Waveshare Launches New SIMCom-Equipped Espressif ESP32-S3 Boards for Cellular IoT Projects

Company launches two near-identical models, differing only in their use of 2G-capable or 4G-only cellular modems.

Embedded and hobbyist electronics specialist Waveshare has launched a pair of new development boards built around the Espressif ESP32-S3 microcontroller and a choice of SIMCom SIM7670G or A7670E cellular modems — for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity where Bluetooth and Wi-Fi aren't available.

The ESP32-S3-A7670E-4G is a multi-functional and high-performance microcontroller development board designed by Waveshare," the company writes of the first of the two devices, "[with] built-in A7670E 4G communication module, onboard OV [Omnivision] series camera interface, TF [SD] Card slot, RGB colorful LED, 18650 battery holder, battery voltage measurement IC, solar panel charging interface, and other peripherals."

Supplied in a rectangular acrylic housing, the ESP32-S3-A7670E-4 and near-identical ESP32-S3-SIM7670G-4 — brought to our attention by CNX Software — boast very similar specifications. They use an Espressif ESP32-S3R2 system-on-chip with two Tensilica Xtensa LX7 cores running at up to 240MHz, have 512kB of static RAM (SRAM), 384kB of flash ROM, 2MB of pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM), and 16MB of flash storage. There are built-in single-band 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radios, an on-board Omnivision OV2640 UXGA camera, and support for battery charging via USB or solar inputs.

Where the two differ is in their choice of cellular modem. The ESP32-S3-A7670E-4G uses, as the name suggests, the SIMCom A7670E module — providing 4G LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD Cat. 1 and 2G cellular connectivity with voice call support, along with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) reception including GPS. The ESP32-S3-SIM7670G-4G, by contrast, uses the SIMCOM SIM7670G module — which drops 2G and voice call support and LTE-TDD capabilities, though retains GNSS connectivity while adding Galileo constellation compatibility.

In both cases, the modems can be used to provide data connectivity both to projects running on the ESP32 microcontroller and on external devices — either providing access to the modem over USB or using the ESP32 to provide a Wi-Fi hotspot tethered to the cellular connection.

The ESP32-S3-A7670E-4G and ESP32-S3-SIM7670G-4G are now available to order on the Waveshare store for $42.99 and $48.99 respectively, before volume discounts.

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