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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Murata teams with ST Micro and Sigfox for dual use LoRa IoT networks

By Nick Flaherty

Murata is working with 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. 

This allows the module to support both the LoRa and SigFox networks worldwide from a single hardware design. This approach allows customers to decide which network technology serves the application best depending on location, service requirements and cost.

“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,” said Samir Hennaoui, Product Manager at Murata.
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.

The ABZ LoRaWAN module uses an STMicro STM32-based wireless microcontroller and SX1276 Semtech radio front end operating 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. SigFox European certification of the module has been completed and certification for the US and Asia-Pacific regions is scheduled to be completed next. The firmware will be made available by STMicro through its website.

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