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LoRa Vs NB-IoT

Ramon Fernandes

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Interesting article. Just one point about the comment: "The former (LoRa) has already been adopted as the IoT network standard in many countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and the Netherlands (LoRa is buzzing in India too)."

That is just not true. LoRa is by no means widespread in Australia and certainly not adopted as a standard. 


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Did my post get deleted or did I forget to hit the submit button?

Teksmobile, Hussain Fakhruddin and Romit Kumar are very prolific on LinkedIn on this topic, and I don't think they're doing the industry a favour. Their articles are misleading, confusing and full of errors. This is another example. I'm sick of charlatans confusing the public and making the job of the practitioners even harder. Dealing with a confused public that doesn't know who to trust makes it hard to make progress. Thus, I was motivated to reply. Here it is:



Yay, another half-arsed article from Teksmobile on LPWANs to confuse an already confused public. Here we go again:

  • 01. You're conflating three things here: the distinction between LoRa and LoRaWAN; NB-IoT's (lack of) standardisation; and the distinction between cellular and non-cellular comms. They're not related.
  • 02. Channel bandwidth is a technical detail utterly irrelevant here, unless you care to explain the pros and cons of spread spectrum and ultra-narrowband. It's not possible to make an assessment on the information provided.
  • 03. Both technologies require gateways. NB-IoT calls them "base stations". LoRaWAN calls them "gateways". They're both star networks, they both need them. Someone has to manage them in both cases. Perhaps the distinction you're trying to make is that with LoRaWAN you have the option of managing your own. With NB-IoT, only licensed carriers can operate them. You make this point in #07.
  • 04. Battery performance is not related to frequency band. Otherwise, yes, this point is correct! Not useful, but correct!
  • 05. No, LoRa is not "the IoT network standard" in any of those countries. It's just very popular in those countries.
  • 06 & 07 Yes! Nice one.
  • 08. You're conflating signal propagation distance with network coverage. Propagation distance really comes down to the Maximum Coupling Loss (MCL). LoRa is about 165dB and NB-IoT about 151dB, with a bunch of caveats on both those figures. In theory that means LoRa can transmit twice as far as NB-IoT, but practice doesn't care much about theory and there are so many caveats it's not worth comparing. Network coverage on the other hand, is all about the location of the base stations. In that case, yes, NB-IoT's coverage is likely to be similar to 4G coverage, while LoRa can be anywhere. The LoRaWAN gateways still need an Internet backhaul service though, so unless you have a cabled Internet connection handy, you might still be relying on cellular or WiFi.
  • 09. The overall point is correct, but all the technical details are wrong. Looks like you've tried to paraphrase the LoRa Alliance's whitepaper on this topic and made a meal of it. There are no "asynchronous bands", no "peak current orders" and no "non-linear modulations". The words you've copied from the whitepaper are right, they're just not put together in the right order and are now nonsense.
  • 10. Yep.
  • 11. While NB-IoT is not yet working "like a charm in the public domain", the rest is fairly accurate.
  • 12. Yeah, this is a complicated one. It can't be answered by quoting dollar figures on module cost - these bandied around figures are quite misleading. It also doesn't help to conflate the operator's costs with the user's costs. You really need to consider a couple of use cases and compare apples with apples.

Hussain you're a very prolific contributor to this topic. I hope you appreciate the influence you have on a public that are trying to make decisions based on sketchy data. Spreading misinformation does the industry a disservice.



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