UnaMKR Sigfox Monarch Development Kit Follows Arduino MKR Form Factor

Unabiz is an IoT network operator with offices in Singapore and Taiwan. The company offers Sigfox networks in the region, and last year unveiled UnaMKR, a Sigfox Monarch development kit compatible with the tiny Arduino MKR boards.

We’ve already written about Sigfox LPWAN standard several times, but what is Sigfox Monarch exactly? Answer direct from Sigfox website:

The Monarch feature makes IoT devices aware of the local radio configuration (RC) to use.

A single device can thus lawfully communicate on the Sigfox network even when moving between countries with different radio regulations.

That means a Sigfox Monarch compliant end-point can work legally anywhere in the world switching to 868 MHz, 902 MHz, and 920 MHz frequencies automatically depending on the country of operation. This is useful for asset tracking across countries and continents.

unamkr sigfox monarch
UnaMKR plugged into Arduino MKRZero board – Click to Enlarge

Back to the board itself, with UnaMKR specifications:

  • Platform – Arduino or STMicro
  • Connectivity
    • Lite-On WSG309S Sigfox Monarch + Bluetooth 5.0 LE Module
    • Antennas – Sigfox: ½ Wave Length Dipole; BLE: PCB antenna
    • Operation Zone – RC1 (Europe), RC2 (US), RC3 (Japan), RC4 (APAC), RC5 (Korea) and RC6 (India)
    • Sigfox Connectivity for 1-year
  • Sensors – Temperature, humidity, light, pressure, iAQ (indoor air quality), accelerometer, magnetometer, reed switch, ambient light sensor
  • Power Supply
    • Arduino MKR board
    • 1.8V to 5.5V via micro USB port or external battery in standalone mode
  • Dimensions –  69 x 25 mm
  • Weight – 16 grams

The company will provide source code for the Arduino IDE and corresponding libraries. In standalone mode, you can use the STMicro Sigfox libraries instead running on the module’s STMicro BlueNRG-2 microcontroller. Note, however, that no SDK is provided for the LITE-ON module. UnaConnect is the name of the software to monitor the node, so maybe each node is configurable from the program’s dashboard. Hard to know as I could not find any details about UnaConnect, not even a screenshot.

LITE-ON Sigfox Monarch Module BoardThe board was unveiled last year, but it appears to be only available now with the company taking pre-order for UnaMKR Sigfox Monarch development kit for as low as $87 until August 5th, 2019, after which the normal price resumes to $109 for orders over 50 pieces.

Sample price for the devkit is $119 (pre-order) / $149, while the LITE-ON Sigfox Monarch module goes for as low as $6 (pre-order) / $8 for orders of 500 modules or more. You’ll find more details on the product page.

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