It is an easy-to-use full powered cellular and GPS modem designed specifically to be used with single-board Linux computers (SBCs) to add networking and location tracking with a simple plug-and-play USB connection.
We bought one and popped it open – not recommended because it will void your warranty – and found inside is a Quectel EC25-AFXD module – an LTE Cat 4 data-only module with high speed uplink and downlink when LTE is available, and GSM/GPRS backward-compatibility for remote areas.
Quectel EC25 is a series of LTE Cat 4 modules optimized specially for M2M and IoT applications. Adopting the 3GPP Rel-11 LTE technology, it delivers maximum data rates up to 150 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps uplink.
Designed in the compact and in a unified form factor, the EC25 series is compatible with Quectel multi-mode LTE Standard EC21 series/EC20-CE/EG25-G/EG21-G modules and UMTS/HSPA+ UC200A-GL module, which allows for flexible migration among them in design and manufacturing… backward-compatible with existing EDGE and GSM/GPRS networks, ensuring that it can be connected even in remote areas devoid of 4G or 3G coverage.
EC25 series supports Qualcomm® IZat™ location technology Gen8C Lite (GPS, GLONASS, BDS, Galileo and QZSS). The integrated GNSS greatly simplifies product design, and provides quicker, more accurate and more dependable positioning.
The LEMBAS has a lot of little details that shows the design team focused on a high quality build and removing any obstacles to use. For example, instead of a ‘USB stick’ style modem that blocks all of the USB ports on your raspi, the modem uses any USB Type C cable – this also allows the user to place the LEMBAS wherever the antenna will get best reception. When we opened it up, we noticed that the board was conformal coated, so it will handle being exposed to humid air, although please note it’s not rated for outdoor use. The SIM card is pre-installed but can be removed / replaced easily if a particular data service is desired. We also thought the status LEDs that appear as part of the TE logo showed a cute designer touch.
One handy design decision that makes the LEMBAS easy to get started with: inside is a 2-port USB hub so that, when plugged into USB, it shows up as both the modem interface and a small USB storage key. On that storage are all the files you need to run to install the modem interface on an Arm32 or Arm64 computer like the Raspberry Pi. This definitely solves the “to get on the internet I have to install my wireless drivers but I can’t get onto the internet because I haven’t installed my wireless drivers” problem.
And of course, there’s a GNSS inside as well, which makes this perfect for asset tracking or geo-locating projects where you need to know where the code is running from. It’s ready to go in an instant and with native Linux support for cellular modems, you don’t need to do any AT command noodling – use Python or node.js or whatever language your application is and open secure sockets like normal.
If you’ve got a hankerin’ for a piece of Elvish-quality technology that will let you communicate anywhere in the world, even on the top of Mt. Doom, you can pick up a TE LEMBAS LTE/GNSS USB Modem from DigiKey today and it will ship to you as fast as a gigantic eagle so that you can get started tomorrow morning… right after second breakfast!
See the TE video below: