updated 09:35 am EST, Wed November 7, 2007
4G Internet Testing
The first tests for fourth-generation cellular Internet accesss are proving successful, Nokia and several other cellular electronics firms announced today. Known as Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the service has been demonstrated as meeting its peak speeds both for connections fixed in place and mobile users, such as those traveling by car. An ideal linkup will provide as much as 100 megabits in downloads and 50 megabits in uploads; this would outperform even WiMAX by a factor of ten or more in real-world conditions, according to the claim, and offers speed closer to a high-end cable or fiber optic connection.
The tests were characterized as cross-platform and included Nokia's rivals, such as LG and Samsung. Carriers such as China Mobile, Orange, Vodafone, and Japan's NTT DoCoMo were similarly involved in the experiments.
Alhough the US was not directly involved with the tests, the country is expected to benefit significantly from LTE. Both AT&T and Verizon have expressed serious interest in adopting the 4G access technology as a replacement for their respective HSPA and EVDO 3G connections, which would allow both to focus much more heavily on Internet services rather than traditional calling. In addition to the speed, LTE will reduce the cost of maintaining normally expensive data service by increasing the available bandwidth and should cut latency, making games and live video more feasible.
LTE is not projected to go live as a commercial service until sometime in 2010 but should be partly supplemented by services such as AT&T's recently launched HSUPA service, which more closely resembles WiMAX and offers relatively quick uploads compared to HSDPA or standard EVDO.