Cellular IoT (LTE-M and NB-IoT)

Enabling a world of everything connected

Why cellular IoT

When evaluating the most suitable low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology for your Internet of Things (IoT) application, it's crucial to consider various factors beyond just technical specifications, which in itself can widely diverge from real-world performance. These are some of the key reasons why cellular IoT (comprising NB-IoT and LTE-M) can be a more suitable choice for your IoT project as opposed to LoRaWAN, Sigfox, Wi-SUN, or other LPWANs.


 icon Licensed vs unlicensed frequency bands: Cellular IoT uses licensed bands and global infrastructure, offering broad coverage, scalability, and security. This abstracts the connectivity and enables focus on IoT product development.
 icon Data rate & robustness: LPWAN technologies suit devices with infrequent data transfers, but cellular IoT excels by supporting both low and high data rate needs, like remote firmware updates.
 icon Power consumption: NB-IoT and LTE-M enable low power, wide-scale machine communication. Unlike other LPWANs, cellular IoT offers a balance of power efficiency and higher data rates without compromise.
 icon Lifetime cost: Initial costs of certain LPWANs may be low, but assessing total lifetime expenses is essential. Cellular IoT provides stable cost structures and alleviates the burden of maintaining personal infrastructure.
icon Future-proof: LTE-M and NB-IoT are slated for support beyond 2040, ensuring devices' long lifespans. Subscriptions guarantee a reliable network, in contrast to other LPWANs that could shut down preemptively, risking your business.

Unified environment

Faster time to market with the right toolchain

When Nordic Semiconductor entered the world of Bluetooth Low Energy, it launched with some very clear goals. We were to become the market leader, another was to make Nordic Bluetooth Low Energy SoCs the most accessible, easy-to-use and well-supported devices in their category. Today’s start-up can be the next industry giant in the Internet of Things space. We make our products available and affordable for everyone with almost all of our software and development tools being totally free of charge. Nordic is about exciting developers, all developers. We bring the same mindset into Cellular IoT.


Optimize power consumption

Optimize power consumption with our cutting-edge tools and resources

To ensure optimal power consumption for your cellular device across various networks and regions, we strongly recommend exploring the power requirements specific to your application. That's why Nordic takes pride in introducing the industry's first Online Power Profiler tool for LTE in addition to the affordable Power Profiler Kit II.

Power consumption estimates made easy

Effortlessly assess and estimate the power usage of your cellular devices in different scenarios with the Online Power Profiler, aligning perfectly with your application's needs.

Accurate measurements made easy

Once you've made your estimations, it's crucial to measure the actual current consumption of your cellular device. Nordic simplifies this process by offering the Power Profiler Kit II, designed exclusively for quick and precise measurements of all nRF devices. This comprehensive kit empowers you to obtain accurate readings effortlessly, enabling you to fine-tune your power consumption to meet your specific requirements.
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Unleash the power optimization potential

To further assist you in optimizing power consumption, Nordic provides an extensive Power optimization guide. This valuable resource offers in-depth insights and practical tips on improving power efficiency, ensuring your cellular device operates at its full potential while minimizing energy usage. Additionally, our tutorials guide you through the process of conducting current measurements, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions about power management.

Real time insights

Cellular Monitor: Revolutionize your cellular engineering evaluation

The Cellular Monitor is designed to revolutionize the engineering experience of a cellular developer. With the Cellular Monitor, available in nRF Connect for Desktop, the user will gain real-time insights into modem behavior like never before, taking network evaluation and device information to the next level. For more details on how to use it see the Devzone blog Introducing the Cellular Monitor.graphical user interface, application, table
Figure: Cellular Monitor in action with the inbuilt Serial Terminal integration

Real-time insights into modem behavior

Cellular Monitor provides enables users to access accurate and comprehensive information directly from the nRF91 Series device. It quickly showcases crucial details, such as network performance, device status, and data transmission. Cellular Monitor is closely integrated with our inbuilt Serial terminal and Wireshark to take the analysis capabilities to new heights. The user can delve deeper into the modem traffic and gain a more detailed view of the network and nRF91 Series devices. By unlocking this crucial data to the user, they can make informed decisions and optimize their cellular engineering projects.
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Figure: Wireshark integration for detailed analysis

Streamline your evaluation process

As a cellular engineer, they understand the value of accurate and comprehensive information. The Cellular Monitor streamlines the evaluation process, providing the most vital details from the network and nRF91 Series devices efficiently. Which means the engineer spend less time searching for information and more time making progress on the projects.

nRF Connect SDK

Unified code base

Unlock the full potential of low power cellular devices with nRF Connect SDK

The nRF Connect SDK is the ultimate software development kit for unleashing the power of low power cellular devices. Whether you're building products based on nRF52, nRF53, nRF70, or nRF91 Series wireless devices, our scalable and unified SDK provides you with an extensive framework to create cutting-edge solutions. With a focus on low power consumption and optimized memory usage, nRF Connect SDK enables you to maximize the potential of your devices and applications while also shortening the time to market.

Unparalleled software development capabilities

The nRF Connect SDK offers a comprehensive suite of features specifically designed for low power cellular devices. Developers can leverage the SDK's extensible framework to build size-optimized software for memory-constrained devices, as well as powerful and complex software for more advanced applications. By integrating the Zephyr RTOS, the SDK ensures a robust and reliable foundation for your projects while also supporting all the latest transport protocols as CoAP, LwM2M, MQTT, HTTP(S) etc.

Streamline development with a single code base

The nRF Connect SDK offers a single code base for all our devices and software components. This unified approach simplifies the porting of modules, libraries, and drivers from one application to another, reducing development time and effort. Developers have the flexibility to select and integrate the essential software components required for their specific application, ensuring high memory efficiency and optimal performance.

Seamless protocol stack integration

Developing low power cellular applications combined with Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth mesh, Thread, Zigbee, and/or Matter products has never been easier. The nRF Connect SDK includes all the necessary software, including protocol stacks, to streamline your development process and combine all the different technologies provided by Nordic into your designs. For cellular IoT products, the SDK provides all the required components except for the certified LTE modem firmware, which can be downloaded separately from the product pages or nRF Connect for Desktop.

Open-source and versatile

Embracing an open-source philosophy, nRF Connect SDK is publicly hosted on GitHub, allowing developers to contribute, collaborate, and customize the SDK to suit their needs. The SDK supports source code management with Git, providing seamless version control. Additionally, nRF Connect SDK offers free IDE support through nRF Connect for VS Code, but it remains IDE agnostic, enabling you to use your preferred development environment.

Robust and secure production quality code

At Nordic, we prioritize the quality and security of our software. That's why we run continuous integration tests on the nRF Connect SDK code, ensuring that it meets the highest standards for robustness and reliability. With our SDK, you can confidently develop your low power cellular devices, knowing that you're building upon a solid foundation of thoroughly tested and secure code.

Prototyping platform

Nordic Thingy:91

The Nordic Thingy:91 is an easy-to-use cellular IoT prototyping platform, designed to help building prototypes and demos, without the need to build hardware or even write firmware.

IoT device observability platform

Remote debugging, monitoring and OTA updates

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Memfault is an IoT device observability platform that enables out-of-the-box remote debugging, continuous monitoring, and OTA firmware updates.

Native integration via the nRF Connect SDK gives Nordic developers access to Memfault on 100 devices free. Setup takes 5 minutes.