Simple tips to maximize your LoRaWAN and Sigfox weather station signal strength in the city

QUESTION: I don’t have good signal strength and get intermittent data from my IoT weather station in the city. What can I try to improve the wireless coverage?

ANSWER:

To solve wireless connectivity problems in urban areas, one must first know the following information:

  1. Where is the receiver located (gateway): Is it inside, outside, how many walls are between the gateway and the outdoors, on what floor and how high above ground level is it located.

  2. Where is the weather station located (end-node): Is it outside on a balcony or a lamp post, how many walls are between the gateway and the outdoors, how high above ground level is it located, and in general, what is between the weather station an the gateway.

Solutions for the city

  1. With many buildings around, the most common problem with wireless signal in urban weather stations is caused by building walls which weaken and block wireless signals from reaching the Sigfox and LoRaWAN receiver stations, also called gateways.

  2. Second most common problem is the gateway is location in the building. if located on the opposite side of a building, each wall and window between the gateway and the weather station weakens and potentially blocks the wireless signal. Try moving the gateway close to a window in the direction or your weather station and as high above the ground (on the highest floor of your building), outdoors or on the roof.

  3. Step 2 - Increase signal strength with a NANO/PICO/MICRO gateway or a signal repeater is also an option.

    1. Sigfox offers a micro-gateway and also a signal repeater station to increase wireless coverage between buildings.

    2. LoRaWAN offers many choices of gateways at varying price levels and performance. Searching the web for “LoRaWAN Gateways” will offer many choices.

    3. LoRaWAN gateway locations can be found on this TTNmapper map and the TTN Mapper phone app can help you find a location with good signal strength of LoRaWAN coverage.