Modem and Router Starter Kits ensure fast development of M2M projects

Phil Barron

Posted 18/10/2016
  Read more from Phil

You have decided on your solution. Your existing equipment requires data enabling or network connectivity, involving adding some form of cellular connection. So where next?

The choices are to make up your own solution from discrete components which comes with it’s challenges, not least of which is the cost of design and development, and then test and approval, but may be viable for long term road-mapped, high volume solutions.

As the M2M market fragments and a myriad of everyday applications demand cellular connectivity, many solutions are not blessed with having the large volume quantities attached to them. More often than not, small to medium volumes are the case for many industrial applications, and time to market is often short.

If you have existing equipment with no connectivity then the mainstream solutions are to connect a modem or a router, but what are the differences, and why would you choose one over the other?

Simply the modem is the connection medium interfacing with a node(your equipment) and linking it to the cellular network, where it may be communicating with a data centre or server. We often refer to this as “point-to-point” communication. The solution may require programming, so good if you have someone with software skills. Alternatively, the modem may be intelligent or self managing, making it straight forward to operate “out of the box”. You may also require the facility of general purpose I/O on your modem to assist in monitoring and control of your equipment.

A router contains a modem but also contains clever software that automatically detects networks and makes decisions on the best route for data to be communicated over. A router also provides interoperability, at the nodal end (i.e. your equipment/remote location). In other words you may be able to link to the router, either over a LAN or Wifi connection, to link up with other devices, and it may also come with some I/O so that you can interface with components that assist in the monitoring and control of your equipment.

These are key products to make your way with, effectively the cellular building block in your overall communication system. As a component in isolation they need the other parts around them to send them data or messages. However, before you get to that stage you need to evaluate the products so you can see what is best for your solution, aswell as the network technology level, i.e. 2G(GPRS), 3G(UMTS) or 4G(LTE).

Starter kits or evaluation kits are a good way of doing this.

Siretta has a range of modems, routers, antennas and signal strength testers within it’s portfolio of products. The modems and routers cover solutions for 2G, 3G and 4G. Modems come in boxed or embedded format, some with EU frequency coverage, others with global coverage.

To back up the modems and routers, Siretta has a range of starter kits to allow you to do your initial development work, before moving to your cellular solution. There are starter kits for 2G and 3G modems and 3G and 4G routers. These typically contain a power supply and antenna, and in the case of the router, there is a LAN cable aswell.

The modems come in two forms, one that will require development programs to be written for them in the form of Python scripts using AT commands, the others being of a more intelligent form, and being able to manage themselves. The former are the Siretta quikCONNECT range, whilst the latter are the linkCONNECT range, using linkCONNECT software to auto detect networks and automatically reboot if there is a connection dropout.

If you would like to know more please see the Siretta website links below:

Tags: routers modems accessories kits evaluation kits starter kits