There are two ways to achieve Sigfox Ready Certification:
- Full approach: All Sigfox tests (RF & Protocol and Radiated Performance) are executed on the device.
- Modular approach: Only Radiated Performance tests are executed on the device. Evidences of compliance to RF & Protocol specifications are inherited from a Sigfox Verified modular design (module or ref design).
In addition to the main certification offer, three offers are available to ease the creation of variants or series of already-certified devices:
- "Similar" offer, applies to a device based on an existing Sigfox Ready device which received changes that do not affect its RF communication part. Typically applicable for a series of products.
- "Derived" offer, applies to a device based on an existing Sigfox Ready device solely modified to support one or several additional RCs. Such "Derived" device must keep the same commercial name and must implement the same use-case(s) as the initial Sigfox Ready device.
- "Upgrade" offer, applies to a version of an existing Sigfox Ready device where major changes have been applied while keeping the same model name (reference) and same RC.
The outcomes of the Sigfox Ready certification for the partner are:
- A certificate allowing to register the devices on the Sigfox network.
- Access to the Sigfox Partner Network to advertise the company and its products.
- The right to use the Sigfox Ready™ logo for the packaging & communication material.
See the Sigfox Certification Process section to get an overview of the steps to follow.
There are different cases depending on your project and history:
- First device certification of a company – 1500€
- Subsequent new device certifications – 1000€
- Derived, Similar or Upgrade certifications – 500€
One Derived certification offer can encompass several derived devices (if submitted all together). See below for more information.
All prices exclude taxes. Certification offers are paid to Sigfox.
Testing costs not included. They are paid directly to your local test house.
Understanding the offers
For any new device you're bringing to the market, you'll have to go through a full Certification Process.
If your new device supports multiple RCs with the same hardware, there's only one certification to perform (but with one test report from your test house for every supported RC).
If you've created a new device based on a previously Sigfox Ready certified one, you can apply to these cases:
- If you've only changed the module for a different RC, and maybe changed the antenna, then you can apply to the "Derived" Device certification. Note that you still need your device to be tested with your test house.
- If you've kept the same RF design, but only changed a sensor, then you can apply to the "Similar" Device Certification. In this case, no radiation tests are needed since RF hasn't changed.
About the Derived Device offer
If you submit several devices for the Derived certification, you will only pay for the first Derived device -- the other Derived ones will be certified free of charge.
Let's say you have one device that you want to be certified for all current RCs -- RC1 through RC6. That means you will need the following offers:
- RC1 device: First Device offer or Subsequent New Device offer, depending on whether or not this is your company's first ever Sigfox certification (1500€ or 1000€).
- RC2 device: Derived Device offer (500€).
- RC3, RC4, RC5, and RC6 devices: Free of charge, if you submit all Derived devices (here, RC2 to RC6) at the same time.
To help you better understand which offer is the best fit for your situation, we have devised this handy decision tree:
A device's RF radiated performance is assessed when passing the Sigfox Ready certification. Each certified device thus receives a class, indicating its performance.
What are Sigfox classes
Sigfox defines an uplink classification for each RC, which applies to every certified device.
These classes are ranked from strongest to weakest: U0, U1, U2, and U3. They indicate the RF radiated performance of a device, which can have a significant impact on the message success rate. They are based on EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power) intervals.
Simply put, a U0 device enjoys a much better message reception than a non-U0 device. This means better user feedback and fewer support requests for your team.
For instance, in RC1, U0 must have a low EIRP limit of 12 dBm. In RC2, the low limit is at 20 dBm. See more in this document.
Therefore, while not mandatory, U0 is the class to aim for when building a device in the majority of use-cases. It is the best way to ensure Sigfox Network Service delivery at nominal performance level.
Tips to improve emission power
Anything that is added between the module and the open air can lower the EIRP of your device: the antenna itself can lower EIRP by 2 dBm, the casing also has a strong impact, the way the insides of the device is organized can have an impact, same for the ground plane, etc.
There are best practices to follow when building a device, that will ensure maximal emission power:
- Plan for U0 at the very start of your project. That means integrating the complete RF design (including antenna and mechanical designs) early on, to maximize your chances to be U0 without having to deeply rework your plan later on.
- Start with a powerful radio base. For instance, choose a very good module/transceiver, so that weakening elements cannot bring the device's EIRP lower than 12 dBm. This means choosing a module/transceiver according to your target RCs.
- Choose your antenna carefully. Better yet: hire an antenna specialist. You can find some on Sigfox Partner Network.
- Never use a metal casing for the radio part! Prefer a plastic casing. Note that you can choose to have part of your device in a metal casing, provided that the device will be placed on a metal support (antenna, etc.).
- Leave room within the device, to favor a bigger antenna. This might mean a slightly bigger casing.
- Test the complete device, not with just a PCB and an antenna: include the casing and any other component that might have an impact on emission.
Overall, the two best tips are:
- Aim for U0.
- Hire an antenna designer.
When is U1 enough?
You should always aim for the U0 class. Because the Sigfox coverage is calculated for U0 devices, non-U0 devices might not get the coverage they need. Try simulating coverage for U1 to u3 in the Sigfox Backend and see whether it suits your project's needs.
That being said, U1 can be more energy efficient for the same actions when you know what you're doing, so it's tempting to aim for U1.U1 or even U2 might be enough when some conditions are available:
- The device is located in a fixed location, with a dense network.
- The device is located outside, on a high tower.
- Energy-saving is one of the main objectives.
In any other case, U0 should be the target. The Sigfox Device Cookbook has a whole section dedicated to matching use-case and device class.
Keep in mind that it is very hard to update a U1 device to a U0 one. If you chose to commercialize a U1 device and you get bad feedback about the reception, you will have to rework your device from the start in order to reach U0. It is much easier to aim for U0 right from the start.