Cellular Network

An Ultimate Guide to Cellular Network


llatlarnragTechnology has revolutionized our lives by enabling us to connect frequently.  We have much more connectivity options than our ancestors, including social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Cellular networks allow us to use these platforms to connect with family and friends. Not just social media platforms, cellular networks can also be used to connect other devices such as Gmail servers and google maps. In the era of the internet, more and more devices are connected with the help of internet connectivity. This increase in connectivity demands technology that can connect physical devices to other devices.

For example, you might want to connect your streetlight to your phone to control it easily. This was the driving force behind the Cellular internet of things (IoT). So what is a cellular work, and how does it differ from IoT cellular network? The blog has that covered. We will reveal how cellular IoT works and what advantages you may achieve with it.

What is a Cellular Network?

Cellular IoT uses cellular networks to connect physical devices to the internet. This connection allows the users to send, receive and transmit the data. For example, an autonomous vehicle might need internet connectivity to take you to your desired destination. This connection makes physical devices a part of the internet of things. Cellular IoT is the most popular form of internet connectivity because it offers excellent coverage with a more secure connection.

Other benefits of Cellular IoT include:

  • Simplified global deployment.
  • It performs great in indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Supports low and high bandwidth.

Cellular IoT works similarly to smartphones and mobile devices. It relies on 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G technology to transmit and receive data. These mobile generations connect the devices because they are readily available; this helps maintain a stable connection and maximum coverage.

What is cellular IoT used for? The following section has discussed every detail of practical applications for cellular IoT. After this read, you will be much more informative and confident when talking about Cellular IoT with your colleagues or friends.

What is Cellular IoT Used For?

There are various practical applications of Cellular IoT. For example, someone breaks into your house and cuts the power. They break into the building without realizing that you have a security alarm backed by a cellular connection.

The power cut will give you an alter on your phone app, and the battery-powered cameras will start uploading the footage to the cloud. You can view this footage even if you are not at home. Congratulations, cellular IoT has saved you from being robbed!

But the list is not limited; it goes and goes! Utility providers can place smart meters in the area of their coverage. This will help check the consumption of resources for various areas without needing to send a technician to read the meters.  If you are one, you can save the expenditures of deploying a human resource.

Advantages of Cellular IoT

Cellular IoT allows you to connect sensors with your mobile. Being a restaurant owner, you can track the daily visitors to your restaurant. The same goes for a bakery shop or a clothing outfit. This sensor connectivity will allow you to track the number of visitors so you can check your conversion rates! You might need to change your sales team if your visitors don’t buy your products.

Cellular IoT has many applications, from self-driving cars to intelligent parking to autonomous farming equipment. We need this technology to automate the work and enhance transparency. This technology is ideal for logistics, manufacturing, supply chain management, health care, emergency services, and asset tracking.

The technology can transmit signals and data from any point in the world to any part of the world. This gives you more freedom to control your business without being physically present at the location. Imagine analyzing your business stats while you are on holiday with your loved ones! Yes, cellular IoT gives you that sort of freedom.

Though it seems too good of a deal, the technology has its limitations too, and the biggest one is “limited battery life.” The cellular IoT connection is always backed by battery life, and a battery shortage may disrupt the system for a while. Nothing to be worried about! Low Power wide area networks (LPWANs) allow cellular IoT devices to save power when not used. Curious about How IoT Cellular networks work? All your ambiguities are answered in the next heading!

How cellular IoT connectivity works?

Cellular connectivity works on different components. To understand the technicalities of this technology, you have to get a basic idea of how SIM cards, modems, frequency bands, and the generations of mobile networks work. Need an idea of what these technologies entail? We have that covered!

IoT SIM Cards

A SIM card is a subscriber identity that has information stored on it.  IoT SIM Cards allow the devices to connect to a cellular network, just like your smartphone needs a SIM Card to function. But unlike smartphones, you do not want to limit your IoT device to get coverage from one network since it will limit the coverage area to one specific service provider.

Instead, your IoT needs to be network agnostic so that you may have coverage from multiple service providers. This can be achieved with cellular redundancy, allowing the devices to connect with the network with the best coverage.

Interesting read: What Information is Stored on SIM card

Modems, Modules, and Chipsets

The modem you choose for your cellular IoT impacts which network types and frequency bands you can connect to. The modem and chipsets simplify the deployment and certification of IoT systems, but it costs more than buying raw components.

The call is yours! Either buy a modem and save the hustle of deployment and certifications or buy raw components and save money on the costs.

Frequency Bands

A frequency band is a range of frequencies within a radio frequency spectrum. Usually, the range goes from 30 Hz to 300 GHz, and cellular networks use a fraction between 80 MHz and 5 GHz for 2nd 3rd, and 4th generations. 5th generation can use bands up to 35 GHz.

Every cellular network type can use multiple frequencies, and different carriers use different frequency bands. To give you an idea, 4G LTE has 27 different bands. This becomes problematic for the manufacturers of Cellular IoT devices.

Your IoT device can only operate within the bands supported by your modem. Therefore, it is important to consider the cellular carriers and countries of deployment before making a decision. This will help you choose a modem compatible with your network provider’s bands.

When deciding on cellular IoT, consider the environment in which your device will be used. For example, the tunnel, buildings, and large structures do not interrupt lower frequencies since they have more comprehensive coverage. However, they have higher traffic in cities and can have more interference.

Advantages of Cellular Connectivity

Cellular networks have vital benefits that make them popular among IoT manufacturers; global coverage, built-in authenticity, and secure connections take cellular connectivity to a new level. When it comes to convenience and coverage, it is hard for other connectivity solutions to out-beat cellular connectivity.

Some of the benefits of cellular connectivity are:

Global Coverage

Cellular connectivity works best for large-scale global deployments. It is generally considered the most reliable connectivity method for automating communication between two devices. You do not have to build new infrastructure for every deployment. All you have to do is, connect to a network already in place.

If you wish to deploy the system in a different country, your network provider might already have a roaming agreement in your destination country. If not, you may choose a new carrier that supports roaming in your desired country. Talk Home Mobile has coverage for most EU countries, and you should try it if you are deploying cellular IoT technology for your business in the EU.

Built-in authentication

The authentication of devices is simple; cellular networks mostly rely on SIM cards to authenticate the devices and associate them with a subscriber to provide secure connectivity. This security feature protects the IoT system from being hacked. An IP address can be hacked, but your identity stored in the SIM card cannot be stolen. Isn’t it?

Secure connectivity

Cellular connectivity is secure compared to Wi-Fi connectivity. If a device connected to your Wi-Fi network is compromised, it puts all the connected devices at risk of being hacked. Unlike this, cellular connectivity keeps your IoT device separate from the rest of the devices, enhancing its security. This additional sense of security is the driving factor behind many people who choose cellular connectivity.

Types of Mobile Network IoT Uses

Cellular networks have grown and become faster and more powerful. 4th and 5th generations of networks have greater speed and power, but their coverage is limited. The network provider will impact coverage, frequency, power usage, cost, and longevity. Consider and research all these factors before deciding on your network provider.

You must have heard of 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks, but did you know what differentiates them? The primary difference between these internet generations is speed and coverage range. To accommodate the needs of Cellular IoT devices, network providers have developed network types that are less popular. Nb-IoT and LoRaWAn are a few examples.

Advanced networks such as 5G consume more power when the devices are idle but consume less energy to download and upload heavy amounts of data. Complex networks also need expensive modems.

Here is a quick explanation of the difference between network generations and how they relate to IoT development.

2G Networks

2nd generation of Networks uses GSM standards and has been in use for the last three decades. 2G works well for logistics, telematics, and supply chain management. 2nd generation of the internet allows the devices to send basic alerts and update on status and location. Since these sectors need low data, they perform well with 2G.

Soon 2G network will become a story of the past since most network providers are shutting off 2G to free up bandwidth for 4G and 5G networks. This will obsolete the devices that rely on 2G -unless they are compatible with other generations of networks.

3G Network

The 3G network was built on the capabilities of 2G but provided faster data transmission. 3G has been used for logistics, telematics, and supply chain management, but it can also support advanced processes such as file sharing, streaming, analytics, and device management.

IoT devices built on 3G networks won’t last long. Most companies relying on such devices are well aware of this change and are looking for devices that use 4G or Low power wide area networks (LPWANs). If you are relying on one such device, make sure to upgrade soon so you continue using Cellular IoT.

4G LTE Networks

LTE stands for long-term evolution, and this generation of networks is ten times faster than 3rd generation. 4G LTE allows users to make video calls and facilitate CCTV cameras. This generation works best for IoT applications with video transmissions, such as CCTV cameras. This has also been used for healthcare management and car entertainment systems.

Teams in auto racing also rely on 4G connectivity to transmit data from cars to engineers. This generation has more power than most IoT applications needs, but it compromises several power-saving features.

5G Networks

5th generation of the internet is the future of IoT. Service providers are rolling out 5G coverage worldwide, and this technology has much potential for the IoT. Especially for the applications where speed is a crucial component, such as self-driving cars and emergency services.

5G wireless technology is capable of transmitting data in real time, and it can maintain a stable connection with high-moving devices. The best part is that a handful of 5G MVNOs supports cellular connectivity at much lower power consumption. This makes you enjoy faster connectivity while draining the minimum of your battery. Currently, this generation is supported by a few modems, which are costlier compared to other options.

Technology Frequency Data Rates Range Power Consumption Use Cases
Bluetooth < 1 GHz 0.1 – 1 MBps TBC Industrial IoT
Wi-Fi Medium Smart Homes
2G Cellular Bands 10 MBps Several Km High Logistics, Supply Chain.
3G Cellular Bands Several Km High Smart Grids, Connected Customer devices, Logistics.
4G Cellular Bands Several Km High Health Care, Security.
5G Cellular Bands Several Km High Emergency Services, Automated Cars


Bottom Line

We have discussed the use cases of Cellular IoT and their advantages. You may opt for an option that serves your needs. But deciding on which technology you will use, ask yourself a couple of questions. For example, which industry will you use cellular IoT for? Is cost saving more important than ease of deployment? And what is your preference regarding power saving?

These questions will help you make a better choice. Cellular networks may be your path to the internet of things if you require global coverage, mobility, and low-power connectivity!


What is the function of the cellular network?

Cellular Networks are high-capacity and high-speed data communication networks. Cellular networks have enhanced roaming and multimedia capabilities. These networks have applications beyond entertainment and phone calls and are also used to connect sensors and physical objects with smartphones.

What is the role of the network in IoT?

The network has a prime function in the Internet of things. It provides connectivity, power, security, and manageability to IoT deployments. IoT devices need connectivity for data transmission, and networks provide this connectivity to manage the devices.

Why are cellular network important?

Cellular networks are essential for businesses as well as individuals. Some benefits include alignment, better organization, deeper employee engagement, and increased productivity.

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