Long Term Evolution - LTE Networks

With mobile broadband technology fast growing, subscribers grow a need to take high speed internet wherever they go. With LTE, more than these are possible. LTE enables interactive contents and on demand video within the mobile environment. With LTE deployment coming close, taking a closer examination of the upcoming service will empower you in this fast growing mobile broadband industry.

What is LTE?

Long Term Evolution or LTE is a wireless broadband technology, designed to increase bandwidth capacity and data rates facilitating enhanced mobile applications and better performance. Marketed as 4G, it is considered as the final step from previous technology, thus the name Long Term Evolution. The main advantages with LTE are:

How does LTE work?

LTE operates on the radio frequency and the cellular network to transmit voice and data. The optimal radius of a cell that one base station could supports is up to 100km. It uses pre-coded version of OFDM for uplink and normal OFDM for the downlink. OFDM or Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex transmits data in closely spaced carriers to transmit data, enhancing spectrum flexibility and cost-efficiency.

Furthermore, LTE networks has backwards compatibility with the previous technologies like GSM and UMTS that makes low operating cost and wider coverage possible because it could operate without discontinuity where LTE coverage cannot reach. Enabling seamless passing from an LTE base station to the existing deployed networks reflects substantially on better service and cost efficiency.

How fast is LTE?

The LTE specification indicates that LTE wireless internet could provide a downstream rate of at least 100Mbps and upstream rate of at least 50Mbps. Moreover, technology demos showed that the LTE was able to maintain 100 Mbps with peak rate of 17 Mbps.

What types of devices use LTE?

As the industry moves towards expansion of 4G compatible devices, it is expected that LTE mobile devices would not be restricted to LTE mobile phones or laptops. LTE providers are publishing specifications enabling different types of devices, and even heavy machinery to incorporate LTE as broadband communications method. Therefore, you could expect any device that could incorporate LTE embedded chips to be capable of accessing the LTE networks. The following are some of the devices expected to utilize 4G.

When will the networks become available?

Major telecommunications companies are now speeding up the deployment of the LTE 4G networks. Recent announcements indicate that LTE should be commercially available by the end of 2009, due to decisions made after testing the equipments. Efforts are exerted to accelerate the deployment, hoping for LTE to get more market shares than the already deployed WiMAX. Other companies however, predict 2012 to see widespread deployment.

Where else in the world are companies investing in LTE?

Companies investing in the 4G technology are noticeably divided between WiMAX and LTE. While the WiMAX technology has already been deployed, LTE gains momentum with companies who invested in UMB, another 4G technology, migrating to adopt LTE. The following list is based on carriers currently conducting test and contract signing for LTE.