5G, 5G, 5G. That’s all we’ve hearing for the last six months, or perhaps even more. Every player in the industry is rushing to define what 5G will be like, and how we are going to get there. In fact recently the ITU, launched the IMT-2020 focus group to identify the network standardization requirements for 5G, and many vendors are signing deals with universities all around the world, in order to accelerate the R&D work on the almighty 5G.
But despite all the hype around the next-generation network, our beloved LTE is still doing a great job. South Korea has become the Mecca of 4G. LTE penetration in South Korea is around 70%, at least three times as much as the rest of the world. Due to the high penetration, and needs of their population, new developments have been built on top of LTE in order to make LTE a better fit for today’s demands:
###LTE-H LTE-H is a link aggregation technology that combines two different radio access technologies (RATs) - LTE and WiFi - while the conventional carrier aggregation (CA) in LTE-A combines multiple LTE carriers. This new technology enables a device to use both LTE and WiFi networks simultaneously, and so it can significantly enhance speeds by combining two networks’ best achievable rates. In a demonstration, a total of 600 Mbps - 150 Mbps from LTE and 450 Mbps from WiFi AP - was achieved.
With LTE-H, a base station collects from AP the information on the signal received strength between a device and WiFi AP, and automatically controls (i.e. turns on/off) WiFi connection. That is, whether to use both LTE and WiFi or just LTE is the network’s decision, not a user’s decision.
###LTE-R LTE-R is a railroad communication network that had been developed since 2010, centered around Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI). It has high-speed movability and data communication such as video call is possible. It is used as main technology of Korean Train Control System (KR TCS). Currently, all the domestic railroad is using outdated technologies such as very high frequency (VHF).
Other good examples of new LTE development are: LTE-M, dedicated for M2M communications, linking together wearable devices, cars and smart-grid elements of IoT, and LTE-Broadcast (eMBMS) that enables operators to efficiently launch media services over LTE.
So know you know, the next time you see, listen, or read something about 5G, remember that 4G is here and it is still very alive.