Research and Innovation Services Partner with us Our Technologies Narrowband Internet-of-Things (NB-IoT) Interface for 5G Communication Networks

Narrowband Internet-of-Things (NB-IoT) Interface for 5G Communication Networks


The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, machines, vehicles, home or other appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to connect and exchange data.

The IoT allows physical objects to connect with the online world, and many IoT devices or systems have sensors and actuators, to sense, take measurements and/or interact with the physical world, e.g. by controlling motors, pumps, valves or trigger some other action. When IoT objects or things are equipped with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities.

Things or objects may not only sense their environment, but they may also be controlled and managed remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into cloud or other computer-based systems. This results in new opportunities for improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced need for human intervention.

Big (and Small) Data acquisition and analyses, as well as local and cloud-based management of information enables completely new applications and innovative business models, which have the ability to transform industries, and create economic growths. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020 and that the global market value of IoT will reach $7.1 trillion by 2020.

Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed to enable a wide range of devices and services to be connected using cellular telecommunications bands. NB-IoT is a narrowband radio technology designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and has been standardised by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The NB-IoT specification was frozen at Release 13 of the 3DPP specification (LTE-Advanced Pro), in June 2016. The technology is now a global standard and being adopted by most Telcos as part of the 5G rollout.

One of JCU's developments is a new electronic interface module which allows to collect data from multiple sources (e.g. sensors, monitoring stations, etc) and combine the data to then feed the information via NB-IoT (or another standard) into the cloud.

NB-IoT focuses specifically on broad coverage, low cost, long battery life, and enabling a large number of connected devices, and offers a range of technical and economic benefits.

  • low power, enabling long battery life for devices
  • low cost, enabling new applications and deployments at scale
  • enabling to connect up to 100,000 IoT devices to one cell (at very low cost)
  • supports roaming
  • global standard
  • future-proof technology

Generally this technology is applicable where low data rates occur, e.g. for notifications or status updates. Example applications include, but are not limited to:

  • local and remote condition monitoring and analyses
  • medical devices
  • fitness trackers
  • smart devices and wearables
  • personal notifications
  • smart power meters
  • smart water meters
  • smart cities applications (e.g. parking, waste management)
  • smart agriculture (distributed and connected sensors and actors)
  • smart infrastructure (roads, railways, bridges, buildings)
  • smart grids (e.g. for power, voltage, current, power-factor monitoring)
  • weather stations and weather monitoring

We are specifically interested in collaboration where we can add value due to our expertise, and our dedicated general IoT and NB-IoT laboratories.

Our team is open-minded and interested to work with industry and government departments to solve problems, or to develop solutions that can assist with monitoring and data analysis, for example early-stage detection of (potential) issues to trigger intervention and to minimise or avoid costly problems which would otherwise occur.

We have a telco-carrier-grade NB IoT base station on campus available for testing new hardware and software, as well as practical applications using a real (or if needed a simulated) network.


  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • Licensing
  • University spin out
  • Know-how based
  • Copyright