A Radical Rupture from the Past in Wide Area Networking

A Radical Rupture from the Past in Wide Area Networking

Episode 8

SIGFOX is a Wide Area Network operator for low bandwidth devices. The fundamental costs of any network operator are:

  • Leasing space on base stations
  • Buying spectrum from the FCC
  • Upstream connectivity

SIGFOX has developed a technology that requires only 1 in 100 base stations, as compared to GPRS, is using free unlicensed spectrum and is has low bandwidth data transmission requirements. Its challenge is to develop technology that is interference-free.

Luke D’Arcy points out that 600,000 smart meters is equal in bandwidth to one Netflix movie. So how slow is their service? SIGFOX offers connectivity that can handle 12 byte messages from one to 1,000 times per day. Not for all IoT applications but suitable for a good percentage of them. This is illustrated by the differences in bandwidth requirements between GPRS and SIGFOX in smart meter reading. According to D’Arcy, GPRS requires 2,000 bytes per reading vs. 1 byte per reading for SIGFOX’s ultra-low frequency technology.

Watch this video to see how a radical change to the values in the traditional operator business model can transform the cost structure of a wide swath of IoT applications.


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