Recently i had got this requirement to design a GSM/GPRS/GPS tracker product. The initial requirement was about having the product built to work with 2G networks. And we had chosen a 2G Quad band GSM module Telit GL865 for this purpose. But soon this news came, that the 2G networks were being shutdown in USA and Australia. 

Then soon we were in a dilemma whether to go with this 2G only modules like SIM900,SIM800,GL865 or not. If we designed our product using a 2G module then the product would be useless when there are no more 2G networks functioning. So, there was this option, where we could always go with a 3G module like SIM5320 or SIM5360 but the cost of the product would go higher and kill the products chances of succeeding because of products from competition already available in the market at lower prices.

Thats why, we wanted to keep the price of the product low for now and also we didn't want to re design the whole product again after a year using a new module when the current 2G module become obsolete. When we were confused with this, we became aware of this module family from Telit which is completely footprint compatible. So when we are one year down the road we need not re-spin a whole new hardware board for this same product which we want to keep selling. 

This xE66 footprint compatible module series from Telit comprises of ,

  • GE866 - 2G module with dimensions of Length - 19mm, Width - 15mm, Thickness - 2.2mm
  • UE866 - 3G UMTS module with dimensions of Length - 25mm, Width - 15mm, Thickness - 2.2mm
  • LE866 - 4G LTE module with dimensions of Length - 25mm, Width - 15mm, Thickness - 2.2mm

If you are wondering how can these module family be footprint compatible even being of different sizes, here are a few images of the modules footprints which show how these modules fit into each other shoes, 

As you see above, the GE866 module being the smallest, has the lesser number of pins among the three. So you need to design the product to have the bigger footprint of LE866 so that the UE866 and GE866 fit into the place of this footprint. 

So using these modules, Design your product for LE866/UE866 and when you are selling your products now, assemble your product using GE866 and take advantage of lower cost of the 2G modules now. And when 2G network is no longer available, Start using UE866 in your product and utilize the 3G network, whose cost would be lower by that time, And when 3G network also becomes obsolete utilize the 4G LTE capable LE866 in the same design. Isn't that a great option !

For more details, please refer to this document (Link to document). 

Watch this video for more information,

 

I am definitely considering these modules for my future designs, let me know what you guys think. Hope it helps someone :)

 

 

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About the Author

is the author of this blog and is an Embedded systems design engineer by profession & Founder @ Valetron Systems Pvt Ltd


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