Communication Performance of a Real-Life Wide-Area Low-Power Network Based on Sigfox Technology

In this paper, we study real-world performance of Sigfox, which is one of the most mature Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technologies that operate in unlicensed frequency bands. During an extensive measurement campaign conducted over three months in the city of Brno, Czech Republic, we assessed the communication performance and the radio channel properties in 311 different test locations. We observed that despite the challenging natural landscape and urban environment of the test area, more than 94% of the packets sent were received successfully, with at least one packet delivered from 297 out of 311 tested locations. Our results also reported experiment-based radio channel and signal-to-noise characterization as well as provided insights into the efficiency of two crucial mechanisms used by Sigfox to improve the packet delivery — packet repetition and multi-gateway reception. Finally, we employed our experimental data to understand the efficiency of two non-fingerprint localization methods based on received signal strength indicator in a practical Sigfox network.