Using FONA 3G with 3G being retired
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Using FONA 3G with 3G being retired

by Bartosz1313 on Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:49 pm

I am on a team that is setting up an automatic irrigation system for a farmer. We are using an RFM95W to send information to a water source to shut off the water a mile or so away, along with some switches, sensors, LCDs, and relays, and all of this is connected to an ELAGOO MEGA 2560. One of the things we wanted to set up is a way for information to get sent to the farmer via SMS, and for the farmer to be able to send text messages to the Arduino to control the system (such as to shut it off). This is a rural area in northern Wisconsin.

The original plan was to use an Adefruit FONA 3G to send texts back and forth with the Arduino. It looked very simple to integrate with and there was an example code for it. We are on a time crunch here. However, I read that 3G and 2G services are being dropped by big cell phone services companies like TMobile, ATT, and Verizon, in the next year or two so we are opting to not use that. This leaves us with 4G LTE, however, I read on a Reddit post that it may be the case that Arduino cannot keep up with 4G LTE data transfer rates.

The TLDR of my question is this: Is it true that since 3G and 2G GSM is being dropped by cell phone services, that something like a FONA 3G module would not work as an SMS solution for a MEGA 2560, and is it also true that Arduinos are too slow for 4G LTE?

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Re: Using FONA 3G with 3G being retired

by mikeysklar on Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:05 pm

Cool irrigation project with some real distance challenges.

I think it is safe to assume that anything you are developing now will need to be LTE-M1 and on a more modern Arduino generation (M0/M4 core). I think the Icarus IoT nRF9160 or the Particle Boron LTE would be good choices for your platform. Your Arduino code should run with minimal modification to pin changes assuming you were not getting too fancy with interrupts and chip specific timers.


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