Cellular IoT connects physical devices (such as sensors) to the internet using essentially the same technology as your smartphone. Instead of needing to create a new, private network to operate your IoT devices, they can piggyback on existing mobile networks.
Most low-power devices have historically used GPRS (General Packet Radio System), which has excellent hand-off abilities – important for mobile devices and vehicle-based implementations – as well as low data costs and low power consumption. However, as GPRS networks face being deprecated in many countries, it is essential for designers and engineers to take forward looking decisions when designing IoT devices, and in the context of Cellular IoT this means embracing the new LTE standards proactively, as opposed to reactively.
With GPRS being turned off, the next generation of cellular IoT applications, will typically migrate to one of two technologies: LTE-M (Long Term Evolution for Machines and aka Cat-M1 or Cat-M) or NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT, aka LTE CatNB1 or LTE-M2). Only the US, Netherlands, Ireland, and Australia have national LTE coverage, while GSM is standard in regions like Eastern Europe and Africa.
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