What is NB-IoT?
NarrowBand-Internet-of-Things, or NB-IoT for short, is a technology that enables low-energy communication with battery-powered devices via the mobile network. The standard was completed in 2016, but it took many years before networks were available in Sweden.
The technology has two major advantages:
- Accessibility to networks via existing mobile networks
Superior "deep-indoor" coverage provides good signal strength even deep underground
- As mobile operators own their frequencies, there are no technical barriers to sending data much more often and much larger telegrams compared to when using other frequencies.
Compared to other IoT solutions, NB-IoT is more energy-demanding due to a more complex technical solution.
It takes longer and requires more power for a device to connect and send an update with NB-IoT against, for example, LoRaWAN.
Therefore, you have to use the largest possible batteries, limit the number of transmissions often to once per day and lower your expectations regarding battery life.
When is NB-IoT best suited?
Where other infrastructures have difficulty managing coverage, NB-IoT has its strength. Underground or far from places where you can build LoRaWAN.
It is also a suitable technique when you want to send a lot of data and not be limited by a battery.
Therefore, NB-IoT is suitable for electricity meters, district heating meters and the meters that sit far below ground.