What is NB-IoT? What a New Cellular Standard Means for Your Business
By Ken Bednasz
February 14, 2018
By Ken Bednasz
February 14, 2018
As Internet of Things (IoT) solutions expand and improve the daily operations of businesses worldwide, new innovations in cellular Narrowband technology seek to expand potential IoT applications by reducing energy consumption through smarter battery use, extending the reach of mobile networks, increasing ROI, and reducing costs. The coming impact of Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) will be revolutionary in terms of efficiency and smart management, but what is NB-IoT radio technology, how does it work, and what applications will its existence enable? Let’s dive in to the NB-IoT basics and their implications.
NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN, you’ll also hear it called Mobile IoT) technology deployed over unused resource blocks (a unit of network resources) on existing LTE networks. NB-IoT has the potential to be the best solution for connecting people and businesses while expending low amounts of energy. In fact, its efficiencies in terms of coverage inside buildings, energy expenditure and maintenance are among the main contributing factors to a growing number of IoT-enabled devices that is expected to reach nearly 24 billion daily-use devices by the year 2020.
As new wireless technologies emerge, where does NB-IoT fit? Short-range radio solutions like Bluetooth are useful, but have too high a bandwidth and not a far enough reach for applications that require a wide geographic span. LTE-M technology has wider coverage capabilities, but is significantly more costly. NB-IoT is a low-bitrate technology compatible with 2G, 3G, 4G, and upcoming 5G technology, making it a smart fit for those that need wide are coverage. NB-IoT coverage deeply penetrates indoors and underground areas without issues.
With less power consumption comes greater flexibility. The simpler a technology’s waveform, the less power it will consume. The simplicity of NB-IoT’s waveform technology and smart power saving modes allow for less power consumption. NB-IoT batteries are designed to last more than 10 years. As a result, businesses will replace batteries less frequently, thereby reducing maintenance and operational costs by a wide margin.
Connect more devices for less, and with greater accuracy. Since the technology exists on a licensed spectrum, it means your data is safe, secure, and reliable. The NB-IoT module costs less, is simpler to integrate into the sensor or device, can connect massive number of devices and save a fortune in security and maintenance.
NB-IoT is poised to revolutionize cities and businesses that rely on access to data in hard-to-reach locations like warehouses, deep underground, and rural environments. The technology can penetrate and extend coverage to your surroundings, giving you smarter, faster, and more accessible control.
Furthermore, its cost-efficiency makes it a feasible option for existing IoT applications that haven’t gained wide-spread acceptance because of previously prohibitive costs.
These applications include:
Imagine being able to monitor and manage your solutions remotely. From farming to health care to industrial utility, expect NB-IoT to become an integral part of the framework for a new wave of applications by 2020.