LPWAN Narrowband Technologies (LoRaWAN, SigFox,
etc.) for M2M Networks and Internet of Things Design
Professor MTUCI, Doctor of Economics Science,
Deputy CEO of JSC «NIITC» on Innovation
Chairman of ITT RAEN, RAEN Academician
ITU Regional Forum on “Internet of Things, Telecommunication Networks and Big Data as basic
infrastructure for Digital Economy” (Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 4-6 June 2018)
❑ LPWAN technology family and key features
❑ LPWAN technologies with unlicensed and licensed spectrum for radio access to M2M
and Internet of Things networks
❑ Standardization of LPWAN technologies
❑ Features of LPWAN technologies utilization
❑ LoRaWAN technology usage in M2M and Internet of Things networks
LPWAN Concept for IoT/M2M Services
Low-power WAN (LPWAN) is a wireless wide area network
technology that interconnects low-bandwidth, battery-powered devices with
low bit rates over long ranges.
LPWAN technologies represent narrowband radio technologies
with low radiation power and an extended coverage zone with a radius of up
to several kilometers.
LPWAN is not a single technology, but a group of various low-
power, wide area network technologies that take many shapes and forms.
LPWANs can use licensed or unlicensed frequencies and include proprietary
or open standard options.
Technical requirements for narrowband LPWAN technologies were
formed on the basis of the following prerequisites:
• Most IoT devices are simple sensors with low level of generated traffic;
• The range of communication from several to tens of kilometers with line of
• The amount of transmitted data is between 10 and 50 bits for several times
• The main data traffic is transmitted in the uplink (from the IoT
device to the base station (radio gateway)).
Radio spectrum utilization
License-exempt frequency bands
technologies (cellular or non-
Licensed frequency bands
technologies (only cellular operators)
2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
868 MHz, 921 MHz and 2.4 GHz
below 1 GHz
868 MHz and 921 MHz
868 MHz and 921 MHz
below 1 GHz
Guard bands outside the main
LPWANs can use licensed or unlicensed
frequencies and include proprietary or open
International Industrial Alliances of IoT standards
Standardization of Wireless Technologies
by IoT Industrial Alliances
Actility, Cisco, Eolane,
IBM, Kerlink, IMST,
Telecom, KPN, SingTel,
and FastNet (part of
Telkom South Africa)
Over 527 (January 2018)
Cable & Wireless, and
4770 (May 2018)
LPWAN Networks Spectrum Usage
for Access to IoT Services
Unlicensed frequency bands
Licensed radio frequency bands below 1 GHz
MHz MHz MHz MHz MHz GHz GHz
CRS (TV bands)S
Europe LTE700 UL Europe LTE700 DL Europe LTE800 UL Europe LTE800 UL Europe GSM UL Europe GSM DL
It can be used for LTE-M potentially.
May need more distribution of
LTE450 for NB-IoT.
Dynamic switching between LTE-A/LTE-M and
NB-IoT in guard bands
NB-IoT in GSM channels, transition to LTE
Technological diversity of Radio access networks
for IoT/M2M devices connecting
Data volume, Byte/hour
Standards for local applications – Low Power Area (LPLA)
LPWANs can accommodate packet sizes from
10 to 1,000 bytes at uplink speeds up to 200
Kbps. LPWAN's long range varies from 2 km to
over 10 km, depending on the technology.
Comparison of LPWAN Radio Access Technologies
for IoT/M2M Devices Connection
0,3-50 kbit/s 100 kbit/s UL: 1-144 kbit/s
DL: 1-200 kbit/s
10 years < 10 years 3-5 years
868,8 MHz (Europe)
915 MHz (USA)
433 MHZ (Asia)
915 MHz (USA)
700/800/900 MHz 169/433/470/780/
AES-64 & 128 Byte &
Up to 2,5 km in urban
up to 45 km in rural parts
Up to 10 km in
up to 50 km in
Up to 2km in urban parts
Bandwidth of LPWAN Technology Base Stations
with Unlicensed Spectrum Access
SigFox technology was invented and patented in 2009 by a
French company with the same name. Now the office of the company is
located in the south of France near the city of Toulouse. The first SigFox
network was deployed in France in 2012, and by 2014 the nationwide
coverage of the country was provided.
By 2015, SigFox planned to enter the US market, but it faced
problems in the USA-allowed frequency range of 902 MHz. The
frequency range used in the USA is more susceptible to interference
than the European range. At the same time, SigFox technology has
spread to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
Currently, SigFox is present in more than 60 countries.
However, there are no SigFox networks in CIS Countries and in Russia
Unlicensed SigFox Technology
SigFox uses an ultra-narrow frequency band (UNB) with binary phase
shift keying (BPSK) for data transmission and changes the carrier wave phase for
data coding. This allows you to reduce the noise level on the receiving side,
hence making receiving devices cheaper.
• range: 30-50 km (3-10 km in noisy and inaccessible areas);
• lifetime of devices without battery replacement: 20 years from 2 AA
• frequency bands: 868 MHz (Europe) and 902 MHz (USA);
• network topology: a star (the base station to which the endpoints are
The existing SigFox standard defines the maximum number of
messages from the base station to the end device per day: 140 messages, with
each message being no more than 12 bytes in size (excluding the message
header and transmission information). And also the number of messages
originating from the target device: 4 messages per day with payload of 8 bytes.
of SigFox Technology
Architecture of SigFox Network
SIGFOX network is similar to the
cellular infrastructure, but it is less
expensive. SIGFOX uses an ultra-narrow
band (UNB) based on radio technology to
connect devices to the global Internet.
The use of UNB is a key factor in
ensuring a very low power level of the
device transmitter. The network operates in
Europe in the widely used band 868.8 MHz
(as defined in ETSI and CEPT), and in the
USA it operates in band 915 MHz (as
defined by FCC).
SIGFOX nodes can be used in two configurations:
• P2P mode - direct communication between nodes (LAN interface);
• Hybrid mode - SIGFOX/P2P (P2P + GW in SIGFOX network).
The nodes can connect directly to each other and immediately send messages, while sending is free in P2P mode.
A combination of SIGFOX and P2P modes is used in Hybrid mode. It allows only certain messages to be sent over
the network. In this case one node is used as the network gateway (P2P + SIGFOX mode) and the other nodes are
in P2P mode.
The Weightless Technology family is an open standard for high-power LPWAN
networks designed for network performance. Special Interest Group (SIG) offers a family of three
different protocols - Weightless-H, Weightless-W, and Weightless-P, which support various forms
Weightless-W technology is an open technology standard, designed for operation at
470-790 MHz TV range frequencies (TV white space, TVWS). Weightless-W technology with 5
km coverage zones is suitable for use in applications for the oil and gas industry.
Weightless-N technology is designed for creating