An NB-IoT GPS Tracker Board and Raspberry Pi HAT from Seeed Studio

Alasdair Allan
2 min readJun 14, 2018

Right now there is a war going on, and the winner is yet far from clear. Some, like Arduino, have cried neutral. With the release of the MKR NB 1500 last month, they now support all three of the low-powered Internet of Things wireless standards with boards featuring Sigfox, LoRaWAN, and NB-IoT.

Last week Seeed Studio joined battle with the launch of two new NB-IoT GPS tracker boards, one standalone and another designed as a Raspberry Pi HAT.

The Wio LTE Cat M1 / NB1 board. (📷: Seeed Studio)

The standalone board is the latest in their line of Wio GPS tracker boards — the Wio LTE Cat M1/NB1 is built around two u-blox modules. The NB-IoT radio is supplied by a SARA‑R4 LTE Cat M1 / NB1 module, and accompanying nano SIM socket, while GPS support is provided by the accompanying MAX‑M8Q GNSS module.

“LTE categories M1 and NB1 have been designed with IoT design and deployment in mind. These new categories operate at lower frequencies enabling them to operate at a longer range and with more penetration capability… the power consumption is lower than other LTE technologies. Cat M1 is capable of 375 kb/s download and upload speeds as well as VoLTE, while Cat NB1 is capable of 27.2 kb/s download speed with 62.5 kb/s upload speed.”

Wio LTE Cat M1 / NB1 board, top (left) and bottom (right). (📷: Seeed Studio)

The board uses an STM32F405RG Arm Cortex-M4 processor running at 168MHz and offers six of Seeed Studio’s Grove System expansion ports, along with both a micro-USB and JST connector for power. The board has 1MB of flash and 192+4 KB of RAM.

The new board can be programmed using the Arduino IDE, but is also compatible with both mBed and Espruino environments.

The new Wio LTE M1 / NB1 is available for pre-order from Seeed and costs $59 plus shipping, with pre-orders expected to ship on July 25th. The accompanying Raspberry Pi HAT, based around the u-blox LARA‑R2 LTE Cat 1 module, has yet to be made available for pre-order.