Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sigfox and Texas Instruments collaborate on IoT deployments

Steve Rogerson
April 30, 2015
Sigfox and Texas Instruments are collaborating to increase IoT deployments using the sub-1GHz spectrum. Customers can use the Sigfox network with TI’s sub-1GHz RF transceivers to deploy wireless sensor nodes that are said to be lower cost and lower power than 3G or cellular connected nodes, while providing long-range IoT connectivity.
Targeting various applications, including environmental sensors, smart meters, agriculture and livestock sensors, asset tracking and smart cities, the collaboration is said to increase the benefits of narrowband radio technology and reduce barriers to entry for manufacturers wanting to connect their products to the cloud.
“Narrowband technology is the superior option for a global internet of things network, because it offers the lowest-cost, most energy-efficient connectivity, along with the data capacity and robust coexistence, that competing technologies just cannot match,” said Oyvind Birkenes, general manager for wireless connectivity at TI.
Using the Sigfox infrastructure is said to reduce the cost and effort to get sensor data to the cloud and TI’s sub-1GHz technology provides years of battery life for less maintenance and up to 100km range.
“TI’s sub-1GHz technology is an excellent fit for the Sigfox network, because it supports long-range and high-capacity connectivity in a system-cost-optimised way that users everywhere require to fully benefit from the potential of the internet of things,” said Stuart Lodge, executive vice president of global sales at France-based Sigfox. “TI technology that leverages our ultra-narrowband technology is a powerful endorsement and will be a key part of our rapid network deployment in key global markets.”
Sigfox’s two-way network is based on an ultra-narrowband (UNB) radio technology for connecting devices, which is key to providing a scalable, high-capacity network with low energy consumption and spectral efficiency. That is essential in a network that will handle billions of messages daily.
“We are excited to be working with Sigfox to expand its network deployments and bring the benefits of narrowband sub-1GHz technology to users worldwide,” said Birkenes.
TI’s CC1120 sub-1GHz RF transceiver uses narrowband technology to deliver the long-range connectivity and coexistence to Sigfox’s network with tolerance of interference. Narrowband is the de-facto standard for long-range communications due to the high spectral efficiency, which is critical to support the projected high growth of connected IoT applications. The transceiver also provides years of battery lifetime for a sensor node, which reduces maintenance and lowers the cost of ownership.
Sub-1 GHz networks operate in region-specific ISM bands below 1GHz including 169, 315, 433, 500, 868, 915 and 920MHz. The networks are proprietary by nature and provide a more robust IoT connection, which is why the technology has been used for smart metering, security and alarm systems and other sensitive industrial systems. Additionally, the technology is low power, enabling years of battery life to reduce service and maintenance requirements.
Sigfox-certified modules based on TI’s CC1120 were demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and are now available from Adeunis (SI858-25MW), Radiocrafts (RC1780) and Telit (LE51-868 S), all for 868MHz operation. Additionally, TI’s CC1120DK and CC1200DK development kits can be purchased through the TI Store or authorised distributors to test the capabilities and range of the TI product.