Tag Archives: lte

How Fast Is 3G?

With the recent hype from Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile) about their new 4G LTE Service which they are calling 4GEE, many comparisons are being made between existing 3G and the new 4G wireless broadband services.  EE (Everything Everywhere) are using some Ofcom report which states that the average 3G Speed in the UK is only 1-2Mbps and their new 4G service will be five times faster (I suppose that means 5-10Mbps).

This 1-2Mbps is not the reality for most users and since Three.co.uk updated their 3G network to the new HSPA+service which offers download speeds up to 21Mbps, many users find that their download and upload speeds on 3G are around 5-6Mbps for download and 2Mbps for upload and many users of traditional fixed line ADSL broadband services in rural and semi-rural locations do not get this kind of speed and are moving to 3G wireless broadband internet.

When we tested our 3 Mobile SIM card inside a Zalip CDG561WE 3G Router which is a HSPA+ Router we consistently got 12Mbps download speeds and 2Mbps upload speeds which we thought was very impressive.

How Fast Is 3G - CDG561WE Speedtest with 3 Mobile SIM

So when you are asking the question How Fast is 4G then you should also ask How Fast Is 3G so you can make a proper comparison when deciding whether or not to invest in a new 4G LTE Router or 4G Modem and whether existing 3G mobile broadband is enough for you especially as many networks still cap your 3G data limits when using a 3G Modem, 3G Dongle or 3G Router with many of the uncapped 3G data plans only available for use in 3G Smartphones.

iPhone 5 Release Date – 12th September 2012

The Apple iPhone 5 will be with us in the next few days and we can anticipate the usual rush for Apple fans to get their hands on this latest version of the popular smartphone.  Long queues outside Apple Stores and the endless quest online searching for the best mobile phone network plan to reduce the initial cost of owning this desirable smartphone.

However, this year you will now be able to get lightning fast 4G LTE services on your iPhone 5 because Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile) have also launched their 4G LTE network in the UK offering download speeds up to 25Mbps using their 1800Mhz spectrum.  This means that when you are choosing your iPhone 5 4G LTE service provider then Orange and T-Mobile are going to be the networks of choice, leaving O2 and Vodafone loyalists with ‘slow’ 3G connectivity.  Will this perfect timing of 4G LTE network upgrade and the launch of the iPhone 5 LTE create a perfect storm for the UK mobile phone operators and users with a swing towards Orange and T-Mobile as the leading UK mobile phone operator, burgeoning their already huge customer base of over 28 million customers?

Like any 3G or 4G technology, the speed available using the new 4G LTE network with your 4G LTE Phone will depend upon the distance to the tower and the number of connected users downloading content at the same time.  In the USA, many users of Verizon’s 4G LTE Network report an average download speed of only 8Mbps which many users of existing 3G HSPA+ technology in the UK already report so 4G LTE may only offer slightly higher average data speeds.

Whilst this is all good new for the iphone 5 launch and the launch of the new 4G LTE Network, lets not forget that that high speed 4G LTE service could also be used to provide internet for the home and in recent 4G LTE trials using a 4G LTE modem (4G Dongle) users found that they could get a high speed mobile broadband connection which means that the 4G LTE Network needs new 4G hardware in the form a an LTE Router to enable users to insert their 4G LTE SIM Card into the router to get high speed mobile broadband to share in their home or business or a 4G LTE Travel Router to enjoy high speed mobile broadband on the go.

Voice turns to Data

Have you noticed in the last year or so that you have been considering how you use your mobile device a little differently? The priority in your bundle used to be how many free minutes do I get? What is the calling rate between networks or to fixed lines? How many free texts do I get? etc.

Now we are starting to think a little more about how much data we are consuming on a monthly basis and what our priorities are. Consequently the operators are starting to do battle on the data limits, notably 3 who are offering unlimited downloads (read the small print re. fair usage) The fact is however, that although the networks have been striving for some time to get more data traffic and consequently revenues, essentially the networks of the last 10 – 15 years were designed primarily to support Voice. This is the case even with 3G. Data has been an add-on and always in contention with voice connections which have been the priority. After all, the money has been in voice and even now continues to be so.

This is causing the networks a quiet crisis as they struggle to keep pace with user demands and the rush of access products flooding the markets in both smart phones and dongles/routers. Within new LTE and 4G networks the intention is that all traffic will be carried as IP data. In this situation the payload can be voice, data, video, IM, whatever it will be handled within an ‘all IP’ connection driven infrastructure. When this becomes the case the way networks are billed with regard to Data will become ever more critical and even if traditional voice connections may well originate or terminate within traditional ‘non IP’ networks.

The considerable challenge of these new networks is the dynamic nature of the traffic. In the past capacity has been engineered on the basis of factored numbers of dedicated switched channels within an area or cell site. In the future it maybe more difficult to predict what sort of capacity is going to be needed at certain points when access devices can potentially run at high Mbit/s speeds and demand being non linear.

What remains to be seen is will the new networks deliver on their promises in terms of capacity and provide a sensible charging medium to reflect the value offered in an all IP data world?

4G and TV

What has Digital TV got to do with 4G Mobile?

Well, it is in fact very closely linked and it’s critical that the Digital TV Switchover we are all hearing so much about these last years goes ahead completely in 2012. The Government and broadcasters have been working hard for the last 10 years on making sure we are all moved off the old analogue delivery method and onto Digital. Most people have a DigiBox or it built into our TV sets and the final furlong is in sight now.

But have you asked why? Sure, it seems obvious that the signal quality will be better with HD channels being broadcast and new transmission techniques and more channels on Freeview but there is much more to it than that.

The radio waves in the UK are very busy and have been for some time. We all watch TV, listen to the radio, use our Mobiles and use a host of other wireless devices from WiFi to remote keys for cars and doors. All of this needs to operate within a known frequency band whether it is a licensed or unlicensed frequency band. Be very afraid if you start to interfere with some other electrical function or critical service – you may have the RA (Radio Agency) to deal with! To do a serious explanation of UK frequency spectrum would take a PhD thesis but the critical factor in all of this movement from Analogue TV to Digital TV is to free up the airwaves to launch 4Generation Mobile Broadband services.

It now transpires that this will not be all smooth running and that there will be some interference at the cross over points in the frequencies, particularly around 800MHz. Practically this is going to mean that whoever wins the licenses to operate 4G services is going to have to find some solution to delivering the broadcast services free from interference. This might involve using filters; it might involve paying for a satellite or cable service to those homes affected.

But why would you do that when you are building a super fast mobile network capable of delivering rich media content particularly video? Surely the technology will allow for a facility to deliver to individual homes; after all it is designed to run up to 1GBit/s to a static location. What remains to be seen is will it be economical to do so if a large number of homes have to be guaranteed a broadcast service above and beyond the other mobile connections that will be demanding rich media services.

The long road from Analogue to 4G mobile

From then to now?

Many many years ago when the yuppie hoard roamed the western world there came a really useful form of communications in the form of a portable phone. Portable was the description but it was more akin to ‘luggable’ and came in the form of a small suitcase or brief case connected to a car battery or similar. At the time they were the rich business man’s toy and remained so for some time with the key advantage being that you could tell your wife that you were on the way home and to put the dinner on! How things have changed over the last 25 years!

Analogue technology was very quickly replaced by Digital at the beginning of the 90’s and GSM was born. This was a natural evolution from a specification that was developed in the Nordic countries called NMT (Nordic Mobile Telecommunications). It was such a good fit that it became the major template for the new standard although the operating frequencies necessarily had to change. Operating frequencies and their availability remains a major theme of all development discussion in this space to this day and is likely to always remain so. Incidentally, this left two major telecoms vendors in a remarkably good position to supply the world with mobile terminals and Nokia and Ericsson started to clean up with one company becoming almost preeminent for the whole of the 90’s and even into the 00’s. But, as Nokia now know, nothing can ever be taken for granted.

What grew up behind this development was a battle between Europe /Asia and the USA and Japan. The major market developed in Europe and Asia and the USA lagged behind. Japan managed to maintain a considerable growth and innovation with their standards approach but it had little to do with the rest of the world and just made it a difficult market to enter for western suppliers. This is a whole historical piece on its own but is really just an interesting subject conversation and considered opinions as to how this period became so complicated.

Things are much clearer now however, or are they? Now we are heading through the 3G period, with 2G almost forgotten, (although used by us all on a daily basis) and with many improvements being layered on top of the old standard. Now we see HSPA in its two main varieties HSDPA and HSUPA, the D and the U in both cases standing for Download and Upload. These services provide High Speed access to mobile at and around fixed broadband speeds where network is available.

We are now moving slowly towards 4G and LTE services and these are expected in the UK in 2013 if all goes to plan. Briefly, LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is a subset of the overall 4G standard. As usual, there are standards, and there are standards; which leaves some confusion. The major hardware vendors are all rushing to get their interpretation of the ‘standard’ out there and working to prove a point and accelerate growth. Certain parts of Scandinavia, USA and Arabia are already starting to offer trial services although the terminals are not in the mass market yet.  The consideration of these standards and services requires considerable explanation but for now, let’s have a look at the quantum jump in speeds we can expect in the future if all works out perfectly – which it won’t!

 

 

Data   speeds  –  LTE   Advanced

Peak Download 1 Gbit/s
Peak Upload 500 Mbit/s

 

Data   speeds  –  LTE

 

 
Peak Download 100 Mbit/s
Peak Upload 50 Mbit/s

4G Router

With the roll out of 4G mobile broadband services in the UK using HSPA+ Network technology, mobile broadband providers have been able to offer high speed mobile internet services with download speeds up to 21Mbps.  To get the most out of these new super fast mobile broadband services you will need the new generation of 4G Modems and 4G Routers.

There are many 4G Modem products that offer a simple USB modem stick like the Option Icon 711 connection for a single user to connect to a USB port of their laptop for mobile data usage, but what if you need to connect your iPad, iPhone or other tablet or mobile phone?  You will need to use a travel router like the ZTE MF60 or the Zoom 4506 4G Travel Router.

You can continue to use your 4G USB Modem at home by connecting it into a 4G Router that will allow you to share your 4G USB Modem with multiple wired or wireless users, for example the Zoom 4501 4G Router will provide high speed wireless connectivity and 2 x 10/100 Ethernet ports for the connection of multiple PC’s, Tablets etc and by plugging in your 4G USB Modem they can all share the high speed mobile broadband connection.

The next step for 4G connectivity at home is the use of an embedded 4G router.  This means that the 4G SIM card is inserted directly into the router rather than plugging in a USB modem.  The advantage of this is that most 4G Routers have the option of connecting a 4G Antenna that can be mounted externally to provide a reliable 4G signal, especially when the router is positioned inside a building with poor signal reception.  4G Routers such as the Zalip CDG561WE and Option Globesurfer III+ are both available in the UK and can be used with impressive results on three mobile HSPA+ network.  There are sure to be many more embedded 4G routers available over the coming months as mobile operators start to roll out their 4G HSPA+ Networks.

Another option to consider in the future is the LTE Router – LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and includes 4G and HSPA+ technology but also includes things like WiMAX which offer high speed connectivity, but WiMAX networks are generally not available in the UK at present, but once the analogue TV spectrum gets sold then we can expect more WiMAX type services for delivery of mobile broadband offering speeds up tp 1000Mbps.  Other Euopean countries already offer WiMAX services and there are already WiMAX Routers and LTE Router products available.

LTE Blog

New LTE Blog available as part of the new LTE Forum Site.

The LTE Blog will provide comment and updates on the LTE Long Term Evoolution mobile broadband services, networkd, phones, hardware and LTE Routers available in the UK and across the world.  The LTE Blog compliments the new LTE Forum.

LTE Forum

There is a new LTE Forum available for users to discuss all elements of LTE Long Term Evolution, including LTE Network, LTE Router, LTE Phone, LTE Hardware, LTE suppliers and LTE Applications.

The new LTE Forum is open for all users.

 

LTE Router

The 3G Router Store now stocks a range of LTE Router products offering high speed mobile broadband on networks supporting LTE services such as HSPA+.

LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the name given to the networks and hardware for th next generation of high speed mobile broadband internet access services.  HSPA+ networks are starting to be rolled out in the UK with HSPA+ networks available in Wales offering download speeds up to 14Mbps when used with a compatible HSPA+ Router.

HSPA+, LTE and 4G all mean pretty much the same thing so you can search for any of these terms on Google when researching your choice of 4G Router, LTE Router or HSPA+ Router and you will find that the products you find will be the same such as the Globesurfer III+, Zalip CDG561WE and the Vololink VA125 and VA126 LTE, 4G, HSPA + Routers.

 

AT&T and Option introduce 4G connection kit for Emerging Device Developers

Network-Ready Certified 4G Module and Streamlined Integration Tools Speed Development Cycle and Time to Market for New Consumer and M2M Solutions

AT&T and Option, the wireless technology company, today announced a new AT&T Connection Kit for emerging device developers, the first featuring a 4G (HSPA+) module. The industry leading AT&T Connection Kit program provides the tools and environment necessary to streamline device development and optimize performance on the AT&T network.

The newest connection kit leverages Option’s LGA module GTM601 and will help fast track the certification cycle for device developers seeking to introduce new 4G connected devices. This second-generation LGA module is an ideal solution for integration in small consumer electronics devices or broadband M2M applications.

Key features of the GTM601 module include:

  • LGA (Land Grid Array) design allowing a very slim product — 26.8 mm by 31.8 mm by only 2 mm thin — with excellent heat dissipation, enabling 4G connectivity in super-thin form factors without sacrificing feature completeness or robustness.
  • Worldwide compatibility — support for GSM/HSPA/HSPA+ in the world’s most widely used spectrum bands, assuring 4G broadband speeds and 2G/2.5G worldwide connectivity.
  • Plug-and-play software libraries are available for the most popular mobile platforms. For Android-based devices Option offers a RIL, GPS HAL and Audio HAL, for Windows CE 6.0 and Windows Mobile 6.5 a RIL and GPS driver can be provided.
  • Reliable GPS and GLONASS support for applications that require worldwide location information.

The AT&T Connection Kit featuring the Option module also includes AT&T SIM cards, data capacity for testing, access to AT&T Control Center, powered by Jasper Wireless, and best practice guidelines to bring approved devices to market faster than ever before.

The AT&T Connection Kit with Option’s 4G module builds on the existing AT&T Connection Kit for Device Developer program available through the dedicated AT&T emerging devices web site. To learn more about AT&T’s Emerging Devices Organization or to see the additional Connection Kit options, please visit www.att.com/edo.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

ABOUT AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com. This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at http://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/rss. Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT.