Ten Things You Need To Know About 4G-LTE

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  • 5 years ago
  • Posted: December 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

  1. On the download side, LTE-Advanced is the next iteration of the Long Term Evolution Standard and can offer up to 1 Gbps speeds over a wireless signal for fixed mobile broadband and 100 Mbps for actual mobile broadband (like when you’re in your car or on a train, still a far cry here in Kenya).
  2. On the uplink side it can offer up to 200 Mbps for fixed mobile broadband, especially great for content developers sending it back to the web.
  3. The theoretical speeds aren’t probable in the real world, reason being to deliver 1 Gbps speeds an operator would need 40 MHz of spectrum and 8×8 MIMO antenna solution, or about 100 MHz of spectrum without using MIMO, which is a lot of spectrum and eight antennas that would have to be crammed on both the base station and inside the device. (Imagine yourself picking a call and you have antennae sticking out of your mobile like the Eiffel Tower.)However, because MIMO increases the capacity of the airwaves, it’s a question of when, not if operators will utilize it.
  4. MIMO, or Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output, is an antenna technology by which LTE-Advanced will boost its capacity, just like the aerial of your radio or telly. MIMO is a way operators can use multiple antennas to cram in more users to share a network because MIMO provides a more granular (you know how when the grains of your sugar are small, the more sugar you can put in your sugar-bowl and the faster the sugar dissolves, thus you have less wastage, MIMO pretty much works in that way, only thing is the fine sugar grains are people fit together in the advanced Sugar-Bowl that is the 4G-LTE) way for carriers to slice up and allocate spectrum between devices and the base station.
  5. The future iterations of LTE will also be self optimizing and self-healing, meaning they will have the means to determine when a cell site goes down and be able to adapt to such a disruption (I AM SURE YOU HAVE SUFFERED THOSE GHASTLY NETWORK DISRUPTIONS, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO SAFARICOM). They will also be able to respond to changes in demand by taking corrective action such as adding power to a base stations or decreasing their radius of coverage.
  6. LTE-Advanced will also include support for operators that want to use multiple bands of spectrum in their network. For instance, for faster 3G networks operators can utilize chunks of spectrum that aren’t next to one another to deliver the service. LTE-Advanced bakes that capability right into the spectrum. It’s a good thing, because for true gigabit wireless, operators will need lots of spectrum as earlier stated.
  7. The standard won’t only support spectrum diversity; it is also likely to support smoother handoffs between distinct networks in later iterations, such as a seamless transition between 3G, 4G and even Wi-Fi. This helps operators offload traffic for users and provide better quality of service.
  8. LTE-Advanced will also boost capacity. The standard has the features mentioned above and others that will accommodate more bits into each hertz of spectrum, much like some Container Store associate can shove a truckload of goods into a KES200, 000 set of plastic shelves. That kind of cramming means it’s cheaper to send your emails, videos, photos and whatnot over mobile broadband networks and will enable carriers to keep up with growing data demand without going into the red. This is especially auspicious for KENYA AND AFRICA as a whole, why- This year puts Kenya as having more than 16 million internet users, having a 16% growth in one year and a user growth of over two million, not to mention a 36.70% population with internet, whose population share in world population is 0.63% and internet share is 0.57%. Africa leads in mobile broadband growth reaching close to 20% in 2014, up 2% since 2010. You can see that in Kenya which has over 93% phone subscriptions, a 67% Smartphone penetration and a burgeoning ICT sector. By end of 2014, 55% of all mobile broadband are expected to be in the developing world. In Africa, 20% of Africa’s population will be online, up from 10% since 2010. By year’s end, 44% of the world’s households will have internet access at home. Almost a third (31%) of all households in the developing world will be connected to the internet.
  9. On the backhaul side, the standard allows for some over-the-air backhaul via a macro-cell or other base station (I am sure you have seen a lot of Safaricom’s infrastructures almost everywhere you go), which doesn’t improve speeds or the number of bits one can cram into a megahertz, but should help operators reduce the cost of laying additional fiber or other circuits for backhaul.
  10. By the end of 2013 through 2015 gear makers will start adding LTE-Advanced features to their products. Nonetheless, it will be 2017 or 2018 before operators will start deploying it widely in end-user devices according to telecommunications equipment makers. There will also be continual upgrades to the standard which adds new features.
What is your opinion on the topic?
Stefan Wolf
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