Prototyping

Getting your first devices connected to the network is a very important step in the process of developing your own device.  On this page we will  explain the best methods to achieve this.  

Which hardware ?

The first question you should ask yourself when creating a Sigfox enabled prototype, is how will it connect to the Sigfox network. For prototyping purposes, a lot of different solutions already exist on the market and choosing one will highly depend on your needs. 

1) The Breakout solution

While some people prefer to  use "Modules" to implement  Sigfox connectivity directly on their PCB, some prefer to use "Breakouts" of the very same modules, as they are easier to start off with and do not require any heavy  soldering equipment. 

Breakouts are usually modules mounted on PCB, giving  very easy access to their PINs, and coming with extra features to make the device makers life easier. They also give access to easy antenna connectors, like UFL or SMA, to start sending message instantly. 

Breakouts can be found here on the Partner network. These breakouts are available for the Radio zone 1 and 2. 

2) Verified Modules

Another solution is to directly obtain Sigfox Verified modules from your local distributor. This solution is a little bit more complex as you will have to design a specific PCB to mount your module, but will be better in terms of integration and final result. 

These modules are already Verified by Sigfox and are ready to communicate on our network, as long as it is connected properly to an antenna. 

Please be aware that you have to choose Sigfox verified modules developed for your Radio configuration

Which antenna ?

Something important to consider when developing your first prototype is the antenna you will choose to connect to the Sigfox network. 

The choice of your antenna will depend on multiple parameters :

  • Size
  • Environment in which the device will work
  • Price
  • etc.

Casing

Another important part of your prototype is the casing you plan on using for your device . This actually has a greater impact than is imagined as the materiel of the casing will greatly impact the radio performance of your prototype. 

1) For better performances, consider plastic. Metal casing might look more solid but will create issues for your device, especially for radio propagation. 

2) For quality purposes, you can also consider off the shelf casing. While 3D printing is very interesting for very low volumes as you can design exactly what you need, it can become expensive and require extra work to adapt to your needs. Off the shelf solutions can shall be considered for low volume orders. Multiple references are available from your local distributor. 

3) Depending on your use case (particularly outdoor or industrial use cases), IPXX casing is worth considering. this will adequately protect your design from being exposed to water or dust. 

First Sigfox contract

Once designed you will have to connect your prototypes to the Sigfox network. For that you will need to buy connectivity from your local operator, and assign these devices to your contract. 

The easiest way would be to use our online buying platform: buy.sigfox.com. This will allow you to choose from different connectivity packages and automatically create accounts on our backend platform. 


Multi purposes devices

To launch your first trial, you can either develop a dedicated product or use something already available on the market which integrates the sensors you need during your tests. 

Some Sigfox partners have developed dedicated products tailored for multiple use, positioning them as trial devices. 

Please check out the Sensit, or visit our partner Network and select the sensors you need for equivalent devices. 

SDR Dongle

For areas not covered by the public Sigfox network, we have developed a product which will emulate a laboratory version of our network.  

This device will allow you to develop and test your products while having no public Sigfox coverage available. More details are available here : Sigfox SDR Dongle