How to Control LTE with the Nordic nRF9160 and Golioth

Originally published at: How to Control LTE with the Nordic nRF9160 and Golioth - Golioth

Here’s how to control the nRF9160 cellular modem, and what to do about your connection to Golioth when the modem is turned off. When building cellular IoT devices, the modem is often the most costly component in terms of power budget. Connecting to an LTE network also takes time. In both cases, manual control of the LTE connection means you make all the decision on when and how the radio is used.

will not work with 2G,3G, right ?

Hey @arquiteturadecomputa, welcome to the forum!

In the US (where I’m based), almost all of the 2G/3G has been sunset. This article takes a look at the sunsetting in different regions, but it will depend on your particular carrier.

The nRF9160 is a CatM1/NB-IOT modem, without 2G fallback. Some modems in the low power CatM1 space do have 2G fallback, but Nordic is clear in their spec that there is no fallback capabiilities.

Are you targeting a specific region of the world?

Hi, i am Miguel , teacher
We are writing project where the partner are University a local Company that make with Water Data Collect in Brazil.
Today they use 2G,3G GPRS to collect data from Remote Cities.
I see that NRF9160 and Golioth is good choice…but…will work in Remote Cities ? May i can convince them to forget 2G,3G GPRS and going to CATm1/Nbiot and make integration with Golioth
What do you think about this Brazil ? Have you clients using NF9160 here ?

What do you think about this Brazil ? Have you clients using NF9160 here?

In fact some of our wonderful developers live in Brazil!

The key thing will be coverage from a particular SIM provider to make sure they have coverage in the remote cities. The rollout of Cat M1 and NB-IOT is consistently increasing, but there’s no way to know unless you have a coverage map from your local provider.

Our friend Joao from BP&M has been doing a bunch of work with the nRF9160, I’ll forward this thread to him to see if he has more insight. They are a local support resource in Brazil because I don’t believe Nordic doesn’t have a direct company resource in the country. We have done work with him in the past and he’s a really great engineer.

There are also 3rd party resources that share coverage maps, like this: 5G coverage map worldwide -

I would suggest choosing a local data / SIM provider and checking with them, as they will have the most up to date coverage. Then if you find an MNO (such as Claro, TIM, Vivo, Oi, etc) that has coverage you think will work for your application, then you could see if an MVNO (which often has coverage from multiple carriers) supports the MNO that you like. I know this isn’t a great answer to your question, but because it comes down to the providers in a region, it really makes sense to spend the time researching this up front to make sure you get the service you need.


I got an new idea to replace the 91

But, i have some questions ?

Based in my BLOG

-May i update the esp32 firmware remotely, right ?
-How much the GOLIOTH cost to each ESP32 running it ?


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Hello Miguel,
As Chris pointed, I’m FAE at BP&M, and we are the Nordic Semiconductor representative for South America.
As concerns M1/NB coverage, it is growing rapidly. Vivo has M1/NB, TIM has NB and Claro has M1 and there are rumours of NB in the future. All of them are supporting PSM, eDRX and RAI, what is really good to use all the nRF9160 low power features.
TIM has NB on all their LTE base stations, Vivo and Claro are almost there.
Considering 2G sunset, what I heard from operators is that they will stop the maintenance of 2G cells. If they go dead, they are gone. And where needed they will put LTE in place.
If you consider that NB/M1 are the 5G Massive IoT solution, going with this technologies is no brainer.
If you wish, please shoot me an email at [email protected] and we can have a chat about this and using nRF9160 in your project.

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Hi João
How are you ?
I will offer the PLAN B to the Client in our University project…using the a wifi to 2g/3g/4g gateway otherwise, i will have a lot of problems with clients that are in remotely cities.
Then i can use the Golioth with ESP32 (our anatel homologated microcontroller)
and again, thanks!

Chris, can you help with those questions ?

Hi again Miguel,
If WiFi is a more viable uplink, the NINA W106 option that you pointed seem very reasonable.
(Great blog article, by the way).
The Golioth folks have lots of articles of the ESP32 running on their network.
I’ll thrown the ball back to @ChrisGammell on this!

thank you! :slight_smile:
Yes, waiting for the answer!

That’s right, you can use Golioth OTA updates on the ESP32 running ESP-IDF to update each device in your fleet. Have you been able to get this working yet? If not, maybe we could break that topic out to a new thread.

As for cost, your first 50 devices are free on the dev tier. As you move into a production phase, you can check out our pricing here: Pricing - Golioth Note that as your volume goes up, your price per device will drop.