Blog Post

10 Things You Need to Know About LTE

Since everybody likes lists, here are the 10 things you need to know about the 4G technology known as Long-Term Evolution, or LTE, standard.

  1. It began in 2004 as the next-generation networking technology pushed by the 3GPP
  2. It’s fast — with peak data rates of 1o0 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up
  3. It makes CDMA and GSM debates moot
  4. It offers both FDD and TDD duplexing, which means the upload and download speeds don’t have to be synchronous, so operators can better optimize their networks to use more upload channels
  5. It won’t be deployed until 2010 or so
  6. Verizon is testing it with Motorola equipment, and AT&T has backed it too
  7. LTE will have lower latency, which makes real-time interaction on high band-width applications using mobiles possible
  8. It competes against WiMax, and some want to subsume WiMax into it
  9. China Mobile is testing it, which means China may skip 3G networks altogether
  10. While it will make mobile data faster, it may not bolster sales of networking gear

21 Responses to “10 Things You Need to Know About LTE”

  1. I understand that the capacity to a 3G/UMTS cell is 3.84Mcps. May I know what the capacity toa 3GPP/LTE cell is?

    Surely, I appreciate the information available on this website.

  2. There is heaps of preproduction equipment out there now for testing.

    Peak download rates of 326.4 Mbit/s for 4×4 antennas, 172.8 Mbit/s for 2×2 antennas for every 20 MHz of spectrum.

    Want to give a service with even more bandwidth than that? Easy, just give more spectrum in any of LTE’s 11 bands – in slices as small as 1.25MHz!


  3. Jesse Kopelman

    K, I like WiMAX too, but you are just plain wrong. LTE is definitely a 4G technology — its very name demonstrates this: Long Term Evolution (of UMTS). The long term evolution of a 3G technology would be, by definition 4G. As for WiMAX, FDMA is currently unsupported. Yes, there is support in 802.16e, but so far no finalized profile from the WiMAX Forum. Without the profile, there is no non-proprietary equipment and thus no way to do a wide-scale commercial deployment. That said, there would be such a profile damn quick if Verizon or the like showed interest, so I do agree that if they wanted to Verizon could certainly deploy WiMAX.

  4. LTE is a 3G technology. Wimax is currently the only FDMA MIMO configuration in the United States.
    Verizon is just trying to buy more time before having to finally decide it’s next move… aka: waiting to see if sprint does well.

  5. Theoretical or even tested throughput of either technology is a moot point. The maximum throughput of either WiMAX or LTE will be limited by the backhaul capacity of the nearest WiMAX or LTE cell site. WiMAX has been tested at much higher speeds than what Sprint or Clearwire will be making available to the public. AT&T and Verizon will be limited by the same backhaul capacity with LTE.

    The best analogy I can give is your home network vs. your Internet connection speeds. I have a wired and wireless network in my house. My wired capacity is 100Mbps; my wireless capacity is 54Mbps; but, my connection to the Internet, which is analogous to the backhaul, is limited to 6Mbps up and 1Mbps down.

    WiMAX and LTE will be limited to the backhaul capacity of the nearest serving WiMAX or LTE cell site and the number of users utilizing the technology at one time… they will all be sharing the same backhaul pipe.

  6. Stacey Higginbotham

    Rambo, it has theoretically more capacity than WiMax, but since there are no deployments of LTE yet, we’ll have to wait and see how it actually pans out. WiMax is being rolled out with Clearwire offering a form of WiMax service now and Sprint deploying its Xohm WiMax service this year.

    Shah, LTE could threaten fiber if it can reach the speeds it advertises, but it won’t be widely available for four more years or so.

  7. For the longest time, I thought that LTE was really just the promise of WiMax expanded: it is said to be IP-based and use OFDM, MIMO architecture.

    Certainly, I can see how WiMax can be subsumed into LTE and those that get WiMax right will have an upper hand when transitioning over to LTE.

    Does LTE threaten fiber roll-outs? How does it compete with the new breed of satellite Internet technologies Japan has recently experimented with?