There's a new starter kit on the shelf, courtesy of B&B Electronics and KORE, designed to assist those of you working on such industrial M2M solutions as monitoring and control applications.
The kit offers B&B's rugged Spectre 3G cellular router plus a 3-month trial 3G data plan from KORE, pre-packaged with a GSM or CDMA wireless data connectivity option so that you can be up and running within minutes of opening the kit.
What's important for the industrial designer is that the router is extremely rugged and it offers such enhanced features as Modbus and WiFi. Robust configuration options are managed through a secure and easy-to-use web interface or a powerful scripting engine. There's also a wide operating range (-30 to 60°C), especially important if your environment is harsh.
Also included in the starter kit are 10/100 Ethernet, RS-232/422/485, 802.11 WiFi connectivity and a KORE.. The three-month trial from KORE is at introductory pricing of $29/month for 1 GB or $49/month for 5 GB. The Spectre 3G router's MSRP is $449, or if you need advanced models with a Wi-Fi interface and an RS-232 or RS-485 serial port, that will run $599. So you now can get it all in a box, all up front, and not have to search for a data plan while you're knee deep in designing your app. At the end of the three-month trial period, you can buy the full data plan that works best for you.
Reference designs and starter kits are a fast and inexpensive way to go to try new systems, especially when the startup speed is so fast. Once you try this, weigh in with your experience. More info is available here.
More info is available here.
— Carolyn Mathas is a freelance blogger and editor for EE Times' Industrial Control Designline