ILABS' RP2040 Connectivity Board Offers Wi-Fi, BLE, and Cellular with Raspberry Pi's Low-Cost MCU

With a u-blox SARA-R412M module and an Espressif ESP32-C3 coprocessor, this all-in-one board aims to provide complete connectivity.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month ago β€’ HW101 / Internet of Things

European embedded electronics specialist ILABS has announced a development board built around the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller unit (MCU) and featuring cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT): the RP2040 Connectivity Board.

"The RP2040 Connectivity Board is a comprehensive IoT solution designed for modern applications. This board combines the capabilities of LTE, Wi-Fi, and BLE into a single platform, making it ideal for a wide array of IoT projects," the company claims of its creation, brought to our attention by Linux Gizmos. "Based on the Raspberry Pico['s RP2040] chip and compatible with the Arduino/PlatformIO, this board is perfect for both professional and hobbyist users who need multifaceted connectivity in their projects."

While the Raspberry Pi RP2040 β€” a dual-core 133MHz Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller with 264kB of static RAM (SRAM) and clever programmable input/output (PIO) blocks β€” serves as the main microcontroller on the eponymous RP2040 Connectivity Board, it's not alone. The board also features an Espressif ESP32-C3FN4, which provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, alongside a u-blox SARA-R412M module for Cat. M1 LTE, NB-IoT, and eGPRS cellular connectivity where Wi-Fi won't reach.

Elsewhere on the board is an 8MB flash chip, a 26-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header, with four analog inputs, physical reset and boot-select buttons, a USB Type-C connector for power and data with optional battery support via an on-board lithium-battery charging circuit, a nano-SIM slot for the u-blox module, and a BConnect interface β€” ILABS' in-house "bus connect" standard that aims to offer a more flexible alternative to Gove, STEMMA QT, and Qwiic using flat flexible circuit (FFC) cables and connectors.

"The board is equipped with a on-board chip antenna for the Wi-Fi/BLE radio and for the GSM/LTE part we have included a U.FL connector that allows the user to hook up the antenna of their choice," ILABS notes. "We've also included a antenna detection circuit on the board which together with the appropriate antenna can detect whether an antenna is attached or not ([which] requires special circuitry on the antenna)."

The RP2040 Connectivity Board is now available on the ILABS store, at kr795 (around $80).

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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