The latest cellular generation, the 5G, is the ultimate low latency, high data rate network solution but can still suffer from poor coverage unless you use two 5G modules. In this blog, we explore why some decide to use two 5G sub-6/FR1 modems instead of only one and what that means for product development, especially for antenna and RF.
5G sub-6 FR1
5G is split into two distinct frequency ranges, FR1 and FR2. The first covers frequencies below 6GHz and the latter refers to frequencies above 24GHz. Here we are going to focus only on FR1 which also covers the frequency bands of previous-generation LTE networks. There are many differences between LTE and 5G. However, the major differences from a hardware implementation point of view are added frequencies and the number of antennas.
With LTE typical solution only has 2 antennas. One Tx/Rx antenna, the one that transmits and receives a signal, and the Rx antenna that only receives a signal. The highest LTE categories do support more antennas but those 4 antenna solutions are mainly used in high data rate applications like smartphones. In the most complex designs, different frequency bands might benefit from their own antennas. This is why you might encounter antennas for low, mid, or high bands and therefore more LTE antennas.