On a daily basis, it may be difficult to identify the differences between standard and dual-frequency GPS tracking, however, when recording activities in the most challenging environments these differences become impossible to ignore.
In order to understand how big of an impact dual-frequency GPS technology can have on the accuracy of your activity measurements, it’s necessary to first explain how GPS watches track and measure activities. In an over-simplified explanation, single-frequency (standard) GPS watches measure distance by receiving information communicated via a radio signal from a singular satellite above, interpreting the data, then producing an estimation of your current location based on the information available.
In order to receive the most accurate measurements with standard GPS tracking, it’s vital that there are clear paths between your watch and the satellites it is receiving information from. This creates obvious challenges when your watch is subjected to environments that inhibit the clear path of communication, such as cities with skyscrapers, mountainous regions, canyons, overhangs, cliffs, heavy tree coverage, etc. With single frequency technology, there is a higher risk that a device loses signal from a satellite when the mentioned challenges are present.
While standard GPS watches may struggle in a metropolitan area with tall buildings or deep in the mountains, these are exactly the situations that dual-frequency technology was designed to improve measurements. The key difference with dual-frequency GPS is that it allows for a device to receive more information from multiple satellites simultaneously, using different wavelengths of radio signals to differentiate one from another, thus reducing the risk of error in information greatly.
With dual-frequency, based upon the information received, your watch may also be able to determine what is a “direct” vs “reflected” signal, further demonstrating how the likelihood of error is much smaller with this technology. In addition, if one GPS signal fails, with dual-frequency there is no data loss as the additional line of communication serves as a backup.
While in standard running environments the differences in dual-frequency vs standard GPS may be hard to tell, we highly recommend turning All Systems + Dual FREQ On during technical climbs or in incredibly challenging GPS environments. As seen in the photo below, this satellite mode reduces the battery life of GPS tracking from 140hrs to 50hrs, which is why we only recommend using when necessary.
On any COROS watch with dual-frequency capabilities, you will have the option to specify which “Mode” of satellite tracking you want to record an activity with. To use the dual-frequency technology, hold the back button to access your Toolbox -> More Settings -> Satellite Systems -> Mode -> All Systems + Dual FREQ On. Here is our definition of this tracking mode.
All Systems + Dual FREQ On: is the most powerful and accurate satellite mode available. This powerful mode enables the VERTIX 2 to communicate with satellite systems in two simultaneous frequencies, bringing next-level accuracy even when you are in challenging conditions or environments.
Examples of when to use All Systems + Dual FREQ On: Rock/Ice climbing sheer rock faces in narrow canyons, hiking deep within forests, in between mountain peaks, or near sheer cliff drop-offs such as the Grand Canyon. Any time that you want to ensure the most accurate GPS route, so long as the activity duration is anticipated to be less than 50 hours of continuous GPS tracking.