Surface Mount Technique

Many Machine-to-Machine applications – such as personal health monitoring, smart utility metering and ambient assisted living – rely on embedded communication modules that provide 2G, 3G or 4G connectivity over the cellular network.

These communications modules are different from the mobile phones we carry in our pocket. They have no screen or keyboard and provide mostly data communication. Depending on the application, they must be small and able to withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations or other physical conditions.

Many communications modules are now connected and attached using Surface Mount Technology (SMT), a manufacturing process whereby the module is soldered directly on the circuit board rather than through mechanical connectors. This offers significant advantages in terms of the cost and flexibility of the manufacturing process when integrating communications functionality into a larger device or system. But it also puts certain restrictions on the design of the module in terms of thermal properties, tolerance to interference etc.

Standardization will:

  • allow easier transition to next generation communication modules
  • ease development for device vendors through consistent designs
  • offer a second source option for integrators

The group has been closed in July 2018 after termination of the work.

Our Industry Specification Group on Surface Mount Technique (ISG SMT) established common form factors and electrical characteristics for embedded Machine-to-Machine communication modules based on Surface Mount Technology.

In 2014 we completed a baseline specification describing the mechanical and electrical aspects of the modules.

This specification is now helping chipset manufacturers, module vendors, integrators and network operators create a market for communications modules that are cheaper, more versatile and easier to integrate.

The specification will also facilitate the evolution of commercial modules towards future radio technologies and data interfaces.

A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ETSI standards search.