LTE is an amazing technology—but spreading it across the world and letting smartphone owners use it to their hearts’ content will be a major challenge on both technical and political fronts, a wireless technology researcher said at Interop Las Vegas.
Peter Rysavy of Rysavy Research has been studying the industry since 1994, when the first IP-based wireless technology, cellular digital packet data, was being deployed. Highly available wireless data services took a lot longer to come to fruition than people hoped in the early ’90s, Rysavy said, but today’s LTE networks are 1,000 times faster and 1,000 times less expensive per byte than that earlier technology.
LTE is “blindingly fast,” one big reason it’s soared past WiMAX as the “4G” technology of choice, Rysavy said Wednesday in an hour-long session covering LTE trends. But while cellular operators have settled on LTE as the primary technology to replace today’s 3G networks, the transition to LTE could be difficult for both network operators and consumers. Rysavy said that getting enough spectrum will be a hard, political process, and bandwidth congestion may drive service providers to implement data caps that make today’s data plans seem luxurious.