LTE Cat-M vs LTE Cat-1 Notecard for GPS car tracker (North America)?

Hi, I’m looking to build a GPS tracker for my car. It will be powered by the car battery (I bought one of those fusebox to USB adapters)

I live in the United States and don’t expect to drive my car anywhere outside of North America.

Should I buy the LTE Cat-M or LTE Cat-1 Notecard? My two primary concerns for this project are 1. power consumption (though I have a pretty big car battery so it should be fine) and 2. coverage area.

I’ve read that LTE-M should have lower power consumption and better range as well. However a comment in this thread suggests that LTE-Cat1 has better coverage? I’m not sure which is true. Should one expect Cat-M or Cat-1 to have better coverage?

Thank you!

Hi @peechee and welcome to the Blues Wireless community!

When it comes to power consumption and tracking applications, the Notecard shines since it has an onboard accelerometer and can detect when it is in motion. Therefore, it won’t attempt to ascertain its location or sync data with the cloud when it is not moving (and it draws only ~8uA when idle). So you definitely have nothing to worry about in terms of running it off a car battery.

I would recommend using the LTE Cat-1 (WBNA) Notecard over LTE Cat-M (NBGL or NBNA). WBNA offers the option of adding an additional diversity antenna, which will help you in areas with limited connectivity. Power consumption is the same across all models.


1 Like