Global satellite communication for Qwiic projects from Sparkfun

  • December 11, 2019
The Sparkfun Qwiic Iridium 9603N has been developed in order to provide a method for Short Burst Data (SBD) global communication for Qwiic projects via the Iridium Satellite Network. If a customer is prototyping with I2C and is looking to transmit short messages outside of GSM or WiFi networks or when said networks may not always work, this could be the answer.
SparkFun's Qwiic Connect System uses 4-pin JST connectors to quickly interface development boards with sensors, LCDs, relays and more. The Qwiic Iridium 9603N module hosts a 9603N modem and also provides an antenna and power supply requirements. The modem’s serial interface is translated into I2C commands by the ATtiny841 microcontroller.  
With a clear view of the sky, Sparkfun boasts: “Sending and receiving messages to the Iridium network is as easy as sending I2C commands from your RedBoard over a Qwiic connector. The Arduino library walks you through sending messages to the Iridium network using your Qwiic Iridium 9603. Rock Seven’s online portal and APIs allow you to send messages from the Iridium satellite network to your modem.”
Rock Seven CTO, Ric Searle said: “It is great to see Rock Seven services being used in Sparkfun’s experimental products to further development in IoT and SBD – Sparkfun is a key partner and US reseller of our RockBLOCK products. The Qwiic board is a great little piece of kit and we look forward to assisting in the further development of the Qwiic Iridium 9603N and its certification”.
Currently the Qwiic Iridium 9603N is being sold under the SparkX banner. SparkX hosts products that have been rapidly produced so that customers have access to the most cutting-edge technologies. However, because they have yet to be “polished” to completion, Sparkfun manage a peer-to-peer forum for like-minded individuals to gain support and share knowledge.
Sparkfun was founded on the ethos of making electronics more accessible to everyone. Products and resources have been designed with this premise at its heart. It’s portfolio of over 2,000 source components and widgets is impressive and is complemented by curriculum, training and online tutorials to “demystify the wonderful world of embedded electronics”. 

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