LTE Cat0 for M2M | LTE-M Rel Cat-0 Cat-1 Cat-4

This page describes LTE cat0 for M2M applications. The page covers LTE-M releases Cat-0 (Category-0), Cat-1 and LTE-M Cat-4.

About M2M: The IoT refers to inter-connection and autonomous exchange of data among devices which are machines or machine parts. These features bring greater user experience and increases system efficiency. The machine to machine communication is required to support emerging growth of IoT(Internet of Things). The data communication among various devices without need of human interaction is known as M2M communication. M2M communication include data communication between devices & server or between device to device. This M2M communication can happen either directly or using network. M2M applications are widely used in vehicle tracking, user and home security, banking, remote monitoring and smart grid. The cellular communication is pioneered by the M2M services. As per study by ABI, it has been estimated that about 200 million units(modules) of cellular M2M are available by the year 2020.

About LTE: 2G, 3G technology based modules are dominating cellular M2M. Due to fast growth seen in LTE technology, soon cellular M2M will also be dominated by 4G technology based modules. 4G standard supports both TDD (time division duplex) and FDD (frequency division duplex) topologies. Both of these modes use a common sub-frame structure of 1 ms in size. LTE technology was basically designed for high data rate broadband requirements. M2M applications require low data rate. Though M2M features are added in 3GPP release-12, LTE standard is not optimized yet to support low data rate requirements of M2M in devices such as sensors, smart meters etc.

Following M2M requirements are needed in LTE compliant networks. These are key driving factors for the success of LTE-M.
• Long battery life
• Wide service spectrum
• Low cost connected devices
• Support of device volumes
• Enhanced coverage

LTE-M release 12 optimizations for cost

LTE Rel-12 version introduces new device category ("Cat0") which supports low complexity requirements of the system. These device specifications are reduced to achieve lower cost and complexity in LTE-M.
• FDD in half duplex mode, as duplex filter is not needed in this type of design.
• In LTE-M, device receiver bandwidth is reduced to 1.4MHz. This makes the LTE-M device much simpler.
• Single receiver chain is incorporated in LTE-M device. This results into elimination of dual receiver chain for RX diversity.
• It is used for low data rates. The complexity and cost are lower due to reduced memory as well as processing power requirements.

Following table mentions features of various LTE-M evolution which includes rel-8 Cat-4, rel-8 Cat-1, rel-12 Cat-0 and rel-13.

Specifications Rel-8,
LTE Cat-4
LTE Cat-1
LTE Cat-0
peak rate(Mbps)
 (150)   (10)   (1)   ~(200Kbps) 
peak rate(Mbps)
 (50)   (5)   (1)   (~200kbps) 
Max. no.
of downlink
spatial layers
 (two)   (one)   (one)   (one) 
Number of
receiver chains
 (two)   (two)   (one)   (one) 
 (Full)   (Full)   (Half)   (Half) 
UE receive
 (20)   (20)   (20)   (1.4) 
Maximum UE
Transmit power(dBm)
 (23)   (23)   (23)   (~20) 

LTE Technology related links

What is LTE?  Terminology  3GPP ref   LTE tutorial  LTE Features  UE categories  LTE Bands  EARFCN vs frequency   LTE frame  FDD vs TDD   PHY  protocol stack  throughput  VoLTE  CA
UE cell search  UE network entry  Timers  PSS vs SSS  LTE RS DMRS SRS  LTE Channels  BW vs FS vs RB  Zadoff chu sequence  LTE Advanced   eNodeB Measurements  UE Measurements  SC-FDMA Vs OFDMA   LTE Security  

M2M IoT related resource links

M2M Basic Article  M2M IoT products  Difference between M2M and IoT  IoT, Boon or Curse  IoT sensors  IoT components  Cellular IoT  IoT Tutorial 

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