Narrowband IoT, also known as Nb-IoT, is a low-power wide-area network that powers a variety of different cellular devices and services, and doesn’t operate in the licensed LTE construct.
NB-IoT is primarily used for IoT applications that require indoor coverage, low capital cost, high connection strength, and devices that have long battery lifetimes.
It transfers even less data, on average, than Cat M1, and is incapable of interoperating with mobile applications. In addition, it tends to have higher latency than Cat M1.
Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Verifone created NB-IoT for a variety of reasons. Since NB-IoT relies on simple waveforms, IoT projects relying on NB-IoT consume less power than those that operate with WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G among others.
Nb-IoT doesn’t require gateways to provide connectivity. Instead, Nb-IoT can directly connect sensors to the base station. This opens the IoT market to countless opportunities using Nb-IoT for their project.
Nb-IoT expands this global usefulness further by not relying on LTE, which is heavily supported within the US, but underdeveloped in many other countries.
Providing cellular connectivity in a way that is globally accessible allows players to enter the IoT market.
Some common Nb-IoT applications include smart metering, health monitoring of humans or animals, connected industrial appliances, and smart city infrastructure.