Explaining Cellular IoT: NB-IoT, LTE-M, 5G And More

Cellular IoT: NB-IoT, LTE-M, 5G - Sensitek

The biggest buzz across the globe for tech companies and conglomerates is all about Cellular IoT, the introduction of NB-IoT technology and the emergence of game-changing 5G. Although technologies have different frameworks and infrastructure, all of them share the same objective -to, enhance the network of IoT and M2M technologies and provide a better connection for consumers. In this blog post, we’re covering all the latest news related to NB-IoT, LTE-M, and 5G.

 

Narrowband IoT 

 

The Narrowband Internet of Things or NB-IoT is a new Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology developed for IoT applications.  It is a protocol for low bandwidth cellular communications that connect to internet devices as they transmit small amounts of data. This lowers the cost and significantly improves the power consumption of user devices, system capacity, and spectrum efficiency, especially in deep coverage. 

 

The new physical layer signals and channels are designed to meet the demanding requirement of extended coverage. NB-IoT can-exist with 4G, 3G, and 2G mobile networks. The technology is much simpler than today’s GSM/GPRS.

 

 NB-IoT devices can last more than 10 years on one battery. It also benefits from all the security and privacy features of mobile networks, including support for identity confidentiality, entity authentication, data integrity, and mobile equipment identification. Features that make this a leading technology in the IoT market are:

 

  • NB-IoT has a lower cost per module than other communication technologies, making it a leader. On average, the cost per module is $5 to $10 US, which makes it cheaper than current M2M communications. 
  • The peak data rate is less than 100 kbps (Kilobits per second).
  • Bandwidth in NB-IoT is 180 KHz and it is 3GPP licensed.
  •  For link speed, the uplink and downlink speeds are 65.2 and 27.2 kbps respectively.
  •  The NB-IoT network is estimated to support more than 100,000 connections per cell.
  • However, It does not feature voice support
  • For power consumption, it is the best technology at low data rates.
  • And to repeat it again, the battery life is great. NB-IoT devices can have a battery life of more than 10 years.
  • NB-IoT also has an excellent extension of the network in indoors and underground.
  • Finally, frequency deployment is flexible.

 

LTE-M

 

Long term Evolution for Machines or LTE-M is a type of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology developed by 3GPP to enable a wide range of cellular devices and services specifically, for M2M and IoT applications. It is also referred to as CAT-M1. 

 

It supports IoT through lower device complexity and provides extended coverage. LTE-M uses the LTE installed bases and is idealized for higher bandwidth and mobile connections, including voice. This allows a battery life of up to 10 years for a wide range of uses. 

 

It can co-exist with 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile networks. It benefits from all the security and privacy features of mobile networks, such as supporting user identity confidentiality, entity authentication, data integrity, and mobile equipment identification. The main aspects of LTE-M networks include:

 

  • The uplink and Downlink speed for LTE-M network is up to 1 Mbps 
  • With Voice over LTE (VoLTE), LTE technology can support voice.
  • The peak data rate is 384 Kbps (Kilobits per second).
  • The bandwidth in LTE-M technology is 1.4 MHz, and it is 3GPP licensed.
  • LTE-M is strong when it comes to mobility, as it is prepared for a moving device.
  • When it comes to power consumption, LTE-M is the best technology at medium data rates.
  • As for battery Life, It can support battery life up to 10 years depending on the usage.
  • The average cost per module for LTE-M is $10 to $15 US.
  • Penetration: LTE-M provides a good extension of the network in indoors and underground.
  • The frequency deployment is only in the LTE band.

 

5G

 

5G or 5th generation, networks are the upcoming next step in mobile internet connectivity. It offers faster speeds and more reliable connections for smartphones and other devices than ever before. The 5G network is maybe 40 times faster than 4G networks. This means with 5G, you can download a full-length HD movie in a matter of seconds. But 5G is not just any other fast network for fast movie downloads. Its high-speed connectivity, very low latency, and ubiquitous coverage will support smart vehicles and transport infrastructure such as connected vehicles.

 

With 5G people will able to control more devices remotely in applications where real-time network performance is critical. For example, using technology, for remote construction with heavy machinery in hazardous environments will improve worker safety. It can be used for remote surgery to save the lives of people who may not have immediate access to health professionals. 5G will also take systems beyond radio to be cloud-optimized and able to use big data analytics and artificial intelligence. At the same time, this evolution will require a close eye on security, looking at the entire chain to secure all elements of this new technology.

 

This network will also enable new applications in several other industries including entertainment, agriculture, manufacturing and IT. 5G is the foundation for realizing the full potential of IoT. But operators will need to do more than just change. They will need to transform their business to address new opportunities. Machina Research forecasts “IoT will account for 41 million 5G connections worldwide in 2024.” Approximately three-quarters of these will be in the auto industry via embedded vehicle connections

 

Telecommunications giant T-Mobile is aiming to create the first nationwide 5G network with the right mix of available spectrum, financial strength, and industry expertise. The company asserts that by 2024 its network will have approximately double the total capacity and triple the total 5G capacity its current network capacity. In short, T-Mobile is planning to create the highest capacity network in U.S. history.

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2 thoughts on “Explaining Cellular IoT: NB-IoT, LTE-M, 5G And More

  1. Nice niche of the article, as you have really well explained about cellular IoT technology here. I came to know many new points. It will definitely help many people who are currently working on various projects. Keep updating us via different topics as well. Thank you for this amazing and very informing article.

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