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January 27, 2012

4 things you need to know about 4G and LTE

OK, I’ll admit it – when I heard about LTE I glibly thought ‘Yes, yes, I know what that is’ without giving it a further thought – turns out I didn’t know anything about it at all.

via Geeky Gadgets

So this is as much a learning experience for me as it is for you. As the Nokia Lumia 900 comes equipped with LTE, I though it was about time to explore what LTE is, and what is means for us as committed mobile users.

1. What does LTE mean?

Long Term Evolution.

As the guys at Broadband Expert put it so succinctly:

‘The next complete advance from the current mobile 3G technologies such as GSM/UMTS over to the new fourth generation, or 4G mobile broadband, will be achieved by using technology like LTE mobile broadband also known as Long Term Evolution.’

So it’s a method to deliver 4G (and potentially 5G – it’s coming, I’ve seen it on the internet) to our LTE-enabled phones…like the Nokia Lumia 900. OK, so now it’s all beginning to make sense.

2. What is LTE?

According to Mobile Burn, LTE is

‘considered by many to be the obvious successor to the current generation of UMTS 3G technology…LTE is not a replacement for UMTS in the way that UMTS was a replacement for GSM, but rather an update…that will enable it to provide significantly faster data rates for both uploading and downloading.’

So 4G with LTE is going to enable me to see that video of a piano-playing kitten a lot quicker? The world will undoubtedly be a better place for this.

3. What do the LTE providers have to say about that?

Glad you asked, as it just so happens that I came across this very handy infographic-style video from AT&T giving the LTE 101:

Pretty cool, I have to say. I especially like the ‘more lanes on the information superhighway’ being open. Like when I describe the difference between dial-up and broadband to my parents as the difference between a wire and a tunnel. I guess 4G and LTE will be the equivalent of driving a stellar highway directly to the internets.

4. What does it mean for me?

As the video says, it means streaming, downloading, uploading and ‘clouding’ will be considerably faster, smoother and without any lag. Reviews and hands on posts with the Lumia 900 haven’t been able to test out the LTE capabilities…yet. But it should be awesome. Depending on where you live in the US, 4G on AT&T is either available now, or soon will be. By the time you read this sentence, you could have downloaded videos, uploaded some work to your cloud server and (legally) streamed an album.

So hopefully that’s cleared up a few misconceptions about 4G and LTE – I know it has for me. If there’s anything you still need to know, feel free to drop us a line @Nokia_Connects, or leave a comment for all to see.