2G vs. Sigfox

What's the Difference?

2G and Sigfox are both wireless communication technologies, but they differ in several aspects. 2G, or second-generation, is a widely used cellular network technology that provides voice and data services. It offers higher data transfer rates and supports multimedia applications. On the other hand, Sigfox is a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology designed specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It operates on unlicensed radio frequencies and consumes very little power, making it suitable for battery-powered devices with low data requirements. While 2G provides more extensive coverage and higher data speeds, Sigfox excels in terms of energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness for IoT applications.


Frequency BandVarious (e.g., 850/900/1800/1900 MHz)868 MHz (Europe) / 902 MHz (USA) / 920 MHz (Asia)
Data RateUp to 384 kbpsUp to 100 bps
RangeSeveral kilometersUp to 50 km (rural) / 3-10 km (urban)
Battery LifeShorterLonger (up to 10 years)
DeploymentWidespreadSpecific areas (limited coverage)
CostRelatively higherLower
Use CasesMobile communication, voice, dataIoT applications, asset tracking, smart cities

Further Detail


With the rapid advancement of technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become an integral part of our lives. IoT devices require efficient and reliable connectivity solutions to transmit data. Two popular options for IoT connectivity are 2G and Sigfox. In this article, we will compare the attributes of 2G and Sigfox to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Network Technology

2G, short for second-generation, is a cellular network technology that provides voice and data services. It operates on various frequency bands, including GSM and CDMA, and offers global coverage. 2G networks are widely available and have been in use for many years, making them a mature and reliable technology.

Sigfox, on the other hand, is a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology specifically designed for IoT applications. It operates on unlicensed frequency bands and uses ultra-narrowband modulation to achieve long-range communication with low power consumption. Sigfox networks are optimized for low data rates and have excellent coverage in urban areas.

Connectivity Range

2G networks provide a wide connectivity range, allowing devices to communicate over long distances. This makes 2G suitable for applications that require coverage in remote or rural areas. However, the range of 2G can be limited in certain environments with obstacles or interference.

Sigfox, on the other hand, offers an impressive connectivity range of up to several kilometers in urban areas and tens of kilometers in rural areas. This makes Sigfox ideal for applications that require long-range connectivity, such as smart city solutions or asset tracking.

Data Transfer Speed

When it comes to data transfer speed, 2G networks have an advantage over Sigfox. 2G can support higher data rates, allowing for faster transmission of information. This makes 2G suitable for applications that require real-time communication or large data transfers, such as video streaming or remote monitoring.

Sigfox, on the other hand, is designed for low-power, low-data-rate applications. It offers relatively slow data transfer speeds, which may not be suitable for applications that require real-time or high-bandwidth communication. However, for many IoT applications, such as environmental monitoring or asset tracking, the low data rate of Sigfox is sufficient.

Power Consumption

2G networks consume more power compared to Sigfox. This is because 2G networks are designed to support voice and data services, which require higher power consumption. As a result, devices connected to 2G networks may have shorter battery life, making them less suitable for IoT applications that require long-term, low-power operation.

Sigfox, on the other hand, is optimized for low-power consumption. The ultra-narrowband modulation used by Sigfox allows devices to transmit data using minimal power. This makes Sigfox ideal for battery-powered IoT devices that need to operate for extended periods without frequent battery replacements.


2G networks have been widely deployed and are supported by many network operators globally. This widespread availability makes 2G connectivity more affordable compared to other options. The cost of 2G modules and data plans is relatively low, making it an attractive choice for cost-sensitive IoT deployments.

Sigfox, on the other hand, operates on a proprietary network and requires specific Sigfox modules for connectivity. This can result in higher upfront costs for devices and limited options for network providers. However, Sigfox offers a pay-per-message pricing model, which can be cost-effective for applications that require infrequent data transmission.


Both 2G and Sigfox networks provide security features to protect data transmission. 2G networks use encryption algorithms to secure voice and data communication. However, as 2G is a widely used technology, it may be more susceptible to certain security vulnerabilities.

Sigfox, on the other hand, uses end-to-end encryption to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data. The proprietary nature of Sigfox's network also adds an extra layer of security. However, as with any technology, it is essential to implement additional security measures to protect IoT devices and data.


In conclusion, both 2G and Sigfox offer unique attributes that make them suitable for different IoT applications. 2G provides global coverage, higher data transfer speeds, and widespread availability at a lower cost. On the other hand, Sigfox offers an impressive connectivity range, low power consumption, and a pay-per-message pricing model.

When choosing between 2G and Sigfox, it is crucial to consider the specific requirements of the IoT application. If long-range connectivity, low power consumption, and cost-effectiveness are the primary concerns, Sigfox may be the preferred choice. However, if higher data transfer speeds, global coverage, and affordability are more critical, 2G can be a reliable option.

Ultimately, the decision between 2G and Sigfox depends on the specific needs of the IoT deployment, and it is essential to evaluate the attributes of each technology to make an informed choice.

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