Narrow Band IoT is a data transmission standards designed to support devices operates in mobile carrier networks. NB IoT technology uses low bandwidth signals to communicate within existing GSM network and LTE networks. Find out what are the specifications and applications of narrow band IoT.
Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) is one of the most efficient technologies (in terms of coverage, battery life and ability to support massive number of devices) among low power wide area networks LP-WANs.
How Narrow Band IoT works?
Specially designed devices and sensors are the basic components in the NB-IoT systems. These devices collect the information from its surroundings and transmit to NB-IoT base stations or transmission nodes. Individual base stations are connected to an IoT gateway and IoT cloud application servers for centralized monitoring and data analysis.
Sophisticated analysis tools enables real-time monitoring options of complex network with customized mobile applications for user convenience.
Operation modes of NB-IoT
Narrowband IoT operates in three different modes for efficient spectrum utilization
In band operation: utilizing resource blocks within a normal LTE carrier signal
Guard operation: utilizing the unused resource blocks of guard bands within LTE carrier signal
Stand-alone operation: utilizing spectrum currently being used by GSM system as a replacement of one or more GSM carrier signals
Specification of NB-IoT
Main features of NB IoT
One of the significant features of NB-IoT devices are its power saving capabilities. NB-IoT device needs less frequent transmission (few times in an hour, or once a day etc… depends on applications) of tiny data bytes which requires less energy for communication. Some smart sensors offer battery life up to 10 years.
Long battery life make these sensors more convenient for remote deployment (periodic maintenance is not required, especially battery replacement).
Low cost modules
NB-IoT devices are developed to support huge demand of low-cost sensor modules and device network. Low cost sensor modules encourage more deployments at end-user level for multiple applications. Future NB-IoT developments are aiming ultra low-cost solutions (sensors and devices) for various applications.
NB-IoT devices are best candidates for application which needs extended coverage. Moreover, it offers higher in-house signal penetration (suitable for implementation in basements) and outdoor coverage.
Low latency is an important factor for critical applications where information has to be sending as fast as possible once the sensors detect a change in predefined set value (temperature, proximity, fire, moisture, water level etc…). With NB-IoT, low latency up to few seconds can be achieved.
NB-IoT devices are less complex to configure and monitor. Easier deployment and configuration option of NB-IoT devices and network makes its more attractive for users.
Massive number of devices
BN-IoT technology can support huge number of devices and smart sensors under its scalable network. Scalability of network is necessary for many applications for further improvements in future.
Applications of Narrow Band IoT
Smart Parking Solutions
Smart parking lots using sensor technology are getting popularity across the globe. NB-IoT offers much efficient solution which fits parking management using a centralized system. Smart sensors will detect the availability of empty lots and inform users with specific apps which are updated in real-time basis.
Once the lot is filled with vehicle, the sensor sends a signal to the control database and updates the information without any delay.
The era of technicians reading public utility meters and issuing monthly bills will become history soon. Smart meters can monitor power usage, water and gas usage with simple configuration with service provider’s system.
Service providers can analyze the data (collected from smart meters) and issue monthly bills using remote monitoring of utility usage in every household or offices.
Connected Herds / Livestock
Connected cows and sheep are one of the most useful yet cost-effective applications of NB-IoT. Smart devices attached to their collars can send precise location information to their owners.
Telia, wireless technology company in Norway have successfully launched a tracking system for thousands of sheep using NB-IoT technology.
Smart Trash Management
Smart trash management system works with sensor technology which detects the level / quantity of trash and transmits the information to trash management centers. It can trigger the trash collection unit to drive to the specific locations once the trash is filled.
It will avoid unnecessary ride of collection vehicles to each locations.
Smart vending machines
NB-IoT enables smart vending machines can send information about empty items in the machine and trigger top up of items to the service provider. Frequent inspection of the machine (for stock monitoring) can be avoided using smart sensor implementations.
Energy management also can be configured (light, cooling) according to the quantity available inside machine.
Smart Sensor Applications
Soil pH monitoring
Smart sensors can frequently monitor soil pH value and trigger and alert if there is significant changes in the value. Efficient and cost-effective smart pH monitoring sensors are used in smart farming projects, these sensors provide long battery life.
Smart devices equipped with thermal sensors are one of the most common sensors used in various applications like industries and weather monitoring. It can monitor atmospheric temperature and send this information to the control stations.
Fire sensors / home security
Smart fire sensors enabled with NB-IoT devices can detect fire and trigger signals to the control unit and send messages to responsible units. Smart proximity sensors can be configured for home security applications and intruder alarms.
Water level/ pressure sensors for smart irrigation
Smart water level sensors can detect changes in water level and pass this information to the central monitoring station. Accurate sensors are used in flood monitoring and smart irrigation projects. Each water sprinklers are connected with GPS chips which accurately locate the position of the sprinkler and continuously send data about water flow of each unit via a mobile network.
Moisture sensors with NB-IoT modules are also widely used in many applications and industries. It also works the same way as other sensors which collect data and send to the monitoring center.
Smart lighting solutions are the first and most common application designed for smart cities. Smart sensors can detect light intensities and send data to the control station for processing. Moreover, smart lighting applications with the use of proximity sensors will detect the presence of vehicles /objects on roads and trigger lights on / off when pass by within its proximity.
Pollution monitoring sensors are capable of continuously monitor the air quality of its surroundings and alert when the level reaches alarming levels. Specific gas detectors are widely used in industries to safely monitor any kind of harmful gas leak.
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