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Cellular IoT Low-Power Protocols

Key Takeaways

  • LTE-M and NB-IoT protocols are widely used due to their low power consumption.

  • The most commonly used technologies in cellular IoT are EC-GSM-IoT, LTE-M, and NB-IoT.

  • LPWANS are excellent candidates for IoT applications due to their energy efficiency, high coverage capabilities, low-power consumption, reliability, and quality of service (QoS). 

 Cellular IoT

LTE-M and NB-IoT protocols are widely used due to their low power consumption

Product engineers have the challenging task of developing wireless devices and deploying networks. Most tasks end up using cellular IoT low-power protocols to simplify the design. The LTE-M and NB-IoT protocols are widely used due to their low power consumption. These protocols complement the battery life of the product. Similarly, low-power wide-area network technology establishes a suitable platform to develop IoT systems.

In this article, we will discuss cellular IoT low-power protocols and applications. Let’s dive in!

The Rise of Cellular IoT Systems

Internet of Things (IoT) systems improve efficiency by managing natural and man-made resources efficiently. IoT applications optimize all sectors, especially manufacturing, production, and commercial systems.

IoT is critical in information and communication technology advancements, and appropriate technologies have been established to support its growth. The use of mobile networks and cellular technology to build a network of connected devices, called cellular IoT, is the rising star in IoT technology.

Cellular IoT Technology

The most commonly used cellular IoT technologies are listed below. These technologies are dedicated to providing cellular services for IoT applications that connect a massive number of devices. 

  1. Extended Coverage GSM IoT (EC-GSM-IoT)

GSM is the most widespread cellular technology. Using this technology as a fully backward-compatible solution in IoT systems enables EC-GSM-IoT applications. EC-GSM-IoT technology is designed to provide connectivity under challenging radio coverage conditions.

  1. LTE for Machine-Type Communication (LTE-M)

Long-term evolution is the fastest-growing cellular technology. LTE-M is based on LTE and provides good coverage and low-power consumption operations. LTE-M technology serves high-end applications, as it is a flexible system with a bandwidth of 1.4 MHz or more.

  1. Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)

NB-IoT is a radio access technology that reuses technical components from LTE to facilitate operation within an LTE carrier. NB-IoT technology is preferred for stand-alone IoT applications.

The Need for Cellular IoT Low-Power Protocols

Historically, traditional short-range wireless networks such as Bluetooth, ZigBee, and wireless local area networks such as WiFi and HiperLAN were used to deploy IoT systems. Cellular IoT systems utilized cellular networks, namely GSM and LTE. Most networking resulted in high capital investments, high energy consumption, low reliability, and high complexity.

Now, networks that are cost-effective and offer low-power consumption, reliability, and flexibility in design are necessary. LTE-M and NB-IoT protocols support IoT requirements with a battery life of up to 10 years and reduced initial and operating costs. Low-power wide-area networks offer the necessary reliability and flexibility. 

Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWANS)

LPWANS offer energy efficiency, high coverage, low power consumption, reliability, and quality of service (QoS). LPWAN technology is used in IoT-based vending machines, utility meters, and automotive alerts.

The features of LPWAN that support IoT device deployment are:

  1. External coverage

LPWAN technology-based IoT systems are deployed indoors for smart metering, as they support deep indoor coverage. LPWAN technology enables connectivity inside elevators, behind concrete walls, and in the basement of buildings.

  1. A massive number of connected devices

LPWAN technology can manage a massive number of simultaneously connected devices under each base station.

  1. Low device and deployment costs

Device and deployment costs consisting of capital expenditures and annual operating costs can be kept to a minimum by transferring existing IoT infrastructure to LPWAN-based IoT systems.

  1. High energy autonomy of connected IoT devices 

LPWAN connectivity supports long battery life and eliminates the need for regular battery replacements. The advantage of long battery life brings down the cost of battery maintenance.

Cellular IoT low-power consumption is a very important criterion for reaching good profit figures in domestic, industrial, and commercial applications. With the help of LTE-M, NB-IoT, and LPWAN technologies, the energy efficiency of IoT systems can be improved.

Cadence’s suite of design and analysis tools can assist you in developing LTE-M, NB-IoT, or LPWAN-based IoT systems.  Cadence offers highly efficient design tools and analysis that ensure the development of reliable IoT boards. Leading electronics providers rely on Cadence products to optimize power, space, and energy needs for a wide variety of market applications. If you’re looking to learn more about our innovative solutions, talk to our team of experts or subscribe to our YouTube channel.