Emre Sami Süzer  
Operations Director  
Aktif Mühendislik

Everything is digital and intelligent now. When we look at human evolution, we can see that the key to being intelligent and making a difference is communication. All our wearable devices, our cars, our phones, our homes, all the items in the circle will need a communicate environment. NB-IoT is the biggest candidate to provide this communication.


IoT is simply a concept of connecting essentially any device to the Internet (and / or each other). This includes mobile phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable appliances, and anything else you can think of. This also applies to parts of the machine, for example a jet engine of a plane or a drill of an oil rig. [1]

It is clear that this technology, which will cover all devices, will be an indispensable part of our lives in future.

Analyst firm Gartner says that Up to 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices... IoT is a huge network of interconnected "things" and people are involved. [1].

NB-IoT represents one of the networks that can be used for IOT. The biggest feature of this network, which will be a big part of our life in the near future, is the use of the existing LTE network (the GSM network). So, it does not need new special devices.

NB-IoT Nedir, Neler Getirecek

Figure 1: NB-IoT Coverage Area and Bandwidth Chart


As we have already mentioned, the biggest advantage is that the network will be available for devices to talk to each other. GSM operators will be able to convert with small updates and networks will change into the NB-IOT format.

Other advantages can be listed as follows. [2]

  • Very low power consumption
  • Excellent extended range under the floor and under the ground
  • Easy installation of existing cellular network architecture
  • Network security and reliability
  • Low component cost


At the same time, the biggest disadvantage of GSM operators' use of network, which is the biggest advantage of NB-IOT.

In the current situation, a GSM SIM card is required to register in the network of GSM operators. Unfortunately, this has not changed in NB-IOT. Although there are signs that they will be able to find a way in future, the requirement has not removed up to now.

The other disadvantage is that each device on the network must be paid. The addition of telecommunication taxes make costs higher.

The greatest risk before the spread of NB-IOT is the problems mentioned above. This is because there are technological problems to be overcome in the near future and will be opened in front of the technology.


In fact, not possible to list of usage areas, because we are talking about a subject that is limited to our imagination. In order to be able to give an idea, we can list in which fields work has been done so far:

  • Reading meters (water, natural gas, electricity...)
  • Street lighting systems
  • Alarm and event detection, warning systems
  • Automatic parking finding systems
  • Receiving position and status information in the livestock sector
  • Monitoring of pets
  • Intelligent garbage cans that report occupancy
  • Transportation follow up
  • Moving inventory follow-up
  • Wearable device communication
  • Elderly / child monitoring and warning systems
  • Vehicle tracking systems
  • Smart home systems (air conditioning, lighting, alarm, etc.)


Below you can see Germany's five-year NB-IOT market forecast on the sectoral basis.

NB-IoT Nedir, Neler Getirecek

Figure 2: Forecast of NB-IOT for Germany Market

The gain of US $ 1.67 billion over the five-year period implies an average NB-IOT revenue of US $ 334 million per year. This means that the development of NB-IOT services will result in a revenue increase of 2.2% for existing operators. Even this modest estimate, initially selected, shows that it is a very attractive area for other players who will want to join NB-IOT. [3]


The biggest rival, LoRa, does not have the distresses mentioned in item three, disadvantages. However, the requirement for the user to establish a communication network prevents LoRa from being an effective solution for individual or small-scale users.

Nevertheless, it is not right to say that LoRa's potential is completely over and will no longer be used. It is still a reasonable solution for businesses that serve a specific area and do not want to spend regularly on a GSM operator.

NB-IoT Nedir, Neler Getirecek

Figure 3: Comparison of LoRa and NB-IOT [4]

As can be seen in the graphic above and in the table below, there are advantages of NB-IOT, but it is not much superior technology than others like LORA. It is even left behind on some issues.

The future is the point at which both technologies will take a big share from the IoT cake, while specifying how and when things will be resolved in the disadvantage section.

Parameters LoRa NB-IoT
Spectrum Unlicensed LTE band license
Band width 500 kHz–125 KHz 180 KHz
Maximum Data Rate 290 bps-50 Kbps (DL/UL) DL:234.7 kbps; UL:204.8 kbps
Duplex Application - Half duplex
Energy efficiency Battery life over 10 years Battery life over 10 years
Traffic Capacity According to gateway type 55 per cell
Parasite Immunity Too High Low
Peak Current 32 mA 120–300 mA
Standby Current 1μA 5μA

Table 1: Comparison of LoRa and NB-IOT [4]


[1] A Simple Explanation Of 'The Internet Of Things', Jacob Morgan, 2014
[2] https://www.u-blox.com/en/narrowband-iot-nb-iot/
[3] http://www.huawei.com/minisite/iot/img/nb_iot_whitepaper_en.pdf
[4] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405959517300061