December 1, 2023

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What Is the Big difference In between Cat-M1 and NB-IoT?

Cat-1 or NB-IoT
Illustration: © IoT For All

Cat M1 and NB-IoT are two of the most common IoT connectivity solutions suitable now. Understanding the use situations and the difference is vital to uncover the appropriate technological know-how to aid specific use conditions. This article clarifies the vital distinction and use instances for NB-IoT and Cat-M1.

The increase of the World-wide-web of Things (IoT) technological know-how around the past few decades is nicely documented, with experts predicting the range of IoT equipment to reach 75 billion. To electric power this emergence, venture supervisors and developers look for for IoT product connectivity to guidance the precise ranges, bandwidths, and details masses that they have to have to be covered, enabling them to convey their impressive thoughts to current market successfully.

Whilst any connectivity could technically do the job, picking out the best IoT solution for your venture can consequence in improved top quality of provider, price personal savings, and operational performance, developing a aggressive edge that will allow businesses to innovate without having worry. Two of the more well-known IoT connectivity forms nowadays are LTE CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Below are the variances among LTE CAT M1 and NB-IoT and which 1 would get the job done ideal for your IoT task.

What is Cat-M1 (LTE-M)?

Cat-M1/ LTE Cat-M

LTE-M (LTE Cat-M or Cat-M1) is a new cell details typical for the expanding LPWA or Reduced-Energy Vast-Spot market place. It works greatest for transferring low to medium info in a very long vary.

Cat-M1 gives quick sufficient bandwidth to replace lots of latest 2G and 3G IoT purposes. It is unique than NB-IoT in many other techniques: Cat-M1 supports cellular tower handoffs, so it is effective with mobile programs, these as asset tracking and fleet administration. It also supports voice features in IoT apps, this kind of as medical notify products and house alarm systems, where by the capacity of persons to converse is crucial.

The typical, which takes advantage of 1.4 MHz of bandwidth, also has sufficient throughput to transfer firmware, application, and other safety updates to IoT gadgets, together with a total-blown Linux operating system – one thing NB-IoT simply cannot do. On top of that, Cat-M1 supports total and 50 percent-duplexing, this means organizations can decrease electricity use and improve their battery lifetime by picking out 50 percent-duplex. It’s a lot quicker with 1Mbps upload and obtain speeds and reduce latency of 10 to 15 milliseconds.

Cat M1 Use Conditions

The most typical use situations for Cat-M1 include things like wearables, this kind of as fitness bands and smartwatches and automated teller devices (ATMs), in addition to asset tracking, well being monitors, and alarms. It is also greatly made use of in metering apps, protection checking, creating monitoring systems, and telematics.

It also has some crossover with NB-IoT and can function with sensible meters and industrial screens.

What is Narrowband IoT?

NB IoT (LTE Cat-NB1)

NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT or NB1) is one more new cell information common for the increasing Reduced Electricity Wireless Software (LPWA) current market. NB-IoT features uplink speeds of 66kbps and down load speeds of 26kbps in 50 %-duplex method, this means data goes in just one route at a time. It also has a latency of 1.6 to 10 seconds.

It operates in a pretty narrow bandwidth – 180 kHz – and can be deployed in the guard band part of an LTE network, which is in-in between channels in an unused portion of the spectrum. Thus, it excels for IoT assignments with a broad coverage region, delivering extraordinary seven times the array of recent technologies like CAT M1. NB-IoT delivers much better creating and impediment security.

NB-IoT depends on simple waveforms for connectivity, which consumes incredibly tiny energy when compared to LTE Cat M1. Hence, the NB-IoT machine can give far better making and impediment penetration. This also means that NB-IoT gadgets are not able to ship as substantially information as LTE Cat M1.

NB-IoT Use Circumstances

Most prevalent use cases for NB-IoT include clever gas, water, and electricity meters, wise city applications, this sort of as intelligent road lights and parking sensors, and other remote sensing applications that never mail frequent or significant amounts of data. That contains HVAC control, industrial monitors, and agricultural sensors that check irrigation methods and detect leaks.

Centered on the comparison higher than, the significant variances concerning NB-IoT and LTE-M can be briefed as follows:

Peak Info Rate <100 kbps >384 kbps, up to 1 Mbps
Latency 1.5-10 50-100 ms
Bandwidth <200KHz 1.4 MHz
Power Consumption  Best at very low data rates  Best at medium to high data rates 
Mobility  No for Cat-NB1, limited for Cat-NB2  Yes 
Support for Voice (VoLTE)  No  Yes 
Antennas  1  1 

Use Case Summary

Application NB-IoT LTE-M
Smart Cities Static applications with low bandwidth requirements such as smart parking, noise, pollution monitoring, waste management, and smart traffic monitoring. Applications with heavy downlink requirements and/or voice support such as street lighting, traffic management, panic buttons, and SOS stations with optional voice support.
Smart Agriculture Stationary applications with low bandwidth requirements such as weather stations, soil moisture/temperature, and humidity levels, and other environmental applications. Applications with heavy downlink requirements and/or mobility such as smart irrigation, HVAC control in animal housing, and live animal tracking.
Logistics & Transportation Semi-stationary assets such as commercial refrigeration equipment (ice cream, beverages, etc.) and on-site logistics equipment (racks, trolleys, lifts, and other warehouse machinery). Personal tracking applications (cars, bikes, pets, children), fleet monitoring (especially trucks), and non-stationary assets such as logistics equipment (cargo, crates, pallets, etc.).
Industrial & Manufacturing Stationary machinery with low data rates for process variables indirectly affecting production or quality, industrial assets tracking, and energy monitoring. Machinery with higher bandwidth requirements for process variables directly affecting production or quality, IoT gateways linked to PLCs for tags monitoring, and worker monitoring