Hoofddorp, Netherlands: Murata today announced the results of its collaboration with both STMicro and SigFox to port the SigFox stack to co-exist alongside the LoRa stack on Murata’s small form factor Type ABZ LoRaWAN module. With this feature Murata has extended the module’s capability for providing both LoRa and SigFox capabilities worldwide from a single hardware platform. This approach allows customers to decide which network technology serves the application best depending on location, service requirements and cost.
Both networks offer similar low-power wide area network (LPWAN) capabilities, targeting applications in smart meters, facility management, asset tracking, and a range of other uses in the IoT space. While each has differences, the common goal is network coverage with good Quality of Service (QoS). By supporting both standards, Murata’s module can also bridge both networks, providing even greater deployment flexibility by allowing a dual-mode operation from a single firmware package that can be used globally.
As the first major vendor to offer an LPWAN module that supports both LoRa and SigFox, Murata expects to achieve a leading position in this market while giving customers greater solution longevity and robustness. For example, in the event of a network problem on one network, customer applications would be able to easily switch to the other protocol, this offering redundancy of communications links.
Currently, Murata’s Type ABZ LoRaWan module, which uses an STMicro STM32-based wireless microcontroller and SX1276 Semtech RFIC, operates in the 806 930MHz frequency band and provides a nominal output power of +14 dBm that can be boosted to +20 dBm for long range or poor signal location applications. STMicro is a key partner for Murata, and STMicro are responsible for the development of the Sigfox firmware. The dual-mode version of this will be released this summer and the first modules offering this capability will be available in the autumn. European certification of the module has been completed and certification for the US and Asia-Pacific regions is scheduled to complete in August, which is also when firmware for the EU version will be made available by STMicro through its website.
“We are very excited to collaborate with ST Microelectronics on launching Murata’s LoRa/SigFox dual mode module into the LPWA ecosystem”, said Samir Hennaoui, Product Manager at Murata. “By combining these two complementary technologies, we have produced a module suitable for the many different kinds of applications our customers wish to use it for. The interoperability of the module will also encourage new customers to enter the market.”
SigFox certification in the EU is expected by mid July 2017 and by December 2017 in North America and APAC.