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3GPP standards for
Industrial IoT
/ LTE Technologies

Ubiik is the global leader of Weightless™ LPWAN technology. However no single connectivity fits all conditions and customer requirements. Ubiik provides a wide portfolio of other standard connectivity technologies, including NB-IoT, LTE Cat-M1 and LTE Cat-1 as integrated components of our solutions.

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NB-IoT

Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is an LPWAN radio technology standard developed by 3GPP. It is connected using licensed cellular telecommunication bands and operated by telecom companies. The advantage of NB-IoT is that it can leverage existing LTE networks without the need for new infrastructure. However, it also means that users have to rely on telecom operators' licensed bands and public networks. Recurring subscription fees need to be paid to mobile network operators for connected end devices.


Understanding that no single connectivity can fit all conditions, NB-IoT is a crucial technology in Ubiik’s connectivity portfolio. Weightless™ provides
a reliable and cost efficient solution for high density deployments of end-devices via its highly scalable tree topology. However, in situations where end devices are deployed at low densities (for instance, in rural areas), it may not be economical to install a Weightless™ base station to cover a small amount of meters or end devices. In this case, NB-IoT can be a great cost effective alternative to Weightless™.

In Taiwan, Ubiik has deployed NB-IoT connectivity for scattered AMI smart meters in rural areas. These account for around 5% of the total number of deployed meters. Ubiik also delivered smart meters equipped with NB-IoT connectivity to a Japanese telecom operator customer to monitor power consumption of their base stations.

LTE Cat-M1

LTE Cat-M1, also known as, LTE-M–is an LPWAN cellular technology that is suitable for transmitting low to medium amounts of data across a wide geographical range. LTE Cat-M1 is typically running on a 1.4MHz spectrum. Compared with other narrowband LPWAN technologies like Weightless™
and NB-IoT, it can be used for some Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications
that require higher data throughput and lower latency. Like NB-IoT, LTE Cat-M1 can also leverage existing LTE infrastructures, which eliminates the need for network operators to build antennas and other network necessities to support IoT connectivity. LTE Cat-M1 also allows an end device’s connection to
seamlessly roam from one base station to another, which makes it an ideal connectivity for mobile applications. Although LTE Cat-M1 is still considered
as a relatively low power wireless technology suitable for IoT applications,
it consumes more power than NB-IoT and Weightless™ as a trade-off for higher throughput and lower latency. The communication module cost is also higher.

LTE Cat-1

LTE Cat-1, sometimes also referred to as 4G Cat-1 was initially introduced in 3GPP Release 8 in 2009 and has become a standardized LTE IoT communication technology since then. LTE Cat-1, supporting 10Mbit/s downlink and 5Mbit/s uplink speed, is capable of higher data rates that LTE Cat-M1 and NB-IoT technology cannot achieve. However, the higher throughput sacrifices spectrum bandwidth and power consumption, compared to other narrow band technologies.