Sourcing the Right Cellular Coverage for Wireless Devices

Not all cellular devices are designed the same, and every network operator is different regarding what frequencies they broadcast on and the locations their services are provided. Here are 3 top things to consider when looking for cellular network coverage.

1. What frequencies does the tower emit?

Each cellular tower broadcasts a range of frequencies into specific areas. The most common ones in the USA LTE Bands are: 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, and 66. LTE Band 2 broadcasts at 600MHz, Band 4 broadcasts at 1700Mhz, Band 5 broadcasts at 850Mhz, etc. A cellular tower does not necessarily broadcast ALL of these bands. For an example, you can have a cellular tower that only broadcasts LTE Band 5, and nothing else.

2. What type of data does the tower emit?

In addition to frequencies, there are also specific data types. You will probably recognize these as 2G, 3G, LTE, and 5G. A tower can emit a frequency at 850MHz, but if it is the wrong data type for your equipment, it will not be able to connect. For instance, an LTE device cannot connect on a 5G network, and vice versa. Learn more about the latest 5G network data type.

3. What frequencies does the device support?

Your equipment must support the correct frequencies and data types for it to connect. If you have an LTE device only, it will not be able to connect on a 5G tower. If your device does not support LTE Band 5 and that frequency is the only one being broadcasted, you will be unable to connect. Typically, this information is found on the manufacturers spec sheet for the device.

Of course, there are many other points to consider while looking for cellular network coverage. One example includes you must be within coverage. Just because a tower supports a certain frequency doesn’t mean it is pointing in your direction, if the device displays an RSSI (Signal Strength) less than -100dBm, or if you are seeing a RSRQ (Signal Quality) less than -14dBm, that will impact your performance or inhibit connectivity all together.

If you are not sure if your IoT devices will be compatible in a specific coverage area, Datablaze can help. Datablaze provides the services, solution and IoT management platform to help manage your devices in the field and ensure they have the most reliable connectivity.

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