If you’re interested in the Internet of Things (IoT) and associated technologies, you may have heard about “NB IoT” “Narrowband IoT” “Narrowband LTE 4G” or other related buzzwords. If you’re not sure what, exactly, all of this means, you’re not alone. That’s why the team at Round Solutions is here to discuss the basics behind 4G LTE and Narrowband IoT.
Without getting too technical, narrowband IoT is just an extension of existing 4G LTE technologies. However, it’s designed especially for IoT devices that do not require a lot of bandwidth or computing power. Traditional LTE signals are designed to be used in computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices that use a lot of computing power, and require a lot of bandwidth. For that reason, they require quite a bit of power to use – and the chips used for 4G LTE technology are quite expensive. This makes traditional 4G LTE signals a bad fit for IoT devices, such as temperature sensors or other data monitoring sensors, which only need to transmit small amounts of data infrequently. For example, it would not make sense to use 4G LTE for an atmospheric pressure sensor that sends data to a computer once a week. It’s just not necessary. This is why Narrowband LTE has been developed. NB-IoT technology has been designed to offer connectivity to these low-power, low-bandwidth pieces of equipment – allowing them to stay connected to the network without requiring excessive power consumption.
While there are other IoT-focused LTE bands, such as LTE-M, NB-IoT is designed to be even more effective for use with mobile IoT devices.
As time goes on, our reliance on internet-connected devices is likely to increase. Experts have predicted that there will be more than 26 billion connected IoT devices by 2020 – and low power consumption, low-bandwidth signals such as NB-IoT LTE signals are going to be critical as this technology continues to develop. Currently, work is still ongoing in the U.S. to develop an ongoing Narrowband LTE infrastructure. The american telecom giant Verizon has begun the process of establishing NB-IoT networks – and telecommunications companies all over the world are following suit.
Narrowband IoT is not designed to replace standard 4G LTE coverage and other mobile networks. Rather, it is built to work alongside them – providing reliable, inexpensive performance for low-powered IoT devices. The potential of Narrowband LTE is massive. Using NB-IoT technology, it will be easier than ever for consumers, commercial companies, and industrial firms to use the power of IoT connectivity to their advantage – and change our world for the better.