NB-IoT Explained: The Basics

NB-IoT is really starting to gain momentum, but what actually is it and what are its benefits? Find out more about about this increasingly popular IoT technology and what it can bring to your IoT solutions in our short guide; NB-IoT explained.

What is NB-IoT?

NB-IoT is a form of cellular IoT technology. Like LoRaWAN®, it sits under the LPWAN umbrella. Unlike LoRaWAN®, however, NB-IoT solutions do not require a gateway.

Instead, NB-IoT uses existing cellular (GSM) networks. These cellular networks were set out to extend beyond what existing cellular technologies offer. It utilises low bandwidth signals, making it a great enabler for a broad range of applications, such as:

  • Asset Tracking
  • Smart Cities
  • Monitoring Utilities
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Industry 4.0
  • Wearable Technologies
  • Connected Healthcare
  • Waste Management
  • Transport and Logistics

NB-IoT technology is well suited to low power devices which record and transmit small packets of data over long distances.

Designed to reach locations which aren’t easily covered by traditional cellular technologies. NB-IoT devices will typically have a long battery life of up to 10 years; The list of available devices is growing all the time!

NB-IoT Explained: Who is it good for?

NB-IoT can pose a number of benefits to users, enabling you to:

  • Configure devices yourself to send data to your preferred platform
  • Record data from across multiple locations and assets on the move
  • Hassle free connectivity – leave the network management to the mobile provider
  • Quickly begin to visualise data by connecting your sensors to your dashboard via an IP address
  • Long battery life of up to 10 years
  • Utilises dedicated radio space making it less susceptible to interference

Things to Consider

There’s a couple of factors which are important to take into consideration when selecting which IoT technology is best for your use case.

  • Coverage: As cellular LPWAN networks are maintained by mobile network providers, coverage may not be available in all areas. Our team can help you to establish this prior to getting started.
  • Cost: With cellular LPWAN, each sensor will require its own SIM card. Depending on the size of your project and the number of end points, this could result in higher costs.
  • Sensor Locations: If you need to deploy sensors across multiple locations or monitor moving objects, NB-IoT is likely to be a good option for you.

NB-IoT Explained: What do I need to get started?

There are three key components required to get started with NB-IoT:

  • SIM card – This is your key to getting connected. In the UK, Vodafone is the only NB-IoT provider.
  • Sensors – We provide a wide range of NB-IoT sensors. Whether you’re looking to monitor air quality, energy efficiency, waste levels or track your assets, we’ve got you covered!
  • Dashboard – This is the piece which will bring your solution together. Recorded data is pushed to your chosen dashboard ready to visualise and act upon.

Getting Started with NB-IoT

Whatever your requirements, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to begin your NB-IoT journey.