LTE explained

If you're looking for a wireless connection that will help you to download your favourite music, websites, and videos faster than a 3G connection, then LTE is a viable option. In fact, some may even say that it has become all the rage since ADSL. It promises better speeds and stable connectivity whilst remaining a portable and flexible solution to accessing the internet.  In this guide, we’ll look at some of LTE’s benefits to help you to decipher if this is the best type of connection for your home.

In This Guide:

What is LTE?

LTE is an acronym for the name “Long Term Evolution”. Many also refer to LTE as “First Generation 4G”. In short, it’s a means to access the internet using fast and reliable mobile phone technology. But this type of connection is not limited to cell phones. You can also use it to successfully connect to the internet at home if an LTE router is installed. Once your router is up and running, then the entire household can link to it and go online.

How does LTE work?

LTE is a subset of 4G technologies. It works by moving large packets of data to an internet protocol system (IPS). It relies on two different types of air interfaces or radio links to transfer this data, namely one for downlink (from tower to device), and one for uplink (from device to tower). The result is a reduction in data transfer latency. This means that data moves faster, allowing users to experience a smoother internet connection with fewer delays.

How fast is an LTE connection?

LTE is provides a more reliable internet stability and faster speeds when compared to something like 3G. This is because it offers greater bandwidth, allowing data to be carried rapidly between a provider and an LTE device. In South African, you can get up to 50Mbps of download speed, although 20Mbps is a typical average. As this technology progresses, speeds are increasing to create smoother LTE internet experiences.

Benefits of LTE

LTE offers a combination of features that are unmatched by many other wireless technologies. For instance:

  1. LTE is truly wireless. If you want a solution that’s completely free from cables running to your home (such as fibre lines and copper telephone cables), then it’s a reliable option. If you are within range of an LTE-enabled cell phone network tower, you’ll be able to successfully connect to the internet.
  2. An LTE modem is a mobile unit, making it an ultimately flexible connectivity device. Whether you are moving house, going on vacation, or visiting a friend, LTE is the perfect solution because you can just pick it up and use it on the go (as long as it remains within sufficient range of a cell phone tower).
  3. It’s super easy to install and even easier to use. There is simply nothing complex about LTE. There are no cables to connect to and once you have your device, there are no connectivity waiting periods.
  4. LTE is an excellent option if you want fast internet speeds but don’t have access to – or don’t want – a cabled alternative.

Downsides to LTE

As great as LTE sounds, it does pose some disadvantages and it’s a good idea to weight the pros with the cons before you a sign a contract. For example, LTE:

Has slower speeds when compared to ADSL and Fibre broadband. LTE only averages 20Mbps compared to Fibre’s average download speed of 100Mbps.

It’s more susceptible to interruptions from the weather. Disruptive weather patterns can interfere with a connection and interrupt the signal.

Data is limited and can be expensive depending on your needs. If you find yourself using an insurmountable amount of data per month, then LTE may not be a cheap internet option for you and your household.  

Is LTE right for me?

If you are thinking of getting an LTE connection, then the following list will help you to determine if it is the best internet connection-type for you and your needs.

  • If you fall outside of the fibre coverage area, then LTE is a great alternative.
  • If you live in an 'out of the way' location (like on a farm or game reserve), then it’s a viable option.
  • LTE is ideal if you prefer a cableless network.
  • If you are renting your current living space, then it’s a convenient option because you can take it with you when you move again.
  • If you are currently on a 3G connection but want to upgrade to something faster, then LTE will meet your new expectations.
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