Introducing the NB-IoT service

It has been awfully silent on our blog lately but let me explain: We’ve been quite busy (among other things) building a new backend for Telenor’s NB-IoT network here in Norway.

Getting data on to the Internet with NB-IoT is very simple; modules like the uBlox SARA N2 supports UDP and CoAP out of the box: Send a few AT commands via the UART to open a socket and off you go. Receiving the data might be minor issue since you need a server somewhere capable of receiving the UDP packets or CoAP messages. Again not a major issue if you have access to Amazon AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Services but a minor annoyance since you don’t want to set up a service on the Internet – you just want to test the device.

Using insecure protocols isn’t an alternative if you are running a production service or have potentially sensitive data so that leaves you with one alternative: Get an APN. This can be a long-winded process since you’ll need a VPN connection to the mobile network with all the assorted complexities that entails. For smaller projects this might not be worth your time and efforts so you start looking for alternatives elsewhere.

…Which you don’t have to! Meet our new NB-IoT backed – internal code name Horde (as in “a horde of ravens”, keeping up the corvidae tradition we started with Congress).

Our primary goal with the backend is simplicity; getting up and running when you have your NB-IoT device in front of you shouldn’t take more than five minutes from start to finish.

In short: We’ve taken care of the APN, the encryption and the backend server. To get data online all you need is an NB-IoT device and a Telenor CONNECT ID account. You can get data either as a WebSocket (for a simple single page web apps), webhooks (for a quick demo service), into IFTTT (for quick prototypes and hackathons) or MQTT (for flexible and reliable delivery). We’ll add more outputs later such as CoAP, AWS IoT, Google IoT and Azure IoT which makes it even easier to integrate NB-IoT devices into your Next Big Project.

Log on to https://nbiot.engineering/, register your device and send some data. You should have some kind of USB to serial dongle, a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino handy to interface with the device.

The service is still in beta and it will probably remain there for some time but the basics are in place and you can manage your devices, inspect payloads, share devices between team members and send data from the devices to webhooks, WebSockets, IFTTT and MQTT.

The API itself is documented at https://docs.nbiot.engineering and we have clients for

If you want to get started have a look at the tutorials at https://docs.nbiot.engineering. The documentation is still work in progress, but we’re getting there. If you need help or have questions, please join our Slack channel

If you have a feature request let us know!

Get a device and check it out.