Dedicated LTE-M devices communicate over the existing LTE networks. Here each device will have its own unique SIM card.
Standard devices can be used in remote facilities by wirelessly connecting to an LTE gateway. The gateway creates the mcAir network for the devices, and is the only unit with a SIM card.
Where a conventional ethernet or wifi network is available, our gateway will create the mcAir network to handle wireless data transmission from nearby devices.

Communications & LTE

Sensors and devices need to send their data to the cloud. The device communicates wireless with a gateway and the gateway communicates with the cloud. The gateway can be a mcThings gateway or a gateway in a telco network.

All devices have some form of mcAir™ to communicate wireless to a gateway. The mcAir™ protocol is a very effective IoT protocol and is optimized for disconnected operations. Several connection modes are available to optimize the power consumption. Low power consumption is the most important driver for low cost of ownership because it eliminates changing batteries or the cost of wiring the device to a power source.

The three mcAir protocols are:


SR stands for standard range. Standard range mcAir devices communicate over the 2.4GHz band at 3-8 dBm and can be equipped with a coin cell battery. The devices use a mcThings gateway to communicate to the cloud. The device power consumption is so low that 5 to 10-year battery life is attainable. However the broadcast range is shorter at 200 meters (660ft) with optimal conditions. Standard range mcAir is mostly used for high device density and lots of gateways and where the form factor is important. Examples are tool trackers and measuring hundreds of parameters in small spaces.


LR stands for long range. Long range mcAir devices communicate over the 2.4GHz band at 10-23 dBm and are equipped with two or three AA batteries. These devices use a mcThings gateway to communicate to the cloud. The range is longer and capable of 1,000m (3,300 ft) in optimal conditions. Long range mcAir devices are mostly used in situation with few gateways and there is space for a slightly larger device.


LTE here is used to designate LTE Cat M1 or LTE Cat M2 functionality. mcAirLTE devices are equipped with two or three AA batteries for 3 to 5-year battery life. The devices use gateways in LTE towers to communicate to the cloud. The range is greater than conventional cell-phone LTE and can be up to 16KM (10 miles) from the tower. mcAirLTE devices are ideal when there is no gateway or when access to the IP infrastructure fluctuates, such as a moving vehicle or remote location. mcAirLTE devices require an LTE subscription which are provided by mcThings in the form of a chip. No SIM card required.

When we discuss optimum conditions we are talking about within line of sight. Like any wireless protocol, interference from geography and structures may impact the range. For practical distances, consider mcAirSR to have a similar range to a conventional bluetooth connection, while mcAirLR is 5x more powerful than bluetooth.

The cost of ownership will be directly related to the type of communication required. When looking at individual devices, mcAirSR will be the most affordable, followed by mcAirLR and mcAirLTE. But the mcAirSR devices will also need more gateways, with less needed in an mcAirLR network and none needed for an mcAirLTE deployment.

The mcPlatform supports ultra-compact devices with a small footprint, cost effective devices that operate without LTE subscription and a dedicated LTE device with exceptional range. All devices use the same platform software and Mist computing infrastructure to make for an ideal solution.