The IoT (Internet of things) is radically changing and redefining all industries and markets. According to HIS (Information Handling Services), the IoT market is predicted to develop to billions of connected devices over the years. These gadgets need Low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) for data communication. In UAE (United Arab Emirates), the NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) and LTE-M (Long Term Evolution Category M1) is gaining reputation as these networks are already provisioned by the telecom providers.
Today, LPWAN has mobile (licensed band) and non-cellular (unlicensed) technologies. Under the mobile category we have NB-IoT and LTE-M and in unlicensed, the renowned categories are LoRa (Long Range) and SigFox (IoT Technology company and it makes use of the SigFox protocol). LoRa and SigFox need communication gateway which combine IoT sensor data to the IoT platform via their own private networks.
NB-IoT and LTE-M do not need communication gateways and as a result it is cost effective. These sensors communicate directly via the nearest base station of the telecom provider to their Cloud IoT platform. They both provides low cost, low power and prolonged coverage with low data transmission capabilities. In UAE, they already have the coverage and ideally it makes sense to use either of them as the communication enabler. Also note that both are part of 5G journey and will coexist with 5G network. So, industries and clients can completely depend on them for IoT connectivity options. However, relying on the use cases and utility scenarios, either one - NB-IoT or LTE-M needs to be chosen.
Some of NB-IoT use instances are Smart City, Smart Parking, Smart Metering, Street Lighting, Home Automation, Building Automation, Smart Agriculture, etc. The key necessities here are periodic transmission of small packets of data and longer battery life. These sensors depend on 4G coverage, so they work anywhere where there is coverage - even indoors. Moreover, for the above use cases, the IoT sensors are stationary, the network latency is between 1.5 to 10 seconds and amount of data being transmitted (peak data rate less than 100 kbps) is very less. The uplink/downlink speed is 27.2 / 62.5 kbps. The battery energy consumption is great at very low data rate and can gain battery life up to ten years. The NB-IoT makes use of narrowband, so it permits better indoor and underground penetration and overall reach. So, a latency-insensitive sensor can be placed in hard-to-reach areas which do not require high throughput or often reporting - idle for use cases like pipe-line monitoring, waste bin monitoring, man hole monitoring, etc.
For LTE-M, the use cases situations are - mobility, real-time data communication (for instance emergency alarm data, voice, tracking) and mission-critical applications. Some use cases are Smart Transportation, Wearables, Smart Asset Tracking, Home Security, Patient Monitoring, etc. The LTE-M latency is between 50 to 100 milli seconds and top data rate is 384 kbps. The uplink/downlink speed is up to 1 Mbps. LTE-M is idle when you need to meet user experience requirement for static and mobility scenarios. It additionally enables more data throughput in contrast to NB-IOT.
To recapitulate, the IoT application use cases will outline which communication enabler fits best based on multiple parameters like present telecom networks (with NB-IOT and LTE-M), standalone networks (LoRa and SigFox), static and/or mobility requirements, latency, data transmission rate, power consumption, battery life, components like gateways, controllers and finally the cost. As UAE already has the NB-IoT communication network, most of the IoT tasks in UAE will be based on NB-IoT LPWAN as it will speed up deployments and more affordable in terms of capex and low operational cost. With bendy deployment as well as the opportunity to enforce OTA (over-the-air) firmware upgrades, many telecommunication operators throughout the globe has deployed NB-IoT and LTE-M. According to a new study carried out with the aid of Grand View Research, Inc the narrowband-IoT market size is predicted to attain USD 6,020 million by 2025, registering a CAGR of 34.9% from 2019 to 2025. NB-IoT is booming