Unless you’ve recently upgraded your cell phone or cellular data plan, chances are you’re still using 3G service, despite the major cell phone companies now offering the latest 4G LTE technology. However, if you’re thinking about upgrading, don’t get too attached.
Research shows that the user demand for mobile data has been skyrocketing lately, and is only going to rise in the coming years. Experts predict that the use of cellular data services will increase by a factor of 18, or even 25, by the year 2016. The demand for fast cellular data, especially videos, has prompted cell phone service providers to look into the latest technology to meet the need. That technology is LTE Advanced.
4G LTE Advanced builds on the current technology, but instead of operating on one or two frequencies, the cell phones that will be compatible with LTE Advanced will pick up on as many as five frequencies to ensure maximum speed for the maximum amount of data. This is a technique called “carrier aggregation.” The LTE Advanced technology will also be able to communicate with as many as eight antennas at once, receiving and sending all these signals to your phone simultaneously, offering lightning-fast speeds to meet the high data demand.
This new technology might, however, be bulky. The cellular devices compatible with LTE Advanced technology will have to incorporate more than one antenna within its body, which is standard for today’s cell phones—it may need three or four antennas to receive the strongest signals. It will also likely need a bigger and stronger battery, which means that failing new technology to compress these devices, cell phone sizes in the future may inflate, instead of shrink.
Handsets compatible with 4G LTE Advanced technology may be available as early as the end of 2013. Currently, technology companies like the chipmaker Qualcomm, are working on ways to develop efficient technology compatible with LTE Advanced without sacrificing convenience or the small cell phone sizes most users have become accustomed to. Qualcomm is developing a chipset that will work with the “carrier aggregation” technology and provide data speeds up to 150 megabits per second.
LTE Advanced technology is also being considered for people’s wireless connections in their homes. As many as eight antennas may be necessary to receive data speeds at one gigabit per second, a record-breaking speed. Companies such as AT&T are planning on rolling out their LTE Advanced technology as early as the end of 2013, if they can finish streamlining their current 4G standard, that is.
Since the nature of LTE Advanced technology means it draws from many frequencies and many antennas at once, interference will be greatly reduced while speed is increased. The end result is a more efficient, lightning-fast cellular data experience that is right around the corner, if you can stand to wait.