NB-IoT vs LTE-M Which is the best technology for your IoT project?

Differences between NB-IoT and LTE-M: Which is the best technology for your IoT project?

NB-IOT and LTE-M are two Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies developed for IoT applications. Both are low-bandwidth cellular communications protocols that connect devices that need to transmit data to the internet, at low cost and with high battery life.

In the world of the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors play an essential role in collecting and transmitting valuable data. To connect these sensors to cellular networks, two emerging technologies stand out: NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) and LTE-M1 or LTE Cat-M1 (Long Term Evolution for Machines).

We show you the differences between these two technologies to help you choose the one that best suits your IoT sensor applications.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT)

NB-IoT is a wide-range network technology specifically designed for IoT applications that require low power consumption and low-speed connectivity. It uses a narrow bandwidth, allowing it to provide excellent signal penetration through obstacles such as buildings and underground areas. NB-IoT is ideal for IoT sensor applications that require long battery life and reliable connectivity over long distances.

LTE-M1 (Long Term Evolution for Machines)

LTE-M1 , also known as LTE-Cat-M1 , is also a cellular network technology suitable for IoT applications. It offers higher data rates than NB-IoT while maintaining low power consumption. LTE-M1 supports applications that require two-way communication and higher data transfers, such as security systems and vehicle tracking. In addition, LTE-M1 offers better latency than NB-IoT, which is essential for IoT applications that require real-time responses.

Key elements to compare

When choosing between NB-IoT and LTE-M1 for IoT applications, it is critical to consider the specific requirements of each project. Here are some key points to consider for a more detailed comparison:

Coverage map

Source: https://www.gsma.com/iot/deployment-map/

Power consumption

Battery life is a crucial factor for IoT sensors, as they typically run on limited power sources, such as batteries or rechargeable batteries. NB-IoT features low power consumption, enabling longer battery life for IoT sensors. This makes it an ideal solution for applications where sensors are deployed in hard-to-reach or low-maintenance locations. Although LTE-M1 consumes slightly more power than NB-IoT, it is still more economical than traditional cellular technologies and offers sufficient battery life for many IoT applications..

Latency and bidirectional connectivity

Latency, the delay between sending a request and receiving a response, is an important issue in IoT applications. LTE-M1 offers better latency than NB-IoT, which means IoT devices can communicate faster and get real-time responses. This can be essential for applications such as security systems or connected medical devices, where fast responsiveness is crucial. In addition, LTE-M1 supports two-way communication, allowing IoT sensors to send real-time information and updates, as well as receive commands. NB-IoT, on the other hand, is optimised for one-way communication, which may be sufficient for certain IoT applications that do not require real-time feedback.

Data rate

Data throughput is an essential factor to consider, depending on the needs of the IoT application. If the application requires sporadic, low-speed data transmission, NB-IoT is a suitable solution. For example, sensors used in environmental monitoring or meter reading applications can operate with low data rates. On the other hand, if the application involves higher data transfers and more information-rich communications, LTE-M1 offers higher data rates, suitable for applications such as vehicle tracking or video surveillance systems.

The cost

LTE-M offers higher throughput and lower latency than NB-IoT, which makes this technology generally more expensive. It is therefore essential to carefully assess the specific needs in order to find the most suitable and cost-effective solution.

In conclusion, the decision between NB-IoT and LTE-M1 depends on the specific requirements of the IoT application.

NB-IoT is ideal for applications requiring low power consumption, long-range connectivity and low data rates.

LTE-M1 is better suited to applications requiring higher data rates, reduced latency and bi-directional communication.

Careful evaluation of these key factors will help in choosing the right technology.



LEZ – Low Emission Zones for smart cities and urban areas

Zonas de Bajas Emisiones (ZBE) para ciudades inteligentes y áreas urbanas


A low emissions zone (LEZ) is an urban area in which vehicle access, circulation and parking restrictions are applied to improve air quality and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions , in accordance with the classification of vehicles by its emissions level in accordance with the provisions of the current General Vehicle Regulations.

Law 7/2021, of May 20, on climate change and energy transition establishes that municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants when the limit values ​​of the pollutants regulated in Royal Decree 102/2011 are exceeded. , of January 28 and the island territories will adopt sustainable urban mobility plans before 2023.

These zones are delimited by specific signs and apply access, circulation and parking restrictions to vehicles according to their environmental label.

Matrix Electrónica in collaboration with our partners offers a range of products to efficiently manage EPZs, improving their effectiveness and efficiency.

Our products include:

  • Access control: Switches and sensors identify vehicles that comply with restrictions and allow them access to the EPZ.
  • Mobility management: Sensors and industrial computers collect traffic data in EPZs and optimise vehicle circulation.
  • Air quality: Sensors collect data on air quality in the EPZ and assess the impact of restrictions..

If you are interested in finding out more about our ZBE products, please visit the web section or contact us.


Monitoring of Water Canals in Peru with IoT devices

Monitoring of water canals in Peru

There is growing demand for IoT devices that can operate in remote places without the need for high maintenance, frequent replacement, or a power supply. Such is the case of the Peruvian National Water Authority (Autoridad Nacional del Agua), that needed a solution to monitor water canals all around the country.

Thousands of kilometers of water canals, many of them from the pre-hispanic era, make agriculture possible in the desertic areas of Peru. That is why the National Water Authority needed a very specific device to allow the maintenance of 16,658 km of canals in 22 different regions. A better monitoring of these canals will reactivate the agricultural activity on those areas, as well as create productive job opportunities.

Device: MTX-StarSensor, IoT modem for sensor control with IP67, ULP, batteries

Other equipment: any radar sensor


Webdyn’s MTX-StarSensor is an autonomous modem that powers any radar sensor to measure the water level of the canals, without the need of a power source, giving the device an autonomy of up to 10 years in case of one daily measurement reading.

The modem functions with primary batteries, a very necessary feature for any equipment installed in remote locations deprived of electricity. It also has an IP67 enclosure to protect it in the midst of harsh environments, and make it resistant to water. Thanks to its innovative Ultra Low Power firmware feature, this device can be programmed to wake up every hour along with the sensor, powered by a 24V power output. Afterwards, the sensor takes a measurement and the equipment stores the data or sends it through the cellular network to an IoT platform via FTP/s, and then goes back to sleep until the next reading. The reading times can be changed remotely via SMS.

In this case, the device is programmed to send the data six times per day, except when it detects an unusual change of the water level. If that happens, the device sends an alarm along with the gathered data. With this set up, the batteries do not need to be replaced for more than three years, resulting in a considerable reduction in maintenance costs, driving time, and human resources that would be needed in case they had to be changed more frequently. This solution also reduces the risk of flooding and the water waste, maximizing this precious resource for agricultural purposes.

Another important feature is its Bluetooth interface, which facilitates the remote configuration or data extraction without the need to manipulate a device that may be installed in locations with difficult access. A magnet is all that is needed to unlock the equipment for its programming.

According to National Water Authority engineers, the purpose of the project is the registration of organized and reliable water information through the continuous measurement of water at the head of the irrigation blocks and catchments on the coast of Peru. They affirm the results “will be reflected in the improvement of the management of water resources, the control and monitoring of the exercise of the right to use water, and the improvement in the efficiency of water use and economic compensation.”

The MTX-StarSensor is an ideal solution for a wide range of applications like monitoring of tanks and silos, pumping stations, distribution of water through canals, tank filling based on the demand and the electricity price, regulation of gates, monitoring of land (humidity, pH, light) for crops, etc. It allows 4G/3G/2G connectivity and can send the data via MQTT/s, HTTP/s or FTP/s. It also has all the functionalities of the powerful MTX-Tunnel firmware, and it is compatible with Cervello Stem – IoT Platform.

Let’s get into the history of innovation.

Development of IoT solutions. Manufacture and distribution of modules and electronic equipment.

IoT Routers | IoT Modems | Industrial Networking | Embedded Computing | Wireless IoT | Sensors | LED Lighting


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