Multimodal Sub-Gigahertz Communication and Localization for Low-power IoT applications

Modern low-power wireless networking technologies enable cheap, long-range, license-exempt communication, making them ideal for IoT applications. The MuSCLe-IoT project aims to develop a small, low-cost single-antenna device capable of exploiting different low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies as well as the algorithms and protocols that drive IoT devices and backend systems relying upon this mode of radio communication.

A cross-technology LPWAN communication system

Current IoT networks – such as SigFox, LoRa, DASH7 and 802.15.4g – were each developed for one application. This makes them extremely limited beyond their intended uses, and prevents the development of more advanced and dynamic IoT applications. However, since all of these technologies rely on the same 868MHz band, it is feasible to design a low-cost, small form factor antenna with the ability to use several different LPWAN technologies, increasing flexibility, performance and energy efficiency.

Prioritizing small, cheap and easy to upgrade

The single-antenna device proposed by MuSCLe-IoT will need the ability to switch between networks based on the needs of the current application, network availability, link quality and environmental conditions. This single-module design is not only smaller and more cost-effective, it also supports more generic hardware than dual-antenna options. This enables the integration of new technologies through software updates, even while the device is in operation.

4-network compatibility, GPS-like accuracy

The project will develop a solution that supports four networks (SigFox, LoRa, DASH7 and 802.15.4g), along with two main innovations:

  • an energy-efficient, low-latency networking protocol stack, signaling and resource management tool for LPWAN sensors and back ends;
  • GPS-free algorithms for indoor and outdoor localization that are as accurate as GPS.

Paving the way for more advanced IoT applications

The project carries significant valorization potential, including optimized and GPS-free track-and-trace devices and more flexible, resilient IoT networks with added localization services. Collaborators and user groups include industrial partners with IoT expertise and public and private IoT networks and applications.

“MuSCLe-IoT will stimulate the development of more advanced IoT applications by integrating multiple LPWAN technologies into a small form factor, single-antenna radio communication device. The proof of concept will maximize energy savings, efficiency, effectiveness, and resilience.”


Multimodal Sub-Gigahertz Communication and Localization for Low-power IoT applications.


MuSCLe-IoT is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen.

It started on 01.04.2017 and is set to run until 31.03.2019.

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Project Information


  • Aannemingsbedrijf Aertssen
  • Engie M2M
  • Flash Private Mobile Networks
  • Sensolus


  • imec - IDLab - UGent
  • imec - IDLab - UAntwerpen


  • Project Lead: Luc Deneubourg
  • Research Lead: Maarten Weyn
  • Innovation Manager: Stefan Van Baelen

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