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Goodbye LTE, Hello LTE-A

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Since the dawn of time, or at least the launch of data plans on phones, we have all wanted faster speeds and the ability to do more. 3G technology brought us all something to be excited about; we were all given data speeds that allowed quicker Web browsing, music downloads, games, etc. Then we were all graced with the 4G experience on our smart phones. The difference in 3G and 4G speeds was such a huge contrast that it almost seemed unfair to own a phone or have a carrier that wasn’t 4G capable. To make this all very simple, at a minimum, you want 4G speeds if you can get them. From Facebooking, to MMO games, and now the ever more popular music downloading, you’ll see the best results with 4G. With all of the basics, the biggest thing to know is the true benefit of these increases in network technology. 3G towers average a reliable data connection to around 60-100 users. 4G, however, not only doubles that number to around 100-200 users, it also provides a dramatic latency reduction to them at the same time. When you have a network coverage like 4G that not only supports more people to any given tower, but takes care of their data requirements 10 times faster, you have a local network that manages its users far more efficiently than the latter network.

 Now let’s delve into the pure joy of using a 4G LTE network. LTE, unlike 3G and 4G, uses different frequencies that allow it to provide a dramatic increase in upload and download speeds and more intelligently control its frequency. How does that really benefit the people on its network? Think of how rush hour traffic jams can lock hundreds of cars on a busy highway all at once. Their first intentions are usually to hop on their cell phones to pass the time. 100 people using 3G and 4G phones that are all tapping into a network tower will be struggling with congestion, very slow data speeds, dropped and even missed calls. This is all due to the way these networks control data usage. In short, it’s a free-for-all where the better phones will experience the better part of the congestion. Now 100 people stuck on the highway using an LTE network will not only experience less or zero congestion, but because LTE towers use different frequencies and provide a much greater amount of data to disperse, you’ll happily get to Facebook while not having to worry about missing a call. Smarter networks are giving the consumers what they pay for.

If 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE weren’t enough to swallow, Samsung has announced it will be the first company to launch a phone with 4G LTE-A (Long Term Evolution-Advanced) that is set to be released in South Korea. LTE-A promises to provide over double the speeds that standard LTE networks are providing now. In fact, Samsung is stating it is the true standard in 4G technology. Now every bit of detail is clear on this new technology, but from what I have gathered, it will provide benefits with huge data capabilities, range expansions, an even more complex multi-frequency technology, and smaller network cells. Think of the cells like this: with a main radio signal connecting to 6 cells, it is disbursing its connections to cellular devices as they are in range. Old technology not only has less cells that are larger, they stay active even when there is no requirement for their use. The new Smaller Cell approach will have more cells that are smaller, combined with range expansion packs. This allows the pass off in a network at an almost constant state to provide the best connection possible at all times, and at a further distance than previously allowed. Here’s the greatest part of how LTE-A is going to make networks more reliable: these smaller cells, unlike current cells, go into a dormant state when there is no demand on them to disburse a signal. So instead of wasting data on 6 cells that are constantly on, providing a less reliable call and data experience, you have a 6 cell area that can have only 3 actually needing to be active. So people in range of those 3 cells are getting all that the main network tower has to offer because it’s not wasting its radio transmission to 3 cells that aren’t even being used. In a nutshell, this means you are getting all the performance your LTE-A connection has to offer, all the time. With its expected multi-carrier tower connections providing extremely high data peaks of 1 Gbps, even in the off chance your network is overrun at one time, you’ll be able to happily use your mobile device with blazing fast speeds. Oh! Did I happen to mention LTE-A has an average download rate of 150 Mbps? Ya…Wow!

 We will be waiting, though, for this technology to roll out in the states because we are just maximizing our standard LTE potential as of now. But knowing we are becoming more consistent with technological upgrades, more so in the cellular world, I’d expect small LTE-A markets to start rolling out by the end of 2014. Till then, though, we will have to make do.

Source: SkyNet Solutions

By: Chris Raines

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