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Advantages of LTE-M | disadvantages of LTE-M

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of LTE-M. It mentions LTE-M advantages or benefits and LTE-M disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is LTE-M?

LTE-M follows 3GPP specifications similar to LTE technology. LTE-M stands for Long Term Evolution for Machine-Type Communications. It is mainly developed to fulfill cellular IoT device objectives such as low device cost, deep coverage, longer battery life, higher cell capacity and so on. LTE-M along with NB-IoT are two LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) technologies designed and developed for IoT applications to transmit/receive small amounts of data using lower bandwidth at low costs. There are number of applications in which these technologies are being used which include smart buildings/cities, healthcare, people/asset/animal tracking, pollution monitoring and so on.

LTE-M Architecture

There are different categories of LTE-M devices viz. Cat-0, Cat-M1 and Cat-M2 as per different 3GPP releases. LTE-M Cat-0, Cat-M1 and Cat-M2 follow 3GPP TS 36 series of rel.12, rel.13 and rel.14 respectively. The figure-1 depicts LTE-M system architecture and changes required from LTE architecture. LTE-M category Cat-M1 features are mentioned in the table below.
Refer LTE-M tutorial >> for more information.

LTE-M Cat-M1 Features Description
Bandwidth 1.4 MHz (Maximum 6 PRBS are allocated in DL/UL equivalent to 1.08 MHz)
Peak Data Rate (DL/UL) 1 Mbps
Coverage Upto 11 Km
Duplex modes HD-FDD, FD-FDD, TDD
Number of receive antennas 1
Transmit power 20 dBm
Advanced power saving modes PSM, eDRX
Modulation (Highest) 16-QAM
Coding scheme (DL/UL) Turbo code
Spatial Layers (Max. in DL/UL) 1
Maximum TBS (DL/UL) 1000 bits
CE Modes Mode-A(Mandatory), Mode-B (Optional) >>.
LTE-M Device Categories Cat-0, Cat-M1, Cat-M2 >>.

Benefits or advantages of LTE-M

Following are the benefits or advantages of LTE-M:
➨As mentioned above it is used for IoT applications requiring small amount of data transfer using low bandwidth at low costs.
➨It offers very good coverage specially in USA.
➨As it uses TCP/IP, the network can be connected to any server.
➨It offers faster data rates.
➨LTE-M system is designed to be very power efficient and hence devices will offer longer battery life. The power saving modes such as PSM and eDRX are employed for this purpose.
➨It is easy to deploy and it is interoperable with LTE networks.

➨It supports capacity to accommodate large number of devices per cell.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of LTE-M

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of LTE-M:
➨System costs are higher than some LPWA technologies.
➨IPSec is not incorporated.
➨IPR risk and certifications are few of the concerns.
➨Carrier firmware upgrades consume power.
➨It can not be used for large amounts of data.
➨It does not offer very high speed data transfer unlike other cellular technologies such as 4G, 5G etc.

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