The PicoLTE is an LTE network-in-a-box providing an LTE evolved packet system (EPS). It can run both eNodeB to provide E-UTRAN radio access and EPC to handle control and data planes of LTE User equipments. The main purpose of this application note is to illustrate how to setup a NB-IoT LTE/4G network to publish the measurement of sensors to a cloud service.
The eNodeB will provide NB-IoT E-UTRAN radio access to the NB-IoT modem of the C030 application board.
The PicoLTE is used to provide NB-IoT connectivity (both eNodeB and EPC) while Ublox’s C030 is used in Non-IP mode to exchange Non-IP Date with remote application servers. C030 is connected to PicoLTE over RF cables (figure 1).
In this NB-IoT End-to-End scenario, only MO NonIP data is considered. The data measured by sensors on the C030 — GPS, temperature, humidity, acceleration — will be published by the NB-IoT N211 modem to the cloud through the PicoLTE EPS.
This demonstrator can be replicated to perform conducted or Over-The-Air communication. Figure 1 illustrates a conducted setup where C030 is connected to PicoLTE over RF cables. OTA setup must be installed in anechoic chamber to avoid interference with operators. OTA setup is not part of the scope of this application note.
Figure 1 — PicoLTE and C030 setup to test End-to-End Data Delivery
A typical conducted setup including RF modules such as RF power splitter/combine, circulator and attenuator is depicted in figure 2. It is possible to test multiple devices simultaneously depending on the number of channels of the power splitter combiner. One should notice that the RF devices are frequency dependent and should use the suitable and Power splitter/combiner, circulator and attenuator to the operating carrier frequency. C030-N211 can operate at band 8 or 20. Thus, the selected RF devices must support those bands.
Figure 2 — PicoLTE and C030 conducted setup