Enterprise decision makers must use the Internet of things to understand which industrial Internet of things connection protocol is worth investing. This paper briefly introduces the communication protocols of lorawan and Nb IOT.

What is the difference between lorawan and Nb IOT standards?

Lorawan and Nb IOT standards belong to a larger technology group called lpwan (low power WAN). According to statista, lorawan and Nb IOT are expected to account for about 85.5% of all lpwan connections by 2023.

What’s the difference?

Lorawan is an IOT network protocol provided by Lora alliance. It uses unlicensed spectrum and allows almost anyone to set up their own network at low cost.

Lorawan aims to provide remote communication between widely deployed sensors and IOT gateway. The IOT gateway can be deployed for 15-20km, with bandwidth ranging from 0.3kbps to 50kbps according to environmental conditions. This can be beneficial for companies operating in remote areas, such as mining operators, oil drilling or construction.

NB IOT or narrowband IOT is the licensed IOT protocol of 3GPP standard organization. It uses the licensed RF spectrum, so it can only be used through the mobile operator’s network. The main goal of Nb IOT standard is to improve indoor coverage and support a large number of low throughput devices. This means that Nb IOT and its network architecture are better optimized for use cases such as wearable devices and intelligent buildings.

Energy consumption

Both lorawan and Nb IOT terminals are designed with lower power consumption in mind. This is achieved by switching the terminal device to sleep mode when it is not running. However, lorawan consumes less power than NB IOT, so it becomes a more feasible solution requiring less terminal equipment maintenance. In addition, lower power consumption makes lorawan more cost-effective than NB IOT.

Because lorawan consumes less power, its battery life is longer (more than 15 years, not more than 10 years). Lorawan is the first choice for companies offering IOT solutions powered by energy collection. This is one of the main arguments why lorawan is better suited for industrial IOT applications, such as manufacturing, mining, or oil and gas deployment. Many industrial deployments may be located in remote areas that are difficult to reach. If the maintenance of IOT terminal devices such as sensors can be avoided, it will be an ideal choice for these companies.


For customers seeking more secure industrial IOT solutions, it should be noted that Nb IOT is based on 256 bit 3GPP encryption, which is more secure than lorawan and its aes128 bit encryption. It is always best to ensure the security of industrial networks, regardless of connectivity, by using certified equipment and working with proven and trusted service providers.


At present, Nb IOT and lorawan standards are dominant in the Internet of things. The network architectures of Nb IOT and lorawan are designed considering different applications, power performance requirements and security requirements. For industrial deployment, a network built on lorawan is a more cost-effective option because you don’t have to rent RF spectrum from network operators, and because of lorawan, you can find many novel technologies to extend the battery life of sensors.

Editor in charge: PJ

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