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Cat M1 & NB-IoT – The Powerful Duo for the Next Generation of IoT Connectivity

Published On June 17th, 2020 1120Announcement

With the astounding growth of IoT devices, Morgan Stanley in a recent study predicted that the connected devices will attain a mammoth growth of connecting 75 billion devices worldwide by 2020. To compete with this whooping reach, the next generation of IoT connectivity is required.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Program (3GPP) Release 13 came up with two new standards – CAT M1 and NB-IoT for next generation IoT connectivity for better connectivity and security.


The Internet of Things is bringing in the next generation of connectivity known as Cat-M1. Cat-M1, a Low Power Wide Area Cellular (LP-WAN) technology is useful for transferring low to medium data at a long-range. Cat-M1 is category M1 which is exclusively built for IoT projects that are considered as an excellent addition for IoT applications.

Important perks of Cat-M1 are,

1. Cat-M1 runs on 1.4 MHz spectrum

3. Transmit Power – 20 Bm

4. Average Upload Speed – 200 – 400 Kbps

Benefits of Cat-M1:

The primary benefit of a Cat-M1 is low-cost and low power consumption. Think of Cat-M1 as an LTE chipset that is integrated into a sensor device. Key benefits of Cat-M1 are listed below, which is created to enhance the machine-machine communication to a whole new level through advanced internet of things technology.

  • LTE- Cat M1 provides deep penetration reaching extended range from skyscrapers to basement buildings.

  • Cat M1 is known for Low-power consumption where the battery life can be saved up to 10 years.

  • NB-IoT provides Full mobility where industries like logistics and other media communication companies constantly need to move between various locations. Narrowband IoT ensures to provide uninterrupted data connectivity services.

  • Enabling voice support through VoLTE, a standard exclusive for high-speed wireless communication used for any IoT connected devices and smart wearable technology.


NB-IoT, the Narrowband Internet of Things, is a new standard in the Lower Power Wide Area(LPWAN) technology, a new range developed to enhance the IoT devices and services to a significant level. NB-IoT helps ultra-low complexity devices with a very narrow bandwidth of 200 kHz.

According to ABI Research, by 2021, 20% of all cellular shipments are forecasted to have Narrow Band IoT connected modules. NB IoT is a new breed in the series of the LPWA IoT modules. It has several advantages when compared to the other LPWAN technologies which we will unfold as listed below.

Benefits of NB-IoT:


NB-IoT is cost-effective because it prevents using gateways and directly uses the primary server for all types of communication between sensor devices.

Increased Indoor coverage Range

When compared to GSM, NB-IoT has wide area coverage reaching right from warehouse building to the basement.

NB-IoT works independently

Narrowband IoT can work independently without the help of LTE, which implies it can be deployed in three ways, in-band, guard-band or independent deployment.

Improved Security

NB-IoT provides more secure and reliable network connectivity that includes the privacy and security features. Get user authentication, device identification like that of mobile devices.

Top Use Cases of NB-IoT and Cat-M1

Qualcomm is one of the leading telecommunications company worldwide. They are part of Las Vegas smart city project using NB-IoT. VP Vieri Vanghi stated, “Connecting IoT devices and virtually anything needs a robust wireless technology. We need a system that scales up both high-performance IoT devices & also scale down to the complex IoT applications to produce effective results.”

The major use cases of Cat-M1 which got the recognition of global carriers are:


Smart -Meter Systems

To monitor the gas, water, and electricity which are located in a geographically challenged area, the combined technologies of Cat M1 & NB-IoT helps to connect and communicate with the external devices without any interruption.These excellent technologies help to cover the rough environment seamlessly.


Asset Tracking

If a vehicle is moving from point A to point B, then the sensors attached to these vehicles may get disconnected when changing from one cellular tower to another. But with the help of Cat M1 device, it will not drop or re-establish a new connection but handles the hand-over between the cell towers excellently.


Agricultural Projects

Radiofrequency penetration (RF) and excellent coverage is a boon for implementing smart agriculture. For example, sensors fixed in a grain storage bin or sensors for checking the soil humidity will accurately give the data that will be stored in the cloud for future reference and further analysis.


Smart City

Most complex projects like creating a smart city can be leveraged by IoT & NB-IoT technologies. For example, T-mobile along with NB-IoT has started implementing the smart city project in Las Vegas. They monitor early flood warning, reduce energy consumption by connecting LED infrastructure.


Security Systems

The security systems can benefit from NB-IoT’s Low power wide area technology. Now the central monitoring system can be connected through a secure network where the intruders or miscellaneous activities can be avoided at any cost.


Health Care

NB-IoT technology helps to give real-time updates to the doctor regarding the patient’s health condition. Through wearable devices, the doctor can remotely monitor the patient’s heart rate, behaviour patterns & sent red alerts for any chronic health conditions in case of emergencies.

How CONTUS effectively uses the Narrowband IoT & Cat M1 technologies?

CONTUS IoT Data Streaming solution along with the powerful standards Cat M1 and Narrowband IoT helps to provide a reliable Data Visualization & Management solution to widen the industrial needs considering the prospective environment.

What CONTUS offers in a Nutshell:

    1. Fraction of Cost – Our solution provides a detailed data visualization & Management techniques at affordable rates

    2. Ready-made template – CONTUS provides easy to implement ready-made templates that are customized according to the business needs

    3. Large Data Stream – Our Streaming solution helps to integrate a huge amount of data and also provides an interface for other business portals if required.

    4. Single Dashboard System – CONTUS IoT Data Streaming framework integrates seamlessly both narrow and wide-band connected endpoints all within a single dashboard system.

    5. Customizable/predefined framework – Our framework has predefined or tailor-made endpoints, Mobile applications, Live IoT Dashboards and API for Data Analytics.

Also, CONTUS has effectively integrated the NB-IoT & Cat M1 technologies in the following areas,

  • Energy Consumption

  • Smart Metering

  • Smart City Infrastructure

  • Asset Tracking

  • Agriculture

  • Connected Vehicles

Bottom Line

LTE Cat M1 and NB IoT are the new age IoT connectivity that is designed to enhance the M2M connectivity and to develop complex projects from developing a smart city in an effective way to Connected things. Hence, Cat M1 and NB IoT are the de-facto solutions for IoT connectivity systems. With 2G and 3G ruled out in the telecom carriers, adopting the LTE technology along with Cat M1 & Narrowband IoT are the best approach for the companies to move forward to experience an undisrupted workflow for decades to come.

Cat M1 and NB IoT


Alex Sam is a mobility, IoT & chat app specialist and I would like to spend most of my time in reading and analyzing the latest happenings in the technology and how they fit into our daily lives. I always endeavor to identify more ideas and concepts, and develop user-friendly apps through leveraging technology.