“LTE and WiFi – and the twain shall meet” Part I: A quick lesson on LTE.
What’s all the buzz about LTE (Long Term Evolution)? We saw this cute infographic from Root Metrics that does a great job of explaining LTE – check it out! Here are some quick have-to-know bullet points about LTE and mobile spectrum:
- Spectrum is limited. Prior to the smartphone revolution it may have appeared to the everyday mobile phone user that spectrum is unlimited and always available. Now that people are using their smartphones for everything from phone calls to watching movies it is quickly becoming evident that there simply is not enough licensed spectrum to go around.
- Spectrum is allocated by the government and only 15% is reserved for mobile.
- Efficiency makes the difference. LTE uses spectrum more efficiency than LTE allowing for more bandwidth capacity.
- LTE networks are not created equal! LTE is flexible and carriers can deploy in different frequency bandwidths. Depending on how a particular carrier deploys LTE, networks can experience better or worse propagation and more or less noise.
- LTE does present some problems: The LTE network flexibility means that even though bandwidth is being used more efficiently noisy cellular coverage and poor indoor coverage can be big issues.
- LTE MIMO (my-moh or me-moh) “Multiple input, Multiple output”: improves communication performance by including multiple antennas in both the device and the transmitter (cellular tower). MIMO uses bandwidth more efficiently by transmitting more data using the same amount of bandwidth and power. MIMO is also big news for WiFi because it will allow for better data throughput and link range.
Case in point, LTE is offering much a more efficient use of bandwidth for mobile users resulting in faster data speeds, however there are issues of poor indoor LTE coverage and noise from signal overlap. There are solutions that can mitigate these problems for large multitenant properties who often feel poor coverage pain the worst, but more on that in Part II…