While carriers are still pushing all sorts of technologies as “4G”, Ericsson did a quick demo run of actual 4G – LTE Advanced – using a test network. They achieved mind-boggling speeds of around 950Mbps – in other words, much, much faster than current “4G” offerings (including LTE) and faster than even Wi-Fi 802.11n.
Ericsson expects the first commercial LTE Advanced network to be up and running by 2013, though considering most networks haven’t even begun rolling out LTE, I doubt Advanced will reach many people soon. Still, here’s what you can expect from LTE Advanced.
LTE has a theoretical max speed of 100Mbps but the LTE Advanced specification calls for several antennas working simultaneously and using more spectrum to push the data. During the demo, Ericsson used an 8×8 MIMO antenna and 60MHz worth of spectrum – LTE can use 20MHz at most, while LTE Advanced can go even beyond 60MHz, up to 100MHz.
The test network set up by Ericsson reached speeds around 950Mbps (that’s actual speed, not theoretical maximum), which can make even some Ethernet networks sweat, let alone current wireless networks.
Here’s a video of the test, which was performed in a moving van (generally, wireless speeds drop if the device is moving fast).
Sounds amazing – maybe not terribly useful for mobile devices, but it can put an end to cable Internet (provided LTE Advanced holds up well with that many users).
Also, what will carriers call it? Some are calling HSPA+ “4G”, others point to their LTE networks and say “4G”… I think “5G” is still available, so that’s an option I guess.