Everything You Need to Know About 4G, LTE, and VoLTE

Everything You Need to Know About 4G, LTE, and VoLTE before You Buy Your Next Smart Phone

You may have heard words like 3G, 4G, VoLTE, or LTE floating around. But what do they mean?If you are considering buying a new phone, you’ll probably need to know a little bit about these networks before taking a trip to the mall.

Why do I need to know about these networks?

Not all phones support these networks; so, you will have to check whether the device you’re about to take home supports them or not. For example, the frequency used by 4G networks to transmit data is different from that of 3G networks. Thus, if you get a 3G phone, your phone will not be able to catch 4G signals, and you will not be able to access 4G Internet speeds. Also, if you are getting a new phone, you may want to consider getting a different data plan to support your browsing, streaming, gaming, and other Internet-fueled activities.

What does the ‘G’ stand for in these networks?

The ‘G’ in 2G, 3G, 4G, or any of the other future networks means generation. The higher the generation number, the more recent and quick it is. 4G is a faster and more recent network when compared to 3G.Many companies are now working towards introducing 5G in India. However, no dates have yet been given for the same.

What exactly is 4G and how is it different from 3G?

4G is basically the fourth generation of consumer networking technology. It offers faster speeds as compared to 3G and is considered an evolutionary benchmark in developing Internet speeds. LTE is actually first generation 4G technology. This came about due to the below reason.

In March 2008, The International Telecommunications Union-Radio (ITU-R) agency decided on certain specifications for the standards of 4G. These were:

  • The peak download speeds for high mobility devices should be 100Mbits/s. High mobility refers to devices that are constantly on the move like when you use a phone in a car.
  • Download speeds for low mobility devices should be 1Gbit/s.Low mobility refers to times when you are stationary (local wireless access) while using your device.

Unfortunately, this was not possible for telecom operators to live up to. However, a few years later, the ITU allowed services rolled out by telecom operators to be marketed as 4G as they were beyond 3G speeds.At present, the ITU does not have a definition as to what is 4G. Many technologies have been competing as 4G standards. Some of these include LTE, Worldwide Inter operability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), and Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB).

What is 4G LTE?

LTE, sometimes marketed as 4G LTE means Long Term Evolution. It is the protocol over which data is transferred. It was developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). This technology was created to provide up to 10x more speed than that of 3G networks. At present, even though LTE doesn’t reach the ITU-R guidelines, it is still the fastest network. LTE has also introduced a number of new technologies to operate more efficiently. Some of these include Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (OFDM), Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), and System Architecture Evolution (SAE).

What is VoLTE?

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE. This technology supports voice communication over LTE. It gives users the benefit of using voice and data at the same time. VoLTE is sometimes referred to as HD voice as it enables high-quality voice calls. It supports quicker call connections, video calling, and WiFi calling. This technology enables users to make calls from their phones without using third-party apps like Skype. With VoLTE phones, the Global System for Mobiles (GSM) and the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technologies, which are the technologies used to facilitate 2G and 3G data, are expected to become obsolete as it will integrate both voice and data together.

Knowing your network is as important as knowing your phone’s features. For instance with VoLTE, you will only need to keep a check on your data pack not your talktime. In the case of 4G and 3G networks, devices compatible with the former will have your videos streaming much smoother and your webpages loading up faster.Pick speed; move to the next generation.

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