Standard LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, represents a major leap in cellular technology designed to improve the speed and capacity of mobile networks. It is often referred to as a 4G technology, following the 3G and 2G cellular standards. Here’s an overview of standard LTE:
Definition: LTE is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies.
Speed: LTE provides faster download and upload speeds compared to previous generations of cellular technology. Depending on the specific implementation and network conditions, LTE speeds can reach up to 100 Mbps for downloads and 50 Mbps for uploads, though real-world speeds can be lower.
Frequency Bands: LTE operates over multiple frequency bands. Different countries and carriers use different bands, leading to the wide array of LTE bands available today.
- E-UTRAN (Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network): This is the radio access part of the LTE system. It consists of eNodeBs, which are equivalent to base stations in other cellular systems.
- EPC (Evolved Packet Core): This is the core network of the LTE system. It handles data traffic and network dynamics, including the creation and allocation of resources for a user session.
MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output): LTE introduced MIMO technology, which uses multiple antennas at the transmitter and receiver to improve communication performance.
OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access): LTE uses OFDMA for the downlink – that is, from the tower to your device. This method of data transmission allows for higher data rates and more efficient use of the available spectrum.
SC-FDMA (Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access): Used for the uplink, or from your device to the tower. It’s selected over OFDMA for the uplink because it has a lower peak-to-average power ratio.
Backwards Compatibility: While LTE represents a break from previous technologies, it is designed to coexist and interoperate with existing networks. This makes the transition smoother for carriers.
VoLTE (Voice over LTE): Unlike earlier cellular networks that used separate systems for voice and data services, VoLTE allows carriers to use the LTE network for voice services, leading to better sound quality and other benefits.
Evolution: LTE is not static. The standard has seen various advancements like LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro, which offer even higher speeds and other improvements.
In summary, standard LTE marked a significant progression in the world of mobile telecommunications, setting the stage for the rapid growth of mobile internet usage and preparing the groundwork for the subsequent development of 5G technology.