New XBee Cellular modem support?

I just saw Digi is coming out with XBee Cellular modems. Adafruit has sold some form of cellular modem for robotics projects over the years, but this is the first time I believe we can get it in XBee form.
Would the Propeller boards (Activityboard, BOE) that support the XBee socket eventually support wireless connections through these as well? Could be used for building an outdoor autonomous rover bot always connected to the 'Net, even outside normal WiFi range.

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  • How do these things work as far as a cell subscription is concerned? Are there dirt cheap data-only plans available from, say, Verizon or AT&T?

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • The Digi XBee Cellular LTE Cat 1 was discussed earlier this year but it looks like there are more options now.
    forums.parallax.com/discussion/166083/xbee-cellular
  • AntediluvianAntediluvian Posts: 87
    edited December 2017 Vote Up0Vote Down
    How do these things work as far as a cell subscription is concerned? Are there dirt cheap data-only plans available from, say, Verizon or AT&T? -Phil

    When I was in CA and had designed a GSM-based vehicle tracking system, I purchased a $10/month pre-paid SIM card from T-Mobile. It was basically unlimited TXT messages for $10/mo and it worked out perfectly since the GSM module communicated via TXT messages.

    I recently called a local (Idaho) T-Mobile to see if the same plan was available and it is not, however there must be someone still doing something similar.

    BTW, my system sent out a TXT message with a command to the remote system, which replied with Lat/Long/Alt/Speed information, which was then displayed on Google Earth at the time.

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  • Man, that's a cool idea! Too bad they don't have that particular plan anymore, but like you said, maybe some provider does. Well, this is good, looks like it could be supported after all, down the road. Thanks for the info.
  • Tracy AllenTracy Allen Posts: 6,271
    edited December 2017 Vote Up0Vote Down
    DrPop wrote: »
    ...Would the Propeller boards (Activityboard, BOE) that support the XBee socket eventually support wireless connections through these as well?...

    Keep in mind that the power requirements are more demanding than even the XBee pro 900 series. Peak currents for cellular are going to approach 1.5A, even though the average is around 0.25A in xmit mode. A standard Xbee socket won't handle that. The pinout is essentially the XBee standard, so you can probably hack the power source rather easily.

    Another company, Nimbelink, has had Skywire cellular modems with the XBee footprint for a few years now, so their product offerings and documentation are more mature. I've used their HSPA modules (with G3 GPRS fallback -- needed for remote sites). They perform well. They are designed to run directly from the 3.7V LiPo for best efficiency. I don't know how Digi manages to run at less than 3.2V. Nimbelink offers their own data plans, $5/mo for 100 texts or for 5MB data/sms, or $9/m0 for 25MB data/sms.

    Another option for low rate data plans is Aeris communications. http://neo.aeris.com/cost-calculator/ . For example, $2.75 for an LTE/3G SIM and $5 per month for 10MB data.



  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,263
    edited December 2017 Vote Up0Vote Down
    There's also this:



    It was coded in BlocklyProp and I'll get the links for us from Rob Faludi (Digi).

    Ken Gracey
  • Thanks, this kind of support for always on, Internet over cellular was exactly what I was hoping for.
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    There's also this:

    It was coded in BlocklyProp and I'll get the links for us from Rob Faludi (Digi).

    Ken Gracey

    Nice! You finally got a taker for the BlockProp code with the XBee Cellular. Looks very cool.
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