CAT-1 vs. CAT-4
The main difference between the two networks is the fact that the CAT-4’s focus is on the high data rate market, whereas CAT-1 is suitable for the medium rate market. CAT-4 has a maximum download rate of 150Mbps and an uplink rate of 50 Mbps. However, 3GPP’s Release 13 defines the CAT-1 bis standard which allows a CAT-1 device to use a single antenna and this can save cost compared with CAT-4. Carriers in China and the USA are already trialling CAT-1 bis networks in the field and Quectel has plans to support the CAT-1 bis standard.
Both CAT-1 and Cat-4 use the same network so there are no extra costs of deployment on the mobile network operator’s side. Since LTE has been developing for some years now, the network is relatively mature. In addition, there will be a significant positive impact on CAT-1 shipments due to economies of scale and technology advancements in designing and producing a low-cost CAT-1 platform.
It is expected that CAT-1 will become an optimal IoT solution worldwide because it has already proven itself in use cases such as smart grids, tracking, wireless payments and portable batteries to name just a few application areas in which millions of CAT-1 devices are already connected.
In addition, new use cases will appear in the near future, such as cloud-based cameras, push-to-talk over cellular, VoLTE and smart wearables. The blend of coverage, cost, ubiquity and familiarity remains CAT-1’s greatest attraction and is likely to see continued widespread adoption as device numbers grow from millions to billions.
For more information on why LTE is transforming cellular connectivity, download Quectel’s latest free white paper on LTE Cat-1 today.