EYE on NPI: Soracom Onyx LTE USB Dongle for IoT Applications #EYEonNPI #DigiKey @Digikey @SoracomIoT

This week’s EYE ON NPI (video) soars above the rest, it’s the Soracom Onyx LTE USB Dongle for IoT Applications, a nicely designed, easy-to-use cellular dongle that you can plug into your Windows or Linux single-board-computer to add cellular connectivity super fast.

Onyx features a Quectel® EG25-G LTE Cat. 4 module providing global 4G/LTE, 3G, and 2G cellular connectivity in a single device and is optimized specifically for IoT and M2M applications.

With a USB port and driver support for Windows and Linux, Onyx can be installed on a wide variety of devices to easily add global cellular data connectivity. The device includes built-in antennas for easy installation without extra wires or accessories, and provides two external CRC9 antenna connectors to support custom antenna configurations.

We got this working smoothly on a Windows 10 computer in only 20 minutes – from signing up at Soracom to registering the SIM to installing drivers and plugging in the SIM card.

We like how it’s a cellular modem that shows up just like a network interface but ALSO gives you access to the AT commands in case you want to automate some of the cellular procedures or use the built in protocol managers for ultra-light network usage.

We think the Onyx is ideal for folks with single board computers like Raspberry Pi – they have 4 USB ports but no M2 slots. For many uses, the built in Ethernet and WiFi is good for network access, but there’s many use cases where you want to have cellular access as LTE or M2M.

While there are HATs and accessories to add cellular, this a pretty straight-forward board that won’t require updates when there’s kernel or GPIO driver dependencies – simply plug it into the USB port for data and power and run the Linux install script that they kindly provide.

Since Soracom is maker-and-geek friendly, they do better than just providing the hardware and saying “use the PPP modem capability” – for optimized data usage there’s documentation on using the native MQTT stack which means even the lightest-weight device can use minimal data while sending sporadic messages.

It may also be faster than bringing up a full TCP/IP stack and then tunneling MQTT over it – there’s Python example code available too for automated scripting.

The Soracom Onyx is available at an excellent price, cheaper than a DIY solution, and it’s in stock right now at Digi-Key for immediate shipment, you can also pick up a Soracom SIM for only a few dollars more.

Order today and it’ll be shipped in the blink of an eye: you’ll be able to add instant cellular connectivity with LTE speeds and GSM/GPRS fallback to your product by tomorrow afternoon!

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