Each time we download an application, browse the Internet, read an email or watch something on YouTube on our smartphones, we’re using some type of wireless technology. For mobile networks this means 3G or 4G LTE. However, when it comes to our home or work environment, we’re probably using Wi-Fi.
From 802.11a, endorsed in the 90s (reaching speeds of up to 54 Mbps over 5 GHz radio waves) to the current range of 802.11ac routers (up to 1.3 Gbps over a 5 GHz band and 450 Mbps over 2.4 GHz), many things have changed. (more…)
Alicia Ruppel: Alicia is a Sociologist and is part of the Teldat’s Corporate Marketing Department. Within this department she is especially involved in Design and Events, among other corporate marketing areas
What we commonly call 4G+ is really LTE Advanced, a standard based on the 3GPP Release 10 norm, passed in March 2011.
It is, basically, a number of improvements that enhance the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard stemming from the 3GPP Release 9 norm.
The main goal of the LTE Advanced standard is to improve LTE and broaden its capacity. That is, to guarantee a higher number of simultaneous users benefit from a better service.
The following is needed to achieve this goal:
- Better spectral efficiency, of up to 30bps/HZ.
- Variable bandwidth, capable of ranging from 20MHz to 100MHz by adding up to 5 20MHz carriers.
- Better use of antennas with 8×8 MIMO technology for downstream operations and 4×4 MIMO for upstream ones.
This means peak upload speeds of 1.5Gbps and download speeds of 3Gbps can be achieved.
Other standard improvements result from an advanced network topology, which supports both macro cells and a mixture of low-power nodes (femtocells, picocells and Relay Nodes). This gives users a far better service thanks to mixed network topologies, capable of combining big and small cells and of providing service to a larger number of simultaneously active users.
The standard’s other main goal is to enhance the service provided to users who are at the edge of a cell. This is achieved by providing simultaneous communication from the cell node the user is connected to and from the node belonging to the neighboring cell. The main improvement linked to this was added to 3GPP Release 11 and is known as CoMP (Coordinated Multipoint Operation). It allows the user to communicate, in a coordinated fashion, with two base stations and achieve a spectral efficiency of 2.4bps/Hz/cell with a 2X2 MIMO configuration.
Given the content we find in today’s mobile applications, the upstream and downstream speeds may seem somewhat excessive. The goal, however, is not to give maximum speed to a single user, but to increase the speed for all and provide the best possible service to a growing number of users operating in each cell.
LTE advanced has succeeded in introducing mobile communication (for service provision) in many new sectors where it was previously unthinkable, whilst doing so in an effective and efficient manner. The mobility market (trains and automation) is an eloquent example.
In Teldat, we work using LTE Advanced technology and we cover every available band worldwide (both for LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD networks). Moreover, our devices are LTE Cat 6. This guarantees LTE Advanced operation, and allows two carriers to be added in two different bands (for a 40 MHz aggregated bandwidth) to double the LTE Release 9 bandwidth. We also use 2×2 and 4×2 MIMO technology, which improves performance in every environment and is compatible with LTE Release 11.
Pablo Alonso: Pablo Alonso is Telecommunications and Development Engineer in the Teldat R&D Department. Within this department is part of the team dedicated to the Industrial & Mobility business line and he is specialized in cellular connections.
In 2000 the GPRS technology was introduced. It offered the true possibility of transmitting data through 2G cellular networks, by adapting a circuit-switched network, designed to transmit voice, to a packet-based network. Almost a decade and a half ago, the common speed you were able to reach was 40 kbps on the downstream (from the network to the mobile terminal) and 14 kbps on the upstream (from the mobile terminal to the network).
Perhaps this question has to be clarified somewhat.
Indeed, slower and more mature cellular lines 2G and 3G lines are already main line connections in certain scenarios, especially in those segments which are not so dependent on large bandwidth, but at the same time are extremely dependent on mobility. A typical example is that of remote cash point machines deployed across the world in all sorts locations (shopping malls, airports, sports centers, etc.). Many banks came to conclusion some time ago that the difficulty of connecting these machines to a wired connection, made cellular connectivity much more viable.
In which cases can 4g and LTE be a good alternative to fixed line connection?
However, the real question that needs an answering today is; can 4G/LTE become an alternative to WAN (Wide Area Network) fixed line connection? Starting from the bottom upwards, we could say, yes it can be that alternative, because there are many vertical markets that require broadband on the one hand and cellular connectivity on the other.
Retail is a market which is definitely changing and could benefit from 4G/LTE. Haven’t we walked into department stores which frequently seem to be changing their sales items’ layout on the shop floor? Such mobility makes the use of wired connection difficult and if they use applications such as digital signage among others, which are becoming increasing popular, a large wireless broadband is necessary for correct functionality.
Also within the retail sector, pop up shops and kiosk are prime candidates to have 4G/LTE as their main line connectivity. They always need fast and temporary deployment accompanied with the increasing requirement to connect to the central sites for reasonably large amount of data flows.
Public transport can hugely benefit from 4G/LTE main line connection. Many cities are installing security cameras onboard buses, trains and similar forms of transport. These images cannot only be stored on the vehicles, but with 4G/LTE live connections can be established with the city control rooms, increasing employee and traveller security. Moreover, once 4G/LTE is installed on public transport, many authorities use the opportunity of having cellular broadband onboard to offers its clients Internet connection and hence increase customer satisfaction and loyalty to public transport. Hence, staying away from private transport which most cities want to reduce.
Healthcare is another important cliente of 4G/LTE main line connectivity for its emergency vehicles (ambulances, etc.). Not only to track the vehicles, as in the transport sector, but also to have its medical equipment onboard connected to the Hospital with the specialists. So in extreme cases lives can even be saved, when critical patients haven’t the time to arrive at the Hospitals. On a more routine scenario, rural areas can clearly have their doctors’ consultancies or even individual patients, connected to their specialists who are located in the more urban parts of their country.
Although these vertical markets are of interest, and very much so, there is a common business set up, across most of the world today that can use 4G/LTE as main line connectivity. That is, the branch office scenario in its different shapes, types and sizes.
The role of 4G/LTE on a global scenario
It is true that in highly wired cities there would be a good debate as to whether 4G/LTE would be a better option for branches located in these areas. However, as soon as we move away to smaller towns and especially the more rural areas, then the 4G/LTE alternative would be quite convincing, basically because if available, the bandwidth would be wider on 4G/LTE in these areas, than what a wired connection can probably offer.
Moreover, we must bear in mind that what can be classified today as a “branch office” spread across a nation’s geographical terrain, may be many more establishments than the traditional local bank branch or post office. Companies are developing mini-branch sales offices with perhaps only one or two employees, but they need them to be connected and able to work on all the type company applications. These applications require a broadband with significant width. For this scenario, 4G/LTE would fit perfectly.
From a different perspective, there are many traditional establishments which before would not be classified within the branch office / head office connected scenario, but now do fall into this category. For example, many public sector establishments, such as schools, doctors’ consultancies, etc. are now becoming more and more connected to their “head office”. All of these “new branch office scenarios” need to be connected to their central site or simply to the cloud, from where they require to establish data flows in both directions.
Routers, VPN and Security
However, independently of fixed line or 4G/LTE connection, we do have to remain cautious in all scenarios as always, else the standards that we are accustomed to will not be maintained. Hence, whether the connection is being made from a larger city branch office on wired connection or from a much smaller rural office on 4G/LTE, we need the VPN to be as secure as always. The same router types and operating systems should be used for fixed line or 4G/LTE connections, else the economies of scale achieved within the ICT department will be lost and the data being routed around the countries and the world would viable to hackers, etc..
Teldat not only has years of experience in manufacturing cellular routers from the beginning of 2G technology through the entire 3G development, but already has excellent devices with proved and successful deployments of cellular 4G/LTE scenarios in different parts of the world. Do not hesitate to contact us and we will help you solving all your doubts!
Javier García Berjano: Online & Corporate marketing manager at Teldat. Javier manages the web, blog and other social media, as well as corporate marketing areas in collaboration with the different Teldat business units.