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NB-IoT Standard Poised to Take 90% Share of Low-Power Wide-Area Networks for IoT

With wider geographical coverage and reliability, the NB-IoT will dominate LPWAN, the network that will connect billions of devices in the Internet of Things, Lux Research says

BOSTON, MA – April 27, 2017 – A networking standard called NB-IoT will likely win the battle for the low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) market as telecom companies and new entrants race to build an optimized network to connect billions of devices in the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), according to Lux Research.

LPWANs are key to IoT's bid to connect far-flung sensors and other devices. They optimize battery life by decreasing power consumption, while networking standards ensure reliable connections at low speeds to support low levels of data use.

By 2022, NB-IoT will likely capture over 90% of the LPWAN connections globally, trouncing rival standards Sigfox and LoRaWAN on the strength of its wider coverage and reliability. LoRaWAN is likely to complement NB-IoT in niche cases, and 5G is unlikely to disrupt the LPWAN space until at least 2028.

"The spread of LPWAN will enable new use cases in the IoT by offering cheap connectivity for devices where cellular connections is cost prohibitive," said Tiffany Huang, Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report titled, "Connecting the Dots - Determining the Winner in Low-Power Wide-Area Networks."

"While Sigfox is generating the most buzz today, it's likely to be displaced by NB-IoT in the coming years," she added.

Lux Research evaluated diverse LPWAN technologies on four key criteria: power consumption, cost, data reliability and geographical coverage. Among their findings:

  • LoRaWAN has niche use cases. The LoRaWAN standard has an edge in niche cases. It is the only system with built-in GPS-like technology and can be used to build shared community networks. Mobile network operators are deploying it or considering dual deployment along with NB-IoT.
  • Sigfox's early lead is fragile. Sigfox's only advantage is its lead in network deployments, mainly in Europe, and these existing uses are the main reason why solution providers choose it today. However, as LPWAN competition like NB-IoT grows, Sigfox's advantage will begin to erode.
  • 5G will be hit by delays and costs. Fifth-generation mobile technology, or 5G, won't disrupt the LPWAN space any time soon. LTE and LTE-A wide scale coverage began only two years to three years after standardizations were set, and it is likely that 5G will face the same fate or even longer, with standardized and full stack deployments beginning in 2022. High costs are another deterrent.

The report, titled "Connecting the Dots - Determining the Winner in Low-Power Wide-Area Networks," is part of the Lux Research Intelligence service.

View this release on MarketWired.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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