Radio Configurations

Sigfox has a global coverage network, operating in unlicensed bands worldwide, with radio frequencies ranging from 862 to 928 MHz. Using unlicensed bands enable devices to send their data to the cloud while using little power, at very low cost. 

However, due to local regulations, laws or other operating constraints, the network configuration can differ from one country to the other.

Global operations are currently split into six geographical zones: from RC1 to RC6. More can come as the network adds new countries.

Each zone has a different set of parameters which clearly dimension the device hardware implementation: mainly frequency range, maximum radiated power, and radio front end specificities. 

Geographical availability

The current six geographical zones are:
  • RC1:
    • Europe: Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
    • Overseas France: French Guiana, French Polynesia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Reunion.
    • Middle East and Africa: Iran, Kenya, Oman, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.
  • RC2: Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, USA.
  • RC3: Japan.
  • RC4:
    • Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Uruguay.
    • Asia Pacific: Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand.
  • RC5: South Korea.
  • RC6: India.

See the Sigfox Coverage page to view radio presence in the whole world, and the name of all local Sigfox Operators.

RC technical details

Sigfox Radio Configuration (RC) defines the radio parameters in which the device shall operate: Sigfox operating frequencies, output power, spectrum access mechanism, throughput, coexistence with other radio technologies, etc.

Each radio configuration includes 4 uplink classes: 0u, 1u, 2u, and 3u.

The Sigfox network globally works within the ranges from 862 to 928 MHz. But not all RCs require such a wide range of operation.

  RC1 RC2 RC3 RC4 RC5 RC6
Uplink center frequency (MHz) 868.130 902.200 923.200 920.800 923.300 865.200
Downlink center frequency (MHz) 869.525 905.200 922.200 922.300 922.300 866,300
Uplink data rate (bit/s) 100 600 100 600 100 100
Downlink data rate (bit/s) 600 600 600 600 600 600
Sigfox recommended EIRP (dBm) 16 24 16 24 14 16
Specifics Duty cycle 1% * Frequency hopping ** Listen Before Talk *** Frequency hopping ** Listen Before Talk ***  
  • * Duty cycle is 1% of the time per hour (36 seconds). For an 8 to 12 bytes payload, this means 6 messages per hour, 140 per day.
  • ** Frequency hopping: The device broadcasts each message 3 times on 3 different frequencies. Maximum On time 400 ms per channel. No new emission before 20 s.
  • *** Listen Before Talk: Devices must verify that the Sigfox-operated 200 kHz channel is free of any signal stronger than −80 dBm before transmitting. 

Sigfox’s high limit EIRP recommendation is included in each column although regulations sometimes allow for more radiated power than the Sigfox recommendation.

Sigfox’s recommendation is set to comply with the Sigfox technological approach of:

  • Low current consumption
  • Balanced link budget between uplink and downlink communication

How to achieve multi-RC?

Devices can be adapted to one or several Radio Configurations, which are primarily defined by the frequency range that is used, and the radiated power for the device.

Building a multi-RC device implies many aspects that must be taken into consideration:

  • Business case for having a multi-RC device,
  • Available space on the PCB,
  • Energy consumption,
  • Device performance,
  • Modularity and potential evolution,
  • Quantity of devices you expect to build/sell,
  • Manufacturing price, 
  • etc.

All of this also ties up with your technical team: which technology they are used to work with, what their radio skills are, etc.

Because of this, it is most of the time more interesting to build per-RC variations of your device, rather than invest in integrating more than one RC on a single device.

All in all, it all comes down to having a solid business case: whether you can justify the price and additional work or not, or if multi-RC is an explicit request from your client/market.

About Sigfox Monarch

Sigfox Monarch provides a unique radio recognition feature of the Sigfox network. It enables devices to manage the radio frequency changes, without any additional hardware such as GPS or Wi-Fi chipset.

This feature enables devices to run seamlessly in all parts of the world, by automatically recognizing and adapting to the local radio frequency standards. It unlocks endless use cases in logistics and supply chain, the consumer industry, and in the automated maintenance for the shipping, aircraft and railway industries. 

RC-specific technical information

Radio Configuration can have local peculiarities, which you should be aware of when developing your device.

This section lists the peculiarities which we are aware of.

RC3c: Managing noisy environment

Listen Before Talk (LBT) is a feature specified by the Japanese regulatory authority ARIB, that mandates devices to verify that the Sigfox operated 200 kHz channel is free of any signal stronger than −80 dBm before transmitting.

Recent field testing in RC3c/Japan revealed that Sigfox devices can be installed in very noisy RF environment that can potentially block message transmission due to the LBT mechanism, and consequently drastically decrease message transmission success rate.

The impact on the Quality of Service can be very serious. The application note below aims at educating device partners on such complex RF environment as well as providing guidance on different technical topics (Hardware, Software, Testing, etc.) to maximize the Message Success Rate.