Coverage and Energy-Efficiency Experimental Test Performance for a Comparative Evaluation of Unlicensed LPWAN: LoRaWAN and SigFox


Low Power Wide Area Networks, also known as LPWANs, have recently gained popularity as a viable Communication option for the Internet of Things (IoT). Large coverage and low power consumption are two essential requirements that must be met before deploying a Communication network to support Internet of Things applications. Existing LPWAN technology solutions promote Internet of Things requirements such as long Communication range, energy efficiency, scalability, and low cost; however, there is a major concern regarding network performance. There is a growing interest in evaluating low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies because there are so many of them available. Recent works have presented a variety of studies that compare different LPWAN technologies; however, the majority of these studies have approached the analysis from the perspective of comparing the technologies' technical specifications rather than presenting measurement results obtained from various network deployment scenarios. We contend that the comparison discussion can be made more in-depth by putting forward a proposal for a comparative evaluation from an experimental point of view. An experimental comparative evaluation of LoRaWAN and SigFox, two emerging low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies that operate in sub-GHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) frequency bands, is proposed in this paper. The evaluation will be based on the coverage and energy-efficiency test performance of both technologies. After determining that coverage and energy-efficiency were the two most important design goals for LPWAN applications, the experimental evaluation was initially proposed as the next logical step. Second, by suggesting test performance to evaluate those goals, where extensive measurements were made in network deployments, and third, by highlighting the most important performance findings in both networks for the purpose of making a comparison between them. In a test conducted in ideal conditions, the findings indicate that LoRaWAN performed better than SigFox in terms of coverage. Specifically, LoRaWAN was able to achieve a higher packet delivery rate (PDR 80 %) and have a higher radio strength signal (RSSI -110 dB). On the other hand, Sigfox demonstrates superior energy efficiency by sending 20% more messages under the same testing conditions.

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