What is LTE and why do you need to know

Internet usage by mobile devices will never be the same after the emergence of LTE implementation.

All the time, new broadband technologies appear, better, simpler, and more accessible. And it is necessary that every internet provider is aware of these new concepts to be able to choose to adopt them if it increases its services. One such technology is LTE.

LTE (Long-Term Evolution) broadband technology is an evolution of radio technology. We are talking about the commercially known 4G technology, which, when designed for fixed devices, is called TD-LTE (Time-Division Long-Term Evolution) and, for mobile devices, it is called FD-LTE (Frequency-Division-Duplex Long). -Term Evolution).

In today’s article, you will learn more about this technology that has revolutionized the use of the internet on mobile devices.

What is LTE?

Long Term Evolution, or simply LTE is the name of this fourth-generation technology (4G), which still leaves many doubts. What exactly is LTE and what is it for? LTE is a mobile data transmission technology that was built on GSM and WCDMA.

The difference is that this time, the technology prioritizes data traffic over voice traffic, as in previous generations. This provides a faster and more stable data network.

When LTE was created, there was no voice traveling over the network. For the network to support calls, operators had to adapt.

There are two possibilities: one is to downgrade the mobile device to the GSM/WCDMA network when receiving the call; the other possibility appeared a little later, with the creation of VoLTE, in which the phone works normally on the 4G network.

The high demand for mobile internet in recent years has given 4G an easy penetration in the global market, due to the rapid growth of smartphone sales. In addition, satellite TV providers can adapt to this technology and offer a better service.

However, LTE technology is not just for broadband access via smartphone. Several segments demand such technology, such as agribusiness, cities, government, security, among others.

At first, the technology was designed for mobility and high bandwidth capacity, following the successful 3G. The technology is superior to other wireless technologies for several reasons:

  • Produces high spectral efficiency
  • Has robust mobility
  • Incorporates advanced antenna techniques
  • Features new packet networking core that supports IP applications
  • Its peak rates are up to 73Mbit/s for download and 36Mbit/s for upload
  • It has low latency, low overhead, and QoS support

The TD-LTE presentation mode comes via USB modems, PC Cards, and embedded modules. LTE’s OFDMA technology makes better use of bandwidth to deliver extremely high data speeds and provide an excellent user experience.

With support for bandwidth up to 20 MHz and different modes of Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) and Time Division Duplexing (TDD), operators can offer both fixed and mobile services.

TD-LTE is ideal for unpaired TDD spectrum and can be used to increase the capacity of hotspots (places where wireless networks are available for use). The technology is cheaper than FDD, but has a lower coverage, and is therefore ideal for fixed internet or low mobility.

Opportunities for the LTE network in various sectors

Agribusiness has had a broad growth due to the use of technologies. The LTE network comes to assist mainly in the use of optical fiber, contributing to mobility, sensor monitoring (IoT), long-range, and stability.

For cities that opt ​​for the Smart Cities model, 4G expands the range of internet browsing, creates opportunities for the use of cloud platforms, and helps in monitoring traffic and accidents.

For the public sector, the opportunities allow the expansion of access to the network in schools, hospitals, and city halls. Seeking to optimize processes, 4G creates connectivity between different government sectors and enables instant data exchange.

Regarding security, LTE provides emergency communication. With advances in facial recognition, audio analytics, and vehicle communication systems and alerts, the broadband system assists in monitoring sensors and equipment.

What makes up an LTE network

Since the first generation (1G), the network system is formed by cells that are connected to a central. These cells are places that have antennas for transmitting the network signal.

With the arrival of the LTE/4G network, an IP data traffic system was created. This system is called the Evolved Packet System and requires an architecture based on two main blocks: the LTE radio access network and the Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

The LTE radio access network will be responsible for transmitting the data through the eNodeB. With eNodeB, the user equipment can send the signal and access the EPC interface via IP datagrams.

At the moment when the data is under the control of the EPC, some processes take place with the following components involved:

  • Mobility Management Entity (MME): the main element of the EPC. Controls network access and performs initial user authentication;
  • Serving Gateway (S-GW): responsible for transporting and routing IP packets, directing traffic to the P-GW;
  • PDN Gateway (P-GW): will carry out billing and service quality control for each user, in addition to connectivity to external data networks;
  • Policy and Charging Resource Function (PCRF): responsible for managing service policies (data plan);
  • Home Subscriber Server (HSS): is the central database;
  • Gateway Server: It has the purpose of interconnecting different networks and using protocols to prevent intrusion.

The EPC brings together the MME, HSS, P-GW, PCRF, and gateway server components to enable a signal to be emitted by the LTE radio access network and then reach the eNB monitor.

To support the Evolved Packet System, the Operation and Maintenance Center (OMC) is another important part of the LTE network composition.

Through the eNB monitor, it is possible to have access to monitoring, configuration, maintenance, and diagnosis of possible network failures in real-time.

Still, on the EPC, two concepts are important for this transmission to happen: the wavelength and the bit rate.

The different frequencies have different wavelengths, this fact is linked to the distances that such waves can reach, which will define the range that the cell will reach within the base station.

There are several modulations used within LTE technology, which are related to bit rates. The level of these rates is related to the signal noise level that the network will have.

Therefore, when the distance between these cells is smaller, the greater the signal. If the distance is greater, the signal-to-noise level will have a greater proportion.

The evolution of LTE

Over the years, new technologies have been, and are being, developed to expand the signal quality and operation of 4G. Check out what the next networks are.

LTE Advanced (4G+)

LTE Advanced, or simply, 4G+ or 4.5G appears to maintain a 4G network in different frequencies or spectrum bands simultaneously, that is, it increases the speed when accessing the internet through different devices and optimizes the network.

LTE Advanced Pro (4.5G)

LTE Advanced Pro has a higher access speed and can reach the user at a speed of 200Mb/s.

This network combines three frequency bands, with at least 30 MHz of the spectrum; 4X4 MIMO technology (multiple-input multiple-output) and 256QAM modulation, which allows greater transmission of bits to use a greater volume of data.


The fifth generation of connection is focused on providing broadband internet with high speeds and more stable connections than 4G, in addition to not needing fiber optics or cabling, in addition to facilitating the integration of devices and the IoT.

The focus is to have the largest number of connected devices, from refrigerators to self-driving cars.

The expected speed is around 1Gbps. To give you an idea, the fastest 4G networks reach around 45 Mbps.

Its operation is through higher telephony frequency bands, having a greater capacity, but with a shorter range, which would require, in addition to the antennas, to use smaller modules for the signal to be used.


6G is the next generation of mobile networks, which promises blazing connection speeds even when compared to 5G (which is almost there). However, the technology has barely gotten off the ground and it should take a long time to hit the streets.

5G promises download speeds of up to 100 Mb/s, but its focus is not on speeding up cellular connections so you can stream full movies on the go: more bandwidth is being prepared to support IoT demand (or the famous Internet of Things). Each year, billions of new smart devices are connected.

The most conservative estimate predicts that in the coming years, we will have all sorts of devices connected to the internet, from cars to drones, from remote servers to entire buildings, clocks, sensors on clothes and equipment, and so on.

Your home will also most likely be all smart, with sensors to detect leaks, structural problems, lighting control, security system, and so on.

5G would be a transitional network to allow the viability of a scenario where the Internet of Things is booming, with technology becoming increasingly commonplace, something that 4G was not designed to support.

The idea for 6G is to aim for a connection speed of 1 Tb/s, operating in the 1 THz frequency spectrum, something that is not yet possible; for that, manufacturers, operators, and telecommunications agencies will have to invest in new technologies for processors, components, energy suppliers, antennas and relays, apart from the fact that the entire infrastructure will have to be readjusted to receive 6G.

In other words, it is a slow, complex, and very expensive job.

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The use of smartphones is increasing, which requires good quality internet. 4G, or LTE, brings a more stable connection version that pleases consumers, allowing good navigation, without crashes and faster internet.