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The NB-IoT is becoming a standard in wireless communication of IoT devices, for standalone solutions and complex installations with thousands of units, coordinated with gateways. Will NarrowBand-IoT replace other wireless technologies in industrial automation?

What exactly is NarrowBand?

NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) is a radio technology in the field of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) dedicated for IoT devices, operating on the licensed frequency band used by telecommunications operators.

The biggest advantages of NB-IoT include:

  • long battery life (up to 10 years),
  • efficiency in the amount of data transferred,
  • intra-building penetration,
  • the ability to connect even tens of thousands of devices in one system,
  • a global standard,
  • a high level of security and low cost

You can build mass solutions and those that until now were considered unprofitable. NB-IoT technology works in the licensed band, so there is no risk of interference and blocking communication by competing networks.

The service life of devices powered by two AA batteries is up to 10 years. However, the devices themselves are constructed in such a way that they can work for many years without the need for technical supervision and recharging the battery.

NB-IoT used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of NarrowBand-IoT wireless modems can be communication of edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT modems

eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

Bulgarian open equipment specialist, Olimex, has started stocking compact modules to add Low-Power NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) connectivity (LPWAN) to the project: the NB-IoT-BC66 family.

NB-IoT is low power wide area networking technology which uses existing GSM LTE technology and has many advantages versa LoRa,” the company explains. „GSM network quality of service; single GSM cell can talk to up to 100,000 devices; high; communication speed 25.5kbps up and downlink; secure communication using LTE encryption; better range than LoRa both in urban and rural area (* depend on cell operating frequency – best range is on 850MHz.)

Source: https://olimex.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/new-nb-iot-bc66-modules-with-size-only-26×26-mm-contain-everything-you-need-to-add-nb-iot-functionality-in-your-next-project/

Olimex has launched four NB-IoT breakout boards. They are all based on the Quectel BC-66 module. NB-IoT-BC66 is the basic model, NB-IoT-BC66-ANT includes an attached GSM antenna, NB-IoT-BC66H contains a pre-soldered header, NB-IoT-BC66 and NB-IoT-BC66H-ANT combines both a soldered header and an attached antenna.

Olimex BC66 breakout board’s features and specifications:

  • NB-IoT Connectivity
    • Quectel BC-66 with worldwide GSM bands coverage
    • 25.5 kbps uplink and downlink
    • nano SIM card slot
    • u.FL antenna connector + optional antenna
  • I/O Expansion – 3x 10-pin header either unpopulated or fitted with male headers; Level shifters for 5x GPIOs, I2C, SPI, UART
  • Misc – Status LEDs
  • Power Supply –
  • Dimensions – 26×26 mm

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/08/olimex-quectel-bc66-breakout-board/

eModGATE with ESP32

NB-IoT used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of NarrowBand-IoT wireless modems can be communication of edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT modems

eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

Raspberry Pi based controller with Modbus, M-Bus & MQTT support

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ based ModBerry industrial computer series use latest Compute Module 3+, powered by Quad-core Cortex-A53 1.2GHz processor, 1024MB LPDDR2 RAM and up to 32GB Flash eMMC. The module increase the device’s performance up to ten times, maintaining low power consumption and optimal price of the solution. Raspberry Pi based ModBerry features industrial protocol support, e.g. Modbus, M-Bus, SNMP, MQTT and the possibility to add new protocols with ease.

ModBerry protocol modularity

ModBerry 500 hardware modularity

The main features of ModBerry Industrial Computers series are the extension capabilities to increase input/output number, add up to 4 internal wireless communication modems and modules, support additional features such as accelerometer or opto-isolation options.

ModBerry 500 series offers wide range of industrial interfaces e.g.: digital inputs/outputs, analog inputs/outputs, relay outputs, serial RS-232/485 ports, Ethernet, 1-Wire, CAN, USB 2.0, HDMI, LTE/3G/GPRS, NarrowBand IoT/LTE, GPS, ZigBee, WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRa and many more via extension modules.

ModBerry hardware modularity

Raspberry Pi based industrial computer ModBerry expands to new platforms, setting new trends on the industrial automation market. ModBerry series offers now a variety of new processing units, wider range of possible applications due to much higher performance than before. We introduced ModBerry M700 based on NanoPi platform, Intel-based ModBerry M1000 with UpBoard computing module and latest ModBerry 400 to complete Raspberry Pi platform with economical device for further upgrades with extension modules.

ModBerry remote management

The iMod platform guarantees a quick start and full use of the ModBerry computer, without the need to write complicated software. One of the main advantages of the iMod platform is its ease of use and variety of available functionalities. Due to the available SDK, the platform can be extended with new, dedicated functionalities.

iMod can be installed directly onto ModBerry device or using external PC outside the installation (iModBOX). The third option is using dedicated hosting server to host the iMod software (iModHOST).

iModCloud Ecosystem

Another product is iModCloud software-service, which enables full control of ModBerry/iMod devices. Together they form a stand-alone solution – iModCloud Ecosystem, a combination of cloud services with web-based user interface and industrial devices, fully manageable remotely.

iModCloud can be hosted externally, using stable DELL servers to host the cloud service.(iModCloudHOST). For higher data security or depending on project features, iModCloud can be hosted internally, inside the installation (iModCloudBOX) hosted by the dedicated Mini-PC or from portable memory stick (iModCloudSTARTER).

More information Raspberry Pi based industrial device

TECHBASE provides solutions for industrial automation, telemetry, remote access and integration with IT systems. Since 2012 the company has been actively developing its competences in the market. Due to an innovative approach – based on the use of cutting-edge technologies, open standards and easy to maintain products – the company has earned the trust of Customers all over the world.

TECHBASE’s mission is to provide our Customers with tools, which will shorten and simplify the process of system implementation. With open architecture and high level of configurability, maintenance of a system is not expensive anymore.

To read more about ModBerry 500 M3 solution, download PDF datasheet: http://a2s.pl/products/ModBerry/ModBerry_500M3_EN.pdf
Read more about all ModBerry Industrial Solutions at: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

LoRa vs NarrowBand-IoT. What is better for Industrial IoT?

Low-power wide-area (LPWA) technology meets the needs of multiple IoT markets for low-cost devices that maintain long battery life and low-cost, large-area networks that support large numbers of connections. However, LoRa (LoRaWAN) and NarrowBand-IoT have the most momentum and will gain the largest share in the LPWA market in the next few years.

Many technology articles compare LoRa and NB-IoT technologies as if they were battling it out for dominance in the IoT market. In reality, these technologies are two branches within an emerging technology ecosystem. Similar to WiFi and Bluetooth, they will most likely to diverge into different niches, rather than directly compete with each other. This article will dive deeper into the capabilities, costs, longevity, maturity, and other differentiators of NB-IoT and LoRa-based technology.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nb-iot-vs-lora-its-ecosystem-race-art-reed

Sigfox/LoRa and NB-IoT in direct comparison

As a result of the research, performed by Tauron, it was found that SigFox and LoRaWAN technologies have limited applications due to the use of the unlicensed ISM band (868 MHz). In addition, each of the three technologies tested has a limit on the transmission channel speed. LoRaWAN, unlike others, allows the construction of an autonomous, separate network dedicated to the needs of the owner.

LTE NarrowBand-IoT technology, as a 3GPP standard, is being increasingly implemented by subsequent mobile operators in the world and in European countries like Poland. For example, polish main frequencies of NB-IoT implementation are 800 MHz and 900 MHz, which allows achieving high coverage of the country.

Research carried out by Tauron has shown that, considering the security of the solution, the availability of telecommunications infrastructure, or the speed of data transmission (important for meter reading), LTE NB IoT technology is closest to use in the energy sector.

Source: https://www.telko.in/tauron-lepiej-ocenia-nb-iot-niz-lora-i-sigfox

Both LoRa and NB-IoT standards were developed to improve security, power efficiency, and interoperability for IoT devices. Each features bidirectional communication (meaning the network can send data to the IoT device, and the IoT device can send data back), and both are designed to scale well, from a few devices to millions of devices.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nb-iot-vs-lora-its-ecosystem-race-art-reed

Use of LoRa/NB-IoT in industrial automation

Use of wireless connection makes life and work easier for us every day – from radio stations and GSM to Wi-Fi wireless networks, Zigbee, short-range Bluetooth connectivity and LoRa / NarrowBand-IoT wireless solutions. With the spread of internet access, the possibility of using wireless connectivity for a new type of service and application has opened.

ModBerry 500 / ModBerry 9500

Device equipped with LoRa module is delivered with a LoRaWAN protocol stack, so it can be easily connected to the existing, fast-growing LoRa Alliance infrastructure – both in privately managed local area networks (LAN) and public telecommunications networks to create wide area low power WAN (LPWAN) on a national scale. LoRaWAN stack integration also allows connection to any microcontroller, such as ModBerry industrial device from TECHBASE. Such solutions offer also NarrowBand-IoT and full 4G/LTE support.

Advantages of Industrial IoT in modern manufacturing and smart environments

Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial IoT or just IIoT for short) uses Internet of Things technology to improve production and industrial processes. These processes increasingly require connected devices to perform their tasks effectively.

Data generated over the Internet of Things is growing exponentially faster than the traditional cloud environment where data is stored, so just the amount of data can justify the acceleration. In addition, in the cloud as the destination, problems related to data transfer (delay and bandwidth) occur, so travel speed is the main issue. This edge is necessary as a solution to the inefficiency of IIoT to Cloud architecture.

IIoT market predictions

Industrial IoT devices and edge computing have grown at impressive rates. Accenture predicts the IIoT market will reach $500 billion by 2020; and IIoT already generates 400 zetabytes a year. Gartner estimates that IoT currently generates about 10% of enterprise data; by 2022, Gartner has predicted this will increase to 50%.

According to IDC, IT’s annual investment on edge infrastructure will hit 18% of total IoT spending; and per last year’s Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics Mobility Survey, 27% of global telecom decision-makers say their companies will either implement or expand edge computing this year.

Source: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/internet-of-things/industrial-iot-devices.html

Perimeter (edge) computing architectures bring computing processing closer to the users and devices that need it, rather than centrally processing it in a local data center or public cloud. This edge is important for industrial and production processes that use large amounts of data that require fast response times and tight security.

Fast data processing of Industrial IoT devices

When industrial IoT devices and edge processing work together, digital information becomes more powerful. Especially in contexts where you need to collect data in a traditional edge context, such as a smart meter, a parking meter or a connected trash can in a street apartment. The installation of sensors with internet access in metropolitan garbage containers is becoming increasingly common for smart urban engineers. You can then remotely monitor the container using the sensor. When it is full, the city sanitation service receives a notification and can register an order and empty the container.

By introducing AI (artificial intelligence) into the device itself, edge computing can also make more context-sensitive, quick decisions at the edge. Data gathered from the sensors can be transferred to the cloud at any time after local work has been completed, contributing to a more global AI process, or archived. With the combination of industrial IoT devices and advanced technology, high quality analysis and small footprint will become the AI standard in 2020.

Industrial IoT use of ESP32 chip in eModGATE

Latest innovations used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of IoT can be edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, ZigBee, etc.

For example eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

NarrowBand-IoT the new black of Industrial IoT

The NB-IoT is becoming a standard in wireless communication of IoT devices, for standalone solutions and complex installations with thousands of units, coordinated with gateways. Will NarrowBand-IoT replace other wireless technologies in industrial automation?

What exactly is NarrowBand?

NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) is a radio technology in the field of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) dedicated for IoT devices, operating on the licensed frequency band used by telecommunications operators.

The biggest advantages of NB-IoT include:

  • long battery life (up to 10 years),
  • efficiency in the amount of data transferred,
  • intra-building penetration,
  • the ability to connect even tens of thousands of devices in one system,
  • a global standard,
  • a high level of security and low cost

You can build mass solutions and those that until now were considered unprofitable. NB-IoT technology works in the licensed band, so there is no risk of interference and blocking communication by competing networks.

The service life of devices powered by two AA batteries is up to 10 years. However, the devices themselves are constructed in such a way that they can work for many years without the need for technical supervision and recharging the battery.

NB-IoT used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of NarrowBand-IoT wireless modems can be communication of edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT modems

eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

TECHBASE updates M500 devices with Raspberry Pi 4

The newest addition to TECHBASE’s Industrial IoT Ecosystem is an updated ModBerry M500 with latest Raspberry Pi 4 development board, equipped with a 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). ModBerry M500 can be configured from 1GB / 2GB / 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM options.

Gigabit Ethernet & USB 3.0 on-board

Another new and appreciated feature is an upgrade to full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet for fast network connection and 2x USB 3.0 / 2x USB 2.0 for additional I/O, data storage extension and fast wireless modem support. ModBerry M500 with Rasbperry Pi 4 has dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 on-board. For additional wireless networks expansions, you can choose from variety of Industrial IoT modems from TECHBASE offer, incl. 3G/LTE, NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT), Wireless M-Bus, ZigBee, LoRa, Sigfox, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and many more.

Enhanced Video support for RPi4

The full HDMI port has been replaced with two microHDMI ports with dual monitor support, at resolutions up to 4K, VideoCore VI graphics, supporting OpenGL ES 3.x and 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video. The device is fully compatible with previous versions of Rasbperry Pi based Industrial IoT devices and accessories from TECHBASE.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Modberry M500

Raspberry Pi 4 based ModBerry M500 availability

New ModBerry M500 with three variants of Raspberry Pi 4 based devices is available for pre-orders via https://iiot-shop.com/product/modberry-m-series/ For specific delivery time please contact us via e-mail or Live Chat, directly at Industrial IoT Shop.

The embedded SIM card (eSIM) is a form of programmable SIM card that is directly built in the device. eSIM is a global GSMA specification that enables remote SIM delivery to any supported device, and GSMA defines eSIM as the SIM card for the next generation of connected consumer / professional devices and network solution with the use of eSIM technology.

Easy SIM operator swap

In Industrial IoT applications in which there is no need to change the SIM card, the need of using a connector is avoided, which increases reliability and data security. eSIM can be remotely configured – users can add or change operators without having to physically swap the SIM card from the device. It is often a crucial requirement for the installations where factors such as temperature, water and shock resistance, as well as lack of access forces user to choose remote solutions.

eSIM Raspberry Pi Connvectivity

Raspberry Pi & ESP32-based devices

TECHBASE company is now developing eSIM support for Raspberry Pi and ESP32 industrial devices, such as ModBerry and Moduino X to improve the handling of wireless modem connectivity. To receive an offer for ModBerry/Moduino device with eSIM-based modem, contact our Sales Department via e-mail or Live Chat.

SIMCom SIM7000G

TECHBASE’s Industrial IoT devices, ModBerry & Moduino series supports latest SIMCom global-band SIM7000G eMTC & NB-IoT Module. Now the latest SIM7000G as well as 7000E / 7000A versions of modem are available at IIoT-Shop.

SIMCom SIM7000G

Our ModBerry / Moduino devices equipped with latest SIM7000G modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

    • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
    • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
    • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

    • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
    • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
    • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
    • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

You can browse wireless modem category here: https://iiot-shop.com/product-category/modems/

TECHBASE’s Industrial IoT devices, ModBerry & Moduino series, now supports latest SIMCom global-band SIM7000G eMTC & NB-IoT Module. New SIM7000G supersedes previous 7000E / 7000A / 7000C versions of modem and provides a universal band set with global coverage, in opposite to Europe, America and China-only solutions.

Our ModBerry / Moduino devices equipped with latest SIM7000G modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

Our ModBerry / Moduino devices with global-band SIM7000G are available for testing and developing purposes, due to pending certifications of this module. For more information please contact our sales managers via live chat or contact forms.