What is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)

What is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)
What is NB-IoT


In 2021, the global market size of NB-IoT was $641.32 million, and it is expected to be $14,546.94 Million by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 41.5%. Nowadays, the application proportion of Internet of things technology in the industry has increased year by year, penetrating the application industries such as production and manufacturing, transportation and logistics, health care, consumer electronics, retail, automobile, etc. The era of the interconnection of all things is coming into our life at an extremely rapid pace.

There are many wireless communication technologies applied in the Internet of things, which can be roughly divided into two categories:

  1. Short-distance communication. Related communication protocols include ZigBee, WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, etc.
  2. LPWA(low power wide area network), also known as wide-area communication technology.Related technologies include LoRa, SigFox, NB-IoT, etc.

LPWA is divided into two categories according to whether the spectrum is authorized:

  1. The spectrum of the working frequency is the licensedspectrum, such as EC-GSM, LTE Cat-m, NB-IoT, etc. These provide communication services through the licensed spectrum and cellular communication technologies such as 2/3/4G.
  2. The working spectrum is the unlicensedspectrum, such as LoRa, SigFox, etc. They communicate through the unlicensed public spectrum. However, different countries have different restrictions on the use of public spectrum, which can hinder the promotion of such technologies.

In the past, high-speed communication services mainly used 3G, 4G and other technologies, and medium-speed services mainly used GPRS technology. For low-speed services, there is no good cellular communication technology to support, but low-speed communication has very rich application scenarios. Especially in the era of the Internet of Things , GPRS technology can only barely support, and cannot meet the market demand well.

Based on the keen insight into the growing demand for cellular IoT, at the beginning of 2013, Huawei held extensive and in-depth discussions on the demand for this technology with operators, equipment manufacturers and chip manufacturers. And they quickly reached a consensus on promoting the development of the narrow-band cellular IoT industry. The research on NB-IoT officially began.

Concept of NB-IoT


Concept of NB-IoT

NB-IoT refers to narrowband IoT technology.

System bandwidth: 180kHz

Uplink technology: SC-FDMA (Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access), the mainstream technology of LTE Uplink.

Downlink technology: OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access), also a communication technology used in LTE.

Compared with LTE technology, NB-IoT simplifies some unnecessary physical channels to reduce the complexity of implementation. There are only three physical channels and two reference signals in the downlink, and only two physical channels and one reference signal in the uplink.

NB-IoT is a communication technology developed for the Internet of things. It appears for the interconnection of all things and is widely used all over the world. In order to coexist with existing networks without affecting each other, NB-IoT has specially developed three deployment modes, namely, in-band, guard band and independent carrier.

NB-IoT is featured with low power consumption, low cost and wide coverage. Many large enterprises have joined the NB-IoT camp, which has greatly promoted the development of NB-IoT.

Evolution history of NB-IoT standard

In early 2013, Huawei launched the development of narrowband cellular IoT with manufacturers and operators in related industries, and named it LTE-M (LTE for machine to machine). At that time, there were two main ideas in the selection of LTE-M technical solutions: one is based on the existing GSM Evolution Idea; The other is the new air interface idea proposed by Huawei, which was named NB-m2m at that time.

In May 2014, Si “Cellular System Support for UltraLow Complexity and Low Throughput Internet of Things” supported by Vodafone, China Mobile, orange, telecom Italy, Huawei, Nokia and others, was approved by the 3GPP GERAN working group. The name LTE-M evolved into Cellular Internet of Things, or CIO for short.

In April 2015, an important decision was made at the PCG (Project Coordination Group) meeting: after CIoT completed Si in GERAN, the WI phase should establish the project in RAN and complete the related protocols.

In May 2015, Huawei and Qualcomm jointly announced an integrated solution based on the consensus, that is, FDMA multiple access for uplink and OFDM multiple access for downlink. The integrated solution is called NB-CIoT (Narrow Band Cellular IoT).

On August 10, 2015, at the last meeting of the GERAN Si phase, Ericsson, together with several companies, proposed the concept of NB-LTE (narrow band LTE).

In September 2015, after intense discussion at the ran#69 meeting, all parties finally reached an agreement that NB-IoT and NB-LTE were integrated to form NB IOT WID. NB-CIoT has evolved to NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT).

On June 16, 2016, the NB-IoT R core protocol was frozen in the four working groups of RAN1, RAN2, RAN3 and RAN4. The performance specification is in the 3GPP RAN4 working group, scheduled to end in September. The performance specification NB-IoT and eMTC are carried out and scheduled to be completed at the same time.

Why does NB-IoT appear?

According to Gartner, a market research organization, 6.4 billion IOT devices will be used worldwide in 2016.

At that time, 5.5 million devices will be connected to the network every day, and one of the foundations for the realization of “interconnection of all things” is data transmission.

Different IoT services have different requirements for data transmission capacity and real-time performance.

According to the different transmission rates, IoT services can be divided into high, medium and low speed:

According to the different transmission rates, IoT services can be divided into high, medium and low speed

Highspeed services: 3G and 4G technologies are mainly used. The main feature of high-speed services is the need to transmit data in real time, such as surveillance cameras and high-speed tachometers.

Mediumrate services: GPRS technology is mainly used. Medium-rate services do not require a high transmission speed of network signals and do not need to transmit data in real time, but the frequency of use is relatively high. For example: supermarket lockers, smart wardrobe.

Lowrate services: many technologies are used for the services in the industry, such as LoRa, NB-IoT, and SigFox. Usually, these services are summarized as LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network), which is mainly used in various IoT products.

When NB-IoT and other related LPWAN technologies are not yet mature, GPRS technology is widely used in the market to solve the low-rate services of the Internet of things. Although this technology can solve some problems, GPRS has the disadvantages of high cost and low response rate, which seriously affect the development of low-rate IoT services. In fact, the low-rate business market is the largest market in the IoT, such as various signal transmission devices used in intelligent buildings, intelligent agriculture, intelligent smoke detectors and so on. In our life, the frequency of use of these devices is relatively low, but these devices can be used in many occasions, which can make human society more intelligent.

In order to solve this problem, enterprises or organizations in many countries have proposed NB-IoT technology, which is a new narrowband cellular communication LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology.

Principle of NB-IoT Technology


Principle of NB-IoT Technology

The NB-IoT core network supports two deployment modes, namely independent deployment and upgrade deployment. The core network is connected based on the S1 interface. The high-level protocol design is modified on the LTE protocol, which enhances the functions of small packets, low power consumption and large connection. Basically, LTE system technology is used in the physical layer. OFDM is used in the downlink and SC-FDMA is used in the uplink. In general, NB-IoT technology is modified from FDD LTE technology.

Terminal: UE (user equipment), the bottom end of the Internet of things, is the node where the signal is sent or the node where the signal finally responds. The terminal acquires the signal and sends the signal to the server through the base station. The server will send the instruction to the terminal through the server according to the signal, and the terminal will respond to the server.

Wireless network side: There are two networking methods. One is the overall wireless access network (Singel Ran). The newly-built Internet of things system is integrated into the existing network, and the existing gateway and base station are used for data transmission and processing. This method has a relatively high communication cost. The other is to build a new NB-IoT network system. This method does not need to pass through the existing network system. Through the incoming processing of the air interface in the network, the S1-Lite interface is connected to the core network of IoT, and forwards the non-access layer data to the high-level network element for processing.

Core network: EPC (Evolved Packet Core) is the bridge between the terminal and the server. It undertakes the function of information transmission between the server and the terminal, transmitting the terminal’s business data to the server and the server’s instructions to the terminal.

Application server: The server is a data analysis and processing platform. The data of the terminal will eventually be transferred to the server, and the server will analyze these data and make different responses according to different data. For these data, the service will send corresponding instructions to the terminal.

Three working states of NB-IoT

The three working states

NB-IoT has three working states, which will be switched in different environments. The power consumption of these three states is different, which increases the battery life and the service life of NB-IoT. The switching of the three states of NB-IoT is also a challenge for designers. In practical applications, in order to make the best use of the characteristics of NB-IoT, developers need to reasonably customize the working state of NB-IoT according to the usage scenarios and product characteristics.

The three working states are as follows:

  1. Connectedstate

The terminal will be in a connected state when it is just registered on the network. In this state, the terminal can receive and send data. In this state, the terminal is always active, and the energy consumption is relatively large. In order to save energy consumption, the terminal will enter the idle mode after no data exchange for a period of time.

  1. Idlestate

The terminal in the idle state can receive and send data, which is an excessive state. If there is no data exchange for a specified time, it will enter the PSM mode. If there is data interaction, it will enter the connected state.

  1. PSM(Power Save Mode)

In this mode, the terminal’s device for receiving and sending information signals will be turned off. At this time, the terminal enters the sleep state, and will not send or receive signals. At this time, the terminal is still registered on the network, but does not receive signals from the network. In this state, the power consumption of the terminal will be very small.

The duration of PSM mode is the core network configuration (t3412). After the TAU cycle (TAU cycle refers to the period from the start of the idle to the end of the PSM mode), the terminal will enter the condensed state.

The conversion process of three working states of NB-IoT in general can be summarized as follows:

  1. The terminal is in the connected statewhen itjust accesses and registers. In this state, the “sleep timer” will be started. This time can be configured between 1s and 3600s. Generally, the default time is 20s. If there is data interaction within this period, restart the timer. If there is no data interaction after this time, the terminal will enter the Idle state.
  2. When the terminal enters the idle state, it will start the timer (Active-Timer【T3324】). This time can be configured between 2sand 186s. If there is interaction within this period, it will re-enter the Connected state. If there is no interaction after the timeout, it will enter the PSM state.
  3. After the terminal enters the PSM state, the terminal cannot receive information. The PSM duration range is configured by the core network. The configuration range is 54 minutes to 310 hours. After the TAUcycle ends, the terminal enters the Conceded state.

Analysis of NB-IoT terminal under different working conditions:

  1. NB-IoT is in the Connected state after receiving or sending data. If there is information interaction within the “sleep timer” time, the timer will restart. If there is no information interaction beyondthe timer time, itwill enter the Idle state.
  2. The idle state is a stateof transition. The eDRXmechanism is introduced into the idle state. The duration of the eDRX cycle can be adjusted by a timer. Each eDRX cycle contains multiple DRX paging cycles. Multiple eDRX cycles form a complete idle cycle.
  3. A paging time window (PTW) is composed of multiple DRX paging cycles. The duration of the paging time window determines the paging times. The duration of the paging window can be adjusted by the timer, ranging from2.25sto 40.69s.
  4. After the idle state does not carry out signal interaction for a long time and exceeds the active timer, the terminal enters the PSM state. In this state, the terminal enters the sleep state, does not accept data interaction, and does not page.
  5. When the terminal enters the PSM state, the timer will be turned on. After the sleep time passes the tau cycle, the terminal will be activated to exit the PSM state and enter the connected state.
  6. When the terminal is in the PSM state, although it does not page oraccept downlink data, it can send uplink data commands, which will return to the active state after sending uplink data commands.

Three deployment modes of NB-IoT

Standalone deployment is the simplest deployment method, but it requires a segment of its own spectrum. NB-IoT is deployed in the traditional 2G spectrum or other discrete spectrum, using the idle spectrum or new spectrum of the existing network, without interference with the current LTE network. In the independent deployment mode, the NB-IoT carrier is deployed with independent 200kHz system bandwidth, while NB-IoT actually uses 180khz transmission bandwidth, leaving 10kHz guard bands on both sides. In this deployment scenario, it is convenient for operators with GSM spectrum resources, which is equivalent to using an independent GSM frequency point to meet the deployment requirements of NB-IoT.

Guardband deployment is to deploy the NB-IoT network in the guard band at the edge of the LTE spectrum. With weak signal strength, it can maximize the use of spectrum resources. The advantage of the guard band deployment mode is that it does not need a segment of its own spectrum, and the disadvantage is that it may interfere with the LTE system. The LTE system has guard bands at both ends of the bandwidth. Placing the 180khz transmission bandwidth used by NB-IoT carrier in the guard band of the LTE system is an easy deployment scheme for operators who have no GSM spectrum but only LTE spectrum

Inband deployment is a PRB resource that deploys NB-IoT in the LTE band. As the NB-IoT working carrier, it is usually selected in the low frequency band to ensure wider coverage and better propagation characteristics. In the in-band deployment mode, there is a certain coupling relationship between NB-IoT and LTE Systems, and the capacity coverage of NB-IoT is also limited.

NB-IoT has several characteristics:

NB-IoT has several characteristics

1. Wide coverage

NB-IoT covers a wider area, especially in indoor environments. In the indoor environment of the same frequency band, the signal radiation of NB-IoT is wider, with a gain of 20dB compared with the existing network, and the corresponding coverage capacity increased by 100 times.

The uplink of NB-IoT adopts SC-FDMA (single carrier frequency division multiple access), Multi-tone: 15KHz, Single-tone: 3.75khz/15khz. OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access) is used for downlink, and the carrier frequency is 15KHz. NB-IoT’s MAC/RLC/PDCP/RRC layer processing is optimized on the LTE communication technology protocol, which enables NB-IoT to use the existing cellular network for communication. The NB-IoT terminal supports the indication of both Single-tone and Multi-tone at the same time. It only needs to support half-duplex to have a separate synchronization signal.

NB-IoT covers a wide range and can be deployed flexibly, which enables NB-IoT signals to cover underground pipelines, underground garages, basements and other places that are difficult to reach with traditional networks. If deployed independently, the network gain of NB-IoT can be as high as 164dB, and the coverage capacity will be stronger.

Why does NB-IoT cover a wide range?

The 3GPP standard organization has formulated and standardized the NB-IoT protocol standard, requiring that the NB-IoT network has 20dB stronger coverage than the existing broadband LTE, GSM and other networks (20dB is only an approximate figure). According to the definition of the 3GPP standard, the uplink MCL of NB-IoT is -164dbm, and the uplink MCL of GSM and broadband LTE networks is -144dbm. Therefore, compared with the GSM and existing LTE networks, the so-called 20dB gain = PSD (power spectral density) gain + retransmission gain.

Does NB-IoT have a 20dB higher gain than other wireless cellular technologies? Is it 20dB higher than other technologies? Are uplink and downlink different?

(1) NB-IoT has higher power spectral density

NB-IoT has higher power spectral density than GSM, LTE and other technologies. The uplink carrier bandwidth of NB-IoT is 3.75/15khz, while the uplink carrier bandwidth of cellular communication (2g/3g/4g) we use now is 200kHz. The PSD of traditional network communication (the narrowband gain is measured in PSD) is about: log ((200mw/15khz) / (200mw/180khz)) =10.7dB. Under the same conditions, the uplink carrier with small bandwidth can carry higher energy and have a longer coverage distance.

(2) More retransmissions bring HARQ gain (retransmission gain)

When NB-IoT transmits data, it can retransmit data multiple times. Each retransmission of data can make the receiving device improve the clarity of the data. If the retransmission data is doubled, the propagation rate will be halved, but the data will have a gain of 3dB.

The theoretical maximum gain of NB-IoT repeated transmission can be obtained by the calculation formula: retransmission gain =3*log (number of retransmissions). Theoretically, the coverage area can be increased as long as the number of transmissions is increased. The NB-IoT standard stipulates that the number of uplink retransmissions cannot exceed 128 words. However, considering that increasing retransmissions will affect the transmission rate of data and the size of actual use scenarios is limited, the commonly used number of uplink retransmissions is generally 16, which will bring a gain of 9dB (3*log16=12, which is 3dB lower than the theory, and the loss is about 50%).

(3) Lower speed can be used

NB-IoT is suitable for extreme coverage scenarios with low requirements for receiving SNR. Usually, the conventional single transmission cannot meet the demodulation requirements. In this case, multiple retransmissions are required according to the actual situation to achieve normal data transmission and reception. Multiple retransmissions obtain the retransmission gain, but also sacrifice the transmission rate.

2. Have the ability to support massive connections

(1) NB-IoT uses narrowband Technology
NB-IoT uplink carrier bandwidth is only 3.75/15khz. Compared with the existing 2G uplink 200kHz and 4G 180khz PRB (physical resource block) bandwidth, the equivalent power is increased and the channel capacity is greatly improved.

(2) NB-IoT reduces the overhead of air interface signaling and improves the spectrum efficiency

(3) NB-IoT base station side is optimized
Independent admission congestion control and terminal uplink and downlink information storage are used.

(4) The core network of NB-IoT is optimized
It can store the uplink and downlink information of the terminal, and the downlink data cache has lower power consumption.

3. Low power consumption

Low power consumption is a very important performance index of IoT devices. Logistics network devices often need to work for a long time under the condition of supplementing electricity, some even for ten years. NB-IoT is also upgrading various technologies to reduce energy consumption.

(1) NB-IoT can extend the periodic period

Compared with the traditional IDLE mode, the NB-IoT terminal can flexibly adapt to the time range of the long-cycle request timer RAU/TAU according to the application scenario and business model, and can reduce the number of wake-ups and save power.

The TAU (Tracking Area Update) cycle request timer (t3412) is specified by the network side in the ATTCH and TAU messages. The 3GPP protocol stipulates that the default is 54mins, and the maximum is 310h.

(2) NB-IoT supports PSM (Power Saving Mode) mode

PSM, that is, low power consumption mode is a technology introduced by 3GPP R12. It is a new power-saving mode that is more power-saving than the Idle state.

Its principle is to allow the UE to turn off the functions related to the transceiver and access layer of signals after entering the Idle state for a period of time, similar to the partial shutdown, to reduce the power consumption of the antenna, RF, signaling processing, etc. Generally speaking, in this mode, the NB-IoT terminal is still registered on the network, but does not accept signaling messages, so that the terminal stays in the deep sleep state for a longer time to achieve the purpose of power saving.

Therefore, the UE does not receive any network paging during PSM. For the network side, the UE does not access data at this time.

Ⅰ exit of PSM mode
In what state does the UE exit the PSM mode and switch to other modes?
Only when the TAU cycle request timer (t3412) expires, times out, or the UE has data reporting services to process and actively exits, will it exit the PSM mode, enter the Idle state, and then enter the Connected state to process uplink and downlink services.

The TAU (Tracking Area Update) cycle request timer (t3412) is specified by the network side in the ATTCH and TAU messages. The 3GPP protocol stipulates that the default is 54mins, up to 310h at most. The timer time can be configured on demand.

Ⅱ entry of PSM mode
How do I enter PSM mode?
When will UE enter the PSM mode after processing data? This is determined by another timer Active Timer (t3324, Active Timer, 0-255 seconds). After the UE finishes processing the data, the RRC connection will be released and enter the Idle state. At the same time, the Active Timer will be started. After the timer expires and times out, the UE will enter the above PSM mode.

(3) NB-IoT supports eDRX (extended discrete reception) mode

eDRX, namely discontinuous reception, is a new technology introduced by 3GPP R13. DRX technology has been available before R13. Literally, eDRX is an enhancement of the original DRX technology: the supported paging cycle can be longer to save power.

Ⅰ the discontinuous receiving cycle time becomes longer in eDRX idle mode
Compared with DRX, the discontinuous reception period of eDRX idle mode can be extended from seconds to minutes or even up to 3 hours.

Ⅱ the discontinuous receiving cycle time becomes longer in the eDRX connection mode
In the eDRX connection mode, the discontinuous receiving time cycle supports 5.12s/10.24s (DRX is 1.28s/2.56s, that is, the maximum is 2.56s).

eDRX listening paging cycle time becomes longer
The paging cycle of eDRX is specified by the network side in the attach and tau messages (UE can specify the recommended value), which can be 20s, 40s, 80s,… Up to 40min. Compared with DRX paging cycle configurations such as 1.28s/2.56s, the power consumption of eDRX is much lower.

Disadvantages of NB-IoT

Less data transmission: Based on low power consumption, NB-IoT can only transmit less data;

High communication cost: In addition to the price of the NB-IoT communication module, operators will also charge operating expenses;

Docking platform problem: The IoT platform of Telecom adopts the CoPA protocol. The CoPA protocol docking is complex, and it is compatible with traditional TCP, UDP communication, etc., which often leads to a long construction time.

NB-IoT Vs LoRa


NB-IoT Vs LoRa

Both designed network communication technology for the Internet of things. NB-IoT and LoRa have this inherent advantage in low power consumption, wide coverage, intelligent management platform, rich terminal products and a large number of industrial chain support, which have promoted the rapid development of the Internet of things.

What are the advantages and characteristics of NB-IoT and LoRa

The market of LPWAN is still in the rapid development stage, human society is still developing in the direction of intelligence, various Internet of things applications are still in the exploration stage, and various communication protocols designed for the Internet of things are also emerging in endlessly, but NB-IoT and LoRa occupy the vast majority of the market, NB-IoT is mainly used in public networks, LoRa is mainly used in private networks.

NB-IoT features

NB-IoT can use traditional communication equipment to build networks, which is the biggest feature of NB-IoT. NB-IoT can be directly deployed in GSM networks, LTE networks and UMTS networks. The carrier bandwidth is 180khz, and it is easy to upgrade the network. Compared with 4G terminal devices, NB-IoT terminal devices have longer standby time, lower power consumption and longer battery life.

NB-IoT application scenario: NB-IoT has made great progress in intelligent meter reading. NB-IoT technology is used in smart electricity meters and smart water meters in many places. NB-IoT has also developed in the direction of sharing economy. Many shared bicycles use NB-IoT technology. NB-IoT can use operators’ base stations, which gives it an advantage in the development of cities with dense base stations. Many smart cities and smart home projects use NB-IoT technology.

LoRa Features

LoRa’s base station is built by itself, which makes the deployment of LoRa more flexible. LoRa network can also be deployed in the open field. The power consumption of LoRa is lower than that of other network communications, which makes the battery life of LoRa terminal equipment more advantageous. LoRa gateway and terminal support positioning and ranging functions, which makes it have great advantages in some specific applications.

LoRa application scenario: LoRa is very suitable for smart farms. Farms are generally in the suburbs, with fewer signals and interference. It is very suitable for building their own base stations. LoRa equipment can send relevant environmental conditions such as soil, weather, and sunshine to the background. Similarly, LoRa is very suitable for smart pasture, forest protection and other related industries.

NBIoT and LoRa Comparison

1. Frequency band, cost and service quality

The communication frequency band of NB-IoT is the authorized frequency band provided by the operator, which is specially divided by the operator for the Internet of things. Since NB-IoT uses a dedicated frequency band, NB-IoT signals suffer less interference and have high signal service. Due to the frequency band provided by the operator, the operator will charge a certain communication fee. The communication fee of NB-IoT will be relatively high, but the operator has brought more secure signal services and better authentication to NB-IoT. NB-IoT can use existing base stations for data interaction, reducing the construction cost of base stations and increasing the promotion speed.

LoRa’s working frequency band is an unauthorized public frequency band, which can directly establish network equipment. Since LoRa uses a public frequency band, which will be used by other communication devices, the information is vulnerable to interference, but there is no need to pay additional communication costs, and the use cost is relatively low. When using LoRa equipment, you need to build your own base station, and the construction and maintenance costs will be relatively high.

2. Communication distance

NB-IoT uses base stations to transmit information, and its communication distance is determined by the density of base stations in the region. With the advantages of operators’ base stations, the NB-IoT information coverage model is wider than LoRa, and NB-IoT can provide a very high link budget, which makes the transmission distance of NB-IoT as high as 15km ~ 20km.

LoRa uses linear frequency modulation and spread spectrum modulation technology, which enables different terminals to interact with each other directly at the same frequency without interference. LoRa gateway supports multi-channel parallel data reception, which greatly increases the capacity of the LoRa network. LoRa’s modulation technology improves the ability to carry interference and increases the network efficiency. At the same time, it also increases the communication distance and reduces energy consumption. In the open environment, the transmission distance of LoRa is as high as 12km~15lm, and the transmission distance will decrease in the urban area or the suburbs with obstacles.

3. Low power consumption and battery life

Low power consumption is the core index of IoT devices, and every IoT technology wants to make a breakthrough in low power consumption. Battery life is related to battery capacity, node current consumption and node environment.

The NB-IoT communication protocol is a synchronization protocol designed based on LTE, which requires nodes to contact the server regularly. NB-IoT will consume a lot of battery power in the process of connecting the base station and the server after wake-up. This kind of regular wake-up will consume more power than the nonlinear regulation of LoRa.

LoRa is an asynchronous communication protocol based on the ALOHA protocol. The sleep time of this protocol can be adjusted. Therefore, LoRa can adjust the sleep time according to the actual use scenario. During sleep, the loss of energy can be saved, which makes LoRa can make full use of the battery power and increase the battery life.

4. Equipment cost

Compared with NB-IoT, LoRa’s terminal node is simpler and easier to develop. LoRa communication protocol is more concise, and there is no need to communicate with operators. Build your own base station and adjust your own network. The circuit design of LoRa is relatively simple, and the cost is lower. At the same time, it also saves the cost of authorized frequency band communication.

NB-IoT can use cellular antennas to transmit information. Both antennas and base stations are deployed and maintained by operators. The cost of NB-IoT in base station construction and maintenance is very low. The communication functions of the base station are debugged and accepted by the operator, which ensures the accuracy and security of NB-IoT information transmission.

LoRa transmits information through self-built base stations. LoRa can use industrial base stations, signal towers, and even home gateways to transmit information. Establishing a base station requires a certain cost. LoRa’s standard details are still in the process of confidentiality, which makes it difficult for LoRa to produce standard signals and verify signals.

The manufacturing cost of the NB-IoT module and LoRa module is similar, which depends on the cost control of the specific manufacturer. MOKO has rich experience in the manufacturing of Internet of things products. According to MOKO’s experience, it is found that the cost of the LoRa module and NB-IoT module is relatively small, which mainly depends on what functions the module integrates, but the NB-IoT module needs to pay some additional hidden costs.

Comparison summary

The whole logistics network industry is still in the primary stage of development, and it needs the promotion of all aspects to further promote the development of the Internet of things industry. When various logistics network devices are deployed on a large scale, the cost of various IoT devices will be further reduced, and our society will be more intelligent.

In terms of technology, NB-IoT and LoRa have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is difficult to say which is better or worse. Both are actively seizing the market. In the wave of the Internet of things, both have great development opportunities. In the next development, the one who can create a new profit model, who can promote industry intelligence, and who can further upgrade the technology, will gain the first opportunity in the development.





With the continuous development of mobile communication technology, the Internet of things such as low-power wide area network (LPWAN) has ushered in rapid development.

From the perspective of global operators, AT&T, Verizon, KDDI, KPN, Orange, NTT DoCoMo, Telefonica, Telstra, Telus, etc. have successively launched the business of eMTC.

Comparison between NB-IoT and eMTC Technology

Both belong to low-power wide area network (LPWAN) technology, and they have advantages and disadvantages in technology. The main advantages of NB-IoT are lower cost, wider coverage and larger cell capacity. The main advantages of eMTC are higher speed, better mobility and voice support.

NB-IoT and eMTC are both modified from LTE technology and belong to narrowband technology. Both NB-IoT and eMTC can use the existing network infrastructure, which reduces the cost of early deployment and is conducive to its promotion and application. The carrier bandwidth gap between NB-IoT and eMTC technology is very large. eMTC technology uses 1.4mhz bandwidth, and the data transmission rate can reach 1Mbps; The carrier bandwidth of NB-IoT is relatively small, about 200kHz, and the maximum transmission rate is 100kbps.

NB-IoT and eMTC optimize the power consumption, reduce the complexity of the core network, increase the battery life of the terminal equipment, and increase the signal coverage. The design concepts of NB-IoT and eMTC perfectly meet the requirements of low cost, low power consumption and wide coverage of the Internet of things.

NB-IoT technology has the following advantages:

  • Strong connection:NB-IoT supports 100000 node connections, which is more than the receiving number of existing wireless technologies. Under the condition of the same base station, the number of NB-IoT is 50-100 times that of other wireless technologies. NB-IoT has a stronger wall penetration ability than eMTC, which makes NB-IoT more suitable for deployment in urban communities and other environments.
  • Ultra low power consumption: NB-IoT has made many optimizations for low power consumption, which makes the standby time of the NB-IoT terminal very long. In standby mode, the power consumption of the NB-IoT device is very small. If the battery power is appropriate, the service time of the NB-IoT device can be as long as more than ten years.
  • Deep coverage: NB-IoT can carry out data transmission through existing base stations, so that its signals can cover the indoor, underground parking lots and other environments in the community.
  • Low cost:NB-IoT network can be built by using the existing cellular network, and LTE network, GSM network and UMTS network can be directly used, which greatly reduces the cost of network deployment. NB-IoT features low broadband, low rate and low power consumption, which reduce the cost of related chips and modules.
  • Security: NB-IoT uses the existing network base stations for communication, which have passed the rigorous security inspection of operators, and the communication security of NB-IoT can be guaranteed.
  • Stable and reliable: the reliability of NB-IoT is guaranteed by telecom operators, and its access is to the network of telecom operators.

eMTC also has its own advantages. eMTC has faster network data transmission rate and lower network delay. It supports voice communication, positioning and mobile connection. It has great advantages in many application scenarios. eMTC has many disadvantages compared with NB-IoT in terms of signal through the wall, power consumption, use cost and so on, which also limits the development of eMTC. With the development of technology, NB-IoT and eMTC technologies will break through their respective bottlenecks, and the new technical standards of NB-IoT also begin to support positioning and mobility.

From the above comparison, we can see that NB-IoT and eMTC have their own advantages, and their characteristics are very complementary. They have their own advantages in different Internet of things environments, which is greatly related to the difference in their spectrum. The use environment of the Internet of things is becoming more and more diversified. Sometimes the same scenario requires NB-IoT and eMTC, which requires the coexistence of LTE narrowband technology and existing GSM multimode.

Application strategy analysis and suggestions

The development and application of new technologies cannot be determined only by their own technical characteristics, but also by the needs of users, policy support, the promotion of industrial chains and other factors.

1. Business needs

The first type of business: street lamps, gas meters, electricity meters, water meters and other industries. The characteristics of these businesses are that the terminal is static, the amount of data required is very good, and the requirements for time delays are not high. However, these scenarios have a wide range, there are many devices, and they will not be changed frequently, so the requirements for equipment cost, network coverage and product working hours are relatively high. In these industries, NB-IoT is technically more suitable than eMTC.

The second type of business: intelligent wear, real-time tracking, logistics tracking and other industries. This application scenario is characterized by the mobility of objects, the need to transmit data in time, and the amount of data being more than that of the first type. For this feature, eMTC is technically more suitable for this use scenario, but NB-IoT can also be used.

Technically, different types of application scenarios are suitable for different communication technologies, but in reality, there is no strict classification of the application scenarios of the two communication protocols, and the use of the two overlaps quite a lot. So most of the time, the technology used depends on the technology accumulation and promotion of operators.

2. Substitutability

For the first type of business, GSM/GPRS/EDGE can replace NB-IoT to a certain extent because of the mature industrial chain, low cost, and support for mobility and voice; However, due to coverage, power consumption, cell capacity and other reasons, complete replacement is impossible.

For the second type of business, CAT.0 because the speed, mobility, voice and other aspects are equivalent to eMTC, it can also replace eMTC to a certain extent, and its disadvantages are power consumption, coverage, etc; Further, CAT.1 and WCDMA/HSPA can also temporarily replace eMTC technology to a lesser extent.

Therefore, if there is a perfect GSM/GPRS/EDGE network, NB-IoT will not be so urgent; If there is LTE CAT.0 network, then eMTC also does not need to be too urgent or necessary.

Cat-M1 (LTE-M) VS NB-IoT




LTE-M (LTE-Cat / Cat-M1) is a mobile data standard, which is optimized on the traditional LTE technology, so that it can adapt to the fast-growing low-power wide area (LPWA) market. It is suitable for data transmission in the long-term environment.

1. Coverage

We first introduce the concept of MCL (Maximum Coupling Loss), which refers to the maximum channel loss during information transmission between the antenna of a network node and the terminal equipment. The large size of MCL limits the size of data transmission. MCL is the maximum value that can transmit data normally. There are many factors that can affect MCL, such as shadow effect, path loss and antenna gain. The larger the MCL, the better the network connection performance.

According to the standard description of NB-IoT and Cat-M1, the MCL of NB-IoT is 164dB and that of Cat-M1 is 155.7dB. Compared with the two, NB-IoT is 8dB more than Cat-M1. From the numerical point of view alone, the data transmission performance of NB-IoT is significantly better than that of Cat-M1. According to the formulation of 3CPP for NB-IoT and Cat-M1 for MCL standards, we can see that the MCL of NB-IoT is significantly larger, so NB-IoT has some advantages over Cat-M1 in coverage.


References3GPP 36.888, RP-1504923GPP 45.820 7A
Tx Power46dBm/9MHz23dBm43dBm/180KHz23dBm
Noise Figure9dB5dB5dB3dB

(Reference scene parameter settings for Cat-M1 and NB-IoT calculation MCL)

2. Cost

Compared with the two kinds of costs, the cost of NB-IoT is generally considered to be lower than that of Cat-M1 in the market, which is indeed the case.

Due to the support of the 3GPP protocol, NB-IoT and Cat-M1 can access the existing cellular mobile network, which makes them not need to build base stations and other gateway devices, and can directly access the network, saving the cost of prospect construction.

NB-IoT and Cat-M1 technical standards are based on LTE and supported by the 3GPP protocol. Many electronic components and functions of the two are very similar, and the price difference between the terminals of the two technologies is not very large.

The price gap between NB-IoT and Cat-M1 is mainly reflected in their baseband. The communication bandwidth of NB-IoT baseband processing is 200kHz, while that of Cat-M1 is 1.4mhz. The bandwidth of Cat-M1 is significantly larger than that of NB-IoT. According to the different sizes of the two baseband chips, the size of the Cat-M1 chip is larger, and the construction cost will be larger. With the development of industry, this gap will gradually decrease.

3. Power consumption

Power consumption is a very important indicator of IoT devices, which directly affects the service life and battery life of IoT devices. Power consumption can also affect the cost of the entire IoT device. In many cases, IoT devices are in sleep and working states. The power of sleep and working states are very different. The service life of IoT devices is closely related to the regulation of the two states.

The bandwidth of NB-IoT is lower than that of Cat-M1, and the data transmission efficiency is relatively low. If the power utilization ratio of the two working states is compared separately, Cat-M1 is higher than NB-IoT. However, NB-IoT devices are mostly used in low-speed scenarios of the Internet of things, so bandwidth has little impact on them. Moreover, NB-IoT uses PSM mode to adjust the sleep cycle, which enables the terminal device to sleep and work periodically. Moreover, NB-IoT also uses eDRX configuration devices to enable the time slot of its receiver, which greatly reduces the power consumption of NB-IoT and increases the service life of the battery.

In normal cases, Cat-M1 devices consume more electric energy than NB-IoT devices. The longer the sleep time of the terminal device and the shorter the time slot of receiving data, the better the optimization of its energy consumption. Therefore, by adjusting PSM time and minimum activity time, NB-IoT devices use less power and have longer battery life.


Cat-M1 and NB-IoT are both very potential IoT technologies. These two have their own advantages in IoT application scenarios. NB-IoT is suitable for low speed Internet of things application scenarios, such as NB-IoT for intelligent parking, logistics monitoring, asset protection, etc. Cat-M1 is suitable for high-speed Internet of things scenarios, such as traffic management, intelligent irrigation, personal tracking, etc. It is of no practical significance to compare the technical parameters of the two, which should be combined with various application environments.

Through the analysis and comparison of three key data, NB-IoT has certain advantages in coverage, cost and power consumption, but Cat-M1 also has its own advantages. Cat-M1 has higher bandwidth, faster data transmission rate and lower network delay.

Moreover, Cat-M1 supports mobility and voice. Therefore, there is no best Internet of things technology, only the appropriate Internet of things technology.

With the development of technology, people’s pursuit of life is more diversified, and there are more demands for intelligent devices. Many platforms will support a variety of communication technologies, and this general-purpose device will be more suitable for the market. But at present, the low-speed Internet of things market is more suitable for NB-IoT.

Practical application of NB-IoT solution

Smart city


Smart city


The intellectualization of many devices in the city is very suitable for NB-IoT. There are relatively dense base stations in the city, which makes the connectivity of NB-IoT in the city better. Many infrastructure smart devices need networks with low cost, long endurance, wide coverage and a small amount of data transmission, which are very consistent with NB-IoT technology. Many smart city applications use NB-IoT technology, such as smart water meters, smart electricity meters, smart charging piles, and smart street lights. These applications are not mobile, have a wide range of segments, have a large number, and have low requirements for location accuracy and time delay. If these devices are managed and maintained manually, the efficiency will be very low and the cost will be very high. The low rate IoT scenario in smart cities is very suitable for NB-IoT.

Smart agriculture


Smart agriculture


The “livestock monitoring system” built by installing NB-IoT equipment on the neck of cattle or sheep can manage the farm The strategy has a positive impact. Such a system can provide a basis for modern animal husbandry, including positioning and health status This information; Food producers can also use small underground soil sensors to monitor and report environmental conditions, such as moisture and salt content.

In these application scenarios, NB-IoT technology is a very ideal choice to ensure that even sensors buried deep underground can still work effectively. At the same time, farmers need to widely deploy a large number of sensors in areas without effective energy supply equipment. The ultra-low power consumption of NB-IoT means that only one battery is needed to maintain the operation of the equipment for a lifetime. Therefore, farmers have lower operating costs and easier maintenance.

Smart wear


Smart wear


According to the characteristics of NB-IoT, wearable devices are suitable for long-term chronic disease monitoring, tracking and management of the elderly, children and pets, and other devices that do not rely on smart phones. NB-IoT positioning can be used to determine the whereabouts of the elderly and children in real time, and can also be used on pet collars to prevent loss. In addition, it is also applicable to smart bicycles based on NB-IoT technology. The vehicle will have the anti-theft function of positioning and tracking, as well as the ability to operate data interaction and remote control with the platform and users.

Smart parking


Smart parking

Parking is a troublesome problem faced by many big cities. A large part of the reason for this problem is that car owners do not know the situation of nearby parking lots and look for parking spaces everywhere, which has become a traffic jam. This problem can be effectively alleviated through NB-IoT technology. NB-IoT intelligent devices can be installed in the parking spaces of the parking lot. This device can obtain the parking space information, and then send the information to the Internet. Drivers can know the situation of the parking lot through this information to choose the best parking space. Drivers can even book parking spaces. Each parking space can be effectively used, which can alleviate the traffic of the city and solve the problem of parking.

Asset tracking


Asset tracking


NB-IoT is applied to asset positioning and tracking system. With the in-depth development of informatization and various intelligent terminal devices, the demand for personnel and asset positioning will continue to rise. Applications in the field of location-based services also show the characteristics of fragmentation, such as asset inventory in smart parks, medical waste tracking and disposal, and pet positioning.

Nowadays, most of the trackers in the market are based on GSM in wide area communication technology, and power consumption is a big problem. Large chip area, high cost, relatively low coverage, etc. this technology happens to be contrary to the requirements of location tracker. However, the technology of GSM is quite backward, resulting in poor product experience of location tracker, while GSM in some countries has withdrawn or is facing withdrawal, resulting in the shortage of such products and technologies.

The birth of NB-IoT technology and its inherent low power consumption and deep coverage attributes just make up for many shortcomings of traditional communication technologies, which can generate connections for locating assets and tracking objects in both indoor and outdoor areas. NB-IoT technology, with its low power consumption, wide coverage, low cost, small size and other characteristics, will become an indispensable communication method in the field of asset tracking.

Intelligent fire fighting


Intelligent fire fighting


With the development of society, people’s lives are increasingly inseparable from electrical appliances. The promotion of urbanization also makes people’s living areas more and more concentrated. There are more and more fires caused by short circuits of electrical appliances, and the losses caused by each fire are also increasing. Each fire may be a disaster for one or more families, so reducing fires. Accelerating the intellectualization of fire-fighting equipment is a necessary step for social progress and development.

Nowadays, most buildings are equipped with smoke sensors, which can detect smoke in the indoor environment. The sensors inside analyze the composition and concentration of smoke, and judge whether there is a fire according to the information. If there is a fire, the smoke alarm will start the warning bell. Many traditional smoke alarms are connected to the circuit. If the fire causes an open circuit, the alarm will not work. Moreover, the alarms work independently, and the warning effect is limited, which will cause many people to miss the survival time. The intellectualization of smoke sensors is of great significance.

The number of smoke sensors in cities is very large, the working time of smoke sensors is very long, and they need to work continuously. Moreover, the smoke alarm basically does not move, and the transmitted data is relatively small. These characteristics make the intelligent smoke alarm very suitable for NB-IoT. NB-IoT has strong connectivity. An NB-IoT base station can access more than 100000 smoke alarms, and NB-IoT has low cost and low power consumption, It can work in standby mode for decades. With the addition of NB-IoT, the smoke alarm can tell the details of the fire and transmit it to the backstage in time. The backstage will start the nearby smoke alarm according to the situation and send the information to the non-fire police, which will greatly reduce the losses caused by the fire.

Smart home


Smart home


In recent years, with the rapid development of the smart home market, a variety of smart home products have sprung up, and NB-IoT is also widely used in the smart home market. For example, the indoor environment sensor, this device can detect the indoor environment and feedback these conditions to the homeowner. The intelligent sweeping robot can automatically scan whether the house is clean to determine whether it needs to clean the house. Smart access control using NB-IoT technology can open the door remotely through the mobile app. NB-IoT smart home applications are still being explored. I believe we can see more NB-IoT smart home applications in the future.

Five challenges faced by NB-IoT

1. Low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology market competition

In the LPWAN(low power wide area network) market, NB-IoT will face many powerful challengers. Among them, LoRa and Sigfix technologies are used in many regions, and LoRa technology establishes its own network base stations and other infrastructure in many countries and regions. Sigfix has been used in 24 countries and regions around the world. The promotion and deployment of NB-IoT technology are not fast enough, giving competitors a great opportunity.

The installation of NB-IoT varies greatly from country to country. Different countries have put forward different technical requirements for the Internet of things market. For example, KPN in the Netherlands has established a national LoRa network, and China is vigorously promoting NB-IoT intelligent infrastructure.

2. Deployment and long-term support

Most base stations in the world support NB-IoT technology. These base stations can receive and transmit NB-IoT signals as long as their software systems are upgraded. However, upgrading the software systems of these base stations will be a time-consuming operation. So many base stations cannot be upgraded at once, and they need to be upgraded part by part. On the other hand, some base stations do not support NB-IoT, and the upgrading of these base stations also requires a lot of construction costs.

The upgrading of base station hardware and software needs long-term promotion, which requires the joint promotion of large operators, communication enterprises and the government. It is difficult to promote by relying on a few large enterprises alone.

3. Pricing strategy

At present, there is no particularly suitable charging strategy for the Internet of things in the market. Different operators and enterprises are trying different charging modes, but the charging gap between different technologies is still large. For example, LoRa uses the public free spectrum and NB-IoT uses the authorized charging spectrum. In the market with LoRa and NB-IoT at the same time, the pricing of LoRa is often much lower than NB-IoT. How can NB-IoT operators price to ensure profitability and occupy more markets at the same time?

Although the price of LoRa is low, it uses the public spectrum, and the environment will have a greater impact on its signal, which makes the signal security of LoRa not as high as NB-IoT. Moreover, many public spectra are used for emergency calls, emergency warnings and other situations. The openness to LoRa is not high, and it has a great impact on its development.

4. Application and business model

To establish the NB-IoT ecological environment, the cooperation of various enterprises is crucial. The IoT ecosystem is a huge market, and each segment can require the support of many enterprises. Some countries have given greater support to NB-IoT technology and established NB-IoT prototype centers. Opening personnel can quickly learn NB-IoT-related technologies through the prototype center, which can also incubate related enterprises and shorten the time to market of enterprise products.

5. The right market access strategy

The data volume of devices in the LPWAN market is generally relatively small and the speed is relatively slow. The value of the services to meet the demands of many potential users in this market is relatively low. Such a market with lower added value can easily lead to vicious cost and price competition. The vicious competition not only easily disrupts the market and lowers the overall service level of the market, but also causes many manufacturers to produce low-quality products, which will drag down the entire industry. NB-IoT operators need to customize the market access system, do not add too many brands in the same vertical industry, and encourage companies to open up new vertical industries and find more business models.

What are the original manufacturers and models of NB-IoT chips?

NB-IoT chipmakers are mainly from GSM/LTE modem companies, and there are also MCU companies similar to wifi/bt. In the future, there will be more NB-IoT chip manufacturers involved. It entered a state of price competition in March 2017.

NB-IoT chip original factories are as follows:

  1. Qualcomm

Qualcomm is an American chip design company. It has strong strength in the design and opening of mobile phone processor platforms, 3g/4g baseband chips, wireless chips and other chips. It is the world’s major chip designer of Android mobile phones. Qualcomm has also introduced many wireless solutions. Qualcomm’s NB-IoT chip is MDM9206, which was mass produced in May 2017. The Mdm9206 chip supports eMTC / NB-IoT / GSM multiple modes and all Cat-M1 frequency bands, and also integrates GPS, Beidou, Glonass and other global positioning systems. This chip is very competitive in the market, and it is used by NB-IoT products of many companies.

  1. Huawei Hisilicon

Huawei Hisilicon is a Chinese chip design enterprise. Its chips include mobile phone chips, TV chips, set-top box chips and network monitoring chips. Hisilicon has designed a number of NB-IoT chips, the biggest highlight of which is that it can be equipped with the Huawei LiteOS Internet of things operating system. The Boudica 120/hi2110 chip is the chip recommended by Hisilicon in the NB-IoT direction. This chip can support 698-960/1800/2100mhz. Huawei, as an important participant in NB-IoT, also has a number of NB-IoT chips, which shows that Huawei has high hopes for NB-IoT.


  1. Radico (RDA)

Radico is located in Shanghai, China, which is the most important chip manufacturing base in China. Radioco’s main technology is in the RF direction, which involves the GSM baseband, radio chip, interphone and tuner. Radioco is a major player in the RF direction. The NB-IoT chip designed by Radico includes RDA8909. This chip initially supports the 3GPP R13 NB-IoT standard. This chip supports software upgrades and can be upgraded to a higher level of 3GPP standard. Since RDA8909 supports 2G, NB-IoT dual-mode, this chip supports the three modes of eMTC, NB-IoT and GPRS.


  1. ZTE Microelectronics

ZTE Microelectronics is a subsidiary of ZTE. ZTE is another communication giant in China. It has a deep accumulation of technology in the communication industry and is one of the world’s major players in the 5g industry. ZTE microelectronics is a chip design company, mainly involved in the communication industry. The NB-IoT chip launched by ZTE microelectronics includes Wisefone 7100, which supports full band and Zhongtian microsystem.


  1. Intel

Intel is an American company and a global chip giant. The rapid development of the Internet industry is inseparable from Intel’s technical support. It can be said that Intel and Microsoft started the Internet era. Intel’s main business is computer chips, including integrated chips, motherboards, network cards, graphics chips, etc. The NB-IoT chip designed by Intel has XMM 7115, which integrates AI processor and LTE modem. XMM 7115 supports LTE category m and NB-IoT standards.


  1. Altair (acquired by Sony)

Altair is an Israeli chip design company. Altair has a strong technical accumulation in the 4G field and has designed a highly competitive 4G baseband chip. The 4G RF transceiver designed by Altair can be used in both FDD and TDD bands. Altair has alt1250 chips in the NB-IoT field. Alt1250 is a very mature chip, which supports Cat-m, cat-nb1 and NB-IoT. Alt1250 is not only a chip but also a module. Alt1250 integrates a large number of electronic components, including baseband, RF, filter, power amplifier and front-end components.

  1. Sequans

Sequans, a French communication company, is a supplier of chips and software based on the 802.16 standard. Sequans can design both baseband chips and mobile chips. Sequans launched the monarch series NB-IoT chip, which supports LTE-M and NB-IoT dual-mode. At the same time, Sequans launched the Monarch platform, which integrates baseband, RF, RAM and power manager. The platform also integrates the ARM processor, which makes the Monarch platform have a strong outlet ability, maintains the support and expansion of various functions, and can integrate microphones, keyboards, SIM cards, etc. according to their own needs.

  1. Nordic

Nordic is a European semiconductor company, which has a deep technical accumulation in the field of low-power short-range wireless communication. Nordic’s Bluetooth and WiF-related chips have markets in many industries. Nordic has achieved explosive growth in the era of the Internet of things, and will further develop with the development of the Internet of things. Nrf91 is an NB-IoT chip launched by Nordic, which supports NB-IoT and LTE-M.

  1. GCT

GCT is a leading chip manufacturer, designing and providing advanced 4G and 5g LTE semiconductor solutions. GCT’s market-certified LTE solution has provided fast and reliable LTE connections for smartphones, hotspot devices, M2M applications and other commercial devices of the world’s top LTE operators. In addition, GCT also provides a new LTE solution optimized for the Internet of things (IoT). GCT’s system on chip solution integrates radio frequency, baseband modem and digital signal processing functions, so it can provide a complete 4G platform solution. CGT launched the gdm7243i chip, which is characterized by supporting NB-IoT, Cat-M1 and cat-nb1. This chip also integrates baseband, RF and RAM.

  1. MediaTek (MTK)

MTK, headquartered in Taiwan, is the fourth largest wafer semiconductor company in the world. MTK’s main businesses involve mobile terminals, wireless connection support, the Internet of things, etc. MTK also launched NB-IoT-related chips, and related IoT terminal products use a large number of chips developed by MTK. MTK has a large number of layouts in the NB-IoT direction, and is also very optimistic about this direction.

Development of NB-IoT


Development of NB-IoT


With the advent of the smart city and the big data era, wireless communication will realize the connection of everything. Many enterprises predict that the number of global IoT connections will be 100 billion in the future. At present, there have been a large number of object-to-object connections. However, most of these connections are carried by short-range communication technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but they are not operator mobile networks. To meet the different business needs of the Internet of things, according to the business characteristics of the Internet of things and the characteristics of mobile communication networks, 3GPP has carried out technical research on enhancing the functions of mobile communication networks according to the narrow-band business application scenarios to meet the booming business needs of the Internet of things.

Of course, the foundation of all this is to have ubiquitous network connections. The network of operators is the most extensive network in the world, so they have unique advantages in access capability. However, a reality that cannot be ignored is that the real thing-to-thing connection carried on the mobile network accounts for only 10% of the total number of connections, and most of the thing-to-thing connection is carried through Bluetooth, WiFi and other technologies.

If NB-IoT can make a breakthrough in standards in the future, such as lifting the rate limit, increasing the functional parameters or integrating with eMTC in technical performance, it will be conducive to opening up a broader demand side market. The improvement of the agreement can further expand the application scenarios and business model innovation of downstream industries. At the same time, it will also gather the strength of many operators around the world to jointly promote the ecological integration of the low-power Internet of things.

Following the pace of the times, MOKOWireless has actively launched the NB-IoT tracker and other related intelligent products, which can be used in a variety of scenarios and contribute to smart life.