Feedback requested LTE Cat M1 / NB-IoT for Drones vs "full LTE"

Looking for opinions on the use of LTE Cat M1 / NB-IoT for communications with the drone (mavlink or direct to Companion computer) vs LTE CAT 3 “Normal” LTE .


  • low power, could work for perched or lost devices
  • Lower cost modems (at least 1/2 the cost maybe much more)
  • Compatibility cross carrier is good
  • potentially lower operating costs


  • not fully deployed (but clearly stated to be)
  • slower speed than CAT3

It’s a great thing and we will be supporting it in hardware

CAT M1 With uplink and downlink speeds of 375 kb/s in half-duplex mode ( This is more than enough for most of the use-cases and will likely work well with a 100kbits link which is very comfortable for MAVLink monitoring.

My only wonder is: Is it enough for MAVLink mission protocol? I read few times problems due to low bandwidth and/or link reliability. The later will hopefully not be an issue.

Since i posted first - I’m now getting some feedback that the carriers are not necessarily going to allow continuous bandwidth usage. i.e. they will focus on IOT devices that have short repetitive bursts of data AND connections (i.e the Cellular connection will get built and dropped for each data burst). That may not work for a vehicle situation where a mission may last 20 minutes - 2 hours. I get the impression Cat M1 will get blocked in this type of scenario (assuming there is a constant trickle of data)

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