Sven Löffler
26. January 2017 0

Narrow Band IoT – Leader of the data flood?

Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) are Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN). LPWAN is a group of network protocosl to connect low power devices such as Narrow Bands. The Narrow Band technology was specifically designed for IoT and enables connections of devices and services via wide areas with cellular telecommunications bands which transfer little data volumes using a low data rate. Thus, requirements are covered which cannot be enabled by conventional and inefficient machine-to-machine (M2M) channels, like mobile networks, DSL, wifi or Bluetooth.

The challenge of connecting IoT is not really about data rate, latency and reaction time, it is more about low energy usage, reaching and costs. The energy consumption shall be minimized to be able to use installed batteries for years. The costs take an important role, because longer battery life means less cost-intensive battery replacements. On reasons of the billions of modules, the costs of the bare acquisition would infinitely increase. And: devices shall be networked which, for example, are placed in the basement, and could not be combined with usual transmission standards like wifi or Bluetooth. The devices are too far away from the base station and signals could not or hardly be transported.

Solution and Characteristics

The NB-IoT technology solves those problems. It covers the three most important points – long battery life, high availability and low cost – totally. NB-IoT connects devices via a simple and efficient way using common mobile networks and processes little volumes of uncommon transported data efficient and safe, and all these effects the low energy consumption. Thereby, it involve an excellent building penetration and covers the whole network. The low data rate takes < 100 bit/s to some kbit/s, which does not need a permanent connection and the network operation takes even 200 kHz. Thus, the connection and battery costs next to the low component costs are also in a lower price segment.

Future Use Cases

Narrow Bands can be used in different areas, from agriculture up to building automation. The technology is also developed for Smart Cities, for example, automatic control of street lightning and the deduction of full trashcans with the resulting automatic waste collection. Farmers can optimize their outcome qualitatively and quantitatively using tracking opportunities. NB-Iot addresses not only the generality, it also addresses each one through wearables which simplify and automate the daily business.

To sum up, NB-IoT connects all sorts of devices via a standardized and efficient basis and, thus, is not only a part of the huge data flood, it will lead the flood in the near future. The technology provides new opportunities, simplifies and automates our daily life and enables the connection of the whole world.

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