With LTE-M and NB-IoT, Slower Is Better


In today’s world of ever-changing technology, everything must be better, stronger and faster.

But LTE-M and NB-IoT are actually not faster at all.

“We’re talking about 1.4 megahertz of bandwidth for deploying these technologies versus 10, 20 or 30 megahertz of bandwidth for traditional LTE, which means your speeds are slowed down. Your maximum speed for an M1 connection in most cases is going to be right around 375 kilobits per second. That is kilobits per second,” said Brandon Hart, Director of Technical Business Development for NimbeLink.

NB-IoT “is even slower. As the name suggests, it uses even less bandwidth – it uses a very narrow band of the spectrum.”

On this episode of MarketScale’s Technology podcast, Hart explains how it can actually be a good thing these radio technologies are not as quick, because it allows them to play nice with other machines and function well in a situation where a user can accept or even desires higher latency and slower speeds as long as it works in various scenarios.

While there are practical applications to utilizing one band or the other, many companies are afraid to jump in, because they may not understand what sort of certifications are required to comply with regulations set by governing bodies like the FCC.

“Of course, I have to mention that that’s where NimbeLink comes in with our Skywire modem products,” Hart said. “We take a lot of that complexity, a lot of that RF engineering, off of the customers’ engineering team and, wherever possible, we achieve full, final certification, not just module-level certification – the final device-level certifications for our embedded modems.”

Some of the potential use cases for IoT technology, like fully integrated smart cities, driverless vehicles communicating with one another or drone applications, are coming along slowly. Yet, with solutions like Skywire and others from NimbeLink, a future in which IoT integration is common may not be too far away.

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