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NB IoT tutorial-features,Spectrum,applications of NB IoT

This basic NB IoT tutorial covers features of NB IoT (NarrowBand Internet of Things). It mentions frequency specrums and applications or use cases of NB-IoT. It provides difference between NB-IoT with earlier LTE versions i.e. Cat-1,Cat-0 and Cat-M.

What is NB IoT?

• NB-IoT stands for Narrowband-IoT.
• It is specified in LTE Rel.13. It is successor to LTE Cat-M version specified in Rel.12.
• It has been developed to meet the requirements of LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) type of networks.
• NB-IoT has geo-graphical coverage better compare to LTE-M with lower data rates.
• This allows long battery life (about 10 years).
• The NB-IoT devices support narrower frequency spectrum of bandwidth 180 KHz to 200 KHz and hence the name.

Features of NB IoT

Following table mentions features of NB IoT (i.e. LTE Cat-NB).


Specifications NB-IoT Support
Extended Coverage and distance 20dB better compare to GSM/GPRS, covers about less than 22 Km from cell
Frequency Spectrum 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz
Bandwidth 180 KHz to 200 KHz
Capacity-Number of Connections 50K connections per cell, supports about 40 devices per household
Power Consumption very low power comsumption and hence extends battery life to 10 years
Latency less than 10 seconds (uplink)
Data rate 200 Kbps
Transmit Power +20 dBm or +23 dBm
device Cost low, which is under $5 per module

NB IoT Frequency Spectrum

NB IoT Frequency Spectrum

The figure-1 depicts types of frequency spectrums supported by NB IoT. As shown it supports Standalone, In-Band and Guard Band.
• The standalone deployment type utilizes new bandwidth.
• The guard band deployment type uses bandwidth reserved in the guard band of existing LTE network.
• The in-Band deployment type uses same RBs (resource blocks) in LTE carrier of existing LTE network bands.

NB IoT Applications | NB IoT Use cases

Following are the use cases or applications of NB IoT:
• Personal use: Wearables, smart bicycle, tracking of kids and elders
• Public use: Examples include smart metering, alarms and event detectors, smart garbage bins,
• IoT appliances: Refrigerators, temperature sensing smart devices etc.
• Industrial use: Examples include logistics tracking, asset tracking, smart agriculture,

Difference between NB IoT (LTE Cat-NB), LTE Cat-1, LTE Cat-0, LTE Cat-M

Following table mentions difference between NB IoT (LTE Cat-NB), LTE Cat-1, LTE Cat-0 and LTE Cat-M.


Specifications LTE Cat-1 LTE Cat-0 LTE Cat-M LTE Cat-NB
3GPP Release Rel.8 Rel.12 Rel.12 Rel.13
Bandwidth 20 MHz 1.4 MHz 1.08 MHz 180 MHz
Data rate 10 Mbps 1 Mbps 1 Mbps 200 Kbps
Frequency Spectrum LTE In Band Only LTE In-Band, Guard Band, Standalone
Coverage Same as LTE coverage, LTE Cat-M has deeper penetration +20dB than LTE, <22 Km


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