Narrowband IoT | Revolutionizing IoT Connectivity


Unlike Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Narrowband IoT uses licensed cellular frequencies, which improves signal penetration and coverage. It transmits data over vast distances using a narrowband of 200 kHz.

Smart urban infrastructure, farm surveillance, and object tracking use NB-IoT because it supports large amounts of low-power gadgets with extended battery life.

PCBMay is no stranger to the IoT connection field as a firm specializing in PCB fabrication.

In this FAQ guide, we’ll look at how the widespread use of Narrowband IoT affects sectors as diverse as healthcare, agriculture, logistics, and more. This FAQ can clear up any misconceptions you have about Narrowband IoT.

Let’s dive in and see the greater possibility that Narrowband IoT brings us.

What Is Narrowband IoT?

Narrowband IoT is a relatively new technology. It works on low power, so your devices can be used for more time. But the main benefit is it also works on large area.

A low-power enables the safe, reliable transmission of relatively minimal information in both directions.

It uses resource blocks on current cellular LTE networks or specialized ones. It’s incredible to think about how rapidly the market for Narrowband IoT devices is growing.

Additionally, Ericsson estimates that there will be 5 billion Narrowband IoT connections by 2025. It will be exciting to see how this technology continues to evolve and shape the future of the IoTs.

Narrowband IoT

Narrowband IoT

How Does Narrowband IoT Work?

The Narrowband IoT uses a narrow or strict frequency band. Typically approximately 200 kHz—efficiently transmitting modest quantities of data across great distances with little energy expenditure.

To securely save your IoT device information in the cloud, Narrowband IoT uses cellular network infrastructure. The technique improves upon standard cellular networks in both range and efficiency by using a novel modulation strategy.

By allocating a particular time and frequency slot for communication with IoT devices, the Narrowband IoT ground station makes more effective use of the channel capacity.

When it comes to keeping your data safe, you can rest assured knowing that Narrowband IoT employs top-notch encryption methods. This protects the privacy and integrity of data stored on IoT devices.

Narrowband radio frequency PCB

Narrowband radio frequency PCB

If you are interested in deep learning of Narrowband IoT, we suggest you t watch this video.


How Does Narrowband IoT Support Device-To-Device (d2d) Communication?

Narrowband IoT relies on Resource Block Types (RBTs) to enable device-to-device (D2D) communication. RBT allows several devices to communicate with the same frequency and time slot.

RBT allows several devices to work with the same frequency and time slot. As the network is less taxed, performance improves.

NB-IoT devices may engage in D2D communication to exchange information directly, eliminating the requirement for a network connection. In areas with spotty service, this can be a game-changer.

Proximity Services (ProSe) is a feature of Narrowband IoT that enables devices to locate and establish connections with nearby devices, allowing for direct device-to-device (D2D) interaction.

Narrowband IoT D2D Community Communication

Narrowband IoT D2D Community Communication

How Does Narrowband IoT Enable Energy-Efficient IoT Applications?

Narrowband IoT allows IoT applications to use less power, which is one of the many advantages of this technology. The efficient use of network assets makes this a reality.

Because of its low power consumption, narrowband IoT is ideal for IoT devices that function on batteries. If you choose a frequency of 200 kHz, you can convey a few bytes of data over incredibly long distances. Hence, a Narrowband IoT device’s battery may last very long on a single charge.

Narrowband IoT is more efficient in utilizing network capacity while reducing energy consumption than standard mobile networks. This is achieved by discontinuous reception, which involves temporarily disabling data collection while no data is being collected.

These measures will extend the battery’s life and reduce energy needs.

Do Different Narrowband IoT Variants Exist?

Yes, Narrowband IoT (Narrowband IoT) comes in different versions that are made to meet different needs and use cases. Three types of Narrowband IoT you will see most often are-


The In-Band uses the LTE spectrum and infrastructure already in place, which cuts down on deployment time and costs. It is also more reliable and has better coverage than other versions. But it has a drawback: it shares resources with LTE traffic, which can cause problems like interference or traffic jams.


This variation eliminates interference by exploiting unused airwaves between LTE carriers. It is also more reliable and has better coverage than the standalone version. To enable Narrowband IoT, however, needs extra hardware or software updates for current LTE base stations.


This variation benefits from employing a dedicated Narrowband IoT spectrum, ensuring maximum performance and scalability. It also works with older GSM networks better than other versions.

But, it has the drawback of necessitating the allocation of additional spectrum and the implementation of new infrastructure, which raises costs and complexity.

Narrowband IoT also comes in different versions for different regions that work on different frequency bands. For example, in Europe, Narrowband IoT uses the 900 MHz bands, whereas in the United States, it uses the 700 MHz and 1900 MHz bands.

Narrowband IoT variants

Narrowband IoT variants

What Is Narrowband IoT vs. Wide Band?

The need for low-power, long-distance communication methods is growing as the number of linked devices rises. Narrowband and wideband IoT are two types. Although both approaches enable wireless communication, they differ in key characteristics like bandwidth, range, and power consumption.

Narrowband IoT, is a low-power, wide-area technology for low-data-rate applications. Its low power consumption and narrow frequency range make it ideal for battery-powered systems operating for years without charge.

Wideband uses more frequency and energy. This equipment is used for phones, data, and video streaming.

Narrowband IoT covers inside better than Wideband. Narrowband IoT uses a narrow band that penetrates barriers easier. Because of its higher frequency range, wideband provides better outside coverage.

Narrowband IoT wins power consumption. Its lower power consumption than Wideband makes it an excellent alternative for battery-powered devices that need extended periods without charge.

Wide band


What Are the Key Considerations for Designing and Manufacturing Narrowband IoT Devices?

When designing and making Narrowband IoT (Narrowband IoT) devices, it’s important to keep a few key factors in mind to make sure they meet performance, reliability, and cost goals. To guarantee that the final product is effective, dependable, and satisfies the user’s expectations, the following considerations must be taken into account throughout the design and development of Narrowband IoT devices.

  1. Since they work in a narrowband frequency spectrum, the RF designis very important to how well they work. The RF design has to be optimized for the particular frequency band. You must ensure that the device satisfies the sensitivity and output power standards.
  2. Most of them are made to use little power because they are often used in remote or hard-to-reach places. The device should be made so that it uses the least amount of power when idle.
  3. They need antennas to send and receive signals. The antenna must be tuned for the frequency band to fulfill sensitivity and output power requirements.
  4. They often gather and send sensitive data such as location and status. The device must be made to prevent unauthorized people from getting to the data.
  5. They can’t be used in a certain area until the right regulatory bodies have approved them. The device must meet the necessary technical specifications and follow the rules.
  6. The price is important to consider because it must be cheap to make and use on a large scale. The device’s parts, assembly, and testing should cost as little as possible.

What Are the Benefits of Narrowband IoT?

Narrowband IoT It offers a variety of advantages for applications related to the IoT, including the following:

  • Reduced power intake: NB-IoT devices are intended to use minimal energy.  Depending on the circumstances, a full charge of the batteries can keep them operational for several years.
  • Security: Narrowband IoT offers end-to-end encryption, so your data stays safe and protected from intruders.
  • Use of network resources efficiently: NB-IoT utilizes network resources more effectively than conventional cellular networks, decreasing congestion and enhancing IoT application performance.
  • Simple installation: NB-IoT can be installed with relative ease, and it can even be installed in regions with weak networks.
  • Interoperability: NB-IoT may be easily incorporated into various IoT technologies and applications because of its compatibility with current cellular networks.
  • Flexibility: This technology is highly flexible. It is highly adaptable, and you can tailor it to suit your particular need for IoT.

What Are the Bandwidths Supported by Narrowband IoT?

With narrowband IoT, the bandwidth is limited to under 1 GHz. In contrast, the bandwidth of narrowband IoT devices is typically between 200 kHz and 250 kHz.

Narrowband IoT is more secure and dependable than unlicensed LPWAN solutions because to its narrow bandwidth that allows it to utilize licensed frequency channels. About 250 kbps is the top speed at which data may be sent using narrowband IoT.

Narrowband IOT bandwidth

Narrowband IOT bandwidth

Narrowband IoT can link many devices despite its small bandwidth. It allows thousands of devices in a single cell to communicate across great distances with minimal power consumption.

Because to its low data rates, long battery life, and wide coverage, Narrowband IoT is ideal for IoT applications such as smart cities, home automation, and industrial IoT.

What’s the Difference Between Narrowband IoT and LoRa?

When it comes to constructing low-power, wide-area IoT networks, narrowband IoT and Long Range (LoRa) Radio are two of the most popular technologies. The two technologies use distinct approaches to achieving their shared goal of low-power, long-range communication.

The technology at their core is where Narrowband IoT and LoRa diverge. Narrowband IoT is based on cellular technology, whereas LoRa relies on public standards for its chirp spread spectrum transmission.

The locations they cover are also very diverse from one. Due to LoRa’s inability to reach outside of private networks, Narrowband IoT can reach far larger areas than cellular networks alone.

Narrowband IoT is ideal for battery-operated IoT devices because of its low power consumption. While LoRa can function on a very small amount of power, the amount of power it really needs depends greatly on the application.

Unlike LoRa, NB IoT’s data rate capacity makes it a viable option for applications requiring near-instantaneous data transmission and reception. On the other hand, LoRa is ideal for use cases where only very little data amounts need to be sent over very long distances.



What’s the Difference Between Narrowband IoT and LTE-M?

Narrowband IoT and LTE-M are the two most commonly used low-power, large network solutions for the IoT. Although both solutions aim to make it possible for IoT devices to communicate over cellular networks, they operate in quite different ways.

The bandwidth available to devices is a key differentiator between Narrowband IoT and LTE-M. Whereas LTE-M may use a frequency of as much as 1.4 MHz, Narrowband IoT is limited to operating at roughly 200 kHz.

This implies that LTE-M is superior to Narrowband IoT when it comes to transmitting big volumes of data at fast speeds.

The quantity of energy they devour daily also differs significantly. If you need a long-lasting IoT device that runs on batteries, look no further than Narrowband IoT because of its low power requirements.

LTE-M, on the other hand, is ideal for uses that call for greater data speeds and longer battery life since it uses more energy than Narrowband IoT but less than standard cellular networks.

Although both Narrowband IoToT and LTE-M can provide extensive coverage, the former is more suited to indoor use, while the latter excels in outdoor settings.

Long-Term Evolution (LTE)

Long-Term Evolution (LTE)

What Are the Challenges to the Widespread Adoption of Narrowband IoT?

The impact of narrowband IoT is positive and far-reaching. Nonetheless, they do have certain flaws. Many obstacles prevent Narrowband IoT from being widely used, including:

Constrained portability

Narrowband IoT devices can only communicate with one specific network provider within a certain area.

Limited data transmission

As of yet, Narrowband IoT can only carry text messages and short data packets; it cannot send voice or video.


As Narrowband IoT is still in its infancy, it has not been subjected to extensive testing or deployed in a wide variety of environments.

Higher initial expenses

Narrowband IoT may need more software development, complicated hardware, and licensing fees depending on the available GSM spectrum.

What Are Some Narrowband IoT Use Cases?

Intelligent gas, water, smart meters, and distant sensing applications with low data transmission rates use Narrowband IoT. Due to their remoteness and minimal data utilization, these use cases are ideal for B2B operations.

This also includes the control of HVAC systems, industrial monitors, and sensors in agriculture that watch irrigation systems and look for leaks. Narrowband IoT can also be used in the following ways:

Smart Cities

Smart cities use low-bandwidth applications, including parking systems, sound and environment monitoring, trash control, and traffic monitoring. Narrowband IoT is useful for local governments to monitor street lights, manage waste collection schedules, locate available parking spots, analyze climatic conditions, and assess road conditions.

Smart Agriculture

Smart agriculture uses stationary applications like temperature readings, soil humidity and temperature monitoring, and other environmental monitoring tools. Farmers and towns may collect data from sensing devices using Narrowband IoT modules that notify them of odd events.

These sensors measure soil temperature, humidity, land characteristics, pollution, noise, and rainfall.


Narrowband IoT gives you a safe, cheap way to keep track of people, animals, and assets when you don’t need to do it all the time. Narrowband IoT works well for monitoring stationary or occasionally-moving items.

Logistics & Transportation

Industrial refrigeration and on-site logistics equipment are two examples of semi-stationary assets often utilized in the logistics and transportation industries.


Stationary equipment with low data rates monitors processes that indirectly impact output or quality, industrial assets, and energy use in industrial and manufacturing contexts.

How Can Manufacturers Assure Narrowband IoT Device Quality and Reliability Throughout Production?

Narrowband IoT device makers must ensure their products meet high quality and reliability standards throughout production. Manufacturers must ensure the quality and dependability of their Narrowband IoT devices in the following ways:

  1. Making devices that meet the requirements and specifications of the Narrowband IoT standard.
  2. Manufacturers must work closely with vendors to ensure that the parts and materials used to make the device comply with requirements and are of excellent quality. This can be done with regular communication, audits of quality, and metrics for measuring performance.
  3. Manufacturers must use strict quality assurance and control methods during the production process.  Statistical process control (SPC) can be employed in conjunction with other approaches like testing and inspection to achieve this goal.
  4. The government has established guidelines and standards for Narrowband IoT device manufacturers. Tests for EMC, EMI, and other standards may be required.
  5. Manufacturers can use analytics software to monitor how devices work and find any problems or defects. Machine learning algorithms may examine sensors and other data to discover trends and patterns that signal device quality or dependability concerns.
  6. Manufacturers must monitor and assess their manufacturing processes to find ways to enhance Narrowband IoT device quality and dependability. This may entail process changes, updating testing methods, and purchasing fresh equipment and technologies.
  7. Offering customer support and warranty services to keep customers happy and returning. This means giving customers who use your devices technical help and advice.

As part of providing excellent customer service, the company may also respond to inquiries on the setup and use of the device. Throughout the time frame of the warranty, the company will either repair or replace the broken product.


Narrowband IoT is a subset of LTE that uses unlicensed frequencies below 1 GHz. This makes it perfect for connecting devices in distant or difficult-to-reach areas without cellular infrastructure.

Narrowband IoT is also very efficient, which means it can connect up to ten times as many devices as a regular cellular network. This makes it a great way to connect many different things, like energy meters, asset tracking systems, and agro-based detectors.

At PCBMay, we value open lines of communication and fast responses to our customers’ needs. If you have any queries regarding Narrowband IoT, our helpful customer support staff is here to help.

PCBMay is committed to providing you with solutions that meet your unique requirements while also being affordable. We can provide you with an estimate for Narrowband IoT PCBs or any other kind of printed circuit board.

Contact us today to learn more about how we make PCBs and get a quote.

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