What is LTE?

LTE Tutorial
LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and it was started as a project in 2004 by telecommunication body known as the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). SAE (System Architecture Evolution) is the corresponding evolution of the GPRS/3G packet core network evolution. The term LTE is typically used to represent both LTE and SAE.
LTE evolved from an earlier 3GPP system known as the Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS), which in turn evolved from the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). Even related specifications were formally known as the evolved UMTS terrestrial radio access (E-UTRA) and evolved UMTS terrestrial radio access network (E-UTRAN). First version of LTE was documented in Release 8 of the 3GPP specifications.
A rapid increase of mobile data usage and emergence of new applications such as MMOG (Multimedia Online Gaming), mobile TV, Web 2.0, streaming contents have motivated the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to work on the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) on the way towards fourth-generation mobile.
The main goal of LTE is to provide a high data rate, low latency and packet optimized radioaccess technology supporting flexible bandwidth deployments. Same time its network architecture has been designed with the goal to support packet-switched traffic with seamless mobility and great quality of service.

LTE Evolution

Year Event
Mar 2000 Release 99 – UMTS/WCDMA
Mar 2002 Rel 5 – HSDPA
Mar 2005 Rel 6 – HSUPA
Year 2007 Rel 7 – DL MIMO, IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem)
November 2004 Work started on LTE specification
January 2008 Spec finalized and approved with Release 8
2010 Targeted first deployment

Facts about LTE

  • LTE is the successor technology not only of UMTS but also of CDMA 2000.
  • LTE is important because it will bring up to 50 times performance improvement and much better spectral efficiency to cellular networks.
  • LTE introduced to get higher data rates, 300Mbps peak downlink and 75 Mbps peak uplink. In a 20MHz carrier, data rates beyond 300Mbps can be achieved under very good signal conditions. 
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