Sigfox has designed its technology and network to meet the requirements of mass IoT applications - long device battery life-cycle, low device cost, low connectivity fee, high network capacity, and long range. Sigfox offers a software based communications solution, where all the network and computing complexity are managed in the Cloud, rather than on the devices. Thus, drastically reduces energy consumption and costs of connected devices. The high quality of service of the Sigfox network relies on spatial diversity coupled with the time and frequency diversity of the radio frame repetitions.
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Radio Signal Modulation (Ultra Narrow Band)
Using the Ultra Narrow Band modulation, Sigfox operates in the 200 kHz of the publicly available band to exchange radio messages over the air. Each message is 100 Hz wide and transferred at 100 or 600 bits per second a data rate, depending on the region. Long distances can be achieved while being very robust against the noise.
Lightweight Protocol for Small Messages
SIGFOX has tailored a lightweight protocol to handle small messages. Less data to send means less energy consumption, therefore, a longer battery life.
An uplink message has up to 12-bytes payload and takes an average 2s over the air to reach the base stations which monitors the spectrum looking for UNB signals to de-modulate. For a 12-byte data payload, a Sigfox frame will use 26 bytes in total. The payload allowance in downlink messages is 8 bytes.
Sigfox 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, which is 3 in average.
The radio messages emitted by the connected devices are harvested by the Sigfox base stations, then transmitted to the Sigfox cloud and pushed to the end user's IT platform.