What is the difference between LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT?

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Raghav Kapur - everything RF

Jul 26, 2017

Both NB-IoT and LTE CAT M1 are Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) Technologies developed for IoT (Internet of Things) Applications. The Internet of Things will connect millions of devices to the internet. Unlike traditional cellular applications, IoT devices need to transmit small amounts of data in infrequent bursts. Another requirement for these devices is that they must be low cost and last for over 5-10 years on a single battery.

NB-IoT and LTE CAT M1 are low power, narrow band technologies that can handle small amounts of 2-way data transmission in an efficient, secure and reliable manner. Both these technologies operate using existing cellular networks. They were both created by the 3GPP standards body in Release 13 to meet the specific requirements.

Based on Release 13 the table below compares NB-IOT with LTE CAT-M1

DeploymentIn-Band LTEIn-Band LTE, LTE Guard Bands, Standalone
Downlink ModulationOFDMA, 16 QAMOFDMA
Downlink DatarateUp to 1 Mbps250 kbps
Uplink ModulationSC-FDMA, 16 QAMSC-FDMA
Uplink DatarateUp to 1 Mbps250 kbps (multi-tone), 20 kbps (single tone)
Bandwidth1.08 MHz180 khz
Duplexing TechnologyFull Duplex, Half Duplex, FDD & TDDHalf Duplex and FDD
Latency10 to 15 milli seconds1.6 to 10 seconds
Link Budget155.7 dB164 dB
Power Class23 dBm, 20 dBm23 dBm, 20 dBm

Here is a video that explains the differences between LTE-M and Nb-IoT