NB-IoT (hereinafter referred to as NB) is now in a very delicate situation.
In the past few years, NB is a well-deserved industry network red, highly sought after. The three major operators are desperately pushing for commercialization, and the government has also introduced various document policies to pave the way for it. Not to mention the equipment vendors, they spare no effort to promote it.
However, in just half a year, everything has changed.
People have turned their attention to 5G, and all over the country are busy building 5G pilots, getting through 5G calls, onlookers 5G ultra high speed. The media are all about 5G news, no one has mentioned NB.
Now NB, it is already too angry.
NB is out of favor, is it a normal technical iteration? Is it reasonable?
I don't think so.
I feel that the industry should pay attention to a series of problems encountered during the NB promotion process. Especially for 5G, NB's failure experience has great reference value.
The meaning of NB is actually much larger than we think.
In my opinion, it is the world's first cell-based IoT communication technology standard, and the first mobile communication camp dedicated to military products. A technical standard designed for networking.
Before this, the Internet of Things = WLAN Internet of Things (ie short-distance communication technology such as WiFi, Bluetooth,
LPWA: Low Power Wide Area, low-power WAN
As we all know, the Internet of Things is the main application direction of 5G, and 5G is also a cellular Internet of Things technology. Although 5G is very powerful, it is not a simple evolutionary alternative relationship between NB and NB.
NB technology, we can understand it as a "simplified version" of Lte technology. NB network is based on the existing LTE network transformation.
LTE network, serving "people", serving mobile phones, serving the consumer Internet.
and NB The network serves the "object", serves the Internet of Things terminal, and serves the industrial Internet (Internet of Things).
NB's four characteristics
NB's own positioning is very clear, is the low-power wide-area coverage of the Internet of Things scene. For example, remote meter reading, environmental monitoring , wildlife tracking, etc.
NB has some advantages that 5G does not have, so it cannot be quickly replaced by 5G:
First of all, NB is a ready-made technology that can be used at any time.
NB standard has been frozen, 5G is only the eMBB standard. The iRLLC and mMTC related to the Internet of Things scene will have to wait another year and will not be completed by the end of 2020.
Second, NB's network construction cost is lower
Because NB is based on LTE network technology,Therefore, on the basis of the existing network LTE network, it is possible to quickly set up the network and quickly expand the coverage.
At present, major operators are still vigorously promoting the construction of LTE networks, which is also conducive to the improvement of NB coverage.
Third, is the coverage distance.
The coverage distance of 5G is a short board. If the low frequency band cannot be vacated for 5G use, the coverage of 5G will be very problematic. From the current point of view, 5G is covered by hot spots within a few years, and it is impossible to achieve the same coverage level of 4G nationwide.
NB's signal gain is greater than LTE. If you build it seriously, you definitely have an advantage over 5G.
Fourth, the cost of the NB communication module is lower than 5G (at least for a few years).
Of course, 5G has its own advantages over NB:
One is high bandwidth rate.
This is mainly used by mobile phones (consumer internet). In the IoT scenario, large bandwidth requirements are concentrated on video backhaul (4K/8K) and vr/AR. This kind of scene is not too much.
NB's bandwidth is really small, but eMTC can make up for this deficiency. eMTC is also based on LTE modifications, a bit like NB's same brother.
The second is low latency.
At present, the advantage of 5G low latency is obvious. However, in addition to the Internet of Vehicles, there are not many applications for low latency in the Internet of Things.
The third is the number of massive connections.
For the Internet of Things, the 5G indicator is 1 million connections per square kilometer, and the NB indicator is 50,000 connections per cell. At present, the application scenario of 1 million connections seems to have not appeared yet.
Simple contrast between NB and 5G
It can be seen from the figure that NB and 5G can complement each other. Therefore, just as 5G cannot replace LTE, 5G cannot replace NB.
The relationship between 5G and NB is more like the relationship between the main force and the vanguard. In our battle for the "Internet of Everything", NB is an attempt.
Unfortunately, in this attempt, NB was unfavorable and suffered setbacks. This setback has obviously cast a shadow over the future of 5G.
Previously, in the era of WI-FI and Bluetooth, the Internet of Things could not be fired. We can also say that its technology is flawed. Now, cellular IoT technology such as NB has been blowing for a long time, and it is still uncertain. Then we really should think about the reason.
What is the reason for the technology itself? Or is it the reason for marketing? Or,Is the problem on the supply side (our communication industry side) or the demand side (user side)?
Small jujube once talked to a friend who works at a carrier's IoT subsidiary. He stood in the internal perspective of the operator and summarized several reasons:
1 The leaders of the Internet of Things subsidiary are all within the system. After two years of work, No layout, no strategy. The ups and downs are not the same, naturally there is no motivation.
2 The operator's own network is not refined enough, and the customer talks about the scene, and the lack of confidence.
3 I am used to selling terminals, selling traffic, lack of experience in selling programs, and there are some problems in the conversion of ideas.
4 prefer to convert income at a cost.
I also found a friend survey of IoT products and asked him how to look at NB.
He gave me a simpler answer, one is NB The cost of the terminal module is higher. Second, the usage rate of the NB IoT card is more expensive, and the third is that the coverage of the NB is not good. Therefore, he prefers to continue using GSM (2G).
I personally feel that NB has not succeeded. The reason is indeed multi-faceted.
From the perspective of NB itself, early publicity The indicator does have exaggerated components. For example, the power consumption of the terminal, which is known as the battery, is 10 years in standby, but it is actually far from being reached.
On the other hand, the coverage quality of the NB network is still problematic. This also leads to the lack of confidence of users.
On the non-technical level ,There are also many problems.
As the main promoter of NB in the industry, the problem of operators is more prominent.
Operators' performance in the market and operation of government and enterprise users is not satisfactory. Some insiders say that from the genetic point of view, operators are not suitable for deep customization and refined services for enterprise users.
In addition, including operators, enterprises and some ZF departments, when pushing NB technology, the mentality is too impetuous, and formalism is also the reason.
All in all, the performance indicators are exaggerated, the network coverage is poor, the business model is problematic, and the mentality is impetuous, which is the main reason for NB's setbacks.
So, are there any problems with 5G that we are pushing forward now?
I believe that everyone should have a number.
Take the mentality impetuous as an example. Now every 5G, every day, there are news about "5G train station", "5G airport", "5G smart city", "5G court", "5G remote surgery". Is it very similar to the previous NB?
Many so-called "5G pilots", the so-called "5G program landing", just do it, take photos, write a manuscript, and then don't ask And put it there and drop it.
If we don't learn from the failure of NB, then 5G is really likely to repeat the same mistakes.
5G wants to be successful, facing more difficulties than imagined.
The development process of modern communication is actually the process of the supply side constantly chasing the demand side.
In the 1G, 2G, 3G era, the communication infrastructure is too backward The demand for communication is very urgent, so it stimulates the rapid development of communication technology, the supply side continues to improve, and finally meets the demand side.
And now 4G In the era, the demand side and the supply side are in a delicate balance. If the demand side does not move forward, it is very difficult to simply push the supply side forward.
Unlike the 1/2/3/4G networking technologies, 5G directly opened up a new battlefield. Its main goal is to open the era of Internet of Everything, to find and meet the needs of the Internet of Things.
At the moment, the demand must exist, but it takes more time to find and nurture.
Regardless of whether it is equipment vendors or operators, enterprises or governments, no one has the ability to significantly shorten this time.
In the face of this long waiting period, instead of engaging in " "Sports" promotion, destructive encouragement, it is better to correct the mentality, patiently support the industrial chain, management optimization, core technology research and development, product polishing, personnel training, network facilities construction and other basic work. This will make more sense.
All in all, 5G is not a 100-meter sprint. It is a marathon, the most patient person, to laugh at the end.