Gigabit-class LTE is one of the most significant steps in the long-term evolution of the world’s mobile communication networks as they begin their gradual shift to 5G – the next generation of wireless technology. Gigabit-class LTE, as the name implies, is theoretically capable of delivering data download speeds of 1 Gigabit per second (1 Gbps) or greater. In actual practice, users will typically see speeds that are quite a bit lower, usually in the 100s of Mbps range.
Nevertheless, Gigabit-class LTE offers significantly faster speeds than conventional 4G LTE, and is more than sufficient for most high-speed applications in retail, transportation or other industries that need to connect sites or people with high-bandwidth solutions. And just as you don’t have to drive a high-end sports car at top speed to enjoy its superior performance, Gigabit-class LTE can deliver benefits in a data network without pushing the outer limits of the underlying hardware or software.
The third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the international organization that develops standards and protocols for mobile telecommunications, issued the specifications that made Gigabit-class LTE possible. Those specifications came out in 3GPP Releases 13 and 14 under the name “LTE Advanced Pro.” They included three major areas of technical innovation:
The Gigabit-class LTE technologies described above are a key milestone in the journey to the next-generation 5G New Radio (5G-NR) Access Network. When comparing apples to apples, 5G is only 25% faster than 4G LTE. But through the use of more spectrum, more carrier aggregation, even higher-order modulation and massive MIMO with beam-forming antennas, 5G will take Gigabit LTE to the next level over the next decade.
Today, Digi high-speed routers enable organizations to take advantage of Gigabit-class LTE capabilities in any high-speed, high-bandwidth network, while preparing for the 5G future. And when 5G becomes more widely available, they provide a smooth transition path.