Advantages of NB-IoT | disadvantages of NB-IoT

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of NB-IoT. It mentions NB-IoT advantages or benefits and NB-IoT disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is NB-IoT?

NB-IoT is the short form of Narrowband-Internet of Things. It is specified in LTE Release-13. It is also known as LTE cat-NB1. It is developed to meet requirements of LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) networks. Following table mentions features of NB-IoT network.

NB IoT features

NB-IoT has wide variety of applications for personal, public and industrial use. Personal applications include wearables, tracking of kids/elders, smart bicycle etc. Public applications include event detectors, smart garbage bins, smart metering etc. Industrial applications include asset tracking, smart agriculture, logistics tracking etc. Low power and long range is the major necessity for IoT (Internet of Things), which is a major concern with mainstream cellular technologies. These are being addressed by NB-IoT standard.

Low power wide area network protocols are designed to establish connections between low energy devices and a network server. It uses various deployment modes viz. standalone, LTE Guardband and LTE In-band. Refer NB IoT tutorial >>,   NB-IoT vs LoRa vs Sigfox >>,   NB-IoT vs LTE-M >> and NB-IoT vs LTE Cat-M1 vs EC-GSM IoT >> for more information.

Benefits or advantages of NB-IoT

Following are the benefits or advantages of NB-IoT:
➨As it uses mobile wireless network it offers better scalability, quality of service and security compare to unlicensed LPWA networks such as LoRa/Sigfox.
➨It offers long battery life due to low power consumption or current consumption.
➨It offers extended coverage compare to GSM/GPRS systems.
➨Various network operators in Europe and Asia are supporting it.
➨It transmits data at low bit rates over long distances. The range is better than GSM and LTE.
➨NB-IoT modules are expected to be available at moderate costs.
➨They offer better penetration of structures and better data rates compare to unlicensed band based standards (e.g. LoRaWAN and Sigfox).
➨It co-exists with other legacy cellular systems such as GSM/GPRS/LTE. The NB-IoT compliant devices can be deployed/scheduled within any legacy LTE network. This helps them share capacity as well as other cell resources with the other wireless connected devices.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of NB-IoT

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of NB-IoT:
➨It offers lower data rate (about 250Kbps download and 20Kbps upload) compare to LTE cat-M1. The bandwidth is about 200 KHz. Hence it is ideal to use NB-IoT for stationary devices.
➨It does not support VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) for speech transmission. Hence voice transmission is not supported.
➨Roaming is not supported unlike LTE-M and Sigfox. (Expected Soon).

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