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Open AccessArticle

Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT): From Physical (PHY) and Media Access Control (MAC) Layers Perspectives

Thomas Johann Seebeck Department of Electronics, Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), Ehitajate tee-5, 19086 Tallinn, Estonia
Telia Estonia Ltd., 10616 Tallinn, Estonia
Instituto de Telecomunicações, 1049-001 Aveiro, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(11), 2613;
Received: 27 April 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 8 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet of Things and Sensors Networks in 5G Wireless Communications)
Narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) is a recent cellular radio access technology based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) introduced by Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN). The main aim of NB-IoT is to support massive machine-type communication (mMTC) and enable low-power, low-cost, and low-data-rate communication. NB-IoT is based on LTE design with some changes to meet the mMTC requirements. For example, in the physical (PHY) layer only single-antenna and low-order modulations are supported, and in the Medium Access Control (MAC) layers only one physical resource block is allocated for resource scheduling. The aim of this survey is to provide a comprehensive overview of the design changes brought in the NB-IoT standardization along with the detailed research developments from the perspectives of Physical and MAC layers. The survey also includes an overview of Evolved Packet Core (EPC) changes to support the Service Capability Exposure Function (SCEF) to manage both IP and non-IP data packets through Control Plane (CP) and User Plane (UP), the possible deployment scenarios of NB-IoT in future Heterogeneous Wireless Networks (HetNet). Finally, existing and emerging research challenges in this direction are presented to motivate future research activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: narrowband; IoT; PHY; NB-IoT; MAC; deployment; survey; mMTC; 5G narrowband; IoT; PHY; NB-IoT; MAC; deployment; survey; mMTC; 5G
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Mwakwata, C.B.; Malik, H.; Mahtab Alam, M.; Le Moullec, Y.; Parand, S.; Mumtaz, S. Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT): From Physical (PHY) and Media Access Control (MAC) Layers Perspectives. Sensors 2019, 19, 2613.

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