Cat M1 and Nb IOT are the two most popular Internet of things connections. Understanding use cases and their differences is important to find the right technology to support specific use cases. The rise of Internet of things (IOT) technology in the past few years is traceable. Experts predict that the number of IOT devices will reach 75 billion. To drive this trend, project managers and developers look for IOT devices to support the specific range, bandwidth and data load they need to cover, so that they can successfully bring their innovative ideas to market.
Although technically, any connection can complete this work, choosing the perfect Internet of things solution for your project can improve service quality, save cost and operation. The following is the difference between LTE cat-m1 and Nb IOT.
What is cat-m1 (lte-m)?
Cat-M1/ LTE Cat-M
Lte-m (LTE cat-m or cat-m1) is a new mobile data standard for the growing low power wide area (lpwa) market. It is most suitable for transmitting low to medium data over a long range.
Cat-m1 provides fast enough bandwidth to replace many current 2G and 3G Internet of things applications. It differs from Nb IOT in several other ways: cat-m1 supports cellular tower switching, so it works with mobile applications such as asset tracking and fleet management. It also supports voice functions in Internet of things applications, such as medical alarm devices and home alarm systems.
The standard uses a bandwidth of 1.4mhz and has sufficient throughput to transmit firmware, software and other security updates to Internet of things devices, including a complete Linux operating system — which NB IOT cannot do. In addition, cat-m1 supports full duplex and half duplex, which means that enterprises can reduce power consumption and increase battery life by selecting half duplex. It is faster, with upload and download speeds of 1Mbps and lower latency of 10 to 15 milliseconds.
Cat M1 use case
The most common applications of cat-m1 include wearable devices, such as fitness bracelets and smart watches, ATM, asset tracking, health monitors and alarms. It is also widely used in measurement applications, safety monitoring, building monitoring systems and telematics.
It also has some crossover with Nb IOT and can work with smart meters and industrial monitors.
What is the narrowband Internet of things?
NB IOT (narrowband Internet of things or NB1)
NB IOT (narrowband Internet of things or NB1) is another new mobile data standard in the growing low power wireless application (lpwa) market. The uplink speed of Nb IOT in half duplex mode is 66kbps and the download speed is 26kbps, which means that the data is only carried out in one direction at a time. It also has a delay of 1.6 to 10 seconds.
It works in a bandwidth of 180 kHz and can be deployed in the protection band of LTE network, which is between the channels of the unused part of the spectrum. Therefore, it is good at covering a wide range of Internet of things projects and provides an impressive 7 times higher than current technologies, such as cat M1. Narrowband Internet of things provides better building and obstacle protection.
NB IOT relies on a simple waveform for connection, and its power consumption is very small compared with LTE cat M1. Therefore, Nb IOT equipment can provide better penetration of buildings and obstacles. This also means that Nb IOT devices cannot send large amounts of data like LTE cat M1.
NB IOT use case
The most common use cases of Nb IOT include smart gas meters, water meters and electricity meters, smart city applications, such as smart street lamps and parking sensors, and other remote sensing applications that do not send data frequently or in large quantities. This includes HVAC Controls, industrial monitors, and agricultural sensors that monitor irrigation systems and detect leaks.