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How to choose between NB-IoT, eMTC, and LoRa

WLAN and cellular IoT

Generally speaking, wireless communication technology in IoT technology include two categories, WLAN and Cellular.

 

WLAN mainly include WI-FI, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-wave

Cellular mainly include NB-IoT, eMTC, LoRa, Sigfox.

Cellular IoT technology, also known as LPWAN(Low Power Wide Area Network), which is superior to WLAN on the distance coverage, power consumption, safety and reliability.

LPWAN also can be categorized by bands , one is like LoRa, SigFox, which works under unauthorized bands, the other like EC-GSM, LTE-MTC, NB-IoT, which based on 3GPP standard, works under authorized bands. 

The prior one begins at early stage, owns an early development advantage. While the latter are supported by several main operators, which enable it growing fast in recent years. 

 

wireless IoT technology market positioning

NB-IoT & eMTC

Both NB-IoT and eMTC, they are implemented by the operator. Each has its advantages in the application.

 

Advantages of NB-IoT

Better signal coverage(4 times than GSM on signal coverage radius)

Lower cost on terminal units

Greater connection density under on station than 2G/4G

Lower power consumption

Advantages of eMTC

Advantages of eMTC

High data transmission rate

Mobility

Positioning function

VoLTE 

Reuse of the existing LTE network

In a summary, regarding coverage, connection quantity,unit cost, NB-IoT is more preferable. However, considering data transmission rate, transmission delay, mobility, eMTC is more competitive.

In actual application, we could choose eMTC if there are higher requirements on voice communication, mobility, and speed.  Such as smart logistics, smart wearings, and smart buildings etc.

 And if there are greater demand on unit cost, signal coverage and quantity connections, then choose NB-IoT. Such as intelligent water meter, ammeter and air monitoring etc.

Application scenario of NB-IoT

Public facilities(water meter, gas meter)  

Smart city ( parking, manhole cover)

Consumer electronics (smart watches, sharing bikes)

Equipment management (basic infrastructure, home appliance)

Intelligent building (alarm system, central air-conditioning system)

Intelligent logistics (cold chain logistics, asset tracking)

agriculture and environment (smart agriculture, environmental monitoring)

Application scenario of eMTC

Building security

Emergency nursing system

Asset tracking

Smart watches

Smart grid

NB-IoT & LoRa

 

 

To a certain extent, LoRa expand the IoT network to some remote rural areas. As it can build own LAN flexibly. Since NB-IoT relies on the operator’s network, some enterprises which located far from the central city can build a network independently.

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