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


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

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, 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)


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Project SALUS is a MKR FOX 1200-based survey and energy monitoring system that sends data over the Sigfox network:

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Want to add Sigfox connectivity to your next project? The MKR FOX 1200 makes a perfect IoT node and building block for LPWAN IoT devices. Delve deeper into the board’s updated documentation:

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
    France-based Sigfox, which raised $300M+ to build a global IoT communications network, files for bankruptcy, citing slow sales and an electronics shortage

    Sigfox, the French IoT startup that had raised more than $300M, files for bankruptcy protection as it seeks a buyer
    Ingrid Lunden@ingridlunden / 5:14 PM GMT+2•January 27, 2022

    We are continuing to see fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the tech industry, with one of the latest developments coming out from France. Sigfox — a high-profile IoT startup that had raised over $300 million in venture funding and had ambitions to build a global communications network using a new approach to wireless networking — has filed for bankruptcy protection in France, citing slow sales of its products and challenging conditions in the IoT industry due to COVID-19.

    It said it would be using the process, which will initially last six months, to seek a buyer “to support Sigfox’s long-term development and propose to maintain jobs.” It will continue operations in the meantime: Sixfox says says its network spans 75 countries, stitching together capacity from 75 carriers, and that it connects 20 million objects and sends 80 million messages per day.

    The details for the bankruptcy were outlined in a statement provided to TechCrunch by the company. The statement also noted that business was being impacted by a shortage in electronic components.

    “The decision to place Sigfox under the protection of the Justice through this proceeding was made because of a slower-than-expected adoption cycle for its technology, despite effective shareholder support,” it reads.

    Sigfox had raised more than $300 million from a group of high-profile investors that included Salesforce, Intel, Samsung, NTT, SK Telecom, energy groups Total and Air Liquide, and many others. When we last covered the company’s financing, a €150 million round in November 2016, it was valued at around €600 million ($670 million at today’s rates). A profile of the company a year later described it as a “unicorn” — that is, valued at over $1 billion.

    For those who had been keeping tabs on the IoT market out of Europe, and Sigfox in particular, this development should not come as too much of a surprise. As Chris points out in the French Tech Journal, auditors for the company had issued a stark warning in September that year that the company had to raise funding by the end of the year or risk insolvency.

    Inside Sigfox’s Implosion

    Between the pandemic and a disappointing IoT revolution, Sigfox faced a major financial crunch in 2021 when auditors warned it must raise more money to survive. On Wednesday, the former unicorn filed for bankruptcy protection.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Providing data driven support for the fruit and veg industries is what Famosa is all about. Check out its Arduino PRO #agritech solution using a dynamic, low cost system connected through Sigfox with the MKR FOX 1200

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nyt yritys on vaikeuksissa ja asetettu selvitystilaan. Verkkojen toiminta ei kuitenkaan ole vaarassa,

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox-verkon toiminta jatkuu

    Sigfox on yksi IoT-verkkojen pioneeritekniikoita, mutta viime aikoina sen kohtalo on ollut hämärän peitossa tekniikan kehittäjäyrityksen heikon tilanteen takia. Nyt tilanne on lauennut. Singaporelainen verkkoja operoiva unabiz on ostanut sekä Sigfox SA:n että verkkoa Ranskassa operoivan Sigfox France SAS:n.

    Kauppahinnaksi on arvioitu noin 25 miljoonaa euroa. Sen myötä Sigfox SA:n selvitystilaa raukeaa ja samalla verkkojen toiminnan jatkuminen varmistuu. Suomessa verkkoa operoi Connected Finland Oy.

    Sigfoxin selvitystilaan ajautuminen on helppo ymmärtää, kun katsoo yrityksen lukuja. Se keräti 300 miljoonaa euroa pääomaa markkinoilta, mutta raportoi viime vuodelta 91 miljoonan tappiot 24 miljoonan euron liikevaihdolla. Lisäksi velkaa on reilusti toistasataa miljoonaa euroa.

    Erityisesti IoT-buumin alkuvaiheessa Sigfox kisasi LoRa-tekniikan kanssa. LoRa-ekosysteemin rakenne on erilainen. Radiotekniikan omistaa Semtech, mutta protokollia on kehittänyt LoRa Alliance. Lisäksi Semtech on lisensoinut patentoimaansa radiotekniikkaa kaikille, joten modeemeja on tarjolla suurelta joukolta valmistajia.

    Joidenkin analyytikoiden mukaan sekä LoRa että Sigfox ovat vain siirtymävaiheen tekniikoita ennen kuin mobiiliverkkoihin nojaavat NB-IoT ja LTE-M toden teolla pääsevät vauhtiin. Tämä lienee aika dramaattinen näkemys ja molemmille pioneeritekniikoille riittää kysyntää.

    Sigfoxin etuna on se, että paikalliset operaattorit – Suomessa Connected Finland – huolehtivat verkosta, jolloin asiakas voi vain liittää päätteensä siihen. Laitteet toimivat kaikkialla, missä verkkoja on, ilman erillisä roaming-maksuja. Kantama on parhaimmillaan jopa 40 kilometriä, kaupungeissakin useita kilometrejä. Pieni puute on hitaus (100 tavua sekunnissa) ja erittäin pienet datapaketit, mutta joihin sovelluksiin, kuten anturien mittausdatan keruuseen se riittää mainiosti.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox tech owner UnaBiz doubles its Series B funding to $50 million

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sigfox ei kuollutkaan

    Sigfox on LoRan rinnalla toinen ”alkuperäisistä” IoT-radiotekniikoista. Viime vuoden keväänä koko taru oli päättyä, kun tekniikan kehittänyt Sigfox SA ajautui konkurssiin. Jäämistö päätyi huutokaupassa singaporelaisen UnaBizin omistukseen. Sen johdolla toiminta on tervehtynyt ja nyt Sigfox näyttää täyttävän tekniikkaan kohdistuneet kovat lupaukset.

    UnaBizin toimitusjohtaja Henri Bong kävi (kuvassa kesk.) Suomessa yhdessä markkinointijohtaja Frank Fischerin (vas.) kanssa. ETN tapasi miehet yhdessä Suomen 0G-verkkoa operoivan Connected Finlandin toimitusjohtaja Markku Patrosen kanssa.

    Vapailla ISM-taajuuksilla toimiva Sigfox oli – ja on – monella tapaa ylivertainen IoT-tekniikka. Miksi sitten oli mahdollista, että tekniikan kehittänyt yritys käytännössä epäonnistui totaalisesti, vaikka keräsi markkinoilta muhkean potin rahaa? Henri Bongin mukaan kyse oli monesta tekijästä: ajoituksesta, bisnesmallista, solmituista operaattorisopimuksista, oikeastaan koko IoT:n ympärillä olevasta hypestä. Lopulta syyksi taitaa nousta Sigfoxin johdon ego.

    - Sanoin jo 2016 Sigfoxin johdolle, että liitännän hinta on liian alhainen. Silti koko IoT-bisnestä kehitettiin toiveilla, että vuonna 2020 olisi miljardi liittymää. Todellisuus oli jotain 100-200 miljoonan laitteen välillä. Voisi sanoa, että IoT petti kaikki odotukset.

    Bongin mukaan IoT-bisnestä ei voi perustaa pelkän raudan eli laitteiden varaan. Itse asiassa verkkotekniikalla ei ole väliä. Jokainen nykyinen Sigfox-operaattori myy kokonaisratkaisuja. Se pitää sisällään laitteen, verkonhallinnan ja valmiit ratkaisut eri sovelluksiin.

    Oliko koko verkkotekniikka sitten aidosti menossa hautausmaalle, kuten joissakin arvioissa jo reilu vuosi sitten kirjoitettiin. Ei ollut, Bong sanoo. – Sigfox-operaattoreita on mennyt konkurssiin, mutta joka on aina tullut tilalle ja jatkanut liiketoimintaa.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tällä hetkellä markkinoilla on noin 11,5 miljoonaa Sigfox-laitetta. Suomessa 0G-verkkoa operoi Connected Finland. Verkossa on 230 tuhatta laitetta. Kuvaavaa on, että nämä kaikki laitteet kuluttavat yhdessä vähemmän virtaa kuin yksi 5G-tukiasema.


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