NB1 vs. NB2 complete comparison table and overview

The 3GPP Release 14 specification enhances the NB-IoT protocol and introduces a new device category, NB2. Here is a complete NB1 vs. NB2 comparison table and a brief overview of the new NB-IoT protocol features in R14.

What are LTE CAT NB1 and NB2?

LTE Cat NB1 refers to IoT devices based on the NB-IoT protocol standardized in the 3GPP Release 13 specification. It is a wireless cellular low-power wide-area connectivity protocol for IoT massive machine-type communications.

LTE Cat NB2 refers to devices which are based on the enhanced NB-IoT protocol as standardized in the 3GPP Release 14.

NB1 vs. NB2 comparison table 

Here is a comprehensive comparison table to see the differences between the NB-IoT 3GPP R13 and R14 specifications, and NB1 vs. NB2 devices.

FeaturesLTE Cat NB1LTE Cat NB2
Channel Bandwidth180 KHz180 KHz
Transmission DuplexityHalfHalf
Max downlink TBS680 bits2536 bits
Max downlink data rate~26 kbps~80/127 kbps (1HARQ/2HARQ)
Max uplink TBS1000 bits2536 bits
Max uplink data rate~62 kbps~105/159 kbps (1HARQ/2HARQ)
Qty HARQ Processes11 or 2
Number of Antennae11
Latency range<10 secTBD
Data limitNot definedNot defined
Size of payload in a data packetNot definedNot defined
Duty cycleNot definedNot defined
Data EncryptionEPS-AKAEPS-AKA
Device AuthenticationSIMSIM
Voice communication supportNoNo
PositioningCell IDOTDOA, E-CID
Standardization organization3GPP Release 133GPP Release-14
UE bandwidth200 kHz200 kHz
Maximum Transmission power20, 23 dBm14, 20, 23 dBm

Main enhancements in LTE CAT NB2

Here is a short introduction on how the 3GPP R14 specification enhances the NB-IoT protocol for NB2:

  • NB2 positioning
    • The 3GPP Release 14 introduces OTDOA and E-CID positioning methods into NB2 for higher location accuracy.
  • Multicast in NB2
    • The NB2 devices contain Multicast transmission mode, which the NB1 device does not have.
  • Enhanced NB2 mobility
    • NB2 devices provide better mobility – Reconnection is now supported also in the device connected mode, as opposed to idle mode only in NB1.
  • LTE CAT NB2 peak data rates
    • The NB-IoT 3GPP Release 14 specification introduces higher data rates – NB2 devices can maximum data speeds of ~127 kbps uplink and ~159 kbps uplink.
  • NB-IOT multi-carrier operation
    • NB2 supports a multi-carrier mode with up to 15 non-anchor carriers, which can support up to 1,000,000 connected NB-IoT devices per square kilometer.
  • NB2 frequency bands
    • Five new FDD frequency bands are introduced for NB-IoT: 11, 21, 25, 31, and 70.
  • New NB2 device power class
    • 3GPP R14 enhances NB2 devices with a new 14 dBm power class to allow the use of smaller batteries and small form factors.