A special feature of the LPWAN networks (NB-IOT and LTE M) is the low amount of energy required to send data from a device to the cloud. This allows you to operate independently of a fixed power connection and a ‘device’ can run for years on one battery. A ‘device’ based on LTE M can work for up to 5 years on two AA batteries and on the basis of NB-IOT even 10 years.
NB-IOT and LTE M functionalities
NB-IOT and LTE M have been developed for data communication over longer distances with the lowest possible energy consumption. Two of the energy consumption functionalities in NB-IOT and LTE M are the Power Saving Mode (PSM) and Extended Discontinuous Reception (eDRX).
With the help of PSM the cellular module in the device can be put to sleep. During that sleep time, the energy consumption is a few microamperes. The device will not communicate with the network during that time. If the ‘device’ does want to send data, the cellular module will automatically come out of sleep mode and immediately send the desired data over the network. By arranging this sleeping time as optimally as possible, energy consumption is kept to a minimum.
For some business cases, where the device mainly receives data from the IoT network and sends virtually no data, the time that the device listens to the network can be adjusted. This appointment between the device and the network can be extended with eDRX from every 10 seconds to once every few hours, this lowers battery consumption.
NB-IOT and LTE-M are the best choice for cross-border connectivity, since roaming agreements are now progressing very fast compared to LoRa. The cellular modules can go into a deep, low-power sleep mode (PSM) or only become active (eDRX) when the cellular module needs to connect to the network to transmit data. This results in a significant battery saving.