March 20, 2017

Coverage and Capacity Analysis of LTE-M and NB-IoT in a Rural Area

  • Holst S.
  • Kovacs I.
  • Lauridsen M.
  • Mogensen P.
  • Sorensen M.

The 3GPP has introduced the LTE-M and NB-IoT User Equipment categories and made amendments to LTE release 13 to support the cellular Internet of Things. The contribution of this paper is to analyze the coverage probability, the number of supported devices, and the device battery life in networks equipped with either of the newly standardized technologies. The study is made for a site specific network deployment of a Danish operator, and the simulation is calibrated using drive test measurements. The results show that LTE-M can provide coverage for 99.9 % of outdoor and indoor devices, if the latter is experiencing 10 dB additional loss. However, for deep indoor users NB-IoT is required and provides coverage for about 95 % of the users. The cost is support for more than 10 times fewer devices and a 2-6 times higher device power consumption. Thus both LTE-M and NB- IoT provide extended support for the cellular Internet of Things, but with different trade- offs.

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