How fast is LTE | 4G?

Everyone probably heard something about the hugely powerful LTE (4G) mobile technology . Many people would want to know: how fast can I surf with LTE? At present, hypothetical speeds of up to 1GBit / s and excellent ping times of less than 15 ms are feasible. In fact, there are a lot of factors influencing the LTE speed.
Factor 1: LTE standards and classes
First of all, it is very important to know that there is not just “the LTE”! Rather, there are now several stages of development. These are identified in the release versions and hardware categories. For the customer this is sometimes difficult to understand. One could easily say that there are different “LTE versions”. LTE, as introduced in 2011, offered up to 50 MBit download rate and 10 MBit upload speed. Somewhat later, 100 MBit download speed could be achieved. LTE category 4 ( CAT4 ), on the other hand, offers up to 150 MBit. In the upstream then 50 MBit is possible.
With the even more modern LTE-Advanced (from CAT12), again significantly faster data connections were made possible. A whopping 600 MBit per second, the technology in the top already offers today, at 50 MBit upstream.

Since the end of 2017, the introduction of 4.5G (from CAT16 ) is gradually being introduced – a kind of intermediate step from LTE to successor 5G . The maximum download speed is up to 1Gbps. Take a look at this graphic below.

Factor 2: Carriers
There are many carriers now, like Vodafone, O2, T-mobile, Telekom and etc. The  maximum speed is vary for different operators. LTE customers always surf online with possible maximum speed – currently up to 500 with Vodafone and up to 300 in the network of Telekom. O2 customers, on the other hand, have to settle for a modest 225 MBit.

However, what the providers are happy to conceal is the fact that the maximum values, such as 500 MBit / s, can only be achieved in the rarest of cases in everyday practice. Even in well-developed metropolises, such as Munich or Leipzig . Why? Well, with wireless technologies like LTE, the download rate, depends on a number of local factors. In addition, they are subject to constant changes. For example, how many users are currently connecting, or whether several houses are currently standing between me and the next transmission tower. At traffic jams you can hardly reach 20km, but at night at 3am you can easily reach 300km.

Factor 3: optimal reception
The fastest LTE mobile routerand the best Smartphone are of no use if either no LTE has been upgraded on site or not in the desired version. Fortunately, network providers are offering quite accurate expansion cards to check their situation on the spot. The next criterion is the reception quality – the more ideal the conditions, the higher the achievable transmission rates. With a Smartphone unfortunately only the relocation remains as a single measure. On the other hand, if you use LTE via a surf stick or at home via a LTE CPE router, you can usually improve the reception strength significantly via suitable LTE antennas and thus also the speed.

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July 2020