The Monarch feature makes IoT devices aware of the local radio configuration (RC) to use.
A single device can thus lawfully communicate on the Sigfox network even when moving between countries with different radio regulations.
In everyday use, Monarch is transparent and simple: the device automatically chooses the appropriate radio configuration without human intervention.
Monarch relies on beacons broadcasted by some base-stations of the Sigfox Network that devices must detect, to select the applicable radio configuration.
It was designed with all values that prevail in Sigfox technology, which for the device means:
- Hardware design must be adapted but existing Sub-GHz semiconductor solutions can be reused: no need to add high-value power-hungry components.
- On Software, Monarch comes as an additional option inside the Sigfox Protocol Library but it remains simple and compact.
- Both the beacon signals and its broadcasting frequency are designed to enable devices to keep multi-year battery lifetime.
Sigfox devices can switch RC once they enter an area where local beacon information is broadcasted by a Monarch-compatible base station. These base stations are usually located in places of transit, such as airports, seaports, railway stations, logistics hubs, etc.
The network of Monarch base stations is always expanding.
You can see an up-to-date map of Sigfox Monarch areas on Sigfox Backend: click the "Monarch Coverage Map" tab to view it.
To evaluate the Monarch functionality for your PoC, end-to-end solutions (including device and its cloud application) are already available. For instance, Axible Tracker (suitable for sea and air transport).
Monarch can be supported by most semiconductor solutions that currently implement Sigfox:
- The antenna and RF front-end must support all the targeted radio configurations and corresponding frequencies,
- The Sub-GHz transceiver must provide an OOK demodulator (that will demodulate Monarch Beacons),
- The MCU on which is hosted the Monarch-enabled Protocol Library shall have enough processing bandwidth to decode the Monarch pattern sampled at 16kHz.
The complete Monarch implementation encompasses RF and SW know-how as depicted in the chart above. To develop such device, it is therefore recommended to use a Sigfox Verified solution.
- Chip-on-board design approach: please contact your preferred semiconductor vendor. A reference implementation is already available from ST.
- Use a Monarch modular design: several references are under development and will be widely available soon.
Note that even when using a Sigfox Verified Monarch solution, the triggering of the beacon search remains under the device maker duty based on multiple sensor events and possibly real-time clock.
Monarch is an optional feature that must be tested during the Sigfox certification process. In particular, it requires additional RF & protocol test cases that must be executed for:
- Any modular design applying to Sigfox Verified,
- Or any device following the full approach and going straight to Sigfox Ready.
Either way, we strongly recommend module or device makers to pre-validate the Monarch detection and demodulation before applying for official testing. The following equipment is required:
- An RF I/Q Vector Generator, such as for example a LitePoint IQxel-M,
- Monarch I/Q patterns, to be requested from Sigfox,
- The “RF & Protocol” software add-on, which is delivered with the Sigfox Protocol Library that automates all “RF & Protocol” testing.