Quick definition: LTE-M stands for Long Term Evolution Machine Type Communication. It’s a type of 4G cellular network specifically designed for the Internet of Things that comes in two main versions: Cat-M1 and Cat-M2.
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What Is LTE Cat-1?
LTE has more than 20 distinct User Equipment (UE) categories that define specific uplink and downlink capabilities. The lower the category number, the slower its data speeds are. This means LTE Cat-1 consumes less power and is less complex than higher LTE UE categories, making it better suited for battery-powered devices.
What Is LTE Cat-M2?
LTE Cat-M2 offers the same advantages as Cat-M1, but with faster speeds. In order to use Cat-M2, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have to upgrade their Cat-M1 infrastructure. IoT manufacturers, however, won’t need to invest in new technologies: Cat-M1 modems are still compatible with Cat-M2 networks, and Cat-M2 uses the same frequency bands. Since 2016, MNOs have been building up their Cat-M1 infrastructure, but in the future, this will all be Cat-M2.
Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) Explained
These Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) allow a greater volume of devices to share bandwidth than traditional cellular networks like 2G, 3G, and 4G. They enable devices to utilize unused frequencies within a carrier’s licensed bands, and use less power than many other types of network.