The first of the boards is the MKR WiFi 1010, which offers low power consumption and has been designed to speed up and simplify the prototyping of WiFi-based IoT applications and embedded in production IoT applications that require WiFi connectivity.
The board is an evolution of the existing Arduino MKR1000, but now comes equipped with an ESP32-based module manufactured by u-blox. This key element delivers 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth communications capability, along with leading RF and power performance: the ESP32 is a highly flexible device that provides adjustable power output, enabling optimal trade-offs between communication range, data rate and power consumption.
Fully compatible with the Arduino IT cloud, the MKR1010 also offers simple migration from other Arduino boards, and uses open-source WiFi firmware, which makes it easy to reprogram for upgrading or to repair any security flaws. A significant feature is the MKR1010’s two standalone programmable processors – the first based on ARM processor core technology, the second based on a dual-core Espressif IC – making the board a high-performance solution that can distribute its workload across its dual-processor system.
Another major feature is the integration of a secure authentication module – Microchip’s ECC508 – which uses crypto authentication to secure TLS network communications and connections.
The second board is the MKR NB 1500, which employs the new low-power NB-IoT (narrowband IoT) standard, designed to work over cellular/LTE networks. Designed for global deployment, it supports transmissions via AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Telstra, Verizon over the Cat M1/NB1 deployed bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 20 and 28.
The NB-IoT communications technology makes use of existing LTE cellular networks and delivers significantly faster communications than alternative IoT networks such as LoRa and Sigfox, while also having a low impact on battery consumption. In addition, when compared to typical GSM or 3G cellular connectivity, wake up times and connections are much faster, which enables significant power saving.
Importantly, both of the new boards are fully compatible with the Arduino Uno, Mega and existing MKR boards. Also common to both boards is their MKR footprint, as well as the same wide range of available interfaces, including I2S, I2C, UART and SPI. Both boards also operate at 3.3V and offer input/output options including 22 digital I/Os – 12 with PWM outputs – and seven analogue inputs.
Both the MKR WiFi 1010 and the MKR NB 1500 will be available for from Arduino from June 2018.