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5G eMTC Is a Game-Changing Communication Standard

Key Takeaways

  • 5G eMTC is used to satisfy the requirements of large data-driven IoT applications demanding high data transfer rates. 

  • The two prominent cellular LPWAN technologies used to connect IoT devices are NB-IoT and  LTE Cat-M1. 

  • eMTC is a subset of the LTE-M network, which provides low-power, low-cost connectivity to IoT devices.

 5g eMTC

5G eMTC is the cellular standard network for IoT systems

The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) organization has always given due importance to the wireless technologies that support the Internet of Things (IoT). Repeated revisions in the specifications helped deploy two new wireless technologies: Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) and enhanced Machine Type Communication (eMTC) on a large scale. With the emergence of 5G, eMTC has been declared the cellular standard network for IoT systems. 5G eMTC is widely used today to suffice the demands of large data-driven IoT applications requiring high data transfer rates. In this article, we will explore the communication standards LTE Cat-M1, NB-IoT, and 5G eMTC.

Understanding NB-IoT and LTE Cat-M1

In most IoT applications, data transmission takes place intermittently. Even during the data transfer, only low or medium amounts of data are transmitted at low power over the long range. Various low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) options have been developed to meet the different requirements of IoT applications.

The two prominent cellular LPWAN technologies that are widely in use to connect IoT devices are:

  1. NB-IoT 
  2. LTE Cat-M1 


NB-IoT is the LPWAN technology that connects the things located anywhere virtually over the mobile network. Any IoT device requiring long-range communication for small products of data can utilize NB-IoT technology. NB-IoT technology is also called LTE Cat-NB1. NB-IoT is preferred for frequent two-way data communication of small amounts between locations that are remote. 

LTE Cat-M1

LTE Cat-M1 is complementary to NB-IoT, as it provides faster data transmission speeds and low latency. LTE Cat-M1 technology has data speeds ranging between 200-400 kbps across a wide geographical expanse. The bandwidth of LTE Cat-M1 is 1.4 MHz, with a latency of around 10-15 ms. 

NB-IoT vs. LTE Cat-MI




Geographic area

More common in Europe.

Preferred within the US. Faces logistical challenges.

Coverage area

Suitable for an extremely large area. Better obstacle penetration. Excels in indoor industrial locations.

Mostly preferred for narrow-scale IoT deployment.


Once connectivity is interrupted, it needs device reconnection and may result in monetary losses.

Seamless connectivity is possible even with devices in motion.

Advantages of NB-IoT and LTE Cat-MI


LTE Cat-M1

Suitable for low-power IoT deployment.

Improved project efficiency, as LTE Cat-M1 requires low power.

Excellent for indoor applications and underground IoT devices.

Less frequent battery replacement required in IoT-connected sensors.

Easy deployment into the existing mobile network present in the location.

Enhanced security and ensured privacy through the use of the licensed spectrum.

Ensures reliability of operation and data security.

Power-saving mode prevents resource wastage and improves operational efficiency.

Cost-effective due to low component costs.

Reliant on existing LTE infrastructure and rules out the new antenna requirement.

What Is the Difference Between 5G eMTC and LTE Cat-M1?

5G eMTC can be compared with LTE Cat-M1; however, they are part of two different network standards – LTE and 5G wireless technology, respectively. eMTC is a subset of the LTE-M network, which is launched for providing low-power, low-cost connectivity to IoT devices. eMTC offers low power requirements, low device complexity, increased coverage, and high data rates.

With 5G eMTC, it is possible to provide reliable communication for a large number of connected devices. The 5G eMTC low power wide area network is optimized for massive IoT applications and supports low latency and power efficiency requirements of IoT applications. Applications of 5G eMTC are not limited to resource management in smart cities, smart wearables, and industrial automation.

5G eMTC Facilitates Industrial Automation

5G eMTC has been significant in sparking changes in the industrial ecosystem by enabling more efficiently connected devices. 5G eMTC technology is at the forefront of deploying IoT-connected machines in various industries where devices need to communicate with low latency, high reliability, and security. Here are some of the advantages provided by 5G eMTC.

Low Latency

With the low latency feature, 5G eMTC offers note-worthy improvements in real-time monitoring and the control of industrial processes.


The reliability ensured by 5G eMTC is rock solid, reducing the probability of downtime or temporary shut-downs.

Large Device Density

5G eMTC is able to connect a massive network of devices and ensure smooth automation.

Enhanced Security

5G eMTC is trailblazing the path to protecting industrial networks from all sorts of security issues.

5G eMTC is a game-changer, bringing the extensive application of IoT to smart cities and healthcare, among other things. Cadence’s AWR Design Environment can help you design 5G eMTC communication systems in any field of application. 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.