What are the disadvantages of mobile broadband

Advantages of LTE

What advantages does 4G radio technology offer?

LTE technology is a further development of the 3rd generation (3G) mobile radio standard, the most prominent representatives of which are the well-known UMTS and HSPA. One also speaks of "Next Generation Mobile Networks" ("NGMN") - that is, "Next Generation Cellular Networks".

LTE is often assigned to the 4th standard (4G). However, it is more precise to speak of a preliminary stage to the 4G standard. Strictly speaking, only the so-called “LTE-Advanced” meets all of the necessary standardization criteria for “4G”. Despite the incorrect assignment, the media mostly talk about the 4th generation (4G) network in connection with LTE. So this terminology has already become established.

Regardless of this, LTE offers a multitude of advantages over the previous generations, which we would like to introduce below. First there is a shortened representation in the overview. After that, let's look at some of the benefits in more detail.

Overview of the LTE advantages

  • higher data transmission rates in the downlink and uplink (150 | 50 Mbit / s and higher),
  • even higher performance via LTE-Advanced (Pro): 300-1000 MBit Down | 50-150 Mbit / s Up,
  • lower latency times (including better user experience when surfing and other applications),
  • improved mobile telephony = VoLTE,
  • Broadband internet coverage in rural areas
  • higher spectral efficiency → lower costs per data volume for providers (factor 2-4),
  • Providing the last areas without DSL with fast Internet ("White spots"),
  • Tendentially lower power consumption → longer device runtimes,
  • easily upgradeable infrastructure → lower network expansion costs,
  • data packet-based transmission according to IP protocol,
  • e.g. high and level-oriented QoS (Quality of Service) possible,
  • best mobility properties → even fast locomotion like in trains is no longer a problem,
  • Can be further scaled and optimized in the future → LTE-Advanced + → up to well over 1000 Mbit / s,
  • important element in the broadband mix of the future

The sum of all these advantages results in an enormous variety of possible areas of application for LTE. This goes far beyond the speed factor. LTE can do more!

Much of the individual advantages from the previous overview, we have the following for you broken down in detail:

  1. Probably the most interesting advantage of LTE is that much higher, maximum speed of the Internet connections. In the first expansion stages of the LTE network (since release 8), up to 150 Mbit / s were achieved for the download data rate. The maximum upload speed in this release is 50 Mbit. But that was far from the end of the story. With the further improved LTE-Advanced, around 300 Mbit could be realized in the next step. The LTE-Adv Pro, which has been optimized again, has been expanded since around 2017. 500-1000 Mbit are available here, although it is still far from being nationwide.

    Even if all these numbers should only be interpreted as theoretical maxima - effective data rates are possible via radio that far exceed today's (V) DSL connections. In principle, location-dependent broadband Internet access (DSL, VDSL or cable Internet) could even be displaced in a few years. Although these also have the potential to achieve speeds of several 300 Mbit / s, the laying of physical lines is associated with enormous costs. This becomes clear once more with the fiber optic expansion of Deutsche Telekom, which devours huge sums of money. The group invests several billion euros every year in the expansion of the fixed network. In 2018, the proportion of fiber optics (FTTH) in Germany was still below 10 percent.

  2. The second item on our list of LTE benefits is what is called Latency (Ping). To understand this better, we have to take a quick look at the previous generation HSPA. For example, if a user surfed a website with an HSPA mobile phone and this was finished, the connection was disconnected. Only when the next interaction, such as clicking another link, did the mobile phone ask again to be connected to the network. Although this saved important resources, it increased the response time (latency) enormously. From the resting state to the active state (Cell-DCH), 1000 ms (1 sec.) Or more could pass. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it prevents or complicates a number of modern and useful Internet applications, such as video telephony, video streaming or online games.

    With LTE there is a permanent connection with response times of around 50 ms for establishing the first data connection and around 10-40 ms for the following. This gives the user the impression of a cable-based, uninterrupted Internet connection - such as via VDSL. And anyone who uses LTE for Internet access at home (see next section) also benefits from faster ping times. Depending on the provider, these are between around 30 and 100 ms. A few years ago, at least one of our studies showed this in the course of evaluating around 0.5 million speed test data.

  3. One of the most important advantages: LTE is finally bringing modern data rates to rural areas where fast internet was not yet available. As is well known, there is still a latent undersupply there in large parts. When purchasing the first LTE licenses, the providers committed themselves to supplying those areas with high-speed broadband first. According to the decision, almost all “white spots” on the broadband map in Germany should be eliminated by 2016 at the latest. In contrast, the target was achieved much sooner - at the end of 2012, 90% of the supply gaps in all federal states were considered to have been eliminated. LTE offers for the home today provide millions of households with fast Internet access, some of which also include fixed-line flat rates. Well over 78 million users already had access to LTE at the end of 2019. Even in cities, LTE is available almost everywhere in many places or is being expanded for even more powerful LTE standards. Tests and more information about LTE availability here.

  4. LTE is based entirely on an IP transmission system. The data transfer takes place (as is already common practice on the Internet) data packet-oriented based on the IP protocol. This innovation guarantees the highest level of security and the quality of the LTE network. In this context, one speaks of the so-called “Quality of Service”, or QoS for short. The previous standards GSM, UMTS and HSDPA only offered low QoS levels. LTE even supports different QoS levels with priority on latency times or bit rate. These differentiations can be extremely important, depending on the area of ​​application of an LTE data connection. In online games or telephony, for example, low latency times play a much greater role than the data transfer rate. If the user is currently loading a large file from the Internet, the situation is exactly the opposite. If different users conduct a video conference, however, an intelligent mixture of both factors would be ideal.

  5. The next LTE benefit concerns the flexibility. The LTE standard can also be used to transmit broadcast and multicast services. Perhaps, thanks to LTE, cell phone TV (previously intended for DVB-H), which was believed to be dead in Germany, is experiencing a renaissance. Vodafone and Telekom are now offering corresponding offers for mobile television on smartphones.

  6. Improved mobile telephony - Voice over LTE
    Since the end of 2014, voice-based telecommunication via LTE (short Volte) established in the network of LTE providers. To date, the 4G networks in this country have not been used for mobile phone calls, as there were high technical hurdles in this context. The first providers have been offering this service since the beginning of 2015. However, a special update is required for many smartphones, so that the introduction takes a long time. LTE-Anbieter.info was able to test VoLTE at the IFA 2013. The advantage for smartphone users: Improved voice quality, lower power consumption and shorter connection setup times.

  7. The mobility properties: In this aspect, too, LTE is far superior to its predecessor technologies. Why? A radio network can be imagined as a honeycomb structure made up of many cells. If a user moves, a so-called “handover” must take place at the cell boundaries. Various optimizations in the "handover" and other technical factors make LTE practically unrestricted mobile use. The speed of movement of a recipient can in principle be over 100 km / h. With 3G connections, the limit was usually 50 km / h at the latest. A number of tests in high-speed ICEs suggest increased practical suitability.

    Some car manufacturers offered "in-car internet systems" with LTE years ago, e.g. Audi. However, primarily in the luxury segment. Since 2015, however, more and more manufacturers have been installing LTE solutions in the lower price segment, such as Opel. At Vodafone there is a simple solution for everyone, a so-called car stick. Telekom also followed suit with CarConnect in 2018.

  8. The need for LTE as a contribution to leadership in the broadband mix
    The high performance of the LTE networks is the last item on our list. This is by far not just a benefit for private individuals. In addition to cable and fiber-optic broadband networks, high-speed Internet via LTE plays an elementary role in Germany's communications mix today and in the future. The level of broadband coverage in a European and international comparison, based on more modern information networks, represents an important basis for the competitiveness of German companies today and tomorrow.

Disadvantages of LTE:

Life teaches - the egg-laying woolly milk sow usually never exists. Of course, there are also a few downsides with LTE that we don't want to withhold from you.

  • not (yet) unrestricted availability,
  • Reception problems can arise for dozens of reasons, some of which the user has in hand, but some of which are not (provider-side interference) - see also tips for optimizing reception,
  • more electromagnetic emissions. Some consumers are critical of this, although all studies to date have shown the disproportionate nature of this concern. Could LTE pose a health risk?
  • Most mobile phone tariffs, whether for home use as a DSL replacement or mobile, are subject to a limitation system (speed throttle). The user can only use the full speed for a certain data contingent and is then throttled until the next billing period. There is a considerable reduction in speed. More about it here. LTE is therefore not necessarily the ultimate solution in the country, in the form of a “real DSL replacement. At least not if you want to use the Internet with all its possibilities (Youtube, Cloud & Co.) without restrictions. But if at least a slow DSL connection is available, the so-called hybrid Internet from Telekom offers the solution you are looking for! The first tariffs without data limitation have been available since 2017.
  • Some fear that the cable-based broadband expansion in rural areas will be finally concreted in for the next few years, as there is now an "alternative".

But in the end it is always the trade-off between benefits and problems that is decisive, which, in our opinion, clearly points in one direction - that of advantages.

Conclusion: From a technical point of view, LTE definitely had what it takes to become one of the most important and most widely used wireless standards of the new millennium. That's exactly how it turned out. In conjunction with the “next generation” called LTE-Advanced, which was launched at the end of 2014, LTE technology will remain the number 1 data transmission standard for several years, even after its successor 5G has been released. We do not expect LTE to be dismantled until 2030 at the earliest.

All information and tariffs on this website are to the best of our knowledge and according to
careful research. However, we do not guarantee correctness and completeness! © LTE-Anbieter.info

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