Proxima Studio / Shutterstock.com
Curious about the LTE icon on your smartphone? It's one of the many wireless standards you can use to communicate on the go. But what is he doing? LTE I mean how is it different from 5G network?
LTE is mainly used on smartphones and mobile hotspots. But technology can also be found in some smart watches, tablets, laptops, and other devices.
While LTE is often marketed as 4G LTE, it technically doesn't meet the 4G cellular service standards it sets. Radio Communications Sector (ITU-R). The radio communications sector is a unit of the International Telecommunication Union that is responsible for the development of communications standards such as 4G. According to the ITU-R, real 4G delivers peak data transmission speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s on the move and at least 1 Gbit/s when stationary.
However, if mobile operators cannot achieve these speeds, the wireless sector will have eased requirements, so LTE can be marketed as a 4G technology. ITU-R said any wireless technology that offers a "significant improvement in performance and capabilities" over the initial 3G network could also be considered 4G.
What are LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro?
LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro are enhanced versions of the LTE standard and can provide faster internet speeds. In theory, LTE Advanced can provide a maximum data download rate of 1Gbps, and Advanced Pro can reach 3Gbps. LTE Advanced and Advanced Pro thus meet the technical requirements of a real 4G network.
Luckily, both LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro are backwards compatible, and regular LTE devices can work on these networks. But unfortunately you don't get the extended benefits.
Many LTE networks worldwide have already been upgraded to LTE Advanced. And it's represented by the LTE+, 4G+, or LTE-A icons on your phone instead of the usual LTE or 4G.
Related: How Much Internet Speed Do You Really Need?
How does LTE work?
Cellular Standards It traditionally uses both circuit-switched and packet-switched networks to provide voice and data services to its customers. Whereas a circuit-switched network establishes a dedicated connection to the person on the other end and stays connected until the call is complete, a packet-switched network, on the other hand, uses data packets to carry information from one device to another over a digital network. These data packets can take the path of least resistance to reach their destination and do not require a dedicated line.
Unlike 2G and 3G technologies, LTE uses an entire packet-switched network. As a result, there is no switching of circuits to make voice calls. Instead, VoLTE or Voice-over-LTE is used to handle voice calls. However, LTE supports Option Switch Backup (CSFB) to enable voice calls over existing 3G and 2G networks when the phone does not support VoLTE or LTE is not available. In fact, during early LTE implementations, carriers often used CSFB. But VoLTE is very popular now.
LTE makes efficient use of existing network bandwidth to provide faster internet speeds and lower response time. This is possible thanks to techniques such as MIMO or multi-input-output, transmission aggregation, multi-band mods and more.
LTE vs 5G
Aslysun / Shutterstock.com
Although LTE remains the dominant wireless standard worldwide, 5G or 5G wireless broadband technologies are rapidly gaining traction. A number of wireless carriers around the world, including in North America, are rolling out 5G networks that promise faster internet speeds, reliability and bandwidth.
So with 5G you can expect to upload or download data at a much faster speed than LTE. It also allows you to run data and bandwidth-intensive applications and services such as cloud gaming, HD streaming, etc.
Theoretically, 5G networks are able to provide download speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s. However, these highest data rates are only possible with mmWave 5G radio frequency bands. 5G can also use sub-6GHz frequency bands, but internet speeds in these frequency bands are not as fast as mmWave 5G, although they are still faster than LTE speeds.
And since 5G networks are still evolving, it will take time to mature as LTE has matured over the years. Also, since 5G is a new technology and not backward compatible like any other previous generation network, you will need 5G compatible device to experience it. For example, your LTE phone cannot connect to the 5G network.
All in all, while 5G offers many advantages over LTE, it's not quite ready to replace LTE just yet. So at least for the next few years we will see 5G and LTE coexisting and complementing each other.