How does LTE technology work?

It is just two weeks ago that Apple recently unveiled their new 4G iPhone 5 mobile phone. As expected by most of the users, there were not many major things changed on the look and feel of the device. Whether you should buy the new iPhone 5 or not depends on which Version you are using at the moment. As much older it is as more will the user benefit from the technological evolution in smartphone hardware meanwhile. The new operating system iOS 6 will be also available to older iPhone versions.

Long Term Evolution in the iPhone 5 - How it works

One change is definitely the taller 4 inch display combined with an inner cpu hardware upgrade of the A6 processor chip evolution. But maybe the greatest new feature is its ability to use LTE 4G wireless standard. This feature is able to bring incredible fast internet connection speed into the smartphone and extends the limits of what is possible today with a mobile phone device connection interface.

What is LTE?

LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a wireless standard, known as 3GPP. This standard is intended to further ensure the long-term competitiveness of UMTS and HSDPA networks. The development of LTE is to provide the suppliers of UMTS with HSDPA and HSUPA standards a cost evolutionary transition in the LTE standard.

The bandwidths of LTE

Unlike UMTS, the 3GPP standard supports different bandwidths. This allows providers to integrate the LTE standard also into their future networks. Its ability to integrate into various frequencies of 1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 Mhz makes it very flexible. At a bandwidth of 20 MHz of peak data, rates up to 300 Mbit/s in downstream and to 75 Mbit/s in upload can be reached.

Especially the low latency allows users to run intense applications like VoIP, video telephony or playing online games. With UMTS, LTE customers will have further significant performance improvements compared with the current offer data rates for mobile Internet.

How does LTE work

Why is LTE technology so much faster?

LTE is so much faster than the UMTS standards HSDPA and HSUPA because of the technology used with LTE. First of all, the LTE technology uses new encoding methods while downloading the OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) and uploading the SC-FDMA (Single-carrier frequency-division multiple access) scheme. Both schemes are very similar and will be used to reduce the power consumption of the LTE technology supporting devices. The use of OFDMA technology is furthermore the reason why the LTE technology is also called HSOPA (High Speed ODFM Packet Access).

The two techniques OFDMA and SC-FDMA are used to divide the available bandwidth into many small parallel carrier threads, the so called subcarriers. Since OFDMA was developed for multi-user operations, LTE providers can scale and assign specific bandwith to the user and adjust it dynamically to the users needs.

By splitting the total bandwidth used in the LTE technology, the standard is also less error prone to interferences and connection exception issues. Furthermore, this splitting ensures that access to higher bandwidth is available that can be consumed by users, who need more bandwidth on demand. A minor disadvantage of the LTE technology is that the encoding and decoding of subcarriers has an increased energy consumption.

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Tech Crates
I am a German Software Architect and Tech Geek Expat with more than 12 years of professional software development experience and more than 20 years of computer, network and various operating systems skills. Daily blogging about latest technology inventions is my passion, continuously learning is my life. Progress through Technology in our everybody's daily life.

10 Responses to “How does LTE technology work?”

  1. Hel

    Oct 08. 2012

    Everywhere I look, I see LTE adverts, I have never searched informations about this technology, that is very useful article

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  2. TechCrates

    Oct 08. 2012

    I had exactly the same thought and simply wrote an article on the weekend for LTE :) If you have more topics you want Tech Crates to write about, let me know :) I’ll blog about it…

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  3. apps.designtailors

    Oct 08. 2012

    always your post number one for me thank you

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  4. TechCrates

    Oct 08. 2012

    You’re very welcome!

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  5. Mary Warsaw

    Oct 08. 2012

    “Why is LTE technology so much faster?”
    Recently I have asked myself the same question.
    thanks for the explanation. Helped a lot!

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  6. TechCrates

    Oct 09. 2012

    Great to hear that you like my article and thanks for commenting Mary :)

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  7. Avinash

    Oct 17. 2012

    Thats great information of 4G LTE! Thanks for the knowledgable review. I see LTE and 4G advertisments everywhere but most people do not even know what LTE is all about! Great research work here!

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    • TechCrates

      Oct 17. 2012

      Exactly, that’s the reason why I wrote this article to spread some basic infos about LTE…

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  8. Lilesh

    Dec 24. 2013

    Wow I was searching for this.. The speed of LTE is very nice. You explained it well. Thanks for sharing. And a very nice blog too.

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  9. Andre

    Dec 26. 2013

    woww…, be fast with LTE

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