4 Use Cases for Dual GPS Antennas

Dual GPS Antennas by TrimbleDual GPS antennas are becoming the first choice for accurate positioning information. Unlike single-frequency devices that can falter in both urban and remote settings, dual antennas are reliable and can enhance both the signal and range of communication.

These antennas come in multiple shapes and sizes and are used in many applications to provide accurate positioning information. With a wide variety of products to choose from, you can enjoy a number of features.

However, choosing which antenna your project needs can be challenging. Read on to learn more about dual GPS antennas, the differences between single and dual frequencies, and how choosing the right antenna can boost the signal and range for your deployments.

What Is a Dual GPS Antenna?

A dual GPS or GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) antenna can access multiple satellites to boost the accuracy of a navigation system. A GNSS antenna receives satellite multipath signals and passes them to the GPS receiver to accurately calculate its position, speed, and direction. If a satellite system fails, a dual GPS antenna can pick up signals from others. Access to multiple satellites also comes in handy when the line of sight is obstructed.

What Is the Difference Between Single Frequency and Dual Frequency?

Before learning the difference between single and dual frequencies, you must understand how the GPS navigation system works. 

GPS uses satellites, a receiver, and algorithms to provide time information and geolocation to a GPS receiver anywhere on Earth. With an unobstructed sight of three GPS satellites, your receiver (like a smartphone) can produce a location, while a fourth satellite can validate the information.

However, traditional GPS that relies on a single frequency — called the L1 band — can be affected by various factors. The L1 signal can't bypass large physical structures like mountains or tall buildings and can also be affected by dense foliage or noise bandwidth distortion in the ionosphere. The physical environment can cause the signal to take a longer path, leading to multipath errors. When functional, the single-frequency GPS can provide an accurate location of up to 5 meters.

Advanced dual-frequency technology aims to overcome signal processing problems by using the L5 band. Since L5 uses a radio band reserved for aviation safety services, it offers customers greater bandwidth and higher power with an advanced signal design. 

The U.S. government labels the L5 band as " pre-operational" since it currently broadcasts from 17 satellites, one short of the 18-24 satellite requisite. However, it is expected to be available on 24 GPS satellites by 2027. But by pairing it with the operational L1 band, the L5 band provides a more reliable location recognition with centimeter-level accuracy. 

4 Uses for Dual GPS Antennas

An efficient dual GPS antenna element and receiver will keep your systems in sync with increased signal reception and range and improved reliability and precision.

Increase Signal Reception

The L1 band occasionally lets you down, even in an urban cityscape with a high density of buildings. However, a dual-band GNSS antenna offers L5 signals, which are lower in frequency. Unlike L1, the L5 signals are less affected by multipath interference errors, ensuring an improved experience.

Since it can receive signals from more than one GNSS constellation, a dual polarization antenna can receive signals from GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo. By utilizing all four GNSS constellations, these antennas provide you with the most accurate position possible.

Improve Reliability of Devices

With a high bandwidth and transmission capability, the L5 band results in significantly improved anti-interference capabilities and noise management. GNSS antennas usually come with a ground plane that reflects electromagnetic waves toward your receiver for more output signal strength and minimal interference.

Enhance Range

GPS satellites broadcast on the carrier frequency of 1575.42 MHz. While the GNSS antennas receive the signals on 1575.42 MHz, they can also respond to frequency bands like 1227.6 MHz (GLONASS), 1176 MHz, and 1602 MHz (BeiDou).

Just like the GPS range, dual antennas also enhance the Wi-Fi range by giving you an option between two bands. Long-range Wi-Fi antennas come in both single and dual-band types. These antennas receive Wi-Fi signals at sound frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. The latter travel further but at slower speeds.

Unlike a single-band antenna, a dual antenna can use both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Depending on the model, you might get an antenna with a switch to toggle between the frequencies or one that lets you access both frequencies together.

Refine Precision of Devices

As mentioned above, GPS receivers determine the location of targets by measuring the time taken by signals from at least four satellites. Since modern dual antennas receive a second signal on the L5 band from all satellites, the result is sub-meter accuracy and precision.

Do You Need a Dual Antenna?

Deployments that benefit significantly from dual antenna GPS are 

  • Remote deployments like oil/gas, forestry, mining, etc.
  • Utilities/smart energy
  • Retail, restaurants, and hospitality
  • Government
  • Temporary events and mobile applications

You can enjoy access to a wide range of applications with dual antennas, such as GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo. The right GNSS antenna will also assist your deployment's Wi-Fi, cellular, and satellite communications. It offers seamless, convenient, and efficient wireless connections. And with a variety of designs and sizes and possible customizations, you can choose the correct dual antenna to optimize signal strength.

A dual antenna is particularly beneficial for the broadcasting industry. With great emphasis on picture quality and perfect synchronization, connecting to the global network seamlessly and quickly is essential. These antennas can also assist radar and construction devices for industrial applications by providing accurate, valuable data. 

Even lighting systems in modern infrastructure can benefit from dual antennas. Since several light control systems use GPS to program an internal calendar for sunsets and sunrises, switching to the dual-band system will result in efficient energy usage and lit streets and walkways.

Looking to switch to a dual GPS antenna or sensor? We are here to help. Novotech is a leading Internet of Things hardware and services distributor in North America. We offer powerful, dual GPS antennas for outstanding performance, and our top-tier GNSS antennas come in various sizes and styles to suit your preferences. Reach out to us, and our team of experts will give you information about the products and how they can help optimize your business.