Narrow Band Internet of Things- Powering the Smart City | HCLTech

Narrow Band Internet of Things- Powering the Smart City

With the advent of new wireless technologies, people are getting more connected to each other with their fast and more capable smartphones, hand held devices, smart watches and other such devices have brought a revolution the way people and devices connects and communicates to each other. The concept of Smart City relies heavily on different types of electronic communication technologies, connected devices and sensors etc. The smart IoT technologies, devices and applications play a key role here.

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a mesh of interconnected devices and sensors. These different distant IoT enabled devices can exchange information among themselves and also with other devices and systems. The information they share can be about some specific data about surroundings (like sensors) or the current device state (like any alarms) or any other specific requirement (like meter reading etc.).The use cases for Internet of Things can be in home automation, transportation, manufacturing industries as well as traffic, agriculture and environment monitoring.

Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed by 3GPP. These were published as part of Release 13 specifications in 2016. Emergence of LPWAN can be attributed to requirement for wireless technologies that are suited to the needs of machine type communication and IoT devices. It offers cost and power-efficient wireless option that leverages existing LTE networks. Of all different LPWAN options, LTE-M and NB-IoT have gained prominence as the preferred LPWAN technologies for IoT applications primarily due to usage of existing LTE infrastructure, cost efficiency, security and robust network infrastructures. LTE-M refers to LTE-Machine Type Communication. It relies upon LTE networks allowing highly efficient connectivity with extended coverage. It is generally used for devices having low latency requirements and occasional high BW.

NB-IoT is also primarily based upon existing LTE infrastructure including the spectrum. This enables the NB-IoT system support much higher number of devices while reducing interference. This also helps to reduce the infrastructure and device costs and also the overall complexity of deployed system. It is designed to work in challenging radio conditions like deep indoors, which makes it highly suitable for machine type communication. It offers high degree of scalability, security and reliability with low device cost and long battery life. In contrast to LTE-M, NB-IoT is used primarily for devices requiring low data throughput with not so critical latency requirements. NB-IoT can work in different operation modes utilizing the LTE spectrum. It may also utilize spectrum from other radio access technologies as well (like GSM).

By enabling wireless technologies framework to effectively support millions of devices with small data requirements using minimal power, the IoT framework is enabling the dreams of a Smart City into a reality.

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