Article | September 18, 2017

LPWAN - Licensed Vs. Unlicensed

Source: KORE

By Bill Kramer, VP Advanced Technology, KORE

5G Mobile Network

Traditional M2M solutions have traditionally remained on 2G and 3G technologies, primarily due to the fact that high cost LTE options used to be the only LTE options.  Similarly, several newer IoT use cases have been slower to adopt due to this same issue.  Because of this cost barrier, many unlicensed spectrum options (SigFox, LoRa and RPMA) have entered the market dominating market share of new IoT solutions requiring low power, longer range and long battery life. However, with the introduction of new licensed spectrum LTE technologies (LTE-M and NB-IoT) that have eliminated the cost barrier, the trend in the market is shifting.

In selecting which technology is the best fit for your IoT solution, there are several factors that should be considered:

Coverage; Bandwidth; Battery Life; Throughput; 2-way Data capabilities; Security; Scalability; Mobility support; Location support; Module Cost.

The table below gives a brief comparison of the licensed and unlicensed spectrum technology option and how they stack up in each of these areas.