LoRaWAN and NB-IoT : competitors or complementary

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www.abiresearch.com LORAWAN ® AND NB-IOT: COMPETITORS OR COMPLEMENTARY? Introduction Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies are serving a need in multiple IoT markets for devices that are low cost and sustain long bat- tery life, and networks that are low cost, cover wide areas, and can support massive numbers of connections. There are several options for LPWA connectivity, but LoRaWAN and NB-IoT have shown the most momentum and will garner the largest share of the LPWA market in the coming years. This whitepaper will examine the two technologies for their similarities and differences. It will transition to a discus- sion of LoRaWAN use in several vertical markets, highlighting LoRaWAN's unique benefits. The whitepaper will conclude with the potential use cases where both LoRaWAN and NB-IoT will operate together to provide the greatest value for customers. Technical Comparison of LoRaWAN and NB-IoT LoRaWAN is an open LPWAN system architecture developed and standardized by the LoRa AllianceTM, a non-profit association of more than 500 member companies. LoRa is the modulation technique used in the physical layer that enables long-range low-power com- munications by using Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS) modulation, which spreads the narrowband signals across a wider channel allowing greater interference resilience and low signal-to-noise ratio levels. NB-IoT, on the other hand, operates in the licensed spectrum, and like LTE, uses Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) in the uplink, Orthogonal FDMA (OFDMA) in the downlink, and Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) modulation. While both technologies can compete on Quality of Service (QoS), IoT applications that require more frequent communications will be better served by NB-IoT, which has no duty cycle limitations operating on the licensed spectrum, but at the expense of higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) relative to LoRaWAN.

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