Development

The quickest way to start prototyping is to use a Sigfox compatible development kit. You can find a wide range of available kits on the Sigfox Partner Network, including Arduino and Raspberry PI boards.  Development kits generally include Sigfox connectivity service subscriptions and can be activated online.

Which kind of hardware ?

In order to create a Sigfox enabled solution, you will need to integrate a Sigfox compatible radio chipset in your device.  Thanks to our open approach regarding hardware integration, our semiconductor ecosystem offers a wide variety of solutions to answer all our customer needs.  

You can use : 

  • A Sigfox Verified Module which already integrates the Sigfox Library and which is very easy to use.  
  • A Sigfox Verified reference design which also integrates the library but requires that you source components yourself.  
  • Your own modem design based on a transceiver. This is the most complex solution as you will have to integrate the Sigfox library. This is also more expensive as integration is more complex, but can be interesting for high volumes projects.  

All these solutions on the Partner network :

Which solution is best ? This depends on your needs, volume targets and radio knowledge. Each product has its own advantages (electrical consumption, footprint, price, other connectivity etc.), so it is up to the device maker to find the best solution for their product. 

In order to achieve a quick time to market, we strongly advise customers to use a Sigfox verified module, as this is the fastest and easiest solution to work with Sigfox while providing very good performance. For larger volumes, all options are open and depends on what your objectives are.

Please be aware that using transceivers or non-verified solutions will automatically require a Sigfox Verified certification, as you will have to integrate the Sigfox stack. This process requires a larger investment both financially and in terms of manpower from the device maker, so it is usually recommended for larger volumes targets. 

Batteries

Sigfox technology has been optimized in every way possible to be power efficient, to allow devices to operate independently for a number of years without changing the source of power. What does this mean for a device maker? 

1) Predictability

As the Sigfox network does not use a handshake mechanism or any other type of power controlling systems within the protocol, Sigfox is one of the only technologies allowing to precisely analyze and predict how much power you will use during your device battery life. 

2) Which type of battery ? 

On the market, numerous power sources are available, each with their own benefits. Which source to use depends on your use case, as batteries capacity can be impacted by a number of parameters.  Questions to answer before choosing are: 

  • How long is my device supposed to work? 
  • How many sensors need power while not sending messages? 
  • What are my constraints in term of design? 
  • What temperature will be reached?
  • etc.

Once all parameters have been defined, you will be able to choose the most suitable source for your use case. 

Warning : Don't undersize your power source! Whilst having the smallest battery on the market could help with the design aspects, it is also important to consider the amount of power needed during transmission while choosing your battery.  On average radio solutions consume between 20 and 50 mA in TX mode, which has a great impact on battery life. If your use case request very small batteries like coin cells, special attention needs be paid to this point. 

3) Radio configuration impact 

The various Sigfox radio configurations across the globe use different ways of transmitting data. However, the impact on battery life is minimal if the correct approach is taken.

When the speed of transmission is six times higher (RC2), the power required will be be higher during the TX. However, as the time of transmision is six times faster, the impact is minimal on battery consumption in general. 

However, it has to be considered when designing the board itself, as constraints are a bit different. 

4) Radio solutions 

Each radio solution (module, SoC, Transceivers) has its own power consumption, which may vary from one provider to another. Please compare the difference between radio solutions in order to size the battery appropriately. From one module to another, you will see that the power consumption can almost double, depending on the partner. 

More resources

To make our partners lives easier, an application note on battery compatibility with the Sigfox technology is available below. 

Application Note

You need to be connected to see the download link.

How to test in production

Good testing plans and quality measurements are key when developing products. 

To simplify our device makers lives, a document explaining how to test devices while in production including all the tools needed can be found here. 

Get and flash Sigfox credentials in production

If you're developing a product based on a radio solution which does not integrate Sigfox credentials, you will need to download them from the Sigfox Central Registration Authority directly and flash them into your devices. 

A guide for this procedure is available here.