nb-iot network testing

Narrowband Internet of Things

A standard LTE add-on but a completly new coverage challenge

Currently, LTE networks are optimized to deliver high data rates for multimedia services that require high bandwidth. Networks for IoT applications, however, will be optimized for

  • Highest availability (deep indoor penetration)
  • Lowest battery consumption

For the various NB-IoT applications, good network coverage is required to ensure a robust NB-IoT connection. Unlike human beings, IoT installations such as smart meters installed in basements are unable to change position in order to obtain a better signal.

Smart meter in the basement
Smart meter in the basement

Smart meter in the basement

The Network Coverage Challenge

IoT devices normally cannot move to achieve better connectivity

The following tasks are essential to support the planning and deployment of new NB-IoT networks:

  • Tuning coverage models (used by network planning tools)
  • Checking co-existence with other technologies (NB-IoT vs. LTE/GSM)
  • Verifying general coverage and also use case-specific coverage
  • Troubleshooting in case of bad performance (QoS, QoE)
  • Benchmarking to compare NB-IoT network coverage and other KPIs

For all these tasks, an accurate NB-IoT coverage test solution is essential. You might think that this could be achieved by measuring with NB-IoT devices. However, an NB-IoT device only supports neighbor cell measurements and cell reselection in idle mode. Consequently, accurate NB-IoT coverage measurements are best executed with a network scanner connected to state-of-the-art analysis software.

Scanner TSMx with ROMES tablet and bag
Scanner TSMx with ROMES tablet and bag

TSMx with ROMES tablet and bag

NB-IoT network testing solutions from Rohde & Schwarz

NB-IoT coverage measurements and device/network interaction tests

This NB-IoT test solution is based on the field-proven R&S®ROMES drive test software for measuring network quality with scanners and test smartphones and covers all cellular technologies.

  • In combination with the R&S®TSMW, R&S®TSMA or R&S®TSME scanners, R&S®ROMES offers the first LTE/NB-IoT coverage measurement solution that measures true NB-IoT network coverage
  • We also connect Cat-NB1 devices to our R&S®ROMES drive test software to monitor the NB-IoT device/network interaction and execute UL tests, including power consumption analysis

R&S ROMES drive test software is the universal network optimization tool for collecting and analyzing NB-IoT data.

For more detailed information, see our press release “Rohde & Schwarz mobile network testing pioneers NB-IoT field measurements” on the world's first accurate LTE/NB-IoT coverage measurement solution.

Scanner TSMx with ROMES tablet and bag
Scanner TSMx with ROMES tablet and bag

TSMx with ROMES tablet and bag

NB-IoT base station deployment verification and signal quality

During deployment phase, it is important to verify NB-IoT signal transmission as defined in 3GPP. The handheld spectrum analyzer R&S®FSH supports NB-IoT downlink over-the-air signal measurement.

The spectrum overview shows in-band, guard band and stand-alone NB-IoT carrier and DL power boosting. R&S®FSH helps to depict the signal quality in alphanumeric and in visual form of a constellation diagram e.g. showing the QPSK modulation scheme.

Blog posts



R&S IoT device testing
R&S IoT device testing

R&S IoT device testing

IoT / M2M device testing

In addition to NB-IoT network testing, we focus also on technology and test solutions for other IoT technologies regarding device testing. You can find more videos/webinars, white papers and application notes, IoT use cases and test solutions on the IoT/M2M device testing IoT page.

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