What really is LTE?
LTE is an acronym for Long Term Evolution and sometimes is used quite interchangeably with 4G, despite a few technical differences. There are a number of terms that need clarifying in order to understand LTE-A.
“Spectrum” is a commonly used term you may hear. It is the spread of radio wave frequencies responsible for receiving and sending our regular phone data. In Australia, the country’s mobile broadband works on the wireless spectrum between the 700MHz and 2,600MHz bands. The 700MHz frequency band is fairly new on the wireless scene as it was for a long time used by free-to-air TV and it was only in 2014 that mobile broadband took over. The lowest of the frequencies, closer to the 700MHz band, offer more superior signal penetration and strength in covered areas like car parks, buildings and elevators. The higher frequencies closer to the 2,600MHz band enjoy better data capacity.
Carrier aggregation is a major part of LTE-Advanced or LTE-A. It makes use of multiple bands of the 4G service so that data transfer speeds are faster. There are two methods for doing this, which are called FDD and TDD. The former is Frequency Division Duplexing, which is the carrier aggregation method used where the transfer of data occurs across many bands. Telstra combines both the 1,800MHz & 700MHz bands so as to provide 4G data in a few of its areas. The latter, which in full is Time Division Duplexing, does not make use of multiple bands, but uses instead time allocations on a frequency which achieves a similar boost in speed. Optus makes use of TDD on the 2,300MHz band.
LTE-B is a step ahead of LTE-A
Wireless is starting to take its toll as more and more signals fly from one part of the country to another many using the LTE-A method. Buffering and signal breaks are the constant downfalls of this system. However, sooner rather than later a solution has been discovered that will improve the quality of the wireless technology and that’s LTE-Broadcast or LTE-B that Telstra has been trialling for far too long, but is now going to implement throughout the length and breadth of the country by 2018.
LTE-B implementation will mean a high-bit-rate single data stream can be broadcast from any cell phone tower, allowing it to be accessed at an equal level by any device located in the nearby area.
The 1st of the LTE-B products will be launched in Australia during the year which will help to reduce the stress on the network when mobile devices are accessing some of Telstra Media streaming products such as live NRL and AFL games. Telstra is also expected to roll-out a 24/7 TV channel live streaming using LTE-Broadcast. This facility will only be available to begin with on higher devices of the Samsung brand.
Telstra has reported that its LTE-B users should receive the highest ever quality of both video and audio experiences when viewing content. They will be using a bit-rate data channel that remains constant regardless of the number of subscribers who are viewing the broadcast at the same time. At the moment in areas that attract a high level of traffic for video streaming in particular viewers are often confronted with a reduction in quality and instances of buffering where the video temporarily pauses leaving the watcher stunned.
What Telstra says about LTE-B
Mike Wright, who is Telstra’s managing director for networks, had a lot to say at the recent Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. He reported that 99 percent of Telstra’s 4G spots are now LTE-B capable. By 2018 all of the country covered by Telstra will be stabilised with this technology. It will include 24 × 7 linear streaming, live coverage of sports outside stadiums, the pre-loading of the most popular content, games highlights and news clips.
Ericsson to be the LTE-B technology provider
Elisabetta Romano, Ericsson’s vice president, who is also head of media solutions for the company, reported that its company’s solutions will allow Telstra to deliver continuity of service and seamless connectivity of a higher quality and a grander scale.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona an LTE-Broadcast Alliance Forum was inaugurated to usher together the leading players in the industry in order to further develop and promote LTE-Broadcast globally. Along with the LTE-B Alliance with providers like Verizon, KT and EE a Telstra is pushing for LTE-B enablement in all Android devices from the major Android providers so that the products are ready to take on LTE-Broadcast.
You will probably be glad to hear that somewhere in that web of wireless communication heads are turning and people are listening and acting when it comes to consumer complaints and demands. Telstra is making the move into LTE-B to satisfy that insatiable demand for big-data and the speed needed to drive it.