Everything you need to know about IoT and LPWAN
Internet of Things (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through a network, enabling them to send and receive data. So it connects the physical world to the virtual world, resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. These “Things” may include any objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators. Previously, they relied heavily on Cellular, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth network, which are expensive to adopt and maintain, not to mention high in power consumption. As our requirement for these objects expands, we need new technologies that are power efficient, low cost and simple to deploy at a massive scale.
IoT works by providing connectivity to sensors and objects. This connectivity is enabled by embedding a special proprietary (Sigfox) chipset into such objects which allows it to leverage onto a specialized Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN). And so, 4 billion IoT devices have been forecasted to rely on LPWAN technologies by 2025! Learn about Charles Reed Anderson, the worldwide recognised IoT industry thought leader.
Virtually anything that could be embedded with a chip. Some examples include streetlights, thermostats, electric meters, fitness trackers, factory equipment, automobiles, unmanned aircraft systems (UASs or drones), or even cows or sheep in a field.
IoT can have many possible applications, such as: health (home security monitoring, connected defibrillator box, care button…), buildings (facility management, door monitoring, smoke alarm…), agriculture (crop management, flood monitoring, cattle management…), environment (air monitoring, water monitoring, bush-fire monitoring…), cities (parking management, bin monitoring, manhole monitoring…), living (sensor devices, trackers, security…), utilities (smart metering, water irrigation, utilities metering…), industry (preventive maintenance, asset tracking, connected helmet…)
UnaBiz is an exclusive network operator of Sigfox in Singapore and Taiwan. It functions similarly as a Telco by providing IoT specific network through its established network infrastructures. It also provides ready solutions and consultations for businesses interested in adopting IoT into their business model.MORE
As of today, UnaBiz has managed to provide up to 98% outdoor coverage in Singapore and 94% in Taiwan, and will be looking to further strengthen our coverage in the near future through aggressive network deployment and testing.MORE
Currently there are an estimated 20 billion devices connected to IoT networks globally, and it should expand rapidly to 75 billion devices by 2025.
The manufacturing industry is currently the biggest adopters of IoT. Manufacturers are using it for the purpose of optimizing process, monitoring equipment and conducting of preventive maintenance. Then we have the transport industry who is mainly using IoT for asset tracking purposes.
Through the use of sensors to collect data and analytics to break it down, businesses can look forward to lower operating cost and improving productivity by acting on key data.
There are more than one standards within the IoT industry. The three more prominent ones are Sigfox, LoRa and NB-IoT. Sigfox has the largest market share in the world and is by far considered the true standard.
UnaBiz currently has more than 80 partners within its ecosystem in Singapore, and more than 65 in Taiwan. These partners provide value add services to the IoT industry through research and development of new solutions and devices.
ABOUT SIGFOX LOW-POWER WIDE AREA NETWORK (LPWAN)
LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network. It is a low bandwidth network, its purpose is low power consumption, high efficiency and long ranges. Therefore this network is the best for IoT as it provides the benefit of connectivity through low power consumption, enabling devices to stay connected for years or decades through simple batteries.
There are very different use cases for such low bandwidth network. Low bandwidth network’s main application is in sensing modules for data collection and analytics which are measured in bytes. This provide cost savings up to 90% as compared to the more expensive 4G network.
Any device equipped with Sigfox proprietary chipset will be able to ‘roam’ freely in countries with operational Sigfox network. There are currently 53 countries on the list and it’s still going up!
The unique thing about this network is that there is no synchronization between base station and device. Instead, the device broadcast radio signals to multiple base stations close by through random frequency. This means that hackers would not be able to gain access into Sigfox network backend. Furthermore, there is a restricted downlink and devices chooses when to communicate and at which frequency, which protects it from hackers sending targeted malicious commands.
No. Sigfox devices do not have an IP address. They are not connected to the Internet. They cannot be used as a vector of attack of a global system. What happened with baby monitors (massive DDoS attack on Dynn servers) could not, by nature, happen through Sigfox devices.
Sigfox devices can send 12 bytes at a time and receive up to 32 bytes a day >> downloading a malware on Sigfox device becomes impossible.
What are security recommendations and support Sigfox and operators are bringing to enterprises willing to deploy an end to end solution?
We are applying the same security best practices we are recommending our customer:
– Security by default (no IP devices)
– Security by design: running risk evaluation of our overall system, implementing security countermeasures:
Authentication / Integrity / Confidentiality of data transiting from a device to an application
Continuous improvement: yearly penetration tests and cybersecurity audit
Leverage on sigfox partners: sigfox is partnering with Kudelski Security consulting, expert in security expertise and risk evaluation. Sigfox customers can benefit from this expertise.
Data vulnerabilities is about integrity (data sent are the data received: forged message detection), confidentiality (sensitive data cannot be intercepted)
– By design, Sigfox provides AES 128 based message authentication, an anti-replay mechanism
– Optionally, Sigfox provides a payload encryption mechanism from the device to the cloud. Customers can then implement data confidentiality when required by their sensitive application.
Physical security, Sigfox has built a network of partners and experts in security (ST Micro, WiseKey, Trusted Objects), who can provide additional tamper resistant security using secure element in the device (protect credentials).
Sigfox network operates on license-free sub-GHz ISM band using Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) modulation to exchange radio messages over the air. Messages are transferred at a data rate of 100 or 600 bits/s, depending on region. The combination of UNB modulation and low bit rate allows the network to achieve high network capacity and high sensitivity of its receivers, enabling long range transmission.
Frequency bands: 920.8Mhz Uplink, 922.3Mhz Downlink (License-free ISM band)
Messages: Up to 140 uplink messages per device per day up and 4 downlink messages per device per day (Downlink requires device to initiate)
Maximum Payload format per message: 12 bytes uplink from device, 8 bytes downlink to device (Device ID Key and time stamp are included in the Sigfox message header)
Data rate: 600 bits per second
Maximum power radiated per device: 24 dBm (ERP)
Battery life: Up to 15 years depending on number of connections, sensor type and size
Subscription fee: as low as US$1 /device/year (depending on volume of devices and number of connections per day)