LTE - The Basics

Description : 

Wireless carriers really like using technology-laden acronyms like 3G, HSPA, EV-DO, 4G and LTE and they expect us all to have a degree in rocket science. 

LTE - The Basics

In reality, most people do not know what any of these acronyms means. This article is aimed at revealing what LTE stands for.

LTE – The Meaning Behind The Acronym

LTE is short for Long-Term Evolution. This is an extension of the popular GSM (‘Groupe Special Mobile’ or Global System for Mobile Communications) technology, which is used all over the world nowadays. GSM is capable of simultaneous high speed data with 3G and voice and this is the way you surf the web while talking on your phone if you choose most of the carriers all over the world and have a 3G-capable mobile phone. The easiest way to tell that a mobile phone is a GSM is to look for its SIM or Subscriber Identity Module card. This is a tiny chip that has information about your phone number. Moreover, you can transfer it from one unlocked cell phone to another one quite easily. 

Other carriers nowadays use CDMA, which stands for Code-Division Multiple Access. This is an older standard for data and voice and it does not need a SIM card. It is most common in the US and only some mobile carriers rely on this standard. This technology is limited to either data or voice at any given time. This means that you can never have both even if your phone supports 3G. 

ETSI or the European Telecommunications Standards Institute is the one to establish the standards for the whole telecommunications business. This is a non-profit organization and it supports the relationship between the companies that made the hardware (the cell phones) and the carrier companies which provide networks for those phones. LTE is the product of a cooperation known as 3GPP or Third Generation Partnership Project. 

Nowadays, there are two different versions of LTE. There is the current pre-4G standard and it is advertised by carriers who say it is actually 4G anyways. There is also the LTE Advanced and this is the true 4G, but you will not see it for quite some time. The currently advertised 4G LTE is a baby step taken towards the adoption of LTE Advanced, which is going to be compatible with the standards used nowadays.

LTE is a technology of the future and the hardware available nowadays cannot handle LTE Advanced just yet. This means that for now we have to stick to the pre-4G standard, which is the 4G we know. LTE is the most recent evolution of GSM. It is created in order to bring broadband speeds to mobile data transfers. It is supposed to unify all the carriers around the world and especially the rivals in the US. 

Why do we care about LTE? 

This new standard promises us high speeds for mobile data. It can offer up to 100 Mbps download speed and up to 50 Mbps upload speed at best.

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