How do I check and improve Sigfox coverage?

Where can I find more about Sigfox coverage?

Sigfox is an IoT network with the highest worldwide coverage, being present in more than 60 countries worldwide.with already more than 21 countries/territories covered nationwide.

Currently the coverage is rapidly developing but it is always good to talk to the local Sigfox operator and to consult coverage either at Sigfox backend or at https://coverage.simplecell.eu/

The aim is to have all major cities, international ports and airports worldwide covered.

This should allow for tracking use cases.

In Europe and major economic world hubs the aim is to automatically have indoor coverage in all cities and towns above 5 000 inhabitants, all national border crossings and along major highways. 

This should allow for all outdoor use cases, tracking use cases, utility measurements and B2C use cases.

Outdoor connectivity is terrain specific. In general it is between 90 and 100 percent in Europe and better than the LTE coverage.

 

Beyond that the densification depends on the business case and approach of individual operators.

Sigfox Access Points/Base stations

There are 4 devices for Sigfox coverage

 

Macro

Mini

Micro

Repeater

Price (approximate)

n/a

n/a

250 - 400 Euro

50 Euro

Deployed

By SO

By SO

By SO or customer, managed by SO

By customer

Scalability (ability to process many devices simultaneously)

Very high

Middle

Low

Very low (one device simultaneously,up to 15 total)

Ability to process downlinks

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Selectivity (ability to process signals in noisy/town environment)

Very good

Average

Average

n/a

Sensitivity (ability to receive weak signals)

Very good

Average

Average

n/a

Using external antenna

Yes

Yes

No

No

Needs outdoor Sigfox coverage at installation place

No

No

No

Yes

Indoor and outdoor installation

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Typical outdoor reach

50 km

10 km

1 km

0,3 km

Typical indoor reach

n/a

n/a

100 m

50 m

Sigfox Access Station Macro and Mini

Macros are the base stations installed by the Sigfox operators to ensure nationwide coverage and scalability.

Normally they have larger antennas than in the picture and are installed in towers and on rooftops.

They are powered by redundant power supply and all have redundant Internet connectivity.

 

Minis are the cheaper base stations deployable by Sigfox operators in rural areas.

Sigfox Access Station Micro

Micros are the base stations either deployed by Sigfox operators or rented to end customers by Sigfox operators to densify indoor coverage in logistics centers, large office buildings, places located in deep valleys or very small villages located at secluded locations.

Micros can be either connected via Ethernet but in most cases a GSM USB dongle is sufficient. The installation is very easy and straightforward.

https://support.sigfox.com/products/#micro

Repeaters

Repeaters are special commercial battery operated devices available to purchase to extend the coverage for a small number of devices (it works similar to  an extension cord). They need to be placed at locations where Sigfox coverage is already present . Their usage is required if you have up to 15 devices in the vicinity in deep indoor locations (underground, behind thick or humid walls, deep in the factory complex) and you have good Sigfox outdoor coverage. It’s an advantage to place the repeater at a high position to get the best coverage.

https://www.adeunis.com/en/produit/repeater-sigfox-2/

Outdoor, indoor and deep indoor

All the models of coverage are calculated as outdoor coverage at 1,5m height above ground.

 

Indoor and deep indoor coverage is mathematically calculated as places requiring 20 dBm resp. 30 dBm margins - their signal attenuation.

 

Indoor is generally defined as rooms above ground with windows.

Deep indoor is defined as either underground with window or above ground without window.

 

Please be aware that modern office buildings with metallic facades and windows act as Faraday cages and may require densification.

 

All the coverage models are approximate and the field results can vary by wall thickness, soil humidity in underground installations, placement etc.

Redundancy

Sigfox technology is based on a probabilistic model and in order to work reliably requires redundant coverage by more than one base station.

Sigfox operators are deploying base stations in such a way that major cities have a redundant (overlapping) coverage from at least two base stations.

Radio performance of devices

The radio performance of the device and its proper placement play a role.

See this KB article.