Cool Stuff

Part II: Data Transmission Technology

Discover more about Data Transmission Technology of autonomous, battery-powered trackers.

Sigfox (LowPower Wide Area Network technology)

Data rate over Sigfox is limited to 12 bytes per transmission, up to a maximum of 140 transmissions (1680 bytes per day). Considering that a single gps position (latitude and longitude) requires 8 bytes, it must be considered obvious that the amount of information that can be transmitted over Sigfox is quite limited.

Due to the very narrow frequency band Sigfox is also not useful for tracking moving objects, since the frequency shift of a moving object at more than 70kph is significant enough to prevent good reception of the transmitted signal.  

Due to the very narrow frequency band Sigfox is not useful for tracking moving objects

 

LoRaWAN(low-power long-range radio protocol)

Some providers leverage core LoRa technology to enable proprietary very low-power communication between different tracking devices over extended range. Due to the very low power, it is ideally suited for battery-powered IoT devices. It is possible to achieve extreme autonomy with minimal battery size.

Unlike Sigfox, LoRaWAN uses a much wider range of frequencies and modulation to allow higher bandwidth and data rates.

 

Suivo LR (Private LoRa)

At its core,“LoRa” is a patented robust low-power long-range radio protocol (initially developed in 2012 for the IoT revolution by Cycleo (France) and later acquired by the Semtech cooperation.) Although proprietary, an overview of the modulation and other relevant technical specifications are made available by Semtech through the LoRa Alliance.

LoRa uses license-free sub-gigahertz radio frequency bands like 169 MHz, 433 MHz, 868 MHz(Europe) and 915 MHz (North America). LoRa enables long-range transmissions (more than 10 km in rural areas) with low power consumption.

Similar to DASH7’s efforts, Suivo leverages LoRa technology (without the LoRaWAN upper networking layer restrictions) to enable proprietary very low-power communication between different Suivo devices over extended range. We call this Suivo LR (long range) communications.

Suivo LR allows fast and reliable connectivity between Suivo IoT devices such as the autonomous battery-powered asset trackers, the IoT Hubs (classic blackboxes with an IoT upgrade) and IoT Tags. It is also used for the monitoring of managed geo beacons (Suivo IoT Satellites). Due to the very low power, it is ideally suited for battery-powered asset trackers. It is possible to achieve extreme autonomy with minimal battery size.

 

2G / GPRS

While consumers always are looking for more data and more speed, in many industrial applications the 2G specifications offer more than enough bandwidth (data capacity) and speed. But the 2G networks are being phased out in countries where few 2G projects exist; in other countries some operators are contractually required to support the service for considerable time to come, and there are therefore no plans by those operators to discontinue 2G General Packet Radio Service (GPRS).

2G offers two-way connectivity to the internet at a theoretical maximum transferspeed of 50 kbit/s (40 kbit/s in practice) and uses one frequency (900MHz in Europe).

In industrial applications such as Suivo, the network operators provide a management tool on which the service provider (such as Suivo) can manage the functions and status of the SIM cards. The operator can also restrict access to specific servers and can accommodate private end-to-end encrypted data tunnels (over the internet). This can help protect the data from security breaches.

 

LTE-M

The ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) developed LTE-M (Long Term Evolution for Machines) as a future-proof and reliable Low Power Wide Area Network for professional IoT applications, operating on the same protected frequency bands and infrastructure as consumer 4G-LTE networks.

While similar in purpose to networks like the LoRaWAN networks, it benefits from the protected frequencies in which it operates (compared to the noisy 868/915MHz public frequency bands in which LoRaWAN and Sigfox operate) and the support and implementation of experienced, often international, network providers and operators. It is widely considered as the future-proof IoT technology that will power exponential growth of IoT projects and applications worldwide, alongside NB-IoT which is more suited for fixed infrastructure (such as smart buildings and smart meters).

It offers similar low power advantages to public-band LP-WAN systems, so many years of autonomy can also be achieved (depending on transmission frequency, of course), but also allows significantly higher data throughput than Sigfox or even LoRaWAN and NB-IoT.

LTE-M is also not susceptible to frequency shift on moving assets at real-world speeds (<200kph).  

  

NOTE

Choosing a single data transmission technology for asset tracking and digital workflows is limiting. As a trail-blazer, Suivo combines many different technologies in a single transparent solution to optimize autonomy, data throughput and cost. Suivo’s modular nature allows users to start connecting assets to the digital world using only a few of the available technologies. Clients invest in expanding infrastructure when the initial return on investment has yielded results and more data is wanted.

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