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While there is much discussion these days about the amazing potential of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, there’s less mention of the infrastructure necessary to support an IoT system.

Fortunately there’s wireless Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies that  transmit between battery-powered devices and is suitable for long-range connections, and offers excellent affordable coverage, even in hard-to-reach areas and underground.

Two of the more popular LPWA technologies developed for IoT applications are NB-IoT (Narrowband-IoT) and LTE-M (Long Term Evolution For Machines). The addition of these two technologies allow for the support of mass-market IoT deployments.

NB-IoT was designed to broaden the future of IoT connectivity in a more secure and reliable way. It is ideal for devices that generate low data traffic and have a long life cycle. Other benefits of NB-IoT include:

  • Low power consumption
  • Optimized data transfer
  • Low component cost
  • Can enable a large number of connected devices
  • Supports more than 100,000 connections per cell

A downside is the low bandwidth, which means it is not possible to transmit large quantities of data in a short time. On the other hand, the battery will last a long time — up to 15 years with a usage of 200 bytes per day.

However, a more popular LPWA protocol in the U.S. is LTE-M, also known as LTE Cat M1, a variant of the existing 4G networks. Compared to the other LTE networks, LTE-M is available for a wider bandwidth, although it offers reduced coverage. LTE-M is designed to frequently transmit data at a lower speed than what is common for 4G networks. A major selling point with LTE-M is that it can provide real-time information. Real-time communication includes voice, emergency data and precision tracking data.

The choice between LTE-M and NB-IoT depends largely upon the amount of data that you plan on using and how much latency is acceptable for your application. For mission-critical applications, LTE-M is the choice because it supports devices that need to communicate in real time to ensure the application meets user-experience requirements.

Want to know more about NB-IoT and LTE-M? Tonex offers LTE-M and NB-IoT Crash Course, a 2-day program that provides an in-depth overview of the various aspects of LTE-based radio, LTE-M connectivity and NB-IoT concepts optimized for IoT. This training is important because the Internet of Things has demonstrated a clear market need for utility, power and energy-related businesses to have battery-efficient connectivity to unlock the true potential of IoT.

Additionally, Tonex offers several different IoT courses covering everything from Industry 4.0 to cybersecurity.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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