How LTE-M and NB-IoT complement the world of 5G


    5G is here, and like 2G, 3G, and 4G, it will alter the way we transmit and receive data.
    Numerous automated wireless applications for the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) sector are currently enabled by 5G. More than 30 billion gadgets will be linked to the Internet of Things by 2025, including:

    • Tracking devices that are disposable for delivering medications and perishable
    • digital imaging cameras
    • Smart city illumination
    • Smart utilities

    Large-scale, high-speed connection installations need a substantial amount of bandwidth. Cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) standards enable the ongoing functioning of sensors and short-data-burst transactional devices in the 5G-dominated, fast-paced technological universe.

    Mobile IoT technologies, including Long-Term Evolution machine-type communications (LTE-M) and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), provide cost-effective and secure cellular LPWA capabilities. They are drivers for future global 5G integration and expansion.

    The 5G network will coexist alongside LTE-M and NB-IoT. They are the only cellular technologies that will enable cellular LPWA use cases beyond the next decade.

    The Strength of 5G

    Before discussing cellular LPWA technologies, let’s examine 5G’s impact on the digital environment. With so much buzz around 5G, the consumer sector of the business, led by smartphones, asserts that it is quick and adaptable.

    By the time 5G completes its developmental cycle around 2030, it will be dozens of times faster than 4G and enable up to one million connections per square kilometer.

    On the Internet of Things side, 5G’s lightning-fast speeds will be advantageous for businesses that benefit from high-bandwidth, high-speed applications, such as

    • Fixed wireless access (FWA),
    • Ultra-HD (4K) streaming,
    • Ultra-HD (UHD) videoconferencing,
    • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) cameras and hardware

    Expect 5G operators to enhance their networks outside the commercial sector. These additions will provide mobile video and file sharing. Then, they will transition into video telematics operations and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera-powered systems for cold chains and fleet management (among others).

    In addition, Network World forecasted that 5G will serve as the catalyst for IoT advancements including:

    • Automated life cycle administration
    • Network dissection
    • Software-defined network technology
    • Secure, cloud-optimized network application distribution

    Existing corporate networks must be configured with the appropriate mix of devices across all standards — fast and low-power — for 5G to realize these benefits. 5G wireless LPWA technologies with LTE-M and NB-IoT are accelerating the realization of this objective.

    A Brief Overview of LPWA Technologies

    • After the first charge, the gadget operates with little power usage and for years.
    • Enhanced interior and outdoor coverage compared to traditional WAN connections
      Low cost per unit
    • Security measures, including increased connection and robust authentication
      facilitated deployment
    • Simplified network architecture
    • Easily upgradeable due to the scalability of the network

    What Is the Distinction Between LTE-M and NB-IoT?


    Release 13 of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the same group that gave us 3G, launched LTE-M. LTE-M is built with a larger coverage area to support:

    • Reduce device compliancy
    • Massive connection density
    • low electrical usage

    LTE-M utilizes a frequency bandwidth of 1.4 MHz. This bandwidth is optimal for use cases requiring the transfer of modest quantities of data under full mobility, such as:

    • Telematics tracking devices
    • Individual and animal trackers
    • Cold-chain freight surveillance
    • Portable point of sale devices

    LTE-M has been widely deployed across all current LTE networks. According to GSMA, 60 service providers provide LTE-M as of May 2022.

    LTE-M is particularly beneficial for mobile coverage in businesses that need to track shipments, monitor drivers and commodities, and get diagnostics and data for mobile operations.


    Similar to LTE-M, NB-IoT was launched by 3GPP as part of Release 13, which focused on the cellular LPWA needs for IoT.
    LTE-M is geared for mobile applications. NB-IoT is appropriate for battery-operated devices and fixed indoor coverage in locations where signal loss and multilayered coverage have been a concern, such as:

    • Intelligent gas and water meters
    • Parking garages
    • Warehouses
    • Underground installations

    NB-IoT offers dense clusters of devices with limited throughput and a high tolerance for delay. It maximizes the use of network resources, namely spectrum while giving a low-cost and low-power alternative. Additionally, NB-IoT is readily compatible with current LTE installations. In May 2022, 110 operators had NB-IoT networks, citing the GSMA.

    LPWA Solutions from Telit in Anticipation of the 5G Revolution

    Telit provides the industry’s most comprehensive selection of 3GPP Release 13 and Release 14 cellular LPWA modules. Our LTE-M and NB-IoT modules give remarkable deployment outcomes. They provide industry-leading radio frequency performance and encompass all of the characteristics of the technologies, including:

    • Extended Discontinuous Reception
    • Power-Saving Mode (PSM)

    These characteristics enable the module to periodically wake up, exchange data with the network and then sleep to save battery life.

    Read More: MacOS Ventura Compatibility: Can Ventura run on your Mac?

    Stay Connected!