Design, he developed deep insight into those complex areas of technology. Most recently, David worked in technical marketing communications at Teledyne LeCroy, leaving to rejoin the EOEM B2B publishing world in January 2020. David earned a B.A. in journalism at New York University.

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