IoT antennas in this category are optimised for communication over cellular LPWAN standards, such as NB-IoT and LTE-M (Cat-M1/M2 / eMTC). While mobile network operators also provide LTE-M services on the cellular mid-bands, the vast majority of communication occurs over the low LTE bands 700 to 960 MHz. Within the Asia-Pacific region the two most popular LTE-M bands are B28 and B8 (both in-band and guard-band deployments).
The major calling card for NB-IoT and LTE-M is its ability to communicate over long ranges and penetrate deep into buildings and basements thanks to their extreme narrowband nature. Accordingly it makes most sense to use low frequency bands which are already best for deep and long range coverage.
NB-IoT and LTE-M antennas are small in form-factor and optimised for communication on the low band. Those of us who have had experience in sourcing low-band M2M antennas know just how challenging in a world optimised for LTE communication at 1800 and 2100 MHz. Powertec has worked extensively with its manufacturing partners to develop LTE-M and NB-IoT optimised antennas.
Deploying large-scale IoT comes with risk inherent to the significant volumes and geographic dispersion of equipment. Selecting the right IoT antenna means diligent consideration of datasheet parameters, with particular attention paid to mechanical characteristics. Monitoring and metering equipment may be in the field for decades before replacement, the success or failure of which hinges on the longevity of the antenna.