Smart Metering: LoRaWAN vs. Sigfox vs. Weightless-P

Which LPWAN technology is most suitable for Smart Metering?

This article compares the leading LPWA (low power wide area) technologies and their ability to meet the requirements of a smart metering deployment in a dense region in Europe and the United States.

For a conservative comparison, let’s use half hourly readings as our baseline. Which means…

Each Smart Meter will be only be sending…

1)  48 messages sent per day

2) 12 byte per message

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-55-52-pm


Number of Base Station(s) required to support a full Smart Meter deployment in Levallois-Perretis, France. 

Region (Europe): Levallois-Perretis

Levallois-Perretis a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France.

Number of households / Smart Meters: 34,180

Area: 2.41 km2 (0.93 sq mi)

LORA:                 4

Sigfox:                2

Weightless-P:  1

 *detailed calculations below


Number of Base Station(s) required to support a full Smart Meter deployment in San Francisco, California. 

City (United States): San Francisco 

Number of households / Smart Meters: 376,942

Area: 121.4 km² (46.9 square miles)

LORA:                 8

Sigfox:                15

Weightless-P:  5

 *detailed calculations below


 

Why the criteria of 48 messages / day ; 12 byte messages was chosen..

The Smart Metering data is used differently by different levels of the service chain.

Suppliers

  • Meter readings – for billing purposes
  • Half Hourly readings – for additional services or sophisticated products
  • Maintenance messages about the health of the meter – such as memory problems
  • Firmware messages – to update the software in the meter
  • Configuration messages – to set up new products
  • Pay As You Go messages – to top up PAYG credit
  • Tamper messages – to detect theft and security attacks
  • Export meter readings – to measure how much electricity your solar cells or wind turbine is passing back to the network for load management and to credit the customer depending on the commercial arrangement.

Distribution Network Operators

  • Power outage messages – to know when and where outages occur
  • Meter readings – for network billing to suppliers
  • Half Hourly readings – for network load planning
  • Voltage and Power Factor readings – for network operation and planning.
  • Export meter readings – for network operation and planning.

Other Authorised Parties

  • Meters readings – to analyse and show you your energy usage
  • Half Hourly readings – to analyse and show you your particular energy profile shape.

 

Smart Meter Capacity Calculations

Figure 1: Mac Throughput (Europe)

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Figure 2: Number of Smart Meters supported per Base Station (Europe)

(based on criteria: 48 messages per day ; 12 byte messages )

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-3-07-05-pm


Figure 3: Mac Throughput (United States)

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Figure 4: Number of Smart Meters supported per Base Station (USA)

(based on criteria: 48 messages per day ; 12 byte messages )

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-4-46-26-pm

 


Sources:

  1. http://www.smartme.co.uk/how-they-work.html
  2. http://statisticalatlas.com/place/California/San-Francisco/Overview
  3. http://www.map-france.com/Levallois-Perret-92300/housing-Levallois-Perret.html
  4. http://www.ubiik.com/lpwan-comparisons

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