FAQs

How can we help you find the answers to your questions?

General

  • Does the Wi-Fi Notecard Work With Any Notecarrier?

    Yes. The Wi-Fi Notecard uses the same m.2 Key E connector as the Cellular Notecard and as such, can be used in any one of our Notecarriers or a custom, Notecard-based design.

  • I need to measure different data. How can I customize this device?

    By adding a host MCU, you are able to capture any type of information and communicate it to the Notecard using our JSON interface over UART or I2C.

  • Which microcontrollers does the Blues Wireless Notecard support?

    The Notecard is compatible with any microcontroller (MCU) from an 8-bit Arduino to 32-bit ESP32 or STM32 and every major Single Board Computer (SBC) platform. Some popular examples include the Adafruit Huzzah32, STM32 Nucleo, Arduino Nano, ESP32-WROOM, among many others. The Notecard communicates over either I2C or UART, so it acts as a peripheral that you can connect to a product’s existing I2C bus or UART connection.

    It’s also possible to communicate with the Notecard from any embedded language, including compiled languages like C and C++, to interpreted languages like Python and JavaScript.

  • Which cellular networks does the Blues Wireless Notecard utilize?

    Different models of the Blues Wireless Notecard are available that connect to LTE-M, NB-IoT, and Cat-1 networks globally. When LTE-M, NB-IoT, or Cat-1 aren’t available, the Notecard is also supported by UMTS/HSPA+ and GSM/GPRS/EDGE wireless standards.

  • I need a fleet of devices. Are there options for me to buy a larger quantity?

    Yes! Blues Wireless can support your project whether you need 10 devices or 10,000. We also have relationships with device building firms and contract manufacturers to help bring your vision to life.

  • Which countries does the Blues Wireless Notecard support?

    Global coverage is available in 135 countries, with direct support provided by leading providers and carriers. For a full list, please see our documentation article on Notecard’s supported countries.

  • Which wireless standards are used by the Blues Wireless Notecard?

    Various Notecard models are available that connect to LTE-M, NB-IoT, and Cat-1 networks. In global regions without these capabilities, coverage is also supported by UMTS/HSPA+ and GSM/GPRS/EDGE wireless standards.

  • What frequency range does the Wi-Fi Notecard support?

    The Low-Power Wi-Fi transceiver used on the Notecard supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Networks.

  • What is a cellular system-on-module (SoM)?

    A system on module (SoM) is a circuit board that integrates a system function on a single module/device. Unlike a single board computer like the Raspberry Pi or a microcontroller, a SoM generally serves a single special function.

    The Blues Wireless Notecard is a cellular SoM. The Notecard is a secure device-to-cloud data-pump that comes with 500MB of data and 5,000 monthly consumption credits. The Notecard itself is a tiny 30mm x 35mm SoM and ships ready to embed in a project via its m.2 connector. To make prototyping IoT solutions even easier, Blues Wireless also provides a series of expansion boards to host the Notecard called Notecarriers.

  • Does the Blues Wireless Notecard provide a way to perform cellular tower triangulation?

    Yes, this is possible on any paid account on Notehub.io.

  • What is the easiest cellular IoT board to start a project with? How do you add cellular to an IoT project

    The Blues Wireless Notecard, combined with the Notecarrier-AF, is the easiest way to add cellular connectivity to your MCU-based IoT project. Blues Wireless provides a Feather Starter Kit that includes a Adafruit ESP32 HUZZAH to get you started as quickly as possible. Alternatively, if you are invested in the Raspberry Pi platform, you can get started with the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit.

  • How do you perform an OTA device firmware update for ESP32?

    The Blues Wireless Notecard and Notehub cloud service provide developers with an over-the-air (OTA) device firmware update (DFU) mechanism that can be used to update Notecard firmware, or the firmware of a connected microcontroller or microprocessor host.

    Provided the host has the ability to run a custom bootloader or operate across partitions, developers can utilize Notehub.io to upload firmware binaries, and the Notecard to download and deliver those binaries to the host.

    Follow the DFU guide provided on our developer site.

  • What is an MFF2 embedded SIM card?

    The MFF2 UICC embedded SIM used on the Blues Wireless Notecard works in the same manner as a traditional SIM card. However, it is soldered directly onto the Notecard circuit board during manufacturing. This makes the Notecard a perfect option for IoT deployments that are located outdoors (the SIM is protected from corrosion), are in motion (the SIM won’t move out of place), or require a long lifecycle. MFF2 SIM cards are also permanently installed, making them impervious to misuse and therefore more secure.

  • What is a cellular IoT module?

    A cellular IoT module is a system on module (SoM) that integrates a system function (e.g. cellular) on a single module or device. Unlike a single board computer or a microcontroller, a SoM generally serves a single unique function.

    The Blues Wireless Notecard is a cellular IoT module. The Notecard is a secure device-to-cloud data-pump that comes with 500MB of data and 5,000 monthly consumption credits. The Notecard itself is a tiny 30mm x 35mm SoM and ships ready to embed in a project via its m.2 connector. To make things even easier, Blues Wireless also provides a series of expansion boards to host the Notecard called Notecarriers.

  • How do you access sensor data from a BME680 or BME280 with an STM32 MCU?

    The BME680 is one of the most popular sensors for gathering gas, pressure, humidity, and temperature data. Likewise, the BME280 is a popular alternative that does not include a gas sensor.

    The easiest way to learn how to access sensor data from a BME680 or BME280 is by following one of the Blues Wireless sensor tutorials that use the Notecard to securely relay sensor data to the cloud:

  • Does the Blues Wireless Notecard require a Notecarrier to function?

    No! The Blues Wireless Notecard is a small 30mm x 35mm system on module (SoM) that is able to be embedded in any IoT project on its own via its M.2 edge connector.

    However, Blues Wireless provides a variety of Notecarrier host boards for easily adding cellular connectivity to a new or existing IoT solution for prototyping purposes. The Notecarrier also provides antennae for both the GPS and cellular capabilities of the Cellular Notecard (and the cellular antenna is also compatible with the Wi-Fi Notecard).

  • What are the differences between the Blues Wireless Notecard, Notecarrier, and Notehub.io?
    • Notecard: SoM peripheral with a cellular modem, IMU sensor, GPS modem, with an M.2 edge connector.
    • Notecarrier: A prototyping board with cellular/Wi-Fi and GPS antennae, used to breakout the pins on the Notecard’s M.2 connector.
    • Notehub: A cloud service, used as a backend to connect with the Notecard. Notehub.io securely receives all data and communications created by the Notecard. In turn, Notehub.io can securely sync encrypted data with the cloud application of your choice using VPN tunnels which eliminates the need for traffic to traverse the public Internet.
  • What happens to our data plan if Blues Wireless goes out of business? How do we get our data?

    The Notecard device’s data plan continues to function uninterrupted. Data can be collected via the open-source, cloud service “Notehub” (the core functionality upon which our SaaS product, Notehub.io, is built).

  • Why can't I connect to my Notecard via USB?

    There’s two main reasons the Notecard may be having issues connecting to a computer via USB.

    1. The USB cable doesn’t support data (or it’s a faulty cable) - this happens more often than you might think.
    2. On Windows 7, a user needs to install a driver to support USB communication with the Notecard. See our forum article for more details on communicating with a Notecard on Windows 7.
  • What do the Notecard LED blink patterns mean?

    For more information on Notecard LED blink patterns, see our forum article to decode what your Notecard’s LEDs mean.

  • What can I do if a Notecard isn't connecting to the network?

    If the Notecard’s having trouble establishing a connection, please see our forum’s troubleshooting article on connecting to a cellular network.

  • How do I gather a trace log from a Notecard?

    Trace information is a stream of messages that can be useful when looking to understand Notecard behavior, for instructions read our forum’s article on how to capture trace logs from a Notecard.

Pricing

  • What is a Consumption Credit?

    A Consumption Credit is a unit of measure used to pay for Notehub services, such as routing events.

  • What is an Event?

    An Event is the basic unit of data sent from a Notecard to Notehub and to a customer’s servers through a Route if a Route is defined. It’s the user-defined JSON data from a customer’s microcontroller or Notecard, further annotated with things such as time and cell tower location.

  • What is a Route?

    A Route is a user-defined configuration in Notehub that specifies one or more internet destinations to which a given Event may be “pushed” from the Notecard.

  • What is an Event Retrieval API?

    An Event Retrieval API is a “pull” mechanism to fetch Event data from the Notehub, complementing the “push” mechanism of sending Event data via Routes.

  • What is a Web Request?

    A “Web Request” is a request made outward to web servers on the internet, originated by Notecard as the result of a “web.get”, “web.put”, or “web.post”. These Notecard requests are routed “through” the Notehub, which acts as a secure proxy keeping devices isolated from the internet.

  • What is Connectivity Assurance?

    When the Notecard runs low on data, Connectivity Assurance will automatically add data to the Notecard SIM’s data plan.

  • How many Consumption Credits are used to route an event or make an API Request?

    Data routing and events use Consumption Credits. 5,000 are included with each Notecard Purchase. If your Consumption Credit balance falls below 5,000 CC’s we will refresh your account each month up to 5,000 Consumption Credits. Any CC’s needed beyond that will need to be purchased. Below is a table to illustrate the consumption credit cost per service.

    Service Consumption Credits (CC)
    Event “pushed” through a route 1 CC
    1,000 API requests to Notehub.io 1 CC
    Event API retrieval “pulled” from Notehub 1 CC
    Notecard web request 1 CC
  • How much do Consumption Credits Cost?

    In order to accommodate a wide range of deployment sizes and use cases, Consumption Credits may be purchased in the following discount tiers:

    Volume Discount Tiers

    Tier Name CC Min CC Max Rate
    Tier 1 15,000 499,999 $0.000750
    Tier 2 500,000 9,999,999 $0.000563
    Tier 3 10,000,000 19,999,999 $0.000375
    Tier 4 20,000,000 49,999,999 $0.000225
    Tier 5 50,000,000 99,999,999 $0.000188
    Tier 6 100,000,000+ N/A $0.000150
  • Will Notecard prices increase to receive the 5,000 bundled Consumption Credits?

    No. 5,000 Consumption Credits are provided with each Notecard purchase at no additional charge.

  • When I purchase a Notecard, how are the credits added to my Notehub account?

    5,000 credits will automatically be added to your project’s billing account the first time a Notecard is provisioned and connects to Notehub.

  • I’m currently on the Notehub Free plan. Will I still have 5,000 free events/month?

    Yes. On the 1st of the month, any billing account with a balance below 5,000 credits will automatically top-up to 5,000 credits. For example, if your billing account balance equals 4,500 credits on the 1st of the month, we will automatically add 500 credits to your billing account and restore your balance to 5,000. There is no additional charge for the refreshing credits.

  • Are the Notecard bundled credits restricted to that specific Notecard?

    No. Once bundled credits are added to your billing account, they can be consumed by any Notecard within your project. This allows you to pool credits within your billing account.

  • How do I purchase additional Consumption Credits?

    It is quick and easy to purchase additional Consumption Credits in Notehub. You have the option to make one-time purchases or setup Auto-recharge, which will automatically purchase credits when your balance reaches your defined minimum balance.

  • How do I avoid running out of credits?

    The easiest way to avoid running out of credits is to set up Auto-recharge. Simply define your minimum balance and quantity of credits to be purchased when this balance is reached. Notehub will purchase the additional amount on your behalf and notify you when this happens.

  • How will usage be tracked and displayed in Notehub?

    Usage is tracked throughout the day and visible within Notehub. Notehub will provide the ability to view usage by date range, project and activity type (routed event, API call, etc).

  • Can I create an alert when my Billing account balance is low?

    Yes. Simply, login to Notehub and select Billing from your Profile menu. Define the threshold for your Billing Account balance to trigger an alert. If your balance is below your defined threshold, Notehub will send you an email once per day until the balance is restored to an amount above the threshold.

Raspberry Pi

  • Which Raspberry Pi-compatible single-board computers does the Blues Wireless Notecarrier-Pi HAT support?

    The Blues Wireless Notecard and its companion Notecarrier-Pi HAT support virtually any Raspberry Pi-compatible single-board computer (SBC) with a 40-pin male header connector. Some examples of compatible SBCs include the balenaFin, Banana Pi, and the ROCK Pi.

    Note that due to the power requirements of the Notecard, some Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 models include a current-limiting fuse that will power-cycle the device when the Notecard’s modem is on and transmitting. To avoid these issues, we recommend using Raspberry Pi 4 devices with the Notecard and Notecarrier Pi HAT.

  • How do you add cellular network access to a Raspberry Pi?

    The Raspberry Pi (and other compatible single-board computers) provides extensibility for cellular network access via the Pi HAT header connector. To add cellular connectivity to a Raspberry Pi (for instance, to access LTE-M, NB-IoT, or Cat-1 networks) you can use the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit from Blues Wireless. This provides a Notecarrier-Pi HAT and a Notecard. The Notecard is pre-provisioned to securely communicate with the Blues Wireless cloud service, Notehub.io, which allows you to route data to your cloud application of choice.

  • Does the Blues Wireless Notecard System-on-a-Module (SoM) require a Pi HAT for Raspberry Pi integration?

    It is technically feasible to embed a Blues Wireless Notecard on a custom PCB that connects to the Pi HAT connector. However, the Notecarrier-Pi provided by Blues Wireless is a Pi HAT that is works with Raspberry Pi-compatible single-board computers and provides unparalleled ease of use when adding cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity to a Raspberry Pi.

  • What is the easiest way to connect Raspberry Pi to a cellular network?

    The Blues Wireless Notecard and Notecarrier-Pi HAT is the easiest way to provide cellular access to a Raspberry Pi-compatible single board computer. The Notecard is a secure device-to-cloud data-pump that comes with 500 MB of data and 10 years of cellular service. The Notecard itself is a tiny 30mm x 35mm SoM and ships ready to embed in a project via its m.2 connector. For Raspberry Pi-compatible single board computers, the Blues Wireless Raspberry Pi Starter Kit provides an easy way to add a Notecard to a Raspberry Pi. To get started with a Raspberry Pi and the Notecard, consult the Blues Wireless Raspberry Pi quickstart guide.

  • Does the Blues Wireless Notecard provide a built-in way to measure temperature, shock/impact, voltage, and/or cellular signal strength data, and send the data to the cloud?

    The Blues Wireless Notecard includes onboard temperature and accelerometer sensors that are accessible via the Notecard API. Temperature and voltage is captured every 5 minutes, and reported with the JSON included in every sync operation. Shock/impact detection can be reported by enabling the built-in IMU sensor (card.motion API), then querying it to enhance your data with “shock/impact” information. In addition, cellular signal strength data is included with the card.wireless API.

Routing and Transferring Data

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to AWS?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to AWS. A complete routing guide for AWS IoT Analytics is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. AWS IoT Analytics is a secure, scalable IoT app platform that allows you to manage IoT devices, create dashboards and visualizations, and more.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to Microsoft Azure?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to Microsoft Azure. A complete routing guide for Azure IoT Central is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. Azure IoT Central is a secure, scalable IoT app platform that allows you to manage IoT devices, create dashboards and visualizations, and more.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to Datacake?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to Datacake. A complete routing guide for Datacake is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. Datacake is a low-code platform for creating cloud-based IoT applications and reporting dashboards.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to Google Cloud Platform?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). A complete routing guide for Google Cloud Functions is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. Google Cloud Platform is a secure, scalable app platform that allows you to manage IoT devices, create dashboards and visualizations, and more.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to Initial State?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to Initial State. A complete routing guide for Initial State is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. Initial State is a data streaming and visualization tool that’s easy to set-up and configure for IoT applications.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to ThingSpeak?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to ThingSpeak. A complete routing guide for ThingSpeak is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. ThingSpeak is a simple IoT analytics tool from MathWorks that provides simple dashboards and built-in visualizations for your projects.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to Ubidots?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to Ubidots. A complete routing guide for Ubidots is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. Ubidots provides data collection, analysis, and visualization tooling for connected IoT projects.

  • How do you route IoT data to Twilio for sending SMS notifications?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data to Twilio (e.g. for email or SMS notifications). A complete routing guide for Twilio SMS is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. Twilio’s SMS API allows you to add messaging capabilities to your cloud applications. You can send SMS messages, track the delivery of sent messages, and view message history.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data with Azure Functions?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data with Azure Functions. A complete routing guide for Azure Functions is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. Azure Functions is a cloud service that provides the infrastructure and resources to run your cloud applications on Microsoft Azure.

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data with the ThingWorx API?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data with the ThingWorx API. A complete routing guide for ThingWorx is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. The ThingWorx platform is a complete, end-to-end technology platform designed for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

  • How do you route or transfer IoT data to a cloud service with MQTT?

    The Blues Wireless cloud service Notehub natively supports secure routing of IoT data via the MQTT protocol. A complete routing guide for MQTT is available on the Blues Wireless developer portal. MQTT stands for “Message Queuing Telemetry Transport” and is a lightweight, publish-subscribe network protocol that transports messages between IoT devices. MQTT is ideal for connecting remote devices with a small code footprint and minimal network bandwidth.

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