What is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)? Complete Guide

What is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)? Complete Guide

Time:2023-2-26 Author:Frank Chung
What is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)? Complete Guide
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Without the proper technology, connecting distant areas like basements or underground parking lots can be quite difficult. Narrowband-IoT was created with these use cases in mind. The Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) radio technology known as Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) links devices to the Internet of Things (IoT). Items that were previously impossible to link are now part of a licensed spectrum, LTE-based network with good coverage. Deep coverage, affordable hardware, and long battery life are all features of NB-IoT. In this article, we will discuss how nb IoT work and its benefits for our businesses.

What is Narrowband IoT?

A Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) Technology called NB IoT, commonly referred to as Narrowband IoT or LTE Cat NB1, was created by 3GPP for IoT Applications. It is a form of cellular LPWAN that makes use of current cellular networks to facilitate wireless communication. NB IoT is a low-power, narrow-band technology that can effectively, securely, and dependably manage tiny volumes of 2-way data transfer.

NB-IoT was created with the Internet of Things in mind, it operates on the same sub-6 GHz wireless spectrum as 4G LTE. This makes it different from 4G LTE and other earlier wireless telecommunications technologies.

How does nb IoT work?

Connecting a device or sensor to the internet requires the usage of an NB-IoT communication module. The module has a modem for using the wireless network to send and receive data.

  • Network Coverage: The NB-IoT connects devices to the internet from almost everywhere in the world by utilizing the existing cellular networks that already exist.
  • Narrowband Radio Waves: As NB-IoT transmits data via narrowband radio waves, it can function in places where other wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, might not.
  • Low Power Consumption: NB-IoT devices can persist for years on a single battery charge because they are built to run on minimal power.
  • Safe Data Transmission: To ensure that data is delivered securely over the wireless network, NB-IoT uses cutting-edge encryption and authentication methods.
  • Real-time Data Transmission: Because NB-IoT supports real-time data transmission, gadgets, and sensors can instantly send information to cloud-based programs.
  • Integration with Cloud-Based Applications: By integrating NB-IoT devices and sensors with cloud-based apps, real-time data analysis and action may be taken on the collected data.

What are the benefits of NB-IoT?

Because NB-IoT operates at lower frequencies and offers better energy efficiency, you can employ the technology inside of building structures. To further support that idea, the following are the top five benefits of utilizing NB-IoT technology:

Low power usage

In locations with plentiful electricity and easy access to WLAN frequencies, IoT technology has flourished. Nevertheless, before we can anticipate the rise of our networked devices, they must connect in areas with weaker signals. Effective low-power wireless performance is provided by NB-IoT. It is a new generation of IoT that was created with the numerous difficulties and sophisticated uses of IoT in mind. Many carriers assert that the new arrangement enables them to provide long-lasting batteries to their consumers. To use the device to its maximum capacity, antennas must be carefully integrated, though.

Piercing signal

The NB-IoT connection is designed for objects that are concealed by multiple layers of brick. The low bitrate frequency outperforms cellular technologies and enables communication in areas with signals that would otherwise be unreachable to humans. By the use of devices in tunnels, underground spaces, sewage networks, or remote locations, intelligent networking may help you stay connected.

Reduced latency

IoT devices must be able to transfer data with an acceptable latency interval and avoid dreaded packet loss because they are frequently deployed in demanding high-density situations. Experimental experiments have demonstrated that sub-10 latencies are possible in IoT applications that are underground, which is crucial for the effectiveness of live monitoring systems enabled by NB-IoT. As streaming data backs up upper layers, it decreases packet loss and increases the value from devices with less lag or delay.

Enhanced security is intended

The NB-IoT standard for mobile communications has the backing of significant global carriers. It offers every security mechanism that LTE networks are already using. By giving consumers enabled secure authentication, signaling protection, and data encryption while giving them more control over their connection, NB-IoT increases security and privacy. Yet, there are several factors that must be taken into account during the design cycle, such as the necessity for product certification and an embedded SIM for added security.

Scalability in the future

The Internet of Things (IoT) might cover hundreds of millions of devices. Because these items are inexpensive, the new wireless technology will be able to support the expected network densities in the future. The narrowband is also taking LTE-M and more talkative gadgets into account. It eventually wants to give all mobile computing systems long-range network connectivity.

Applications of NB-IoT

Intelligent Parking Options

Real-time parking information is made possible by NB-IoT technology, which enables drivers to locate parking quickly and effectively. It can direct cars to parking places that are open, easing traffic congestion and saving time. It can be used to oversee all aspects of running a parking lot, including keeping an eye on parking spots, writing fines, and handling payments.

Digital meters

Soon, the days of professionals checking electricity meters and sending out monthly payments will be a thing of the past. Meters can easily be configured to work with the system of the service provider to monitor the usage of gas, water, and electricity. Providers of services can utilize remote assessment of each user’s utility usage in every home or office to analyze the data (gathered through smart meters) and generate monthly bills.

Linked Livestock/Herds

The most essential yet economical NB-IoT applications are connected sheep and cows. Smart collar-mounted gadgets can provide their owners with exact positional data.  A technique for tracking thousands of sheep utilizing NB IoT has been successfully introduced by Telia, a wireless technology company in Norway.

Responsive Waste Management

A smart garbage management system uses sensor technologies to measure the amount and kind of waste and send that data to waste management facilities. After the trash is full, it may cause the waste collection vehicle to start moving toward the designated destinations. It will stop collection vehicles from making redundant trips to different places.

Intelligent vending machines

Intelligent vending machines with NB-IoT capabilities can notify the service provider when an item is running low and order more supplies. Smart sensor installations can reduce the need for a routine examination of the equipment. The configuration of energy management (lighting, cooling) can also be done in accordance with the volume of the machine.


A new technology called NB-IoT enables connections between devices independent of cellular networks. Even in the absence of current connectivity infrastructure, it can be used to link IoT devices, which are frequently placed in distant or difficult-to-reach areas. It is an LTE variant that is very effective and uses unlicensed spectrum bands below 1 GHz. More devices can connect to the NB-IoT network than to conventional cellular networks. This makes it perfect for linking big groups of devices together, such as smart meters, asset trackers, and agricultural sensors, all of which can gain from more connections.

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