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Current, best-supported cellular XBee radio for MayFly

Home Forums Mayfly Data Logger Current, best-supported cellular XBee radio for MayFly

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    • #12584

        What’s the current (Oct 2018), best-supported cellular XBee radio for use with a MayFly? It would be nice to have a US-based supplier and it seems the GPRSBee is available only from Sodaq in the Netherlands. The newer 3G and LTE XBee radios from Digi are more easily available through Mouser and Digi-Key but may or may not be fully supported on the MayFly based on Forum posts and GitHub issues. Is buying a GPRSBee from the Netherlands really the best way to go in terms of MayFly support? This is for a place where 2G still exists (for now), but it would be good to know if there are options for places without 2G. Thanks.

      • #12585
        Sara Damiano

          In our live installations, we still have the 2G Bees. That being said, what do you mean by “supported?” The Mayfly should work very with any of the digi cellular Xbees. You do need the solder jumper to get enough power for the 3G and cat 1 bees. The cat m might be able to go without it, but I haven’t tested enough. As far as library and code to communicate with the network through the Bees, TinyGSM (which I maintain a fork of) supports the digi bees. I’ve wrapped TinyGSM into the giant Modular sensors library and think it works rather nicely.

          The problem we’re having with using the digi XBee’s is the communication with the Hologram.io cellular provider we’ve been using. For reasons not yet understood by me, I have not been at all successful in getting the LTE (cat 1 or m) to be allowed registration with a hologram sim. I have heard from both digi and hologram that they know of customers using them together, but I haven’t had any success. I had no problem registering and using the 3G XBee with a hologram sim or the LTE XBee’s with an AT&T sim.

          So, if you’re not using hologram’s network, I’d go with the digi LTE-M xbee. It’s carrier certified, not horrifically expensive and it readily available.

          If you are using hologram and can do one solder jumper, get the digi 3G xbee.

          If you want hologram and don’t mind buying from the Netherlands or can’t solder, I’ve tested the Sodaq uBee with the U201 and it works nicely. The other versions of the uBee might work, but they aren’t carrier certified and I really don’t know if they’d be accepted into the network. They assist won’t fit in the boxes we like to use.

          The Mayfly does not implement enough on in the xcee footprint to use any purge cellular xb I’ve found.

        • #12586

            Sara, thanks for your thoughtful and complete response. I’ve been reading a lot of threads, and hadn’t realized the issue with Digi XBees was restricted to Hologram SIM cards. I’m using a Hologram card for now, but am not committed to it.

            Is this an accurate summary of the present situation for XBee modules and MayFly?

            Sodaq GPRSBee: 2G only, works with most SIM cards, only available from distributor in the Netherlands (Sodaq), no soldering required
            Sodaq SARA UBEE U201: 3G, works with most SIM cards, only available from distributor in the Netherlands (Sodaq), no soldering required
            Digi Xbee 3G (XBC-M5-UT-001): works with most sim cards, available from U.S. suppliers (Digi-Key, Mouser, etc), requires soldering jumper for use with MayFly
            Digi XBee3 LTE CAT 1 (XB3-C-A1-UT-001): does NOT work with Hologram, available from U.S. suppliers (Digi-Key, Mouser, etc), requires soldering jumper for use with MayFly
            Digi XBee3 LTE-M/NB-IoT (XB3-C-A2-UT-001): works with Hologram if new SIM, available from U.S. suppliers (Digi-Key, Mouser, etc), no soldering required

          • #12590
            Sara Damiano

              That all looks right.

              Two notes:
              All Sodaq uBee’s (U201 (3G), R410M (LTE-M), and N211 (LTE NB-IoT)) should work with the Mayfly with no soldering required, but I personally have only tested the U201. I do not know what, if any, SIM cards the LTE uBee’s will work with.
              The Sodaq uBee’s do NOT fit in the plastic case provided in the Mayfly starter kit from Amazon. The Digi ones do.

            • #12591
              Sara Damiano

                Update! I got the Digi LTE-M XBee to work on Hologram!

                It turns out I needed a brand new sim; one that had never been registered with another device. As soon as I put that in, it worked.

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