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Would love any advice on Arduino cell connectivity. From what I understand:

  • 2G (GSM/GPRS) is a dying technology. AT&T is shutting down its 2G network on Jan 1, 2017.
  • 2G (CDMA) will have a longer lifespan than GSM in the U.S., although the options for CDMA modules are much more limited than GSM.
  • 3G has poorer coverage than 2G and is no longer growing.
  • 4G is overkill but is also future-proofed.
  • 4G LTE ^ ditto

I am prototyping sensors that will send GPS/accel/gyro/temp data to a server every 30 seconds or so. They will be in the U.S., operate outside of wifi range, and likely not move very much (roaming isn't a factor).

Am I right in ruling out 2G GSM at this point? From what I've seen, the AT&T 4G LTE IoT Dev Kit looks like a decent option but this is the first time I've worked with IoT devices so any suggestions are welcome (http://cloudconnectkits.org/product/att-cellular-iot-starter-kit).

closed as off-topic by Chris Stratton, SDsolar, Enric Blanco, Michel Keijzers, Code Gorilla Jul 24 '17 at 7:29

  • This question does not appear to be about Arduino, within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about mobile network standards, not about Arduino. – Chris Stratton Jul 23 '17 at 4:19
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2G GSM/GPRS are almost dead in the US. CDMA is still working and it would be supported atleast till 2020 becaasue it is used in M2M devices. 3G is still one of the most widely used networks and it has great coverage and it would not likely be phased out till 2024. 4G is widely deployed now and is the future.

Coming back to this from the perspective of developing hardware projects/products and availability of module for DIY use.

2G chip-sets are very cheap (~$10) and easily available with lots of documentation. Example 2g module here

3G modules have been in the market for a little while and there are a couple of modules at a good price-point with decent documentation. Example 3g module here

4g is still bleeding edge and there are not a lot of modules available for DIY users with great documentation and at a good price. I was able to find one with good documentation here.

There are a couple of other factors that come in play when you are working on a project. One is just the support and documentation around the hardware. These modems usually need a good library built around them which can handle most of the functionality and most of the time, the manufacturer gives just a datasheet specifying what all the functionality is and the user is supposed to build the libraries for them in the platform of their choice. Here is adafruit's library for the cellular module to show you the complexity. Also, when you are just using a few of these then the modules are just building blocks and it usually makes sense to use the modules with the best possible support around them.

Tl;dr, use a 3G module with good software support for your platform.

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