Internet of Things (IoT) Tutorial

IoT Stages and Components

Table of Contents

  • Understanding Stages of Internet of Things
  • Quiz!

Understanding Stages of Internet of Things

  • Hardware: Refers to the physical components.

  • Software: Includes software, information systems, and applications.

  • Middleware: Includes inter-software and information exchange network. It connects several computer applications.

The architecture of an IoT system is made up of several levels that communicate with each other to connect the tangible objects to the virtual world of networks and the cloud. Not all projects adopt a similar architecture. However, it is possible to diagram the data path.

A sensor starts by taking measurements, such as temperature, pressure, CO2 rate, geolocation, etc.

The measurement taken by the sensor is then sent to the gateway using a first communication protocol. The gateway translates the protocols to establish communication between the objects and the network (public or private, often the cloud). 

Sometimes, an intelligence embedded in the gateway allows the processing and storage of the data and the control functions of the object. For short-range protocols (Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, BLE, etc.), the gateway is local and often connects to the box of the internet service provider. 

On the other hand, the gateway is located on the telecom operator's network for long-range protocols (Sigfox, LoRa, LTEM, NBIoT, 3G/4G, etc.). The gateway is located on the telecom operator's network.

  • NarrowBand-IoT

The NarrowBand-IoT, supported by telecommunications giants such as Huawei, Qualcomm, Vodafone, or even T-Mobile, uses the 200 kHz frequency band previously used for GSM.

This technology is better suited for large fleets of fixed devices and requires a low volume of data in terms of use because the information transfer rate is lower on NB-IoT than for LTE-M. Communication latency is not an issue here.

Use cases are telemetry for connected water or electricity meters or intelligent agriculture.

This solution even extends the life of the batteries up to 10 years.

In practice, the NarrowBand-IoT should offer a definite cost advantage over competing technologies due to a large ecosystem of suppliers. 

However, this is only true in mass, and for the moment, NB-IoT is not still highly prevalent. We come back to the problem of the chicken and the egg.

  • LTE-M

LTE-M technology is the choice of the top operators around the globe, including AT&T, Verizon, Orange, etc. It is gradually on the rise and making itself stand apart from NB-IoT. 

This technology has the advantage of coexisting with existing networks and does not require the purchase of new compatible modems as for NB-IoT.

Unlike NB-IoT, LTE-M offers a faster data transfer rate (384 kb/s against 100 kb/s) which is a significant criterion for uploading the video, particularly in the world of video surveillance.

But what significantly differentiates LTE-M is that, unlike NB-IoT, it offers voice exchanges on the network and manages the mobility of objects above all. As a result, devices don't have to be fixed. Instead, they can move, which is essential for connected vehicles or applications for lone workers.

Opting for one of these technologies will depend directly on the operators and the services they plan to offer to businesses or connected cities, considering their uses and needs.

It also means that NB-IoT and LTE-M will coexist as they offer several benefits that meet the business models chosen by customers.

Some operators like KPN also choose to develop both solutions in parallel simultaneously.


What is the frequency of the NarrowBand-IoT?

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