We rely on our smartphones every day but how much do we know about the technology surrounding them? An average person wouldn’t understand foreign terms like TD-LTE, HSPA+ and WiMax, much less how it all works.
But let’s not get confused any further and focus on more familiar terms like 4G and LTE. There’s no simple way to explain this, but here is some basic information:
What is 4G?
In March 2008, the International Telecommunications Union-Radio (ITU-R) decided on the specifications and standards for the fourth generation of mobile network technology. For example, its download speed and connectivity.
The ITU-R had set that the 4G speed to be at least 100 megabits per second for mobile use such as smartphones and at least 1 gigabit per second for stationary use such as mobile hotspots.
What is LTE?
Although people use 4G and LTE interchangeably, there is a difference between them. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, and it is a kind of 4G technology.
However, LTE did not meet the technical requirements including the connection speed that ITU-R had set, which meant for most of the time, 4G didn’t really mean 4G.
The complications of 4G and LTE
When 4G was first introduced, not many 4G technologies including HSPA+ and WiMAX met the standards. In 2010, only six candidates met full requirements for 4G.
The regulating body then allowed to label LTE as 4G if the technology it provided a substantial improvement over the 3G technology in response to the problem, as many carriers and hardware manufacturers had already invested in these networks.
Networks then began advertising 4G LTE as the next generation connection, although they never reached the required standards yet.
What is LTE-A?
LTE-A stands for Long-term Evolution Advanced, and it is probably the closest to the real 4G technology. It’s faster than LTE as it downloads data from multiple sources at the same time instead of connecting to the strongest signal nearby.
To put it in simple terms, LTE and LTE-A are just forms of 4G. It also won’t be long until the 5G technology is here, and we’ll probably get to experience faster connection speeds.
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