LTE terminals

When it comes to telecommunication, there are several standards of technology used. This is where the terms 4G, 5G, or LTE are used, depending on the type of service a network provides.

There are differences between all three types of wireless broadband communication for data terminals and mobile devices. The most obvious of which are the terminals used. LTE obviously uses LTE terminals and so on.

This article will focus on LTE and includes a comparison with 4G and 5G.


What is LTE?

It stands for long-term evolution which, in telecommunication, is a standard for wireless broadband communication. It’s used to transmit data between terminals and mobile devices.

Also called 4G LTE technology, it clearly defines proper 4G speeds so that 3G services that try to pass itself off as 4G are distinguished.

LTE was born out of the need to comply with the standards set by the ITU-R, the regulating board for cellular networks. According to the agency, true 4G speeds must provide 100 Mb/s for downloads when on the move and 1 Gb/s while stationary.

Because telecommunication companies failed to achieve the demand, the developing 4G technology was called Long-Term Evolution rather than true 4G.


How LTE came into Existence

As previously mentioned, attaining true 4G speeds was a struggle for network companies. This is why the ITU-R agreed to consider cellular networks 4G if a provider can prove the rates are significantly higher than what is provided by 3G speeds. 4G LTE made this happen and spurred the widespread use of LTE terminals and devices.

Using a technology called LTE-A (advanced) or LTE+, cellular networks managed to increase the speed to almost 4G levels. This represents the next level of LTE technology.

But the fact remains that when a company says they offer 4G, it really means 4G LTE-A.


How does LTE compare with 4G and 5G?

4G (fourth generation) is a wireless connection that offers download speeds of 100Mb/s while on the move and 1Gb/s while at rest.

5G (fifth generation) is a wireless connection that is still under development. When it takes off, it will have higher latency and download speeds than 4G LTE.

In comparison according to speed…

Maximum download speeds are as follow:

  • 4G – 1Gb/s
  • 4G LTE – 100Mb/s
  • 5G – 20Gb/s

Clearly, 5G will revolutionize telecommunication speeds when it is fully realized and rolled out. It will have enough power to enhance the Internet of Things and will make it easier for smart cars to communicate with other connected devices.


What the network companies offer clients at the moment, however, are the theoretical average speeds that are as follow:

  • 4G – 100Mb/s
  • 4G LTE – 30-60Mb/s
  • 5G – 200-1000Mb/s


It’s a far cry from the actual speeds required from each type of technology. The good news is, certain countries are doing a far better job of providing their people with more than the expected speeds.

South Korea, for example, offers a download speed of 50Mb/s, which is half than the required 100Mb/s for 4G LTE, but so much better than the US’ 21.3Mb/s average download speed.

For now, LTE is a better option than 3G.


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