What is 4G LTE?

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When 3G networks began rolling out, they replaced the erstwhile 2G system, a network protocol that only supported the most basic smartphone functionalities when it comes to calls. With the advent of 3G, a number of larger data formats became freely accessible, including HTML pages, videos, and music. The speeds were still pretty slow, and required pages and data specially formatted for these slower wireless connections, but it was faster than its predecessor, 2g.

The term 4G LTE is really two terms. 4G essentially means 4th generation simply because it is the fourth generation of mobile data technology, as defined by the radio sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R). LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution” and applies more generally to the idea of improving wireless broadband speeds to meet increasing demand. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is short for a very technical process for high-speed data for phones and other mobile devices. Together, they make 4G LTE ̶ the fastest 4G service available today. LTE networks have really evolved since 2009 & over the years many deployments by various operators have taken place globally.

Standards for 4G connectivity were set by the ITU-R in March of 2008 and all services described as 4G LTE were required to adhere to a set of speed and connection standards. For smartphones and tablets, connection speeds must have a peak of at least 100 megabits per second, and for more stationary uses such as mobile hotspots, at least 1 gigabit per second.

Such speeds were unheard, when these standards were announced because they were intended as a benchmark for technology developers but over time, the systems that power these networks have caught up, not just in the sense that new broadcasting methods have found their way into products, but the previously-established 3G networks have been improved to the point that they can be classified as 4G.

So the real question is, is there a noticeable difference between 4G and LTE networks? Is the page load speed or downloading an app on your device faster if you have LTE technology built in? While the difference between slower 3G networks and new 4G or LTE networks is certainly noticeably faster, several 4G and “true 4G” networks have upload and download speeds that are almost identical. For now though, LTE is the fastest connection available for wireless networks.

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