Sigfox is the world’s leading provider of connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT)
With its global LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) network, Sigfox has reinvented connectivity for the IoT. It drastically brings down cost and energy consumption required for securely connecting sensors and devices to the Cloud.
Sigfox global IoT network listen to billions of objects broadcasting data, without the need to establish and maintain network connections. This unique approach in the world of wireless connectivity, where there is no signaling overhead, a compact and optimized protocol, and where objects are not attached to the network.
Sigfox offers a software based communications solution, where all the network and computing complexity is managed in the Cloud, rather than on the devices. All that together, it drastically reduces energy consumption and costs of connected devices.
Sigfox’s unique approach to device-to-cloud communications addresses the barriers to global IoT adoption: cost, energy consumption, and global scalability.
The Sigfox radio protocol reduces the radio frame size and no synchronization with the network is required. Combining a low power emission level and short emission enables maximum autonomy of objects.
Benefit from widely available electronic components, low battery utilization, low solution deployment and integration costs, as well as our simple network infrastructure with long range high capacities.
Removing the need to configure connections and enabling standard based device to cloud integration, means that Sigfox is easier to use for everyone.
Connecting globally is easier than ever. Partners subscribe to one contract for a worldwide network. And since our network functions in the same way globally, no matter the country, you can have a single device running anywhere in the world.
Sigfox radio technology overview
Ultra narrow band
Sigfox uses 200 kHz of the publicly available and unlicensed bands to exchange radio messages over the air (868 to 869 MHz and 902 to 928 MHz depending on regions). Sigfox uses Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) technology combined with DBPSK and GFSK modulation. Each message is 100 Hz wide and transferred at 100 or 600 bits per second data rate depending on the region.
Random access to the radio frequency resource
The transmission is unsynchronized between the devices and the network. They broadcast each message 3 times on 3 different frequencies (frequency hopping). The base stations monitor the spectrum and look for UNB signals to demodulate.
Sigfox has tailored a lightweight protocol to handle small messages. An uplink message has a maximum 12-bytes payload and a downlink of 8 bytes. For a 12 bytes data payload, a Sigfox frame will use 26 bytes in total.
The radio planning is done in a way that in average a message is received by 3 different base stations. The spatial diversity increases the chances of receiving the message without errors on one of the nearby base stations.
Overview of the Sigfox global network
Sigfox is a public network based on a star network architecture. A device is not attached to a specific base station unlike cellular protocols. The broadcasted message is received by any base station in the range, 3 in average.
Very long range
Low bit rate and simple radio modulation enable a 163.3 dB budget link leading to long-range communications.
High network capacity
The small footprint of UNB enables more simultaneous signals within the operation band. In addition, the objects are not attached to a specific base station. They broadcast their messages which are received by any base station in the range (3 in average). There is no need for message acknowledgement. UNB modulation, spatial diversity coupled with the time and frequency diversity of the radio frames repetitions lead to a high capacity of the Sigfox network.
High resilience to interferers
UNB intrinsic ruggedness coupled with spatial diversity of the base stations offer great anti-jamming capabilities. UNB is extremely robust in an environment with other spread spectrum signals. UNB is the best choice to operate on the public ISM band.
How to develop an IoT device running on Sigfox?
For developers, engineers, or hobbyists, Sigfox is one of the easiest types of connectivity to start with. We designed the protocol in such a way that it only takes a few lines of codes to start sending Sigfox messages. Through the Sigfox Cloud, you can connect all your projects to the Internet in a few minutes.
Sigfox offers a central hub for all IoT device makers and solution providers. On build.sigfox.com IoT developers can find up-to-date guidelines, reusable designs, technical advice and access to tools and services. Sigfox Build is also the place where to file a certification request for a Sigfox Ready device.
Sigfox offers a solution to develop your Sigfox device everywhere thanks to the Sigfox network emulator software. By emulating the Sigfox radio network and Cloud main functionalities (callbacks), it facilitates the development of IoT applications, from the connected device itself to the application that processes the data transmitted by the device. It is the easiest way for device and solution makers to speed up development and tests. It works without any network coverage, and works for all Sigfox radio configurations (RC). The Sigfox network emulator runs on the Sigfox SDR Dongle hardware platform, a powerful and configurable radio Receiver and Transmitter emulating a Sigfox access point.
It is mandatory for any device communicating on the Sigfox network to be Sigfox Ready certified:
- To ensure that your devices integrate Sigfox connectivity with adequate performance levels,
- To maintain a high Quality of Service on the Sigfox network through the conformity of each device to the Sigfox radio specifications (conducted and radiated).
Sigfox also offers cost-effective geolocation service
In addition to its connectivity service, Sigfox offers a low energy and low-price location service for all devices equipped with the simplest Sigfox-Verified module, without GPS. There’s no need to retrofit to upgrade specific hardware, or to update software. Sigfox can now provide a location for all existing and future devices in all areas where the network is deployed. Sigfox Atlas is suitable for use cases where metric precision isn’t needed. For example, to track moving items through complex supply chains.