NB-IoT is actually a subset of 5G, that uses LTE bands. The most attractive point is every telecom company can upgrade to support NB-IoT by just upgrading firmware in their base stations everywhere!
NB-IoT is something that also targets for ultra-low-power and ultra-long-range, the link budget is ~20db better than normal LTE.
We have learned two major difference from LoraWAN:
- It still needs a big SIM card that authenticates the NB-IoT device, it is not good for miniaturization. eSIM is not considered in future 3 years.
- There is no Class-B alike device, which means NB-IoT devices can’t be woken up by base station radios.
Luckily it is based on the LTE bands so the coverage is not an issue for the majority of the telecoms over the world.
Seeing the drawbacks, we think it is worth to integrate NB-IoT to the other LPWAN like Lora and Sigfox.
There are two boards available on the market and we are working on it!
The NEUL board from Huawei, which supports LTE-NB1, and based on BODICA, it is a cortex-m0 based MCU with NB-IoT, now Deutsche Telekom is testing it in Europe, and we also have the boards that can work in US.
And we have the second board from QUECTEL
And we have one ME3612 that supports LTE-cat-M1 and LTE-NB1
All use MQTT-SN and UDP to transmit packets.
Here is a comparison with eMTC