Sigfox for IoT

IoT LPWA market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 90 percent. It is expected that in 2021 the market size of about EUR 24.5 billion. SigFox and LoRa have been competitors in the LPWAN space for several years. There are LoRa and Sigfox networks in Finland -Sigfox network is operated by Connected Finland. SigFox is quickly expanding IoT LWPAN networking technology. SIGFOX is a cellular style system that has been set up to provide low power low data rate, and low cost communications for remote connected devices. It allows long distance communications from IoT devices to base stations, which means that quite large areas can be covered with low number of base stations. SigFox seems to want that mobile network operators adopt their technology for IoT deployments over both city and nationwide low power, wide-area networks (LPWANs).

Sigfox introduction

SIGFOX provides a cellular style network operator that provides a tailor-made solution for low-throughput Internet of Things and M2M applications.

Dedicated to the IoT means:

  • Simplicity : No configuration, no pairing, no signaling
  • Autonomy : Very low energy consumption, allowing years of autonomy on battery without maintenance
  • Small messages : No large assets or multimedia, only small messages

The SIGFOX network performance is characterised by the following:

  • Up to 140 messages per object per day
  • Payload size for each message is 12 bytes
  • Wireless throughput up to 100 bits per second

Typically Sigfox is used to transfer slow measurement data from sensors to the central data collection point – send only small and infrequent bursts of data (like alarms and meters). . It is also possible to use Sigfox also for bidirectional command-and-control functionality (there are some limitations due to the asymmetric link).

Sigfox technology

Sigfox is originally designed for the European regulatory bands between 865 and 868 MHz. SigFox uses ultra-narrowband technology: the extremely narrow bandwidth of one hundred hertz (ultra narrow band, UNB). Very narrow band enhances immunity which allows signal to go tens of kilometers in sparsely built area (in rural areas more than 200 kilometers of range possible). The network normally operates license-free 868 MHz frequency range in Europe (902MHz in the US). Sigfox equipped with a radio sensor device can be made to run with battery for ten years.

Sigfox uses a standard radio transmission method called binary phase-shift keying (BPSK), and it takes very narrow chunks of spectrum and changes the phase of the carrier radio wave to encode the data. This allows the receiver to only listen in a tiny slice of spectrum which mitigates the effect of noise. Sigfox system is designed so that it requires an inexpensive endpoint radio and a more sophisticated basestation to manage the network. Many chip manufacturers offer Sigfox endpoint radios, but the base stations are always provided by Sigfox company.

The SigFox business model takes a top-down approach: The company owns all of its technology—from the backend data and cloud server to the endpoints software. If you want to deploy a SigFox network, you have to work directly with SigFox—there isn’t another option and only one SigFox network can be deployed in an area (=no competition between Sigfox network operators). SigFox’s ultimate goal is to get large network operators from all over to world to deploy its networks. The strongest foothold in the technology has received in France, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands, where there are millions of Sigfox subscriptions. Sigfox networks is already being used in 24 different countries. It is expected that Sigfox networks are built to more than 60 countries by 2018.

SigFox is essentially an open market for the endpoints. SigFox endpoints use commodity MSK radios, and they are relatively inexpensive. You can get a chip for a few dollars and a module for less than $10 in volumes. Large manufacturers like STMicroelectronics, Atmel and Texas Instruments make SigFox radio chips. SigFox thinks that  allowing the application to be really inexpensive is the way to drive people to its marketSigfox is being aggressive in pricing, both for module s and data contracts. They recently announced that modules will be available for just $3 in 2017 and already have data plans with charges as low as $1.50 per year.

The world’s largest Sigfox client is VeriSure Securitas Direct. It has over a million intrusion protection, where the network connection is Sigfoxin and 3g combination. The alarm is triggered through the Sigfox network.

How to get started ?

You need 3 things to get started with SIGFOX :

  • A SIGFOX-ready module or transceiver (Check the available solutions on our Partner Network)
  • A valid subscription. Development kits & evaluation boards come with an included one-year subscription
  • Be in a covered area.

Let’s start playing with sigfox technology article shows how Sigfox communications can be done from Raspberry Pi and Arduino system. The example module works like a modem, based on AT command transfered over a 9600bps serial line. Sending a message on SigFox network is really easy – you just need to send the bytes over the AT interface :

AT$SS=00 01 02 03 04

OK

This command has sent the 5 bytes {00,01,02,03,04} over the network. The message length is a maximum of 12 bytes.

Because there are many module and chip manufacturers, there can be different interfaces on different products. You can find other application examples from Sigfox. Playing with starter kit and Sending a Sigfox Message with MicroPython articles.

When you have capability to send the messages, next thing is to receive them.This part is the more complicated in fact as you have to register the device in the SigFox backend. Once registered (frankly speaking, you need to be a professional to register your device or going through an integrator/distributor), you have access to the SigFox backend, here you can follow all your sensors activity, message received, rssi. Sending a Sigfox Message with MicroPython article says that when you need to register your device, head to https://backend.sigfox.com/activate.

When you have account is setup and you device is registered, lets start sending some messages! According to Sending a Sigfox Message with MicroPython article if everything worked correctly, you should now be able to see your message on the Sigfox Backend! Head over to https://backend.sigfox.com, login and click on the ‘Device’ tab,and you should be able to see your message (by default string of hexadecimal numbers, can be configured to other formats like ASCII string).

Theoretically you should have now sent and received your first Sigfox message.

 

More information:

SigFox Vs. LoRa: A Comparison Between Technologies & Business Models

Looking To Develop Long-range IoT Solutions? Discover New Sigfox Kits! – ChipsNWafers

Ready-to-use $2 IoT Modules From Sigfox! – ChipsNWafers

Ultra-low power, high performance, sub-1GHz transceiver web page tells about S2-LP high performance ultra-low power RF transceiver suitable for Sigfox and otherRF wireless applications in the sub-1 GHz band (140 dB link budget).

French IoT startup Sigfox nabs €150M Series E, reportedly at €600M valuation article from 20126 tells that French IoT startup Sigfox raises $160M Series E, sources say at a $637M valuation; Sigfox says it has around 10M devices registered on its network

Understanding Ultra Narrowband Modulation article tells that ultra narrowband modulation formats, in which sidebands are minimized, provide extremely bandwidth-efficient methods of transmitting high-data-rate information.

Valmis, sertifioitu lähetin IoT-verkkoon (article in Finnish about certified ATA8520E Sigfox platform from Microchip)

Wireless solutions for the SIGFOX Low-Power-Wide-Area-Network (LPWAN) (Atmel/Microchip)

SIGFOX for M2M & IoT tutorial

How Sigfox plans to spread its low-power IoT network across the U.S.

Sigfox home page

Sigfox makers page

Wikipedia: Sigfox

Connected Finland (Sigfox operator in Finland that aims for nationwide coverage by spring 2017)

Sending a Sigfox Message with MicroPython

Sigfox. Playing with starter kit

Security system using Sigfox and Arduino

Sigfox module for Arduino, Waspmote and Raspberry Pi – 868 MHz [XBee Socket] (1 year connectivity free)

Sigfox module for Arduino, Waspmote and Raspberry Pi – 868 MHz [XBee Socket] – (1 year connectivity free)

Sigfox Ready Technology for Arduino, Waspmote and  Raspberry Pi

Sigfox Talking Plant tutorial demonstrates how to make a plant talk on Twitter through Sigfox network.

Sigfox & Arduino Weather Station

Let’s start playing with sigfox technology

The Week In Review: IoT article says that Sigfox worked with ecosystem partners to offer IoT communication modules priced between $2 and $3, soon to be available around the world.

Articles in Finnish:

Suomen ensimmäinen esineiden internetin operaattori aloittaa (article about Sigfox and Connected Finland)

Suomeen tulee esineiden oma mobiiliverkko (aarticle about Sigfox and Connected Finland)

Nyt tulee edullinen moduulien internet (article in Finnish)

Esineiden internet vaatii omat verkot

Virtapihi IoT-radiopiiri (article about STMicroelectronics S2-LP transceiver IC that supports Sigfox)

27 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    At payload size of 12 bytes and data rate of 100 bits per second sending that packet takes around 1 second.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main.ArduinoBoardMKRFox1200

    3.3V 32-bit 48 MHz ARM Core SigFox
    Arduino MKRFOX1200 has been designed to offer a practical and cost effective solution for makers seeking to add SigFox connectivity to their projects with minimal previous experience in networking.

    It is based on the Microchip SAMD21 and a ATA8520 SigFox module.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New Arduino IoT development board unveiled: MKRFOX1200
    https://www.open-electronics.org/new-arduino-iot-development-board-unveiled-mkrfox1200/

    This new IoT development board, which measures just 67 x 25mm in size, provides Makers with a low-cost solution for adding Sigfox connectivity to their DIY projects.

    The MKRFOX1200 takes the functionality of the Zero, throws in Sigfox’s global LPWA network, and shrinks it down into a smaller form factor. Sharing a similar footprint as its fellow MKR products, this board features a Microchip SAM D21 32-bit Cortex-M0+ microcontroller at its core, along with an ATA8520 RF transmitter module. Impressively, the MKRFOX1200 is capable of running for over six months on a pair of standard AA 1.5V batteries.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox Connected Target for Nerfs
    https://www.hackster.io/luisomoreau/sigfox-connected-target-for-nerfs-b50372?ref=search&ref_id=nerf&offset=1

    This project will show you how to build a connected target using Sigfox.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    MKRFOX1200 Weather Monitor
    https://www.hackster.io/Arduino_Genuino/mkrfox1200-weather-monitor-6a94e2?ref=explore&ref_id=recent___&offset=1

    This project shows how to turn a MKRFOX1200 and a bunch of I2C sensors into a simple, battery powered weather station.

    We will use:

    * the onboard temperature sensor (low precision, ± 1 °C )

    * HTU21D I2C sensor to get humidity level

    * Bosch BMP280 to get the barometric pressure and precise temperature

    * TSL2561 Light Sensor to get luminosity

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox Talking Plant
    https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/18194/sigfox-talking-plant-0d21bc?ref=search&ref_id=sigfox&offset=0

    This tutorial demonstrates how to make a plant talk on Twitter through Sigfox network.

    What is Sigfox Talking Plant?

    It is a simple project based on Sigfox network to make a plant talk on Twitter. The main goal is to demonstrate how to make an easy IoT prototype using Sigfox network.You can see a demo at http://sigfox.louismoreau.eu

    Which microcontrollers will be used?

    In this tutorial, we will be using an Arduino UNO and an ATMEL EVK shield. Other dev kits are available on Sigfox Partners

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ARDUINO MKRFOX 1200
    https://store.arduino.cc/arduino-mkrfox1200

    MKRFOX 1200 is a powerful board that combines the functionality of the Zero and SigFox connectivity. It is the ideal solution for makers wanting to design IoT projects with minimal previous experience in networking having a low power device.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    MKRFox1200 Weather Station
    https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/antoine-de-chassey/mkrfox1200-weather-station-255543?ref=platform&ref_id=424_recent___&offset=1

    What if we built a small weather station lasting for about 6 months with 2x AA, talking to Internet and working anywhere with SIGFOX?

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox Texting with SiPY
    https://www.hackster.io/antoine-de-chassey/sigfox-texting-with-sipy-3316b4?ref=explore&ref_id=recent___&offset=0

    Send text messages without any SIM card using the SiPy by Pycom and the Sigfox network!

    Well, Sigfox allows you to send a small message to a contact of your choice by using a third-party texting API. In this tutorial, we will use Twilio.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Make your own Donald Trump button!

    Make your own Donald Trump button to order your favorite drink thanks to @sigfox!
    https://github.com/aureleq/TrumpButton

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Trump Button
    https://www.hackster.io/48970/the-trump-button-5f6928?ref=explore&ref_id=recent___&offset=3

    The famous connected button to order your favorite drink using Sigfox network.

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox Lock Box
    https://www.hackster.io/antoine-de-chassey/sigfox-lock-box-d839ee?ref=explore&ref_id=recent___&offset=11

    Sigfox allows you to use 4 downlink messages per day. The idea is to be able to update the password controlling the opening of the box. Therefore in this tutorial, every 6 hours (4 times per day), the box’s password will be set with a newly generated one from a web application. The owner can then decide to share the password to whom he wants. He will also be notified every time the box is opened!

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    13 Views of Sensors Expo 2017
    LPWA v. cellular in wireless IoT
    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1331965&page_number=4

    Microchip showed a startup’s electronic mousetrap embedded with its LoRa module (above) as well as the ATA8520 module for the Sigfox network (below) it acquired with Atmel. In the next booth, STMicroelectronics showed Murata boards for LoRa and Sigfox networks powered by its silicon.

    The exhibits showed vendors are still spreading out their bets in the low power wide area (LPWA) sector. Volumes are said to still be low — in the low thousands — but interest is high in the emerging field, with tire kickers talking about plans to deploy millions. Indeed, a Sigfox rep at the STM booth said it has 19 million bookings but would not comment on actual deployments.

    The Sigfox network claims lower interference and thus higher capacity than LoRa, the Sigfox rep said. In addition, its broadcast model is also more robust than LoRa’s approach that depends on point-to-point links.

    For its part, LoRa claims a bigger ecosystem and more open business model with several network providers deploying the technology. With Sigfox operating as a managed network it’s a classic cellular vs. Wi-Fi kind of battle.

    Speaking of cellular, a Verizon rep here said the operator has deployed thousands of LTE-M modules so far. Module prices are closing in on the “high teens.” The follow-on Narrowband IoT modules it hopes to start serving in late 2018 could fall to the low teens, just above the $10 LoRa/Sigfox modules.

    Cellular operators are being aggressive on data pricing, too,

    A tech executive from Orange that is deploying LoRa nets in France and elsewhere agreed

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Sigfox Arduino – Part 2 – Program To Send A Message
    https://blog.wirelessmoves.com/2017/05/the-sigfox-arduino-part-2-program-to-send-a-message.html#more-6594

    Like all Arduinos the Mkrfox is programmed in C/C++ in the a very easy to use Arduino graphical development environment (IDE). It doesn’t offer a million bells and whistles as it addresses first-time users and rapid prototyping of ideas.

    One of the installed libraries contains everything that is required to communicate from the ARM Cortex M0 based microcontroller via a serial SPI interface with the Sigfox chip. The Sigfox library encapsulates all overhead and details of the serial interface so sending a message only requires a few Sigfox library API calls such as Sigfox.begin(), .status(), .beginPacket(), .print(message), .endPacket() and .end().

    When you browse the web for Sigfox demo code you’ll find a lot of sources in which ‘AT-commands’ are used to communicate with the Sigfox chip.

    The Sigfox chip used on the Mkrfox board, however, does not use a UART (Universal Asynchronous Transciever) and AT-commands but a more modern SPI interface and command packet approach. If one has used AT commands for decades, the SPI interface looks a bit more complicated and abstract. It doesn’t really matter in practice as it is abstracted by the Arduino Sigfox library anyway.

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox Lock Box
    https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/antoine-de-chassey/sigfox-lock-box-d839ee?ref=user&ref_id=198290&offset=0

    Ever needed to give something to someone but were not able to make the rendezvous? This Sigfox lock box is the solution!

    What if you had to store something precious to be picked up by someone you do not know? What if you were far away from the box and had to change the password for security reasons?

    This is where Sigfox comes in! Indeed, Sigfox allows you to use 4 downlink messages per day. The idea is to be able to update the password controlling the opening of the box. Therefore in this tutorial, every 6 hours (4 times per day), the box’s password will be set with a newly generated one from a web application.

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Voice Over Sigfox Network?
    https://www.hackster.io/stimpoff/voice-over-sigfox-network-bbc504?ref=explore&ref_id=trending___&offset=3

    A simple device featuring retro mechanical pulse dial and Sigfox connectivity.

    Phone number and action code are transferred via Sigfox network to an application which initiate SMS/CALL with prepared text based on action code. Device can be simplified to send just action codes to trigger various actions, eg. 12 – watering of garden, 123-turn of electricity, 999-launch ballistic missiles, etc.

    It could be very crude remote control.

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox PC Activity Monitoring
    https://www.hackster.io/antoine-de-chassey/sigfox-pc-activity-monitoring-623bab?ref=explore&ref_id=recent___&offset=3

    Distantly monitor PC activity, from anywhere without requiring it to be connected to the Internet. Remotely detect, track and report events.

    This tutorial will cover how to distantly monitor PC activity, from anywhere, without requiring it to be connected to the Internet. This kind of system could be used to remotely detect, track and report special events triggered on a computer.

    Harware
    M2COMM Uplynx RCZ1 Evaluation Board
    This board has a USB adapter which allows serial communication. We will use a simple Python script to communicate with AT commands.

    https://www.m2comm.co/portfolio-view/uplynx-rcz1/

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    LoRa and Sigfox are two of today’s most popular techniques for connecting IoT cells to the network. But what if the company does not know which technology should be chosen? No worries. Murata plans with STMicroelectronics to add a Sigfox connection to its LoRa module.

    According to Muratas, the solution provides a module that provides the “best of both worlds”. When the same workflow supports both technologies, the customer can decide which technology best supports its application for service requirements and costs.

    The Muratan module enables a hardware manufacturer to develop a solution that works on both networks, which can be used globally for the same firmware software.

    The Murata ABX-type module is based on the STM32 controller and Semtech’s SX1276 radio network. Its nominal transmit power is +14 dBm, but can be increased to +20 dBm for better coverage.

    Source: http://www.etn.fi/index.php/13-news/6577-kaksi-suosittua-iot-tekniikkaa-samaan-moduuliin

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ARDUINO MKR FOX 1200 CONTEST
    Give your IoT projects a voice with Arduino and Sigfox’s new board!
    https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/contests/arduino-mkrfox1200

    https://store.arduino.cc/arduino-mkrfox1200

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mouser – Transceiver provides expanded reach and Sigfox compliance (STMicroelectronics STEVAL-FKI868V1)
    http://www.electropages.com/2017/07/mouser-transceiver-expanded-reach-sigfox-compliance/?utm_campaign=2017-07-28-Electropages&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=article&utm_content=Mouser+-+Transceiver+provides+expanded+reach+and+Sigfox+compliance

    The S2-LP ultra-low power, sub-1GHz transceiver from STMicroelectronics (ST) is now being stocked by Mouser. A successor to their SPIRIT1, the S2-LP radio chip offers designers increased transmission range, greater selectivity, ultra-low power consumption, and high configuration flexibility for IoT applications.

    The transceiver is an ultra-low-power radio optimized for RF products in the sub-1GHz band. The device operates in the license-free ISM and SRD frequency bands, with additional frequencies available through programming. The transceiver is ideal for use in networked products and support connectivity to the Sigfox global network, Wireless M-Bus, 6LowPAN, and IEEE 802.15.4g standards.

    The transceiver draws just 6.7mA when receiving, and 10mA when transmitting at an output power of 10dBm.

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox Uber Button
    https://www.hackster.io/antoine-de-chassey/sigfox-uber-button-fdb260

    Simply press a button to request an Uber ride! Isn’t that cool?

    In this tutorial, we will be using the Sigfox network localization service (which can, for now, give at most a 1km radius position precision) in order to get a the closest position to a specified address and request an Uber ride accordingly. Therefore, we do not need a device with GPS.

    We will use a Sens’it but any device able to send a message over Sigfox can be used to accomplish this tutorial successfully.

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    SigFox and LoRa in the same IoT module

    Mutate is the first major manufacturer to offer the LPWAN module that supports both LoRa and Sigfox. The new ABZ LoRaWAN module can be used to build applications based on any of the sensor network standards. Both networks are already in commercial use.

    In Murat’s new module, dual software support is created with a software package. In addition to the LoRa stack, the Magraan ABZ LoRaWAN module can also utilize the Sigfox communication protocol stack.

    The Murata-IoT module allows designers to decide which available sensor network technology will best serve the application according to the site, service requirements, and cost.

    The new module includes ST Microelectronics STM32-based microcontroller and Semtech SX1276 RFIC. The RF part operated in the 806-930 megahertz frequency band and provides a nominal power of +14 dBm.

    The Muratan ABZ LoRaWAN module has, in addition to LoRa, a European certification for the Sigfox network.

    Source: https://www.uusiteknologia.fi/2017/08/14/sigfox-ja-lora-samaan-iot-moduuliin/

    More: http://wireless.murata.com/eng/products.html

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox Forest Fire Detector
    https://www.hackster.io/luisomoreau/sigfox-forest-fire-detector-9fd55b

    How to prevent forest from burning? A small Sigfox signal can prevent natural disasters. We will use an Arduino MKRFOX + a flame detector

    How to prevent forest from burning? A small Sigfox signal can prevent this natural disaster. In this project, we will use an Arduino MKRFOX1200, a flame detector, a temperature and humidity sensors.

    I chose to put all the integrated electronic inside a small bird house, feel free to adapt the support!

    Reply
  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Creating an IoT Dashboard with Xkit, Sigfox & AWS
    https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/daniel-thomas/creating-an-iot-dashboard-with-xkit-sigfox-aws-4a5779?ref=platform&ref_id=424_recent___&offset=9

    Create an AWS QuickSight analysis from Sigfox data generated by a Thinxtra Xkit.

    Reply

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