SigFox and LoRa compared with LTE-M
LTE-M is a low power wide area network that is also based on the LTE network.It is characterised by the following features:
- large range
- good building penetration
- low energy consumption
- low latent time
- also enables the transmission of medium data packets
In a direct comparison, LTE-M has similar advantages to SigFox and LoRa as NB-IoT. There is also another aspect: it is the only technology mentioned so far that is suitable for real-time tracking of mobile objects.This is due to two properties:
- Low latency: real-time and high latency are mutually exclusive. With LTE-M it is possible to track where a device is at any given moment. If you use SigFox or NB-IoT, you have to live with delays.
- Handover: Handover occurs when networked devices move from one cell to another. LTE-M maintains the connection in this case. With other technologies, devices have to dial in again each time, which in turn causes delays.
(1) The latency time (delay time) describes the time that elapses between the occurrence of an event and the occurrence of a visible reaction to it.
(2) Handover: When a mobile terminal moves to a new radio cell without the connection being interrupted, this is referred to as a “handover”.
These requirements make LTE-M a popular choice for mobile applications, such as supply chain tracking. In addition, LTE-M enables voice transmissions. This makes the standard suitable for emergency call systems, for example in lifts.
The only disadvantage at the moment is that the network coverage of LTE-M and NB-IoT is not yet comparable with the older G2 technology. Especially in rural areas, users must expect gaps that will have a negative impact on tracking.
Good to know: Network technologies that rely on licensed frequency bands and are promoted by large telecommunications companies have another general advantage: you can get suitable hardware from many different providers.