Is 2020 the Year of Dual-Frequency GNSS Smartphones?

by Andrew Zignani | 1Q 2020 | IN-5747
The launch of the Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone in 2018 marked the arrival of the first dual-frequency GNSS-capable smartphone to the market. Up until that point, most smartphones had relied upon single-frequency GNSS solutions that leveraged the E1/L1 band alone. Dual-frequency GNSS solutions are capable of receiving two individual signals (at different frequencies) from a single satellite, most commonly the E1/L1 band and L5/E5a bands. By utilizing two different frequencies, GNSS receivers can correct ionospheric errors by comparing the delay measurements from each band, which improves accuracy. In addition, by leveraging the lower frequency L5/E5a band, dual-frequency devices are less prone to multipath delays, ensuring that performance is much greater in dense urban environments with tall buildings. Signal acquisition time is also reduced, meaning faster satellite locks, while dual-frequency solutions are also more reliable as they can leverage the second band if the first fails. Unsurprisingly, then, the increased accuracy (meters to decimeter), greater reliability, and improved performance of these solutions have spurred a number of chipset vendors and device Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to adopt the technology over the last 18 months, while the technology continues to improve.

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