The technology behind LTE is a complex array of acronyms and geek speak involving “towers” and “spectrum.” But instead of getting into all that, it’s much simpler to think of this vast new network as a highway. If the current network is a five-lane highway, then LTE represents a 20-lane superhighway complete with multiple fast and high occupancy vehicle lanes, collectors and express lanes and many on- and off-ramps. LTE technology creates these lanes to allow data (streaming video, web browsing, file transfers, gaming data) to travel more efficiently, routing them to special, dedicated lanes that ease congestion and increase speed.
HOW IT WORKS
- The current network can handle more traffic than it does now, but it will eventually reach its limit
- LTE adds more “lanes” to our wireless highway
- High-priority traffic is ensured a dedicated, uncongested lane
- A greater number of wider, dedicated data “on-ramps” eliminate network-access bottlenecks and ensure traffic keeps flowing smoothly
- In addition to adding lanes, LTE also jams data packets (cars in our highway for example) more densely into the available lane space. No fear of a fear-end collision, through; the robots are driving
ASK AN EXPERT
Ericsson’s director of broadband strategy, Dr. Ali Shah, answers a few questions about LTE.
Q:What’s so awesome about LTE?
A: LTE’s capability is flexible. It can operate on 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz of spectrum. And then future versions, if you can add, say, four of those 20 MHz [bands], you can work on 80 MHz and go up to 1 GB per second. That’s why it’s called Long Term Evolution. It’s a whole decade ahead. And that’s why Rogers is making that investment now, starting to build that futuristic model.
Q: What will some of the performance differences be?
A: Current 3G networks are still in the single digit MB per second range. With LTE, you will see double digits. In terms of latency (delay of a network). LTE will reduce that delay.
Q: Currently if I’m in an area not supported by 3G or HSPA+, my connection will drop back to the next available network, like EDGE. Will it be the same with LTE?
A: The whole concept behind LTE is it’s a seamless network. When a user leaves [the LTE area], they will go to an HSPA network or a 3G network. They’re like two pieces of cloth stitched together to make a trouser but, for the user, they won’t be able to see the seams. LTE was built on the standard that it will be uninterruptible.