Sierra Wireless unveils dual-mode LPWA module with integrated application processing and GNSS


Sierra Wireless, provider of fully integrated device-to-cloud solutions for Internet of Things (IoT), announced Wednesday global, dual-mode Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) cellular modules. The AirPrime WP77 smart wireless modules simplify LPWA deployments for customers developing products that need to connect to multiple networks where different LPWA technologies are supported.

The WP Series includes ARM core application processor with dedicated Flash and RAM that runs Legato to boost security, reduce system complexity, and lowers overall BOM (bill of materials); GNSS receiver enables tracking and location-based services; and ultra-low power mode reduces power consumption by 200 times for battery or solar powered applications. Its open hardware reference design from Project mangOH, enables rapid prototyping with industrial-grade components, and secure device-to-cloud architecture with AirVantage pre-integrated into the Legato platform.

The WP77 supports both LTE-M (Cat-M1) and NB-IoT (Cat-NB1) with optional 2G fallback, allowing customers to deploy the same device with multiple network operators worldwide. For those deploying in regions where 4G LTE coverage is not as widely available, 2G fallback ensures their devices stay connected to the network.

ABI Research forecasts that cellular LPWA network technologies will begin to see rapid growth from 2018 onward as carriers upgrade their networks in 2017, however, carriers have varying plans and timelines for LTE-M and NB-IoT.

The WP series simplifies development for secure telematics and gateway applications, providing a dedicated application CPU core running the Linux-based open source Legato application framework. With integrated GNSS for tracking and location-based services, low-power modes, and a comprehensive set of interfaces for connecting sensors and companion chips, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, customers can develop multi-service platforms for the transportation market, and use the WP77 for applications requiring low throughput and optimized power performance.

“A module with dual-mode, global coverage will be very attractive for global equipment manufacturers, especially for applications such as telematics, metering, and location tracking, which we expect will lead the way for LPWA volume deployments,” said Dan Shey, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research.

With the commercialization of LTE-M and NB-IoT LPWA technologies, cellular is now a superior option for many IoT applications that were previously restricted to short-range technologies due to cost and battery life. LPWA technologies combine lower cost, broader coverage and better battery life with globally available and secure cellular networks and will connect millions more things to the Internet.

“With the AirPrime WP77 modules, IoT developers have everything they need in a single module to quickly build low-power connected products that can be deployed anywhere in the world,” said Dan Schieler, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Embedded Solutions, Sierra Wireless. “The integrated open source Legato platform and AirVantage cloud provide our customers with a proven device-to-cloud architecture to design innovative LPWA solutions that extend the IoT into new applications.”

The AirPrime WP77 is fully compliant with the 3GPP Release 13 standard and compatible with other devices in the WP family, retaining the same footprint, form factor, application framework and Linux distribution. Sierra Wireless AirPrime HL and WP Series modules are the smallest embedded modules (22 x 23 mm) to be completely interchangeable across 2G, 3G, 4G and LPWA technologies. They use the CF3 form factor, which is footprint compatible across product lines, providing customers with the option to develop smarter by building their connected IoT product or service on a single module. WP77 modules are sampling with lead customers, with general availability in early 2018.

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