Wireless technology wasn't in a dark age before LTE communication came around, but it wasn't too far from being in one, either. Do you remember the plain text "mobile" web pages, clunky proto-smartphones, and upload speeds so slow you felt like it'd be faster to deliver your data by carrier pigeon? If the precursors to modern mobile data seemed acceptable at the time, it was only because users didn't know what was on the horizon.
Now, people know what they were missing. LTE brings a far more acceptable measure of performance to mobile and desktop devices, but the advantages go beyond speed. Widespread LTE adoption has transformed markets all over the world.
Understanding LTE communication and 4G
As useful as their products and services are, wireless carriers aren't always known for their transparency. As early analysis from CNN shows, the earliest iterations of LTE weren't, technically speaking, actual 4G technology. They simply marked a big enough improvement from 3G that the standards body governing it gave the go-ahead to market LTE that way.
With that said, the LTE Advanced technology deployed in many cities today does meet the "real" 4G standard. And at all levels, LTE's iterations provide such blistering speed by making cellular data technology more efficient. According to Explain That Stuff, LTE towers make much better use of the frequencies they're provided than the 3G technologies before them, thus allowing more users to make calls and perform data-consuming tasks such as web browsing and email. Further, it makes use of multiple input multiple output technology, allowing enabled devices to use multiple connections for even more speed and efficiency.
Best of all, however, LTE is highly scalable. In turn, this could eventually represent a quicker path to "true" 5G technology. It's also the reason behind all the new names LTE seems to pick up (LTE, LTE Advanced, LTE Advanced Pro, etc.) every few years.
Beyond the Phone and Into Business
All this advancement means a lot more than faster file downloads or smoother HD streams. In business, the idea of broadband-quality connectivity delivered over the air is downright magical in the right circumstances. Above all else, this explains why businesses have embraced LTE communication at a global clip.
Using LTE, businesses can operate field sites, full locations, and other operational linchpins in areas without traditional broadband access. Where sufficient network signal strength is available, this alone can open doors to functionalities that might have previously been impossible. A storage business, for example, might use LTE security cameras to beam footage to its home office without needing to run physical pipe to every site. A rural healthcare organization, on the other hand, could use LTE technology to connect patients with doctors across the country via telehealth technology.
In addition, LTE connectivity makes it faster and more affordable to deploy monitoring tools in manufacturing locations and wireless customer-engaging beacons in retail stores. Many such devices fall under the Internet of Things (IoT) banner, another technology class that's more functional with LTE.
Unsurprisingly, LTE also provides a competent backup for businesses that have access to traditional data connections. In the past, reverting to a 3G failover meant disrupting operations, slowing some services, and rendering others unavailable by sub-broadband speeds. Although it may not provide pound-for-pound performance matching, LTE often provides a passable alternative until primary connectivity is operational.
Businesses have embraced LTE communication at a global clip.
How Speedy Smartphones Changed the World
Then there are the customer benefits. It's impossible to downplay the idea of speedy mobile browsing when LTE has quite literally transformed the way customers interact with businesses. Besides the bliss of having a page appear instantly, LTE's speeds give companies a way to provide a more complete slate of mobile-focused services.
Here, many benefits stem from the symbiotic relationship between smartphones and network technology. When the latter improves, the former strives to capitalize on it. Ten years ago, phone and network limitations would have made putting a simple product video on your company's page an ugly, expensive task at best. Today, multinational enterprises and mom-and-pops alike can provide mobile apps with built-in video conferencing through smart planning and APIs, with LTE bringing the network backbone to make it possible.
Thus, LTE turned the phone in everyone's pocket into a true universal communication device. Do you want to fire off a nasty tweet to the retail store that ticked you off while you're still standing at the register? Your complaint travels over the selected frequency and hits the customer relationship manager's inbox in seconds. Did you see an ad for a T-shirt you just have to have? You can order it without getting up from your recliner, and LTE means you don't even have to enter your Wi-Fi password. If these functions would have been user-unfriendly and slow at best in the 3G era, they're arguably faster and simpler than using a computer now. If you don't need to thank your phone, it's worth considering all the good things the phone-LTE relationship has made possible so far.
It's Just the Beginning
Today's LTE is just a step toward something better and even faster. Businesses will soon be able to provide an even broader list of wireless-backed services to their employees and customers, with the early stages of 5G expected to hit broad coverage by around 2020.
For now, though, the current technology is far from bad. From remote monitoring to IoT-powered metrics to customer-facing initiatives, LTE has kicked off something truly revolutionary. Think of the "smart" device you carried 10 or 15 years ago, and see if you don't agree.
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