Some of NB-IoT use cases are Smart City, Smart Parking, Smart Metering, Street Lighting, Home Automation, Building Automation, Smart Agriculture, etc. The key requirements here are periodic transmission of small packets of data and longer battery life. These sensors rely on 4G coverage, so they work anywhere where there is coverage – even indoors. Moreover, for the above use cases, the IoT sensors are stationary, the network latency is between 1.5 to 10 seconds and amount of data being transmitted (peak data rate less than 100 kbps) is very less. The uplink/downlink speed is 27.2 / 62.5 kbps. The battery power consumption is best at very low data rate and can achieve battery life up to ten years. The NB-IoT uses narrowband, so it allows enhanced indoor and underground penetration and overall reach. So, a latency-insensitive sensor can be positioned in hard-to-reach areas which do not require high throughput or frequent reporting – idle for use cases like pipe-line monitoring, waste bin monitoring, man hole monitoring, etc.
For LTE-M, the use cases scenarios are – mobility, real-time data communication (for example emergency alarm data, voice, tracking) and mission-critical applications. Some use cases are Smart Transportation, Wearables, Smart Asset Tracking, Home Security, Patient Monitoring, etc. The LTE-M latency is between 50 to 100 milli seconds and peak data rate is 384 kbps. The uplink/downlink speed is up to 1 Mbps. LTE-M is idle when you need to meet user experience requirement for static and mobility scenarios. It also allows more data throughput compared to NB-IOT.