Introduction to 4G LTE Technology
An acronym for Long Term Evolution, LTE is a 4G wireless communications standard developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) that’s designed to provide up to 10x the speeds of 3G networks for mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, notebooks and wireless hotspots. 4G technologies are designed to provide IP-based voice, data and multimedia streaming at speeds of at least 100 Mbit per second and up to as fast as 1 GBit per second.
4G LTE is one of several competing 4G standards along with Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) and WiMax (IEEE 802.16). The leading cellular providers have started to deploy 4G technology, with Verizon and AT&T launching 4G LTE networks and Sprint utilizing its new 4G WiMax network. In terms of mobile devices, many newer Android-based smartphones are 4G LTE capable, and both the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 are expected to have built-in 4G LTE capabilities when released in the second half of 2012.
3GPP and LTE standards
LTE is commonly marketed as 4G LTE, but it does not meet the technical criteria of a 4G wireless service, as specified in the 3GPP Release 8 and 9 document series, for LTE Advanced. The requirements were originally set forth by the ITU-R organization in the IMT Advanced specification. However, due to marketing pressures and the significant advancements that WiMAX, Evolved High Speed Packet Access and LTE bring to the original 3G technologies, ITU later decided that LTE together with the aforementioned technologies can be called 4G technologies. The LTE Advanced standard formally satisfies the ITU-R requirements to be considered IMT-Advanced. To differentiate LTE Advanced and WiMAX-Advanced from current 4G technologies, ITU has defined them as “True 4G”.
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