IoT technologies:
NB-IoT, LTE-M and 5G

New IoT technologies on the mobile network

Mobile network technologies are constantly developing. The capability to deploy new technologies to enable the most advanced IoT features has been implemented within DNA’s nationwide mobile network. DNA’s 4G network has full readiness for deployment of NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies. A phased deployment is planned, taking place mostly in 2019. The gradual deployment of the 5G network will also begin in 2019. NB-IoT and LTE-M are key technologies also on the 5G network. In addition, the 5G network will enable entirely new possibilities for IoT as standards develop.

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Contact iotconnectivity@dna.fi

NB-IoT

Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) enables seven times broader coverage, high capacity, and very low power consumption and data rates (50–200 kbps) for devices. NB-IoT is well suited to stationary sensors with batteries intended to last for several years.

  • Maximum coverage is achieved using a simple signalling structure and repeating messages, so NB-IoT also offers solutions for uninhabited areas and indoor areas.
  • Depending on the application, NB-IoT promises battery lives of 5–10 years based on features such as various power saving functions on the NB-IoT network. Devices can enter a state known as “deep sleep”, where they only send data at predetermined times, such as once a week or even less frequently.
  • Thanks to the low data transfer capacity and simple structure, large numbers of devices and sensors can be connected to local NB-IoT networks.
  • A narrow range within the 4G LTE band will be allocated for the sole use of NB-IoT devices, which is free from interference.

NB-IoT is a standardised Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology built on the existing 4G LTE network technology and intended for IoT devices.

LTE-M

LTE-M enables a step up in data transfer speed (1 Mbps), and for this reason, LTE-M may not provide the same power savings as NB-IoT. LTE-M supports Voice over LTE (VoLTE) on the 4G network, as well as normal seamless cell handovers. Like NB-IoT, LTE-M is a technology dedicated to IoT devices, but it uses slightly more bandwidth.

5G

5G is evolution from 4G. 4G network technologies NB-IoT and LTE-M will continue to be the basic IoT technologies in the 5G era. 5G will multiply data transfer speed for users and reduce latency. The 5G services that will gradually become available in 2019 will enable connection speeds of over 1 gigabit per second for DNA customers. 5G will increase the use of network slicing, segregating the IoT devices into a dedicated virtual network that can be assigned a guaranteed capacity, known as Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).

As 5G standards develop, the 5G network will enable entirely new possibilities for IoT:

  • Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) will enable real-time applications requiring very low latency and large amounts of bandwidth. MEC transfers network functionality to the edge of the customer’s network so that data is processed close to where users are located, faster and with better information security.
  • Connecting very large numbers of devices to the network (Massive IoT)
  • Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), which is required for solutions such as automating factory processes, self-driving cars and remote surgery.