What is the Internet of Things and how is it connected with new telecommunication technologies?

What is IoT? The Internet of Things is a system of connected objects which could be electronic devices, machines or even humans or animals. Each of those objects can be identified unequivocally and can send or receive data regarding itself, or it´s the environment within an open network consisting of other objects without Human-to-Human or Human-to-Machine communication. The IoT enables your company to integrate communication with products or objects within your business process in a cost-efficient, automated and intelligent way. The Internet of Things, or Machine-to-Machine communication itself, needs following technical requirements to operate efficiently:

  • Hardware that collects and processes data
  • (Mobile) Network to transmit collected data
  • Software to control and analyze

The current expansion of LTE Cat NB1 and LTE CAT M2 networks all over the world is working as a catalyst for the development of the Internet of Things. However, how do these technologies work and what are differences between those two?


What is LTE-M?

The design of LTE-M or LTE CAT M2 is a less complicated version of the well known and broadly used 4G standard. In comparison to 4G, LTE-M features lower power draws on batteries and cheaper modem costs in comparison to 4G, thanks to the design simplification. It supports downlink and uplink speeds up to 1 Mbps with a latency of 50 to 100 ms and therefore can be used very flexible and for realtime-communication.


What is NB-IoT?

Narrowband IoT is a part of the upcoming 5G standard and was brought forward by the industry because of its unique advantages. It features up 10 years of battery life, building penetration and for under five US-Dollars GSM modules can be produced. NB-IoT allows use cases possible that could not be addressed up until now. However, all those advantages come at a price, with a latency of 1.5 to 10 seconds a maximum of 62.5 kbps it does not allow real-time or voice-communication and are best fitted for sensors.


NB-IoT vs. LTE-M

Both radio technology standards are specified as LPWANs (Low Power Wide Area Network) and are of great relevance regarding Machine to Machine Communication with different advantages and disadvantages. When it comes down to which standard should be used for a use case, keep those criteria in mind.


High Data Transfer Rate (up to 1 Mbps) Low Data Transfer Rate (up to 62.5 kbps)
Real-time communication High latency
More efficient battery use than 4G up to 10-year battery life
Full mobility support – perfect for asset tracking No connected mobility – for stationairy devices
VoLTE – supported VoLTE – not supported


The IoT market

The digitalization of industry won´t come overnight, it is already happening now. Moreover, its impacts are more significant than you might expect. The combined markets of the Internet of Things had a total value of 235B in 2017, and this value is expected to increase up to $ 520B in 2021.



Industry 4.0

The increased number of smart sensors, RFID tags, and smart beacons has triggered the next industrial revolution. The possibility of monitoring every aspect of the production process from development to supply chain management prevents delays and improves the overall production performance.



Market analysts predict that by 2019 87 % of healthcare organizations will have implemented IoT in one way or another. Managing personal data and health care records, monitoring vital data and an overall increased perception and care of patients.


Automotive – Smart Cars

Although we will probably have to wait some more years before self-driving cars are, Smart Cars are present in almost every price range. Connected apps, traffic information, and diagnostic information about the car have become a standard in the automotive industry. The amount of data smart cars will generate, increases the need for a reliable mobile network.