Mobile Internet of Things – LTE-M and NB-IoT

Image Source: Qualcomm

Mobile (cellular) IoT technology is becoming a major player in the IoT space.  Mobile Internet of Things refers to low power wide area (LPWA) 3GPP standardised secure operator managed IoT networks in the licensed spectrum (GSMA definition). The 2 complementary licensed 3GPP standards: Long-Term Evolution for Machines (LTE-M) and Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) are the focus of the mobile IoT industry.

But what are they?  LTE-M is used for Internet of Things devices to connect directly to a 4G network, without a gateway and on batteries. NB-IoT  is message based and is used to send and receive small amounts of data generated by low data-producing IoT devices. It is not an IP based communications protocol like LTE-M. NB-IoT  targets low throughput IoT applications on the licenced mobile spectrum while LTE-M  targets IoT applications which are content rich on the licensed mobile spectrum. LPWA technologies like NB-IoT will enable the connection of billions of devices of the IoT ,in the licensed spectrum, that will be used in machine-to-machine communication instead of communications to people.