Golioth works with Qualcomm

We’re excited to announce the latest update to the Golioth Firmware SDK, release 0.12.0, which now includes support for Zephyr’s newly introduced Modem Subsystem. This enhancement significantly increases the flexibility of our platform, enabling support for a broader array of cellular modem technologies, starting with Qualcomm. 0.12.0 adds support for the Quectel BG95, joining the Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 (our go-to modem around here!) as a first class cellular modem. We also introduced additional ways to securely store credentials.

Zephyr’s New Modem Subsystem

Introduced in Zephyr 3.5.0, the Modem Subsystem is a unified interface for modem drivers. This addition simplifies the integration of cellular modems (and others) into Zephyr-based projects, greatly expanding the range of devices and technologies that developers can utilize effectively. For a detailed overview of the modem subsystem, check out this summary from Zephyr’s Developer Advocate, Benjamin Cabé.

Integration in Golioth Firmware SDK

With the integration of this modem subsystem in the Golioth Firmware SDK, Golioth users can now more flexibly incorporate a wider array of modem technologies into their IoT projects. There are a lot of great modems and module vendors in the market and providing choice is at the heart of what we do at Golioth.

First Supported Modem and Board

The first modem we are supporting with this updated SDK is the BG95 from Quectel, based on Qualcomm technology. The BG95 is paired with the nRF52840 on the RAK5010 development board from RAKwireless. This combination highlights the flexibility of Qualcomm’s technology integrated into Quectel’s hardware, offering developers robust tools for deploying cellular IoT solutions efficiently.

Why Qualcomm?

We chose to support Qualcomm modems because our community asked for it! Developers have different design needs and want maximum flexibility. They need more options that accommodate diverse business needs. Qualcomm chipsets offer the latest in connectivity protocols and radio technology at competitive prices. Qualcomm provides silicon and support for a wide ecosystem of module vendors, such as Quectel, U-Blox, Telit, and more. Golioth customers have used Qualcomm modems in their products in the past, but needed to do much of the integration engineering themselves. Zephyr’s Modem Subsystem makes it easier to develop applications that integrate Qualcomm modems. Connecting this wider range of modems to Golioth is more hands-off for the user, reducing complexity. Developers can focus more on innovation and less on technical hurdles.

Also in This Release

In addition to new modem support, this release introduces a another feature: DTLS socket offloading for Zephyr. This includes an example for the long-supported Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160.

DTLS socket offloading leverages a modem’s secure credential store, which allows for the use of secure, offloaded sockets. This means there is not any private key material in RAM. This can be a significant advantage as it helps reduce RAM usage, code size, CPU load, and power consumption. Actual benefits will vary depending on the application and how the code is utilized.

This new feature enhances device security and efficiency, contributing further to the versatility and robustness of the Golioth Firmware SDK. Mike previously wrote how to store credentials on the nRF9160 using TLS tags.

Getting Started

To get started with the latest SDK:

  1. Update to the newest release, 0.12.0, from the Golioth Firmware SDK repository.
  2. Explore the documentation and examples provided for integrating the RAK5010 board or try DTLS socket offloading with the nRF9160.
  3. Visit our community forums or support channels if you need help or want to discuss your projects.

Focused on Your Success

At Golioth, we’re committed to providing you with the tools and flexibility needed to succeed in the fast-evolving world of IoT. By adding support for new modems and enhancing the ways you can manage credentials, we aim to streamline your development process and empower your innovative projects. Whether you’re integrating the latest modem technology or implementing secure credential management, Golioth is here to support every step of your journey towards building smarter, more connected solutions.

The latest release of the Golioth Firmware SDK is now available! Tagged with v0.11.0, this release includes support for Zephyr v3.6.0, nRF Connect SDK (NCS) v2.5.2, and ESP-IDF v5.2.1.

Our SDK supports multiple platforms and we actively track (and often participate in) upstream development. As new platform releases become available, we test against the Golioth platform, update as necessary, and cut new releases so the latest and greatest is available in your projects.

Also notable in these release is the addition of several code examples in the ESP-IDF port. We have long included examples in the Zephyr port that show each Golioth service used in isolation. The same examples are being added to ESP-IDF, alongside an example that shows off everything. These are nice references when adding a single service to existing applications.

Numerous minor annoyances have also been vanquished. Remote procedure call (RPC) error messages have been clarified when requesting an RPC that is not registered. Log messages for the LTE monitor in our Zephyr common library can now be filtered by log level. And a number of small fixes rounds out the list.

Check out all of the updates in the release notes. Star the repository for notifications of new releases. Please let us know in the forum if you find any issues or have feature requests!

Back in September, we released beta support for Zephyr RTOS in the Golioth Firmware SDK, as an additional option alongside our existing standalone Zephyr SDK. Today, we’re excited to remove the beta tag and announce full support for Zephyr in our cross-platform Firmware SDK. 


Over the last several months we’ve been improving the efficiency of the Firmware SDK and it is now on par with the standalone Zephyr SDK. We’ve expanded our automated test coverage, taken a fine-tooth comb through our APIs and documentation, and listened to and incorporated your feedback (thanks!). All of this means that the version of the SDK we’re releasing today is our best yet – and all of our customers will get these improvements at the same time, whether using Zephyr, ESP-IDF, or any other platform.


That’s why we chose to incorporate Zephyr support into our Firmware SDK and deprecate our standalone Zephyr SDK. We’re big fans of Zephyr, but our goal is to support the IoT community at large as a universal IoT connector, and that includes folks who choose to use other platforms. In order to provide the highest quality support to all of our users while moving as fast as possible to deliver new features and value, it made the most sense to invest in a single unified Firmware SDK.


Of course, our commitment to Zephyr itself hasn’t changed. We continue to be financial sponsors of the project, sit on both the Technical and Marketing Steering Committees, and provide free Zephyr training. And you’ll be able to find us at the Zephyr Developer Summit in Seattle in April.

Ready to get started?

You’ll find the same features and quality you’ve come to expect from Golioth in our Firmware SDK, but we’ve taken this opportunity to rework some of our APIs. Migrating from the Zephyr SDK is easy, and we’ve prepared a migration guide to help you along the way. For those beginning a new project, our getting started documentation will get you up and running in no time.

What does this mean for the Zephyr SDK?

As of today, our standalone Zephyr SDK is deprecated and not recommended for new designs. We may make periodic bug fixes and security updates to the SDK, but we won’t be adding new features or actively developing the standalone Zephyr SDK. This will result in accelerated delivery of features and support in our cross-platform Firmware SDK, as our team is now singularly focused.


We will reach formal end-of-life for the standalone Zephyr SDK on July 31, 2024, at which point we will no longer make any updates to the SDK. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Golioth account rep or contact us at [email protected].