Huawei today demonstrated the next-generation Long Term Evolution network technology in trials that reached speed of 1.2 Gbps. That’s faster than most wireline networks, but it’s delivered via a cellular network. With such speeds you could download an HD movie in 30 seconds.
But before you dump your FiOS wireline subscription, be aware that the LTE Advanced network technology is years away. When I ask folks at Verizon Wireless or AT&T about LTE Advanced I’m been told that no one is thinking about it today.
Plus, even with it far off (the standard won’t even be set until 2011), the test speeds bear little relationship to the actual speeds. For proof, check out the LTE demo I saw back in 2008 showing speeds of 150 Mbps down and the anticipated speeds of 5-12 Mbps down that Verizon is telling users to expect on its network. I explain why there’s such a disconnect in this post.
There’s also a matter of finding enough spectrum to deliver peak speeds using LTE-Advanced. For the fastest speeds carriers will need wide swaths of spectrum — the 3GPP standard-setting group says 70 MHz. Currently Verizon expects to use 10 MHz bands to deploy its LTE in the 700 MHz block, so we’re talking a huge increase. Cobbling together that many airwaves will suck up the spectrum that the FCC wants to deliver as part of its National Broadband Plan.
Still, 1 gigabit wireless is an exciting milestone that I couldn’t bear to pass up, especially given that our wired networks are hoping to hit a mere 100 Mbps by 2020, according to the National Broadband Plan goals. Also of note is Huawei’s continued advancement in the equipment business. It was also working with Verizon last year to deliver 10 Gbps to homes via fiber and has deployed nine commercial LTE networks.