What Is Dual-Band GPS In A Smartwatch? Regular GPS Vs Dual GPS

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Smartwatches have come a long way from being just fitness trackers. Your doll can be loaded with functions. And one feature that I find very useful is GPS on a watch. Especially while walking, it is more convenient to look at your wrist for directions than your phone. There has been a lot of development on the GPS front as well, and in this article, we want to cover one of those developments: dual-band GPS in a smartwatch.

Dual Band GPS in a Smartwatch

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Dual Band GPS in a Smartwatch

Most of the smartphones of 2020 have started to adopt dual-band GPS systems. Current GPS systems in smartwatches use a single frequency channel. Some companies have also started exploring the possibility of adding dual-band GPS to a smartwatch.

The main purpose of using a dual-band frequency system in a smartwatch is to increase the accuracy of the GPS output data. While Dual Band isn't yet available on many commercial watches, it seems like an interesting development to look into.

GPS in a Smartwatch

What is Dual Band GPS?

The new dual-band GPS/GNSS technology significantly improves accuracy compared to the older single-band technology used in smartphones and car navigation systems. In the last two years, several smartphones have started to use this innovative location technology.

On modern mobile devices, typical GPS accuracy is five meters. An additional frequency band can bring accuracy to the centimeter level. GNSS systems (under which GPS is also a part) transmit on multiple frequencies. These frequencies have different structures and encodings.

The use of multiple bands improves accuracy by reducing the effect of errors caused by atmospheric distortion. These high-precision systems were primarily used in high-end aerospace and industrial applications, but with the advent of low-cost dual-band receivers, they can now be added to consumer devices.

Multi-band receivers typically use the L1 and L2 signal bands. Operating at a frequency of 1575.42 Mhz, the L1 band is the main band used in most navigation systems. The secondary L5 band operates at 1176.45 Mhz and allows for a dual-frequency GPS solution. So when a device is configured to use both bands, it receives two different satellite signals.

What Is Dual-Band GPS In A Smartwatch? Regular GPS Vs Dual GPS
Source By Google Image Credit: WearablesToUse

The key parameter is the code chip rate: the number of pulses per second at which the code is transmitted or received. The chip rate of the L5 signal bands is ten times that of the L1 signal bands. By the proportional property, the error reduction ability is also increased tenfold.

Therefore, multipath errors are greatly reduced. This results in a signal that has great anti-interference properties and contains the least amount of noise.

In a nutshell, dual-band GPS uses two frequency bands instead of one, and a higher band (L5) with a standard band (L1) results in a highly accurate GPS positioning solution.

How Does Dual Band GPS Work on a Smartwatch?

If you read the previous section, you would have encountered multipath errors. By definition, a multipath error results from interference between two radio waves that have traveled paths of different lengths between the transmitter and the receiver. If that was a bit technical, take a look at the Garmin-developed illustration developed by Garmin below.

How Does Dual Band GPS Work on a Smartwatch?
Source By Google Image Credit: Garmin 

The smartphone in your hands is a receiver trying to collect GPS signals from multiple satellites. On an obvious note, there will be plenty of objects between your smartwatch and the satellite, from tall buildings to particles in the ionosphere. Multipathing is generated when a signal path is reflected by objects in the path of the transmitter and receiver. This means that there will be several signal paths between the transmitter and the receiver.

But, when an additional signal band such as the L5 band is used, the situation is different. The new signal band can identify these unwanted reflected signals. This ensures that only useful and informative signals are received by your smartwatch.

How Does Dual Band GPS Work on a Smartwatch?
Source By Google Image Credit: WearablesToUse

Advantages of Dual Band GPS

If your smartwatch has dual GPS, it will lock GPS signals faster than a traditional watch. Position tracking will be more accurate, resulting in the reliable distance, speed, and calorie ratings. And if GPS navigation is available on the watch, it will work more accurately.

Here are the advantages of dual-band GPS in detail:

  • Dual-frequency systems allow for improved positioning when using the device in challenging environments.
  • Dual-band systems can provide accuracy within about +/- 2 meters.
  • Dual-band detects and rejects reflected satellite signals better than a single frequency receiver, improving accuracy.
  • Dual Band systems also help reject the environmental effects on the GPS signals.
Realizing the benefits, smartphone developers quickly adopted dual-band GPS. Smartwatch makers have also recently tried to include it in their offerings. In the next section, let's look at smartwatches with the dual-band system.

Smartwatches with Dual Band GPS

Conventionally, smartwatches are only equipped with a single-band GPS. And when we hear about dual-band GPS on a smartwatch, it raises concerns about battery life. Yes, adding an additional GPS band can increase battery drain. Therefore, adding this dual band functionality to a smartwatch with good battery life makes sense.

Look at the Coros Vertix 2 – one of the first offerings to have a dual-band GPS system. Coros CEO mentions that their energy-efficient technology ensures that you can use the watch for around 50 hours with the dual-band signal enabled and 140 hours with a single band GPS setting.

Smartwatches with Dual Band GPS
Source By Google Image Credit: WearablesToUse

Garmin also jumped into technology. Their D2 Mach 1, Epix (Gen 2) Sapphire, and Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar series come with dual-band GPS technology. But on the other hand, the Garmin CEO mentions that they would rather explore improving GPS signal accuracy through better processing power rather than using the traditional approach. This can also improve energy efficiency.

Regular GPS Vs Dual GPS
Source By Google Image Credit: The Garmin Fenix Solar 7

A Viable Option For Purchase – Amazfit T-Rex 2

If you're hell-bent on having dual-band GPS in a smartwatch and want a reasonable price, rule out any offers from Garmin or Coros. The prices are over Rs 65,000 and it is usually expensive for a smartwatch.

As long as you have previous experience using dual-band GPS, and it is deemed necessary in any of your activities based on your tests, you can consider buying the Amazfit T-rex 2.

A Viable Option For Purchase – Amazfit T-Rex 2

Priced at INR 16,000, it is the cheapest offering and the only one to use dual-band GPS in a smartwatch. If you are interested, you can visit their official website. The good news is that we have also used the Amazfit T-rex 2 and have published several guides on it. You can take a look at some of them:

Conclusion

This is everything you need to know about dual-band GPS in a smartwatch. We hope we have been able to simplify the back-end technology behind the precise multi-band system. Anyway, do you care about the type of GPS on your smartwatch? Let us know through comments. Stay tuned for more interesting and informative guides at NextGadgetsInfo.

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