The introduction of LTE-Advanced is a game changer today in the same way that standard LTE was when it first became available, according to Westbase Technology, the European hybrid and 4G LTE networking solutions distributor.
The distributor noted that businesses today are already utilising 4G LTE to enable more than just mobile phone communications, with many also leveraging the benefits of cellular connectivity across their enterprise, mobility and Internet of Things connectivity strategies. But LTE-A can make significant improvements on conventional LTE.
What is the difference between LTE-Advanced and standard LTE?
LTE-Advanced (also known as 4.5G, 4G+ and CAT 6 LTE) first and foremost delivers faster speeds – in fact its download speed is three times faster than standard LTE (also known as CAT 3). In addition to this it offers increased capacity with additional bands.
Together these improvements not only enhance the user experience of today’s applications, but they also pave the way for new ones. With LTE-Advanced, users will be able to share more data-rich content with ease; from 4K photos and videos to futuristic applications such as virtual reality.
The demand for LTE-A CAT 6
“Users today are consuming more and more data, both in fixed locations and on-the-go,” said Kelly Bell, marketing manager at Westbase Technology. “In mobility we’re seeing in-vehicle LTE networking develop into a core application, essential to improved operational efficiencies and customer service.
“Meanwhile at fixed branch locations, we’re seeing an increased need for failover and OOBM using LTE to reduce cost of downtime. These two examples, and many others, are all driving the need for faster speeds and bandwidth to deliver more data, more easily.”
CAT 6 vs. CAT 3
Organisations are clearly already reaping the benefits of 4G LTE so some may ask, why is the move to LTE-Advanced so important? LTE-Advanced is bigger and better than standard LTE because it utilises:
- Carrier aggregation, which increases bandwidth
- Spectrum aggregation, which makes the best use of the available spectrum
- Advanced MIMO, which leverages more antennas for increased spectral efficiency.
The most important aspect here is carrier aggregation, according to Westbase. Conventional LTE networks send out data over two radio channels, but only the first actively works while the second is idle. On Advanced LTE networks though, both channels are utilised which increases both its speed and capacity.
“This is important to businesses because it enables more advanced applications to be run over cellular, while also improving the efficiency of existing applications and increasing network capacity – which benefits everyone,” added Bell. “LTE-Advanced CAT 6 is, simply put, the most capable cellular connectivity solution available today, which will enable businesses to do even more over 4G LTE than they already can.”
LTE-Advanced networks are already widely available, with 116 commercially launched systems in 57 countries. Leading manufacturers in the wide area wireless market, such as Cradlepoint and Sierra Wireless are also already breaking ground in this space.
Both have recently released LTE-Advanced networking solutions, and Cradlepoint was in fact the first to market with an LTE-Advanced routing platform for enterprises – meaning LTE-Advanced is not a thing of the future, it is for today’s businesses.