At Novotech, we are fortunate enough to sell a great selection of cellular modules to our customers who use them to add cellular connectivity to their hardware as well as finished cellular modems that customers use to obtain reliable connectivity to the cellular internet networks. For some customers, it is pretty cut and dry as to which is the best choice, but for some, both of them offer a lot of advantages.
So, which is best for you....
Look at using a cellular module when:
- You are building "a lot" of devices. From a cost standpoint, it always makes sense to build your own device when you are passing over a certain volume threshold. While there is no set rule, the ROI (return on investment) to using a module makes a lot of sense when you are doing over 5000-10000 units in a production run.
- You need "a lot" of control over the device. For some, using a finished cellular modem may not make sense if you require the ability to control the connectivity in a way that is not possible when using a modem. Having said that, modems are becoming much more flexible on the use of extra commands / loading applications on-board, so this point is starting to go away.
- You are "crunched" for space. Modules offer a very compact way to add on cellular capabiity to your device, often being able to use some empty space on a board. For many applications, the use of a modem simply is not possible due to space requirements.
- You are "technically savvy" and you want to show it. For many companies who specialize in Engineering (or have a great engineering department), modules allow for the greatest amount of flexibility. Since you are creating the device, you can use this advantage to create a product unlike anything else on the market. When you use a finished cellular modem, you are often using hardware that allows your competitors to reduce this advantage.
- Time is on your side. From start to finish, it can take up to 12-24 months to get a customized product to market.
Look at using a cellular modem when: