How LTE modem categories impact IoT SIM performance

LTE Modem categories are a crucial component of your multi-network IoT SIM card enabled equipment. LTE Modem selection has a significant impact on speeds and performance.

A Cellular Mast that a LTE Modem would connect to

Why are there different modem categories available?

The higher the modem category the faster it is and the higher performance you get, however as a general rule as the modem category increases so does the cost. Making this a case of getting the performance you pay for.

Some applications need to send large amounts of data in short bursts, and would benefit from having the absolute best possible speeds available. In this instance it would be better to opt for a higher modem category capable of transmitting the data in a reliable and timely manner.

On the other hand some IoT applications only need to transmit small amounts of data such as a tracking device. These applications wouldn’t benefit from having a greater bandwidth so it would make sense to save on costs and opt for a lower modem category.

Because IoT solutions isn’t a case of one size fits all there are a number of different modem categories available allowing you to select the speeds and cost appropriate to your application.

Decoupled LTE Modem Categories Table

An Overview of the LTE Categories

Here is a quick summary of some of the LTE modem categories available, as well as general examples of the types of applications that may use them.

  • CAT1 – Low data applications such as sensors and tracking devices.
  • CAT4 – Medium data applications such as monitoring control systems and occasional web browsing.
  • CAT6 – Higher data rate applications like on demand CCTV and regular web-browsing.
  • CAT12 – High data rate applications for example constant CCTV streaming and constant web browsing.
  • CAT20 – Use if you want the absolute top speeds and performance you can get.
  • CATM & NB-IoT – Discover new frequency bands for low-bandwidth IoT applications in our CATM and NB-IoT article. Keep in mind that this infrastructure is still in its early stages.

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