NB-IoT and LTE-M will be the backbone communication network for IoT in the United Arab Emirates

NB-IoT and LTE-M will be the backbone communication network for IoT in the United Arab Emirates

The IoT (Internet of Things) is transforming and redefining all industries and markets. According to HIS (Handling Information Services), the IoT market is expected to grow to billions of connected devices over the years. These devices need Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) for data communication. In the UAE (United Arab Emirates), NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT) and LTE-M (Long Term Evolution Category M1) are gaining popularity as these networks are already provisioned by telecom providers.

Today, LPWAN has cellular (licensed band) and non-cellular (unlicensed) technologies. In the cellular category we have NB-IoT and LTE-M and in unlicensed the popular categories are LoRa (Long Range) and SigFox (IoT technology company and uses SigFox protocol). LoRa and SigFox need a communication gateway that adds IoT sensor data to the IoT platform through their own private networks.

NB-IoT and LTE-M do not need communication gateways and are therefore cost effective. These sensors communicate directly through the telecommunications provider’s closest base station to their Cloud IoT platform. Both offer low cost, low power consumption, and extended coverage with low data transmission capabilities. In the UAE, they already have the coverage, and ideally it makes sense to use any of them as a communication enabler. Also note that both are part of the 5G journey and will co-exist with the 5G network. Therefore, industries and customers can fully rely on them for IoT connectivity options. However, depending on the use cases and application scenarios, one should be chosen: NB-IoT or LTE-M.

Some of the use cases of NB-IoT are Smart City, Smart Parking, Smart Metering, Street Lighting, Home Automation, Building Automation, Smart Agriculture, etc. The key requirements here are regular transmission of small data packets and longer battery life. These sensors rely on 4G coverage, so they work anywhere there’s coverage, even indoors. Also, for the above use cases, the IoT sensors are stationary, the network latency is between 1.5 and 10 seconds, and the amount of data being transmitted (less than 100 kbps maximum data rate) is very high. lower. The uplink/downlink speed is 27.2/62.5 kbps. Battery power consumption is better at very low data rate and can achieve a battery life of up to ten years. The NB-IoT uses narrow band, thus allowing for better indoor and underground penetration and overall range. Therefore, a latency-insensitive sensor can be placed in hard-to-reach areas that do not require high throughput or frequent reporting, idle for use cases such as pipeline monitoring, dumpster monitoring, manhole monitoring, etc.

For LTE-M, the use case scenarios are: mobility, real-time data communication (eg, emergency alarm data, voice, tracking), and mission critical applications. Some use cases are smart transportation, wearable devices, smart asset tracking, home security, patient monitoring, etc. LTE-M latency is 50 to 100 milliseconds and the maximum data rate is 384 kbps. Uplink/downlink speed is up to 1 Mbps. LTE-M is idle when you need to meet user experience requirements for static and mobile scenarios. It also enables higher data throughput compared to NB-IOT.

To recap, IoT application use cases will define which communication enabler is best suited based on multiple parameters, such as existing telecom networks (with NB-IOT and LTE-M), standalone networks (LoRa and SigFox), requirements static and/or mobility, latency, data rate, power consumption, battery life, components such as gateways, controllers, and finally cost. Since the UAE already has the NB-IoT communication network, most of the IoT projects in the UAE will be based on NB-IoT LPWAN as it will speed up deployments and be more cost effective in terms of low CAPEX. operating cost. With flexible deployment and the ability to implement OTA (over-the-air) firmware updates, many telecom operators around the world have implemented NB-IoT and LTE-M. According to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc, the Narrowband IoT market size is expected to reach USD 6.02 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 34.9% from 2019 to 2025. NB-IoT is in boom.

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