Sequans claims the industry’s first LTE Cat M Chip for the Internet of Things

LTE chipmaker Sequans Communications S.A. introduced Monarch, the industry’s first LTE Cat M chip, compliant with the 3GPP Release 13 LTE Advanced Pro standard that defines new narrowband capabilities of LTE for machine-type-communications (LTE MTC).

Monarch is designed and optimised to support the vast new range of low data use, ultra low-power, cost-sensitive, narrowband IoT applications such as smart energy meters, industrial IoT sensors, asset trackers, smart city controllers, and consumer wearables. Monarch is the newest member of Sequans’ StreamliteLTE™ family of products for the Internet of Things.

Monarch achieves an exceptionally high level of integration whereby baseband, RF, RAM, and power management are integrated in a single, tiny 6.5 x 8 mm FC-CSP package. Monarch supports both of the narrowband categories defined in the Release 13 standard: Cat M1, 1.4 MHz bandwidth; and Cat M2, 200 kHz bandwidth.

Beyond the requirements of the standard, Monarch includes unique and powerful feature enhancements. These include: 1) a programmable RF filtering technology that enables the simple design of a single worldwide SKU that supports nearly any LTE band and enables global roaming; and 2) Sequans’ exclusive low power technology, Dynamic Power Management (DPM), that dynamically adapts chip-level power profiles in real time based on traffic patterns and use cases, making possible 10-15 years of battery life in real-world IoT applications.

Georges Karam, CEO, Sequans
Georges Karam, CEO, Sequans

“Monarch is the industry’s first Cat M1/M2 chip and it is highly optimised to address the size, cost and power requirements of IoT applications,” said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO. “We’ve innovated to minimise power consumption, reduce the bill-of-materials, and simplify implementation of a global-ready device to maximise Monarch’s market reach. The release of Monarch extends Sequans’ LTE for IoT leadership—proven last year with the introduction of our Cat 1 chipset, Calliope and highlights Sequans’ strong commitment to perfecting the use of LTE for IoT, now including an entire new class of narrowband devices.”

Monarch has already been accepted in the market by industry leaders including Verizon and Gemalto as the starting point for key LTE for IoT initiatives: Verizon has partnered with Sequans to accelerate LTE Cat M development, and Gemalto has extended its strategic partnership with Sequans to develop new Monarch-based Cat M module solutions for IoT applications.

“We have already seen great interest in Monarch from our partners,” said Karam. “With the support of these industry leaders, we will truly accelerate the market for LTE Cat M technology and enable the creation of massive numbers of new LTE for IoT devices. Looking at what we achieved with LTE Cat 1 technology, namely advancing from network and device trials to full commercial deployment in the space of one year, we are excited to achieve the same in Cat M and proud to introduce our first Cat M solution, Monarch.”

Monarch chip features

  • Narrowband LTE UE categories M1 and M2
  • Compliant with 3GPP Release 13 (LTE Advanced Pro) for machine type communications (MTC)
  • Single chip 6.5 x 8 mm FC-CSP package
  • Integrated baseband, RF transceiver, memory, and power management
  • Supports extended DRX and PSM network features for long sleep duration use cases
  • Includes Sequans’ proprietary Dynamic Power Management (DPM) technology for 10-15 years battery life
  • Programmable RF filtering for global band support in a single-SKU design
  • Optimised for half-duplex FDD (HD-FDD) operation; also supports full-duplex FDD and TDD
  • Throughput:
    • LTE UE category M1 (1.4 MHz bandwidth) up to 300 kbps DL/375 kbps UL in HD-FDD
    • LTE UE category M2 (200 kHz bandwidth) up to 40 kbps DL/55 kbps UL in HD-FDD
  • Supports wide variety of embedded and host operating systems
  • Low power serial interfaces

See Sequans at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Hall 7, stand I81

Key:

1) Category M1 was formerly known as Category M; Category M2 was formerly known as NB-IoT

2) Battery life varies with message size, transmission frequency, uplink/downlink ratio, active/sleep mode duty cycle

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