NarrowBand IoT: The Game Changer for the Internet of Things

Water meters, parking spots, and washing machines – the Internet of Things (IoT) links together all kinds of useful objects. Underpinning it all is NarrowBand IoT – the ideal network for simultaneously running several IoT applications sending only small amounts of data now and again. By reducing complexity and focusing on just essential functionality, this technology is both affordable and energy efficient. It can also easily transmit signals over long distances or into and from deep inside buildings. And it’s exactly these properties provided by NarrowBand IoT that are enabling countless new and innovative IoT solutions. Where previously devices and machines couldn’t be connected due to technical limitations or cost concerns, NB-IoT is trailblazing a path and making the mainstream use of the Internet of Things possible.    

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NarrowBand IoT Whitepaper (English)

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NarrowBand IoT: The Game Changer of the Internet of Things

On our YouTube channel, Dominik Schnieders, Program Manager NB-IoT, explains the advantages of this groundbreaking network technology, shows how it works and presents a few potential applications.

NarrowBand IoT Prototyping Hub

The standards have been determined; the NB-IoTnetwork has been deployed in first cities. Our NB-IoT Prototyping Hub is now responsible for bringing NB-IoT applications to market as fast as possible.

NarrowBand IoT – The Advantages

Extensive range 

  • Comprehensive network coverage over long distances
  • Data transmission under challenging conditions, for example, in buildings blocking radio waves or underground
  • A link budget offering +20 dB (compared to GPRS) for better building penetration 

Long battery life

  • Low power usage
  • Possible lifetime of up to 10 years from two AA batteries (assuming typical NB-IoT traffic pattern)
  • No external power source required, enabling deployment in remote locations 

Low cost

  • Less than $5 per module (mid-term industrial target) thanks to a simple chip architecture and high production volumes
  • Low-cost data transmission thanks to limited traffic and frequency
  • Networking at a minimum total cost of ownership – no installation and maintenance of local networks necessary 

3GPP Industry Standard

  • Multi-vendor compatibility & international coverage
  • Ecosystem of large operators, network suppliers, and chip/device manufacturers
  • Licensed radio spectrum with guaranteed service levels

NB-IoT: Making the Internet of Things mainstream

IoT applications cover extremely diverse fields of use – and this can pose a fundamental challenge for a network. Currently, LTE (and subsequently also 5G) enables real-time M2M communication, such as the remote control of machinery. And local area networks (LANs) or WiFi are perfect for networking over short distances, like connecting computers and tablets to the Internet. But there are other instances requiring an alternative. Sensors in remote locations without access to a power source need a technology that can offer comprehensive network coverage over long distances operating on batteries. That technology is NarrowBand IoT.

The combination of good coverage at an affordable price is making many potential areas of application more attractive. The agricultural sector is one of the best examples. Weather sensors are revolutionizing the usage of crop-protection products. The logistics sector is also profiting from NarrowBand IoT: As soon as a network has been established, deliveries can be tracked worldwide. At home, connected water meters and simple command buttons for consumer items can be run with NB-IoT.

The best application examples

Smart metering: NB-IoT is ideally suited for intelligent meters for heating, water or power for several of reasons. Whether it’s the high number of devices used, the low amount of data volume they need to transmit or simply that they are often located deep inside a cellar with poor reception, these are all attributes an NB-IoT network can deliver.   

Smart waste management: Intelligent garbage bins only need to be emptied when full – not according to an inflexible schedule. This enables more efficient collection routes. NB-IoT is the perfect technology for this kind of application since the modules don’t need to be charged and battery changes are infrequent. Moreover, the waste containers aren’t tied to a certain location.

Smart parking: Searching for parking spot – especially in big cities – can be annoying and time-consuming. Not to mention the environmental costs due to extra emissions and fuel consumption. Easy to realize with NB-IoT, smart parking solutions can determine if a spot is full and guide a driver to the next available space. The technology is capable of handling the high density of connected sensors while offering low costs and extended battery life. 

White goods monitoring: More convenience and new business models are possible with connected refrigerators, dryers, ovens and dishwashers. Manufacturers benefit from access to data useful for marketing and service applications. And consumers would no longer have to buy an expensive washing machine – instead, they could simply rent one affordable by paying per wash. NB-IoT offers deep indoor penetration, so there will be reliable data transmission even if the appliance is in the basement.

The technical foundation

In order to keep NarrowBand IoT as affordable and up-to-date as possible, its specifications are part of the LTE suite. The technology can make full use of existing LTE and GSM infrastructure, only requiring NB-IoT software updates to the radio network and some specific extensions to the core network.

Simple wireless modules: Conserve energy with an optional sleep mode and affordable to manufacture.

Minimal spectrum usage: Fast deployment alongside existing wireless systems

Secure data transmission: Authentication to the wireless network using the same proven SIM-based mechanisms as LTE

Improved coverage: Up to +20dB transmission link budget

Prototyping Hub – Our Startups

 

 

Tags: Internet of Things , NarrowBand , NarrowBand IoT , Prototyping Hub , LPWA , Low Power Wide Area Network , LTE , M2M