NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT)

At a glance

NarrowBand IoT is a radio standard used for networking devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). While the normal mobile radio network enables high data transmission in a short time, the focus in the low-frequency range of the NB-IoT is reversed. This is where small amounts of data, which rarely need to be transmitted, are sent. This leads to very good network coverage with low energy consumption. For example, data can be transmitted via NB-IoT even in areas that are difficult to access (e.g. cellars).

Technical requirements

NB-IoT is based on the 3GPP standard (3rd Generation Partnership Project), a worldwide standardization of radio technology for UMTS, GMS, LTE and NGN (5G). Thus NB-IoT does not work in a separate network, but uses the frequency ranges of the existing mobile radio networks. The frequency range in which NB-IoT is technically implemented is 900 MHz and 800 MHz in the GSM or LTE network. These long-wave signals at low frequencies ensure that, for example, thick concrete walls can be penetrated better than would be possible for the high-frequency LTE signal at 1,800 MHz or 2,600 MHz. Since NB-IoT and LTE (as representatives of the current mobile network) operate in different frequency bands, the standards can easily be operated in parallel without restricting each other.


The network protocol on which the functionality of NB-IoT is based is called LPWA (Low Power Wide Area). Low Power expresses the minimum energy consumption of NB-IoT. Wide Area emphasizes that NB-IoT signals also reach places and areas that would not be accessible with high-frequency mobile radio signals. NB-IoT can also transmit data in places with many massive concrete walls such as cities or underground spaces such as basements. In contrast to the normal mobile network, NB-IoT has ten times better network coverage because, on the one hand, the range and signal strength are better and, on the other hand, the complexity of the radio module and the maximum transmission rates in the transmitting and receiving directions are restricted.


At a time when there are more mobile radio connections than people on the planet and therefore ever larger amounts of data are being sent around the globe, the capacity of every single radio cell is finite. Especially in densely populated areas, NB-IoT is an increasingly important factor when it comes to transmitting data more economically. Essentially, three advantages of NB-IoT can be described:

Mass of participants
The number of so-called "subscribers" (networked devices) per radio cell is significantly higher with NB-IoT than with high-frequency LTE. NB-IoT enables the addressing of up to 50,000 subscribers.

The specifications of NB-IoT make it possible to increase the signal range to more than 10 km. This means that even places where the normal mobile signal would not arrive can be reached.

The costs of transferring data with NB-IoT are also extremely low. Since it is used in cases where a small amount of data only has to be sent infrequently, the costs for operation are very limited. An NB-IoT module can manage with a standard AA battery for up to 10 years without having to maintain the module. The production of NB-IoT modules themselves is also cost-effective and can be implemented on a large scale.

Application examples

The application examples for NB-IoT are as versatile as the Internet of Things itself. Wherever things can be networked, there is the possibility to benefit from NB-IoT.

  • Smart City
  • Smart Building
  • Transport & Logistics
  • Production & Industry
  • Farming
  • Safety Engineering
  • Localization of objects
  • Localization of persons or animals


NB-IoT also benefits from the expansion of the Next Generation Network 5G. While the latencies of the LTE network are currently sufficient to network static devices such as a water meter, it will also be possible to network fast-moving objects in the future. The super-fast latency time of approx. 1 ms, which is possible in the 5G network, will be decisive, for example, when it comes to networking between vehicles (V2V, Vehicle to Vehicle).

ROBIOTIC data transmission

With our ROBIOTIC.CONCEPT, we rely on data transmission via NB-IoT for our customers' IoT projects so that its advantages are fully exploited by our customers: low energy consumption, minimal maintenance and low costs.

Read here what ROBIOTIC data transfer looks like in detail and what other data transfer options we offer.