Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Telstra certifies U-Blox LTE-M and NB-IoT module

Steve Rogerson
February 18, 2020



Australian operator Telstra has certified U-Blox’s Sara-R410M-83B dual-mode cellular module. The LTE-M and NB-IoT modules can secure the IoT from end to end.
 
The module will suit a broad spectrum of IoT applications such as smart metering, telematics, asset and vehicle tracking, security systems, and connected health. With LTE frequency bands 3, 5, 8, 20 and 28, conformance to Red and certification for NCC, the product can also be used in Europe and Taiwan.
 
Recently introduced NB-IoT features have been tested and approved by Telstra. The release assistance indicator gives the application the option to terminate the connection as soon as the uplink message is sent.
 
“The ability to release the network connection quickly and reduce power consumption is critical for our customers requiring extended battery life, particularly in remote areas,” said Andrew Suttle, U-Blox country manager for Australia and New Zealand. “Additionally, U-Blox’s customised implementation of embedded secure MQTT protocol enables quick development of secure and reliable data transmission to AWS and MS Azure cloud platforms.”
 
An immutable root of trust and lightweight key exchange make the modules suitable for mission-critical IoT applications. These provide the foundation for a trusted set of security functions.
 
“The scalable, pre-shared key management system offers best-in-class data encryption and decryption, both on-device as well as from device to cloud,” said Rado Sustersic, product manager at U-Blox. “Utilising the latest (D)TLS stack and cipher suites with hardware-based crypto acceleration provides robust, efficient and protected communication."
 
Users can future-proof their products by means of uFOTA (firmware over the air) client-server firmware updates, using LW-M2M, a light and compact protocol for IoT applications. UFOTA is a complete end-to-end U-Blox service for remotely updating deployed modules to future firmware releases, with additional security provided between module and server via pre-shared secure keys.
 
With manufacturing in ISO/TS 16949-certified production sites in Europe and an operating temperature of -40 to +85˚C, the module is suitable for secure long life industrial applications.
 
U-Blox says it will strengthen the security of IoT ecosystems built on its dedicated LTE-M and NB-IoT chipset by implementing a set of security features endorsed by the GSMA. Support for the IoT Safe (IoT SIM applet for secure end-to-end communications) implementation guide will be included in a software maintenance release for the firm’s devices based on the UBX-R5 chipset, such as the Sara-R5 series this year.
 
The Sara-R5 is a 5G-ready, software-configurable family of IoT devices that support LTE-M and NB-IoT communications over multiple radio bands. It includes a secure element, certified to the Common Criteria EAL5+ security assurance standard, which also acts as a hardware root of trust (RoT) for processes such as authentication and encryption.
 
The GSMA launched the IoT Safe recommendation in December 2019. It enables IoT device manufacturers and service providers to use a SIM as a robust and scalable hardware RoT to protect IoT data communications. This will make it easier to establish a (D)TLS session securely with an application cloud or server, simplifying the process of provisioning and managing millions of IoT devices.