The RAK833 LoRaWAN gateway module, released a couple of months ago by RAK Wireless, has already been used to hand-build a gateway for The Things Network. Now they’re back with the RAK8213, an NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1 module in the same mini-PCIe form factor as the RAK833.
The RAK mini-PCIe card is built around the Quectel BG96 module, which provides both NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1 along with GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, or BeiDou) support. The card should work globally.
Just like Arduino did a few months back with the release of the MKR NB 1500, it’s obvious that RAK Wireless is covering its bets when it comes to the low-powered Internet of Things wireless standards wars. So I would suspect that we can probably expect another mini-PCIe form factor card supporting Sigfox, the last of the big three contenders, sometime in the next few months.
While the mini-PCIe form factor is mostly associated with laptop computers, we’ve increasingly started to see it appear on some single-board computers targeted at the maker market, like the Pine H64. Aside from that, we’ve also seen the emergence of other mini-PCIe modules, such as the UP AI Core, or the PicoEVB, also aimed at makers.
However if you don’t have an appropriate SBC, RAK are also selling a mini-PCIe to USB adaptor board for $10 plus shipping, while the RAK 8213 card itself costs $39.90 plus shipping, both on AliExpress.
If you’re interested in learning more about the RAK 8213, the data sheet and schematics for the board are now on the RAK Wireless site, along with a user manual for the evaluation board and the card.
The user manual for the board walks you through setting the RAK 8213 up using a Hologram IoT developer SIM, and to make that simple you can pick one of these up alongside the board from RAK on AliExpress for another $7. Although, if you haven’t already picked one up, you can still get one of those free directly from Hologram themselves.