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Sub-Ghz vs 2.4GHz: Which one to choose?

Question asked by Alan Led Collins Rivera Employee on Sep 4, 2014

We have solution for both sub-gig (MKW01x) and ZigBee 2.4GHz (MKW2x). Choosing between one or another depends on the application requirements. The most common considerations for deciding the most suitable solution are:


  • Interoperability
    • 2.4GHz has more global standards already deployed in the field. If the customers wants to create a product complaint with other vendors. Then MKW2x is a good option vs MKW01x.
    • SubGig has started to introduce more global standards, but most companies deploy proprietary protocols.
  • Range
    • Sub-Gig has an advantage in terms of range. You can get ~1.3 more distance using the same output power (similar power consumption) than 2.4GHz. Also, Subgig signal is well known to bend around buildings so the penetration allows less degradation of the signal = longer distance.
    • 2.4GHz is not bad in terms of range, you can get ~30meters indoor, and ~100meters outdoor (I’ve seen up to 300 meters without external PA/LNA). Also, because of the standard protocols with mesh networking, you can get longer distances thanks to multi-hoping inside the network. So, if teh customer will have many nodes spread across a location, then they might like 2.4GHz (ZigBee).
  • Antenna size
    • SubGig = bigger antenna
    • 2.4GHz = small antenna
  • Low power
    • 2.4GHz is a crowdie band. Lots of technologies are occupying the 2.4GHz (BLE, WiFI, ZigBee, etc). So even that each technology uses different base frequencies and bandwidths, it is expected to have collisions. Anyway, the standards are robust enough to handle collisions, but this means backoff and retries mechanisms… which means the radio turn on again. The radio usually consumes between 15-25mA. Anyway, you can get years of battery operation (depending on the duty cycle of your application)
    • SubGig radio also consumes 15-25mA, but the freq band is not as much occupied as the 2.4GHz.