What is Sigfox?
Sigfox: Narrowband standard, ultimate technology in the world of Internet of things IoT.
In 2020, the Internet of things IoT is taking off the physical world more than the previous years. According to an estimate, about 500 appliances or objects are being connected and 1.5 trillion devices throughout the world by 2020. The Internet of things IoT is 19 trillion dollars opportunity.
Due to an increase in the Internet of things and more advancement in daily life chores, the need for more technology with better advancement options is necessary. For this purpose, several companies and brands are working to meet the technological needs throughout the world and fulfill the requirements of advanced devices.
The new devices installed during the year 2020 will only send and receive a small amount of data and require more battery life spans. Furthermore, by the end of 2020, there will be even more increase in utilizing of Internet of things IoT, including small and less expensive objects at home.
Therefore, to meet the requirements of the new advanced IoT era, a network or technology must have the following features;
- The network should be easy to install for all types of objects and devices.
- Reduce cost, and economically convenient.
- Plus, the network should also be energy effective.
- Well, Sigfox has taking to meet all the requirements mentioned above.
Sigfox is a standard Low Power Radio transmission Binary Phase-shift keying (BPSK) that uses narrow-spectrum to convert radio waves to data. The Sigfox is standing throughout the world to provide better technological options.
What is Sigfox?
Sigfox, developed in 2010, is a French network operator worldwide, provides wireless services. The Sigfox connects the Internet of things objects, including smartwatches and meters that use low energy.
As described earlier, the Sigfox employees or uses the differential binary phase shifting keying(DBPSK) and Gaussian Frequency shift keying (GFSK); that increases communication worldwide using different ISM radio bands.
The Sigfox allows free passing of signals through different objects such as hard and solid, due to ultra narrowband technology and uses less energy, thus, included in Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) industry.
The fantastic working of sigfox recorded in October 2018, that its total signal reach was 4.2 million square kilometers of 60 countries. According to the current standard of Sigfox communication, which can support up to 140 uplink messages and 12 octets payload at a data rate of more than 100 bytes/sec.
However, the outstanding features that Sigfox have focused;
- Consume less power to increase battery life up to years.
- Easy installation without any worries about connecting or signal requests.
- The delivery of small messages up to 12 bytes without any media or assets provided on the network.
- Due to reduced cost and ease in installation, the SigFox can be used instead of other types of networks such as Bluetooth, GPRS, Wi-Fi, and others.
See more references on what Sigfox is
How does SigFox work?
To understand the working of Sigfox, an insight into its technology overview, global networking, and security is essential.
The technology overview
To fulfill IoT devices or applications’ requirements, Sigfox technology and network provide more life span of the battery, reduce the cost of device and connection fee, long-range, and high network capacity.
Unlike cellular networks, there is no need to attach a device with particular base stations because the base station receives messages with a range average of three.
Usually, the payload of uplink messages that reaches base stations is more than 12 bytes; however, for 12 bytes data, the Sigfox uses a total of 26 bytes and 8 bytes for downlink.
The lightweight protocol of sigfox can send small messages that help energy-saving and increase the lifespan of the battery.
Sigfox exchanges video messages over-the-air by using ultra narrowband modulation, which operates in 200 kHz that is a publicly available band. Each message’s average frequency is 100Hz, which transfers at a data rate of 100 or 600 bytes per second. Therefore, Sigfox can reduce noise while reaching long distances.
The signal reach of Sigfox is high capacity due to two reasons that are the UNB allows concurrent signals within the band, and the Sigfox reduces the sizes of radio frames.
The cutting of radio frame sizes and without any synchronizing with the network is not necessary. Furthermore, the autonomy of devices by combining Less energy emission levels and short emission period is even less than 1 minute per day.
The long-range of signals reaching communications occurs due to Radio modulation, enabling a 163.3 dB budget link.
For any network, the provision of security is a must. In this case, Radio technology supports Sigfox security. As well as the transmission of messages between Sigfox cloud and base stations is secure. The sigfox cloud is also safe, scalable, and trusted.
Further, the sigfox using https, connect with other IT platforms.
Also, the Sigfox maintains the security by resisting to interferences. The three diversity schemes of sigfox transmission, such as frequency diversity, space diversity, and time diversity, reduce the interruptions.
The sigfox downlink process protects the objects or devices from hackers. The objects remain unresponsive towards any misplaced messages send by a hacker.
Sigfox base station
The sigfox antennas are the base station that sends and receives messages from different applications or between devices and transfers those to the sigfox cloud.
The base station of sigfox includes several components such as;
- The antenna is responsible for receiving messages from devices over the air, on higher stations or towers.
- The LNAC or LNA (amplifiers), boosts signals and reduce noise.
- The access point is responsible for receiving and sending messages to the sigfox cloud.
Sigfox’s network works with lightweight messages (12 bytes, excluding payload headers).
The life cycle of a Sigfox message is always the same:
- A device wakes up and emits a message using its radio antenna,
- Multiple Sigfox base stations in the area receive the message,
- Base stations send the message to the Sigfox Cloud,
- The Sigfox Cloud sends the message to a customer’s backend platform.
It’s that simple! See the graphic below for a schematic of the network architecture.
A quick view of Sigfox positives and negatives in comparison to other LPWAN standards
- More signals or networks range up to 40 kilometers in rural areas.
- Sigfox is a less power-consuming device as compared to narrowband LPWAN.
- Increased security systems and private in comparison to other LPWAN, such as LoRa.
Different Sigfox Radio frequencies in different areas of the world
Different countries in the world
Band Frequency MHz
Colombia, Australia, Hong-Kong, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, USA
Africa, Oman, Europe
RC3a, RC3c, RC5
Sigfox use cases
Many use cases can already be found on the official Sigfox webpage Sigfox webpage.
Among these cases are:
- Supply Chain and Logistics
- Smart Cities
- Utilities and Energy
- Smart buildings
In the following, we are going to highlight some use cases for you:
Further applications for Sigfox in the academic field
An Outdoor Localization System Based on SigFox: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8417853
WaterS: A Sigfox‐compliant prototype for water monitoring: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/itl2.74
Smart parking in the smart city application: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8402667
Academic literature and publications for Sigfox
We are covering some of the top-rated scientific literature about Sigfox here:
Coverage and Capacity Analysis of Sigfox, LoRa, GPRS, and NB-IoT
Coverage comparison of GPRS, NB-IoT, LoRa, and SigFox in a 7800 km² area
A Sigfox Energy Consumption Model
Sigfox and LoRaWAN datasets for fingerprint localization in large urban and rural areas
Long Range SigFox Communication Protocol Scalability Analysis Under Large-Scale, High-Density Conditions
Outdoor Fingerprinting Localization Using Sigfox
A comparison of signal strength localization methods with sigfox
Patent publications related to Sigfox
We are covering some of the top rated patent publications related to Sigfox here. It can be summarized that all relevant patents have been filed by the company Sigfox itself and other patent publications just refer to Sigfox as a LPWAN standard, which their invention can utilize.
Method for using a shared frequency resource, method for manufacturing terminals, terminals and telecommunication system
Methods for transmitting data between a terminal and a frequency-synchronised access network on an uplink message from said terminal
Method for authenticating data packets received by a station of a digital telecommunications system