Lesson 1 – Basics of cellular IoT

Overview

Cellular IoT refers to Internet of things (IoT) technologies developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to enable IoT communications using cellular networks, thus leveraging already existing infrastructure. Two of the most prominent cellular IoT technologies are LTE-M and NB-IoT, which use an LTE variant tailored specifically for IoT.

In this lesson, we will learn about LTE-M and NB-IoT, and how they differ from standard LTE. We will go over their technical differences, and how this enables them to support different kinds of use cases. Then we will look at the connection states and power saving techniques available in this technology, and give information about network providers and SIM cards. Afterward, we will introduce Nordic’s cellular development hardware, the nRF9160 System in Package (SiP), along with some of its main features.

In the exercise section, we will walk you through the steps of updating the modem and application firmware on the device, and initializing and connecting the device to nRF Cloud.

Objectives

  • Learn the basics of LTE-M and NB-IoT and understand the main differences between them (bandwidth, downlink, uplink, latency).
  • Examine the pros and cons of LTE-M and NB-IoT and how their differences reflect on their use cases.
  • Explore the support for LTE-M and NB-IoT worldwide with regard to network operators.
  • Learn about the RRC Connected and RRC Idle modes for the modem, and the power saving techniques eDRX and PSM.
  • Practice through hands-on exercises how to update the firmware on your nRF91 Series hardware and setting up the SIM card.
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