What is the difference between LoRa and NB-IoT

By sdga:NiceRF Wireless Technology Co., Ltd

Among the low-power wide area network communication technologies, LoRa and NB-IoT have the best development prospects. At this time, many people asked questions, what is the difference between LoRa and NB-IoT, what is the difference, which one is better, can occupy the commanding heights of LPWAN? This article will take you to interpret the difference between LoRa and NB-IoT.


Analysis of key features of LoRa technology

LoRa was born earlier than NB-IoT. In August 2013, Semtech released a new type of chip based on the ultra-long range and low-power data transmission technology (Long Range, LoRa) below 1GHz, with a sensitivity of -148dbm, which is more advanced than others. The level of sub-GHz, the highest receiving sensitivity has been improved by more than 20db, making the network connection more reliable.

LoRa technical characteristics

LoRa technical characteristics


LoRa uses chirp spread spectrum modulation technology, which can not only maintain the same low power consumption characteristics of FSK (frequency shift keying) modulation, but also increase the communication distance, improve network efficiency and eliminate interference, that is, even terminals with different spread spectrum sequences Using the same frequency to send at the same time will not interfere with each other. Therefore, the Concentrator/Gateway developed on this basis can receive and process data from multiple nodes in parallel, greatly expanding the system capacity.

Everyone knows that linear spread spectrum has been used in military and space communications for decades because it can achieve long communication distances and robustness to interference. LoRa is the first low-cost implementation for commercial use. Its introduction The situation in the field of embedded wireless communication has been completely changed. This technology changes the compromise between transmission distance and power consumption, and provides a simple communication system that can achieve long-distance, long battery life, large capacity, and low cost.

LoRa mainly operates in global free frequency bands such as 433, 868, and 915 (ie, unlicensed frequency bands). The LoRa network is registered by four parts: terminal (built-in LoRa module), gateway (or base station), server and cloud, and application data can be transmitted in both directions. As shown in the figure:

LoRa network architecture

LoRa network architecture


Where are the advantages of LoRa?

  1. Greatly improve the receiving sensitivity and reduce power consumption
  2. The gateway/concentrator based on this technology supports parallel processing of multiple channels and multiple data rates, and the system has a large capacity.
  3. Systems based on terminals and concentrators/gateways can support ranging and positioning.


Key featureAdvantage
157db link budgetLong distance
Minimal infrastructure costEasy to build and deploy
Use gateway/concentrator to expand system capacity
Battery life>10 yearsExtend battery life
Receive current 10mA, sleep current <200mA
License-free frequency bandLow cost
Low infrastructure cost
Low node/terminal cost


The advantages of these features allow LoRa technology to be used in IoT applications with low power consumption, long distances, a large number of connections, and location tracking. It is commonly used in smart meter reading, smart parking, vehicle tracking, pet tracking, smart agriculture, smart industry, and wisdom. Community and other applications and fields.


NB-IoT rising star

The freezing of the NB-IoT standard in June 2016 enabled the implementation of the much-watched NB-IoT large-scale commercial foundation. Many people believe that 2017 will be the first year of NB-IoT network commercialization.

NB-IoT is a low-power wide area network technology promoted by Huawei and many operators. Therefore, it has attracted the attention of many people in the industry. The topic of the dispute between LoRa and NB-IoT has never been interrupted. Then for the strong back-end NB-IoT, LoRa will Will it not be replaced? Let's take a look at the difference between them first.


What is the difference between LoRa and NB-IoT

From a technical point of view, there is actually not much difference between LoRa and NB-IoT. From the perspective of application, many of the two are actually the same. The difference is that NB-IOT uses a unified deployment of a nationwide network for charging operations by operators, while LoRa allows companies to build their own networks to achieve business operations.

Although the background of NB-IoT is powerful and supported by many operators, it does not mean that LoRa will be easily replaced. Who is better and can occupy the commanding heights of LPWAN is not just a matter of judging. LoRa has mature commercial applications, and NB-IoT has just started. We will wait and see who is better.

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