Recommendation of 3G/4G/LTE modem & GPS module


I’m looking at using balena cloud for a project that would required:

  • WAN connectivity using cellular networks (using either USB, or the GPIOs - which ever works best at a good price-point).
  • GPS location (same, USB or GPIO module)

Base hardware: RPI3 or RPIZeroW

I’m wondering if anyone had some recommendations for this. I’m looking for hardware that’s proven to work well with eventually some documentation on the settings side of things.


Hi @xyala,

We maintain a list of tested and officially supported modems here.

I do not believe any of the suggestions tested on the RPi3 also have an onboard GPS, though hopefully this list gives you some ideas!

Awesome, thanks!

Yes indeed none of these have GPS, I guess I’ll have to test a few.
In my search for a GPS module, if I go with something working on USB, anything I should look out for within specs / software support?

Heya @xyala :slight_smile:

We’ve used Quectel EC25 which is good modem + GPS (as well as, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo and QZSS), though it’s a mini-PCIe form factor, so might need a USB-to-mini-PCIe converter, probably?

I think the EC20 also has GPS (but not the rest), but in general would suggest the EC25, if it’s an option for you.

For the GPS module alone, if it works with serial (and most do), can just connect to the Pi’s serial port, and use it there (that’s what most of them are doing).

We have some of them here, will try to give it a spin in our office (I used it with the Fin previously, and used both network + GPS, but there it’s easier to connect the card:)

Awesome, thanks for the advice, I’m going to look into it.
From what I’m seing the EC25 doesn’t seem that easy to get though.

Probably, easiest is to work out a system in two pieces with GPS and Modem being separate. I’m just realizing also that I have to look at various bands for different regions.

So GPS over serial, and then get a USB modem geared for each region.

About modems, I recently saw a video on the balena blog:

Seems like they are using a USB modem on their Pis. Do you know which one that is? It doesn’t seem to be like any of the supported list you have.

Just in case you overlooked it - the EC25 product page claims - Worldwide LTE, UMTS/HSPA+ and GSM/GPRS/EDGE coverage. So you might get away with one modem for all regions after all.

Yes, they do at first but then they list also all the variants, so there is basically a model for each region.

Variant for Europe/Middle East/Africa/Korea/Thailand

EC25-E Mini PCIe:
LTE FDD: B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B20
LTE TDD: B38/B40/B41
GSM: B3/B8
Certification: RCM/CE/Deutsche Telekom/ICASA/FAC/GCF/LGU+/Telefonica/KT

Variants for North America

EC25-A Mini PCIe:
LTE FDD: B2/B4/B12
Certification: FCC/PTCRB/IC/ AT&T/T-Mobile
EC25-V Mini PCIe:
Certification: FCC/GCF/ Verizon

Variant for Australia/New Zealand/Taiwan/Brazil

EC25-AU Mini PCIe:
LTE FDD: B1/B2①/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B28
WCDMA: B1/B2/B5/B8
GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8
Certification: RCM/NCC/Anatel

Variant for Japan

EC25-J Mini PCIe:
LTE FDD: B1/B3/B8/B18/B19/B26
WCDMA: B1/B6/B8/B19
Certification: JATE/TELEC/ DOCOMO/ SoftBank/KDDI

Variant for Australia Telstra

EC25-AUT Mini PCIe:
LTE FDD: B1/B3/B5/B7/B28

I saw on the site they also list this one :
Seems to be somewhat the same, but just sold as a hat. It says worldwide coverage here without options to pick …