Guys, we need to talk about a feature in phones that no one seems to be talking about: Gigabit LTE.
Now, as the name implies, it’s LTE that is capable of delivering up to 1Gb/s speeds.
I managed to, in San Francisco in the real world, not a lab get over 400mbps. Let me explain.
Allied Content: This Video was Sponsored by Qualcomm (but it is something I thought was interesting to talk about or I wouldn’t have done the video 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!)
How it works essentially is there are 4 LTE technologies that Qualcomm has managed to get into their chipsets and OEM devices and the network operators have implemented on their network that when all of them are running it’s like a perfect storm of tech and the device can reach ridiculous speeds.
The tech I’m referring to is Carrier Aggregation, which is the ability for a carrier to utilize multiple frequencies on their towers to be able to send data to and from your phone while not needing more radio spectrum (something that isn’t terribly easy to come by) essentially widening the amount of lanes on the highway they can use;
256 QAM they call it, which is a way for the packets of data to be 30% larger so there are less trucks on the road; and
Mimo 4×4 which is the concept of having 4 antennas in the phone to not just be able to pick up signal better but also increase the speed since there are more ports for the device to use to send and receive.
Technically, if you have all three of those enabled on the tower and your device, boom Gigabit speeds are possible. But there’s also a bonus feature called LAA or Licensed Assisted Access that allows carriers to use their licensed spectrum (radio waves) and combine it with bands of unlicensed spectrum (the frequencies that are allowed to be used by any one) to further increase speeds and this just makes it that much more likely to get to the top end of those theoretical speeds.
Using a phone with this built in and being near one of these LAA towers with all the other features enabled in San Francisco I was hitting over 400mbps easy.
That’s INSANE. The possibilities and benefits of such speeds are awesome and it even has some extra benefits for other people on the network. Let’s start with the speed.
Perhaps you’re at the airport and boarding gets called but you forgot to download your entertainment for the flight. Instead of using the Airport wifi, you can connect to your phone, and download a game, and an entire season of a show before your group is called.
Working or studying from a coffee shop? Forget crappy wifi speeds, tether to the phone instead. Heck, give everyone in the cafe wifi, you could all be streaming 4K movies at that speed and wouldn’t affect the quality.
To that point, the average download speed of a person’s home internet in the US as of Sept 7th of this year, is about 64mbps. This is way faster than that even. With this new tech, I feel like we might actually be at the beginning of the tipping point where mobile data is surpassing broadband.
Also, that speed is pushing past read/write speeds on your average mobile device which means, technically, you can grab data from the cloud faster than what’s storage on your device. Meaning app developers can use that instead of your precious internal storage to house data, perform computations on more powerful servers and send the results back, etc.
Even beyond that, what about new levels of streaming quality. With that speed and the super low latency of GigabitLTE, streaming 4K 360 content to multiple devices over the tower airwaves, not an issue.
And it’s not just about speed, because of the way it’s designed, it’s more reliable in areas with worse coverage. Think the difference between being able to stream YouTube vs staring at the buffering symbol.
And, as more and more devices on the network become GigabitLTE enabled, it ends up increasing speeds across the board, even for non-Gigabit devices because the Gigabit devices are able to access what they want on the network faster and get off the spectrum faster relieving congestion for everyone.
Now, maybe you’ve heard of 5G, the next huge jump in mobile network tech, think of this like 4.5G–it’s the stepping stone to 5G and it’s important to have first.
Not sure if you remember, but when LTE/4G came out and your phone would lose the LTE connection and go back to 3G, it felt like the phone might as well have just lost signal altogether. None of the things you were doing on LTE were possible on 3G. GigabitLTE is a way of ensuring that as 5G is rolled out like 4G was, and you lose a 5G connection, you’re still getting awesome speeds. Let’s learn from that fiasco, shall we?
Ok, so when, where, how, David. Well, the short answer is now, in a lot of places already, and easily.
The longer answer is that this tech is already in a bunch of the flagship phones you already know, and all the major operators are rolling it out not just in the US, but in over 25 countries and that number is increasing rapidly.
Remember the concept of GigabitLTE relieving congestion on the network, the operators are psyched about that and it’s a big factor in them pushing this out as fast as they are–win for everyone really.
As for the how, if you want this feature, simply head to the link here to see all of the devices that are capable of this new, sorta hidden feature and next time you’re picking a phone or other mobile device, ask someone at the store for one of these instead.
There you go, guys. When Qualcomm approached me about this and then showed me it working in a non-demo scenario I was blown away and was like people need to know this exists. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below, don’t forget to check that link for a constantly updated list of devices, like, share, subscribe if you enjoyed this–all of it is greatly appreciated and as always, thanks for reading.