IoT development kits are ideal for any original equipment manufacturer or startup looking to make a new connected product. They allow you to engineer your own solution using the technology you’re considering, and determine whether that technology will work for what you’re trying to accomplish.
When deciding whether our LTE-M development kit or Symphony Link development kit is best for your application, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself:
- Do you want to deploy your application around the country (or in a very broad area) or will your application be deployed in defined areas with a gateway? If it’s the former, you’ll want to deploy LTE-M. If it’s the latter, you’ll probably engineer a more cost-effective solution using Symphony Link.
- Do you want to play around with the IoT dev kit to learn more about it and evaluate the way it works, or do you want to start developing your application without spending on custom hardware? If it’s the former, the Symphony Link dev kit is a better option, as it has a USB mode that allows you to send and receive messages via the command line, and has several sample applications already written for it. If it’s the latter, you can use the Symphony or LTE-M dev kit. LTE-M, for example, is for those who are ready to begin developing their application by writing embedded microcontroller code.
Below are some details of both IoT development kits, and why each might (or might not) be a good fit for you.
LTE-M Dev Kit
The LTE-M IoT development kit supports Verizon, and we have plans to support other carriers in the future as well. The data from the LTE-M system comes from our API, and is not directly routed on the internet for security purposes and ease of use.
The LTE-M dev kit is made to fit into an Atmel microcontroller dev kit, which allows you to write code on the microcontroller and get debug information. Once you put these two together, you’ll have all the hardware you need to eventually deploy your application. The difficulty with this setup is that it requires setting up an IDE development environment, which can be a pain. (That’s also why we don’t recommend LTE-M for casual hobbyists, as it gets into real embedded software development).
Keep these things in mind as you test LTE-M using this dev kit:
- Is the Link Labs LTE-M architecture appropriate for you? We’ve wrapped a lot of the complexity of data efficiency and power states around a very simple API so our customers can send messages from the LTE-M modem and receive them in the cloud. Because of this, we’ve taken a lot of the middleware development out. If you are looking to build a direct IP stack and figure out all the security models and the backend on your own, then you should look elsewhere for an IoT dev kit.
- Are you willing to write embedded code for the Atmel processor? In order to support your development kit, you’ll need to get the Atmel IDE running. (We do have a GPS demo board for a GPS tracker that you can can play around with without doing any development.)
Symphony Link Dev Kit
The Symphony Link development kit is for those who want to understand the potential range and throughput of their application, and/or want to begin to develop some command-line scripting applications with Symphony Link to understand if they want to develop a board with the Symphony module on it.
The Symphony dev kit is offered either with a support package (10 hours of factory R&D engineer support for advanced prototyping, software, and hardware development) or without a support package. Both versions of the Symphony Link IoT development kit come with:
- 915 MHz Symphony Link Gateway with WiFi
- 2 USB-UART Development Boards (LL-RLP-20 and LL-RXR-27)
- GPS + Air Sensor Network Evaluation/Demo Board
- Cables and power supplies
The included network tester allows you to experiment with range. (You can watch a brief video on using the network tester here.) The included development boards connect to Prelude, a graphical user interface we provide, which allows you to send and receive messages. You can also connect your dev board via USB to any computer, including a Linux computer or Raspberry Pi, and script against it for more advanced prototyping. (Watch a short video here on how to use the development boards.) You can also bypass the USB chip and connect directly to your UART, which is how you write embedded microcontroller code to communicate with the Symphony Link module.
As you test Symphony Link using this IoT dev kit, you need to consider the range tradeoffs you’ll get based on where your gateway is installed, how it’s installed, your antenna performance and height, and other factors. We encourage our customers to purchase and play with the Symphony Link dev kit to get realistic expectations as to what is possible in terms of range. For example, you’ll be able to see the difference between deploying the gateway at the top of a building with an intricate RF setup vs. installing a gateway next to your desk.
Questions about which IoT development kit is best for your application?
We are more than happy to help. Fill out the form at the top of this page (or click here) and someone will be in touch with you shortly.