Category Archives: Sigfox

All my sigfox research, hack, experimentation and feedback

How to get some Sigfox Subscriptions ?

This is a Frequent question I received from many hackers or companies: How can I get a Sigfox subscription for my IoT device?

We need to start saying a Sigfox subscription is a right to have its device data to be proceeded for a year. In the LPWA technology there is no SIM cards or any physical things attached to the subscription. You buy a device from a semiconductor company, when this device is compatible with Sigfox you have an ID attached to this device. This ID is uniq and used to identify the device on the Sigfox network. So once you have a subscription, you attach this subscription to this device ID then you will be able to access your device data from the Sigfox backend.

That’s clarified we can address the question of this post: what are the way to access a subscription?

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Enhanced Sigfox API services

Since I’m using Sigfox backend there are a lot of operations I’m regularly manually doing. Thanks to the Sigfox API, it is possible to automate these manual operations to gain in productivity and save time.

The most consuming operation were for me to manage the device type because each of them have multiple callback and every callback uses many parameters. The callback replication is for me a recurrent operation when adding a new contract, when creating a new version of application, when instancing for dev, prod… It’s also a complex operation when you have to ask a third party ( like a client ) to configure a device-type for connecting to your service. As a consequence these operations are the first one I’ve automated thanks to the Sigfox Api.

I’ve decided to publish this usefull code to let you saves time on these operation with a new set of API accessible on IngeniousThings Sigfox Api portal and available on GitHub as OpenSource.

In this set of API (actually 3, will grow) you will find operation to export/import a full deviceType configuration and to duplicate a DeviceType.

Have fun !

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(try to) Understand the Sigfox backend Rights

Since a long time I’m trying to understand how the Sigfox right (ACL) works and stop affecting all the rights to my API access every time I’m creating a new one. More than that, when I’m working with clients or other LPWAn passionates I do not like requesting full access to the Sigfox backend to help them or integrate them in my backend.

So, it was a nice opportunity to tale a look to the ACL and document them with an overall overview instead of the detailed information you can get from the User Creation screen. (You may note that this documentation can’t be accessed from the API access creation screen but the groups are the same as for users).

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Offer a better developer experience to Sigfox API

As a backend developer, the Sigfox API is not a really good experience. This for multiple reasons and it is a good example on how a really good product can get a developer push-back just because of the interaction layer.

I can’t change the API itself (and its not y role) but as I was bored to use POSTMAN tool  and the Sigfox backend documentation (who already used it will understand) I decided to spend some hours this week to rewrite most of the API endpoint into a clean open-api format into a Spring application to get benefit of the SpringFox swagger front.

This project is not fully terminated but already in place with the most used API endpoint. The next will arrive soon. Read mode to get access.

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Introduction to Arduino MKRFox1200 – Part 2

Following the previous post where we saw how to transmit data on Sigfox with an Arduino MKRFox1200, in the second part we will learn how to consume these data in a backend site. To make this simple we are going to implement a solution using Adafruit.io service. This service allows to create graphics from data received from an API. We will configure Sigfox backend to push device data to this API.

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Introduction to Arduino MKRFox1200 – Part 1

Arduino MkrFox1200 sounds like Arduino for Maker using Sigfox. This board is an official Arduino product, looking like Arduino Nano series (but not pin-compatible, longer and larger)

It is composed of a SAM D21E MCU (Microchip ARM Cortex M0) operating at 48MHz. It includes 256K flash memory and 32K of SRAM. We can consider this as an Arduino under steroid.

The Sigfox radio layer is composed by an ATA8520. This is a Microchip Sigfox module based on AVR MCU. This module is communicating with the SAM D21E module with a SPI bus. The radio module is supporting RCZ1 zone (Europe).

This board can be found in many eShop places for a price around 45€ including an antenna and 2 year of Sigfox network access.

In this Post we will see how to get started with this board and how start programming with it.

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Create a $5 autonomous tracker with ESP8266 and Sigfox

There are multiple ways to track something or someone. Cellphone are using different method to be able to give you a precise location in most of the situation. The more global one is GPS, it works anywhere on earth but do not really work indoor. It is also costly (about 8$ or more) and power consuming. Outdoor your usually have a precision of 15 meters. The less precise one is triangulation : a message received by different antennas will be located by the network in an area covered by all these antennas. This solution works anywhere the network is covering and do not need specific power other than for communicating. The precision is usually from 500m to 10km.

The last usual method we use is the one we are going to implement in this post : the WiFi positioning. The tracker is listening for the WiFi access point around and ask one of the existing database knowing most of the WiFi location to get a position. This is working thanks to the crowding effort all of us are doing with our smartphone of capturing WiFi around us and associated locations. The WiFi solution is working where WiFi is, so usually in the cities ; around buildings. It works well indoor, better than outdoor where WiFi is less active. The precision is about 30-50 meters. The power consumption is lower than GPS.

Sigfox is a LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) network covering about 45 countries (as today) dedicated to low power autonomous devices aka IoT. Asset tracking is one of the best use-case.

The use of Sigfox with a WiFi tracker is allowing to create a low-cost tracker device, autonomous on battery from month to years, getting benefit in 45 countries of a WiFi + network localization.

This post will explain how to get started in this technology by using two standard, easy to use and low cost components allowing to get your prototype for about $5 of hardware.

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Sigfox, from the poc to the prod

Sigfox is a really nice technology when you want to make a really quick experimentation in IoT. The Time To  Hello World will take you less than 5 minutes and it makes it really easy.

That said after the POC comes the production, and the way you manage your Sigfox backend for production is not the way you build your quick & dirty front-end platform for the POC.

This post will introduce how to make your Production platform and what is the difficulty you need to consider. I’ll propose you some architectural solution I’ve put in place but they are one of the ways to implement it. I won’t detail the pre-packages PaaS solution as i’m not a big fan of them : in my point of view, they are firstly responding to the POC situation, but it is only my own opinion.

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