What is LTE Cat1.bis?

What is LTE Cat1.bis? How is it different from LTE Cat-1?

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- everything RF

Feb 7, 2023

LTE Cat1.bis is an LTE standard developed specifically for IoT applications that is a variant of LTE Cat-1. This standard was introduced in 3GPP Release 13 in 2016. Like LTE Cat 1, LTE Cat1.bis uses existing LTE networks for operation. The main difference between the two standards is that LTE.Cat1.bis has been designed to operate using a single antenna while offering the same level of data rate, reliability, and latency. LTE Cat1, requires an IoT device to have 2 antennas. This makes devices based on LTE Cat1.bias smaller and more cost effective.

Before LTE Cat1.bis was introduced, the only standards that supported single antenna designs were LTE Cat 0, LTE Cat M1, and LTE Cat NB1 (NB-IoT). However, these standards offered a total throughput of no more than 1 Mbps, making them not capable of satisfying of the data rate requirements of several real-time data acquisition applications.

LTE Cat1.bis is a standard that has been specifically designed to enable Cat1 IoT devices to operate with a single antenna design. This standard not only reduces the number of antennas to one but also offers the same data rate i.e. 10 Mbps for downlink and 5 Mbps for uplink as compared to LTE Cat1. The amount of receive bandwidth is also the same as LTE Cat1 i.e. 20 MHz along with a latency of less than 100 ms.

Therefore, LTE Cat1.bis maintains the same network capability as LTE Cat1 in terms of data rates, signal bandwidth, and latency as LTE Cat1, while also offering a reduction in the number of antennas, thereby reducing the overall size of the IoT device. This also reduces the overall cost required to manufacture IoT devices and improves overall time-to-market for various devices.

As a result, LTE Cat1.bis modules and devices are good alternatives for applications that demand stringent size requirements and reliable network quality. Some of the applications include wearable, health monitoring, asset tracking, and smart metering.

While the hardware costs of LTE-Cat1.bis are higher than LTE-M and NB-IoT devices, the provide a higher data rate whose benefits can outweigh the cost. LTE Cat.bis enables various network operators, device manufacturers, and vendors to connect small-sized/compact IoT devices reliably with high data rates, helping them balance both cost as well as performance for several applications.

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