The Ultimate Guide to LTE Cat 1 bis Technology

LTE Cat 1 bis technology, also known as LTE Category 1 bis, is a recent development in wireless communication standards that is emerging as a frontrunner in IoT and M2M communication. As part of the 3GPP Release 14 specifications, it represents an evolution of the original LTE Cat 1 technology, which is designed to provide optimized and power-efficient connectivity for IoT devices.

One of the key features of Cat 1 bis technology is its enhanced power efficiency. The beauty of Cat 1 bis based IoT devices are the features like extended discontinuous reception (eDRX) and power-saving mode (PSM) for longer sleep cycles. The improved power efficiency of Cat 1.bis helps in achieving this objective, making it highly suited to applications like smart metering, asset tracking, and environmental monitoring, where devices may be deployed in remote or hard-to-reach locations.

In this blog, we will dive deeper into the LTE Cat 1 bis technology, applications, advantages and industry impacts.

What is LTE Cat 1 bis?

LTE Cat 1 bis, an evolved version of the LTE Cat 1 standard, introduces a significant advancement in cellular communication for Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) applications. What sets LTE Cat 1 bis apart is its support for a single antenna design for IoT devices. Unlike LTE Cat 1, which typically employs two antennas, LTE Cat 1 bis allows IoT devices to operate efficiently with just one antenna. This advancement in antenna design enables IoT device manufacturers to streamline their designs and reduce costs while still benefiting from the capabilities of LTE Cat 1. Let's discuss this in detail further below.

Technical Features and Specifications of Cat 1 bis technology


The antenna configuration of LTE Cat 1 bis

Difference in antenna configuration between Cat 1 bis and Cat 1

The difference in antenna configuration between Cat 1 bis and Cat 1

LTE Cat 1 bis has been specifically tailored to address the need for simplified antenna configurations in IoT deployments. By offering the same level of network capability as LTE Cat 1, IoT devices adopting LTE Cat 1 bis can seamlessly connect to cellular networks while utilizing a single antenna. This advancement opens up new possibilities for IoT device manufacturers,

The Cat 1 bis technology is also known for its superior data rates compared to traditional LPWAN technologies. It provides downlink speeds of up to 10 Mbps and uplink speeds of up to 5 Mbps, which means it offers data speeds similar to Cat 1.

With 2G networks facing lesser acceptance and LPWAN technologies often falling short in terms of bandwidth and latency, LTE Cat 1 bis presents a far more compelling proposition. This makes it a more versatile solution that can cater to a wide range of IoT applications beyond just data transfer.

Lower power consumption of Cat 1 bis

The advent of LTE Cat 1 bis technology is revolutionizing the wireless communication landscape, offering a robust and energy-efficient alternative to the aging 2G networks and low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies. This technology is particularly suited for IoT and M2M applications, marking a new era of connectivity that balances power consumption, performance, and cost.


Cat 1 bis


Power-Saving Mode (PSM)



e-DRX=81.92s, PTW=2.56s

<50µA< /p>


A significant advantage of Cat 1 bis lies in its power consumption, which aligns with LPWAN levels, thereby ensuring longevity for IoT devices operating in the field. This is particularly beneficial for IoT devices such as energy meters and trackers, which remain inactive most of the time and wake up only occasionally to send and receive data.

3GPP has introduced features like extended discontinuous reception (eDRX) and power-saving mode (PSM) for longer sleep cycles, which are commonly used in NB-IoT and LTE-M networks. These features are also applicable to Cat 1 bis devices. However, Cat 1 bis devices have an edge when it comes to the time a device must be in active mode to complete a data transaction or ON time.

For instance, to upload or receive 500 bytes of data on NB-IoT and LTE-M, the device ON time is 400 milliseconds and 40 ms respectively. In contrast, a Cat 1 bis device can complete the same data transaction in just 8 ms at 500 Kbps of throughput. This indicates that Cat 1 bis devices can achieve the same tasks in a fraction of the time, thereby conserving energy.

The combination of reduced power consumption, space efficiency, and competitive data rates underscores the potential of Cat 1 bis technology as a game-changer in the realm of IoT connectivity. As such, LTE Cat 1 bis is increasingly becoming the preferred choice for IoT and M2M applications.

Cat 1 bis aligns its power consumption with LPWAN levels, providing the much-needed longevity for IoT devices operating in the field. This combination of reduced power consumption, space efficiency, and competitive data rates underscores the potential of Cat 1 bis technology as a game-changer in the realm of IoT connectivity.

Comparison between NBIoT, LTE-M and Cat 1 bis




Cat 1 bis


200 KHz

1.4 MHz

1.4 MHz

Downlink Peak Speed

27 kbps

1 Mbps

10 Mbps

Uplink Peak Speed

66 kbps

1 Mbps

5 Mbps

Duplex Mode

Half Duplex

Full or Half Duplex

Full Duplex

Frequency Deployment

In-band, guard-band, standalone



Number of Antennae

1 (SISO)

1 (SISO)

1 (SISO)

Transmission Power

23 dBm

23 dBm

23 dBm

Indoor Penetration




Cells Capacity

50,000 - 100,000 devices per cell

1,000 devices per cell

1,000 devices per cell

Data and Voice

Data only

Data and Voice

*Capable of Voice if there is VoLTE license. 

Data and Voice 

*Capable of Voice if there is VoLTE license. Data also supports Video



Full mobility and handover

Full mobility and handover

Module Cost

Lower cost

Higher cost

Moderate cost


Great coverage and penetration

Great coverage and penetration

Great coverage and penetration

Global Availability

Good availability. Requires new infrastructure. Cheaper to roll out than LTE

Great availability where LTE already exists. Built on existing LTE technology

Great availability where LTE already exists. Built on existing LTE technology

Roaming Capability

Technically possible, but basically non-existent in reality

Good roaming availability

Good roaming availability

Power Saving Features

PSM and eDRX support

PSM and eDRX support

PSM and eDRX support

Freedom to Leave

Typically no SMS support. Not good for freedom to leave and eUICC (eSIM)

Supports freedom to leave and eUICC (eSIM)

Supports freedom to leave and eUICC (eSIM)

Use Cases

Fits in static monitoring applications where a low data transmission is required

Best for tracking and mobility applications with moderate data transmission requirements

Best for tracking and mobility applications with higher data transmission requirements

LTE Cat 1 bis provides higher bandwidth compared to LTE-M and NB-IoT, making it suitable for applications with more demanding data requirements, including voice or video. LTE-M offers mobility support and voice capabilities, while NB-IoT excels in coverage, power efficiency, and long-range connectivity. The choice between these technologies depends on the specific requirements of the IoT application, such as data rates, power consumption, mobility, and coverage needs.

Applicable Industries

Automotive Logistics

Automotive & Logistics



Health Care

Health Care &



Smart Home

Smart Home

Smart City

Smart City

Energy Utilities

Energy & Utilities

Safety Security

Safety & Security



LTE Cat 1 bis IoT module - Cavli C16QS

The Cavli C16QS, an LTE Cat 1 bis IoT module, is a standout product in the IoT market. It's designed to meet the diverse needs of global IoT applications, offering a perfect blend of performance, affordability, and advanced features.

The C16QS module operates on the LTE Cat 1 bis technology, which provides a peak speed of 10 Mbps downlink and 5 Mbps uplink and comes with the option of an integrated eSIM & GNSS capability. This ensures efficient data transmission and makes it ideal for tracking and mobility applications that require higher data transmission rates.

C16QS Cat 1 bis Module Cavli C16QS Cat 1.bis module

One of the key features of the C16QS module is its affordability. Priced competitively, it offers businesses a cost-effective solution for their IoT needs without compromising on performance or features. This affordability is a significant factor in promoting IoT adoption across various industries.

Integrated e-SIM on C16QS enables global connectivity. This means devices equipped with the C16QS module can operate seamlessly across different countries and networks, making it a truly global IoT solution.

Furthermore, the C16QS module is enhanced by the Cavli Hubble IoT platform. Cavli Hubble provides a suite of services, including connectivity management, device management, and data management, that boost the module's functionality and ease of use. With the Hubble platform, businesses can manage their IoT devices more efficiently and make data-driven decisions.

CavliC16QS comes with 3 region-specific variants each for

Key Highlights

Integrated Hubble eSIM

Integrated Hubble eSIM

Powered by Cavli Hubble

Powered by Cavli Hubble

Applicable regions - (Global)

Applicable regions - (APAC, EMEA, N.America and Global)

GNSS Support

GNSS Support

Technical details 



Cellular Bands Supported

E.A (EMEA/ APAC Variant) bands: 1/3/5/8/20

N.A (North America Variant) bands: 2/4/5/12/13/66
WW(GLOBAL Variant)bands: /2/3/5/7/8/12/18/19/20/25/26/28/39/40/41

Supported Location Services



Download speed: 10Mbps
Upload speed: 5Mbps

Package Dimensions

26.5mm x 22.5mm x 2.3mm


Interfaces of Cavli C16QS 



Power Interface

Voltage range: 3.4V to 4.2V

Optimal operating voltage: 3.7V

Switching Machine Reset Mode

Allows seamless switching and resetting, enhancing operational flexibility and reducing potential downtime

USB Interface

USB2.0 interface for high-speed data transfer, facilitating quick communication between C16QS and other devices

UART Interface

Three UART lines for seamless AT command, debug and data transfer capabilities

uSIM Interface

Supports 3.0V/1.8V SIM cards, enabling flexible network connectivity options

GPIO Interface

Four GPIO interfaces for extended functionality and customization based on specific application requirements

Network Status Indicator Interface

Provides real-time network status information

Power On Indication Interface

Provides information of module power status

I2S Interface*

Compliant with I2S bus protocol, offering high-quality audio connectivity for IoT devices with audio functionality

I2C Bus*

Compatible with I2C bus protocol, supports high-speed mode with data transfer rate of up to 3.3Mbps

SWD Interface

Serial Wire Debug interface for efficient debugging and development, promoting better performance and faster troubleshooting


MAIN and GNSS antennas for robust wireless communication and precise positioning capabilities

Control Interface

Allows smooth operation and precise control, enabling customization of module operation to fit specific requirements

ADC Interface*

Two analog-to-digital converters for accurate translation of analog inputs into digital data

GNSS Interface

Supports GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU, GALILEO, QZSS, and NAVIC global navigation satellite systems

SPI Interface*

Standard SPI interface for high-speed data transfer, suitable for various IoT applications

*Requires SDK - Not available for C16QS


GNSS feature of C16QS

Another important aspect of C16QS's design is its robust GNSS functionality. It supports multiple global navigation satellite systems, including GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU, GALILEO, QZSS, and NAVIC. This feature, coupled with SBAS Ranging support, enhances its capability for precise positioning and tracking, making it an ideal solution for logistics and tracking applications.


Product Brochure

Product Brochure

Hardware Manual

Hardware Manual

AT Command Manual

AT Command Manual


The development of the IoT landscape has been marked by an insatiable demand for innovation, flexibility, efficiency, and affordability. The advent of LTE Cat 1 bis technology, as exemplified by Cavli Wireless' C16QS module, has underscored a crucial shift in the IoT narrative, paving the way for robust, power-efficient, and affordable connectivity solutions.

The C16QS module is a testament to this evolution, embodying the best of cutting-edge technology and affordability. Its efficient pricing structure, combined with high-end features, enables businesses of all sizes to leverage IoT technology, democratizing access and spurring innovation across industries.

The C16QS is a triumph in the field of IoT, merging high performance, superior connectivity, and compact design with cost-effectiveness. With integrated features such as the single-mode LTE Cat 1 bis Cellular Module, eSIM, and GNSS, it offers a comprehensive solution for global IoT requirements. Furthermore, the integration of Cavli Hubble Global Connectivity and Stack Intelligence ensures seamless global deployment and cost-effective maintenance, respectively, thereby bolstering the proposition of the C16QS as a versatile, global solution for IoT applications.

As we look towards a future where IoT is ubiquitous, the C16QS will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping this reality, fostering a new era of connectivity that is efficient, reliable, and inclusive.




Alex Jude

Alex Jude Xavier

System Support Engineer
Cavli Wireless

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