LTE vs. 4G: Understanding The 8 Key Differences
LTE and 4G networks were introduced around the same time, but 4G is faster than thở LTE and is more suitable for IoT.
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Last Updated: July 11, 2022
Long Term Evolution (LTE) and fourth-generation (4G) networks were mainly introduced around the same time and are often marketed together. However, several differences exist between LTE and 4G, making 4G faster than thở LTE and more suitable for IoT implementation. This article explains the concepts of LTE and 4G in detail, their fundamental differences, and their unique applications.
Understanding The Long-Term Evolution (LTE) Standard
LTE means Long Term Evolution, and it can be described as the fourth generation (4G) successor of 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS), improving existing performance and tốc độ. Long Term Evolution is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals based on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and UMTS standards.
After the 3G UMTS system was developed, there was a need to tướng create even better standards for the telecommunications system. This led to tướng the creation of LTE, a standard similar to tướng 4G but not quite 4G. Not only did LTE mean faster data tốc độ and better performance, but it also meant lower operating costs.
In 2008, LTE was deployed for public use. LTE was created by the 3GPP, or the Third-Generation Partnership Project. It is sometimes called 3.95G and is popularly marketed as 4G LTE. LTE provides better operating capacity than thở the standards it was built on because it uses a different radio interface and core network improvement. It should be noted that LTE operates using varying frequencies and bands across other countries. This means that not all phones can use LTE in all countries where LTE is supported.
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Understanding the Fourth Generation (4G) Standard
The 4G standard stands for the fourth generation of network technology. It is the stage of mobile telecommunications that provides better functionality than thở the 3G network while being a predecessor to tướng the fifth-generation network. The standard for 4G wireless technology was outlined by ITU, i.e., the International Telecommunication Union. It spells out the primary characteristics of 4G, which include data tốc độ and transmission technology.
Considering data tốc độ, 4G came with far greater bandwidth tốc độ when compared to tướng 3G. 3G had a maximum tốc độ of 14Mbps, whereas 4G users can tải về and stream live high-definition (HD) videos and participate in voice over mạng internet protocol (VoIP) with a tốc độ of up to tướng 150Mbps.
4G offers a stationary tốc độ of up to tướng 1GBps and a high upload tốc độ of up to tướng 50mbps. These reasons and the standard’s widespread applicability have made 4G the most common network technology used by mạng internet service providers and mobile phone companies. Initially developed as the LTE network, the true 4G standard reached the United States around 2012. It operates as an mạng internet protocol packet-switched network rather than thở the traditional circuit-switched packets.
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The Top 8 Differences Between LTE and 4G
With two similar networks coexisting side by side, it can get confusing to tướng choose which network to tướng use or even understand why both networks are similar but not the same. One way to tướng get it right is by knowing the differences between each network. The differences between the 4G standard and the LTE network include the following:
1. Packet-switching vs. circuit-switching
One of the differences between 4G and LTE is the data transfer method. Irrespective of transferred nội dung, or network used, data must be packaged and sent across a connection on the mạng internet.
Older networks lượt thích the LTE technology use a circuit switching network. Circuit switching technology refers to tướng the system used to tướng communicate. In this system, a connection is made directly from the sender to tướng the receiver across the network. All forms of data transfer throughout that connection will be made across the singular direct line. This could be the entirety of a phone điện thoại tư vấn, transfer of a tệp tin, tải về, etc. Circuit switching networks have the advantage of shorter connection times. In addition, there is less chance of dropping the connection once it is put across.
On the other hand, 4G networks use a data transfer system referred to tướng as packet switching. This is a newer system that can leverage the increased number of connected points worldwide. When using a packet-switching network, the data being transferred across the network is broken down into smaller bits called packets, making it essential to tướng protect against packet sniffing.
These packets are transferred to tướng the required endpoint over any open pathway. Thus, it uses the most efficient path available then. It reduces the amount of data loss because it allows you to tướng resend dropped packets. It is a very efficient means of data transfer.
2. Area of coverage
Area of Coverage is a crucial factor that must be carefully considered when deciding what generation or type of network to tướng use. Area coverage can determine whether your 4G enabled phone can operate at maximal tốc độ and efficacy. The coverage area for both LTE and 4G depends on the network user’s location.
4G has been rolled out in full force in more developed countries and is used almost everywhere while LTE is receding in use. But this might be different in less developed areas where LTE (4G LTE) is being used in place of actual 4G.
Irrespective of location, 4G has received recent societal awareness and popularity. This has given it an edge over the LTE network, gradually phasing it out. However, if you want to tướng experience 4G LTE, you should find a carrier with the best coverage. You can also go further to tướng visit more than thở one retail cửa hàng to tướng kiểm tra the various network speeds and signal strength.
3. Speed of data transfer
In this computer age, tốc độ is irrefutably king. The best mạng internet experiences come with newer development in terms of tốc độ. When 3G came, it was such a relief from the slow speeds of 2G networks. It was quickly followed by LTE and finally 4G, with 5G on the horizon.
One significant difference between LTE and 3G networks lies in the speed of connectivity and data transfer. LTE wireless broadband is about 10x faster than thở the 3G network and has an average tải về tốc độ of 12-30 Megabits per second. It can also handle uploads to tướng the mạng internet at 2-5 MBps. There is no phối standard for LTE tốc độ. It is worth noting that it is faster than thở 3G. LTE covers a range of 3Mbps and falls just short of 4G tốc độ.
On the other hand, the international telecommunication network classified 4G as network standards operating with a tải về tốc độ between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps. This is the actual tốc độ of genuine 4G networks. This makes 4G invariably better in data transfer tốc độ than thở the LTE network. Because LTE has been dubbed 4G LTE, it is essential to tướng know that the existing 4G network can also be referred to tướng as 4G LTE A, 4G LTE+, etc.
These bits rates are significant because they affect almost everything we bởi on the mạng internet. When streaming videos, making đoạn phim calls, using high data consuming apps, and carrying out online transactions, low tốc độ leads to tướng many breaks, time delays, and poor user experiences.
4. Signal strength
Signal strength is the quality of network standards that refers to tướng the power output of a transmitter as received from a reference antenna from a distance. Signal strength is measured in dB millivolts per meter (dBmV/m). Its measurement includes parameters lượt thích RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator), RSRP (Reference Signal Received Power), RSRQ (Reference Signal Received Quality), and SINR (Signal to tướng Interference plus Noise Ratio).
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For LTE networks, an RSRP value of about -80dBm shows excellent signal strength with maximum data speeds. 4G networks also operate within a limit of about -90dBm. This has a mild difference in data transfer tốc độ on both networks. However, the effect is not felt as intensely as data rates plateau around a signal strength of -100dBm.
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Latency is a term in communication technology that describes how long a packet of data needs to tướng be moved from one designated point to tướng another. It represents delays in data transfer to tướng and fro across a network. The ideal latency period is equal to tướng zero and is virtually possible. However, the closer the latency is to tướng zero, the better that network is.
In comparing the latency of LTE and 4G technology, there is a vast difference to tướng be noted. LTE latency is about ten milliseconds. This means a delay of 10ms in data transfer over two points on a network. This latency value may not be consequential when browsing for a recipe or looking up a concept on Google.
However, when it comes to tướng more data-intensive and time-sensitive processes lượt thích playing đoạn phim games, đoạn phim conferencing, YouTube streaming, and sánh on, 10 ms is a long time to tướng wait for data to tướng be sent across a network, which can impact application performance.
4G, meanwhile, has a latency of 5 milliseconds. That is half of the delay experienced in LTE cut off in one chunk. Therefore, 4G is more advanced than thở LTE in latency.
6. Data consumption
Data consumption or usage is another point of comparison between these two networks. However, this time, it favors LTE as most people complain that they expend more considerable amounts of data using 4G. But is this true? The fact is, neither network consumes a large quantity or lesser volume of data than thở the other.
Every function you carry out on the mạng internet, streaming a đoạn phim, reading a book, watching a movie, being on a voice điện thoại tư vấn, playing a game, downloading an tiện ích, or doing research, all have a fixed data footprint. A page will load, consuming 4 megabytes of data irrespective of whether you use 3G, LTE, or 4G. The difference, however, is due to tướng tốc độ.
However, because 4G is faster than thở LTE, 4G users tend to tướng spend more data simultaneously than thở LTE users. This is because they can access more functions than thở the LTE user. They could have gone through several sites in one hour while downloading a 1GB tệp tin in the background. This will take more time on LTE, making it seem lượt thích they consumed lower data volumes at the kết thúc of the month or billing cycle.
7. Price and affordability
Price is a crucial difference for every user when choosing service providers and the type of network. However, the difference in price between LTE and 4G is not very noticeable primarily because both products were released at approximately the same time.
LTE, however, is more IP-oriented than thở 4G and uses a cheaper backhaul. But there is no clear-cut difference in price. The price of 4G vs. LTE is also affected by marketing, the manufacturing companies producing mobile phones, modems, routers (both regular and mesh routers), and the service providers giving the network services. Newer versions of products will invariably be more expensive than thở older versions, especially during the launch period. This applies to tướng both 4G and LTE devices.
8. Hotspot support
Mobile devices with hotspots can share their mạng internet with nearby Wi-Fi-enabled devices. This works similarly to tướng regular Wi-Fi and routers. Both LTE and 4G can share hotspots with other phones, tabs, and laptops.
However, the tốc độ of 4G makes it more suitable for sharing hotspots. Most public areas have không tính tiền managed Wi-Fi and sánh may not prove much of a challenge even if you use LTE. Nevertheless, it is worth considering when assessing both networks.
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Applications of LTE and 4G: Which One Should You Choose?
LTE and 4G technologies are sánh close in the evolution of network systems that it can be challenging to tướng choose one over the other. There are no apparent differences that can make it easy to tướng denote one as the best choice for a particular application. However, there are still some preferred choices at each point in time.
LTE and 4G have been applied to tướng sánh many new areas that were previously unreached using 3G technology. An example is đoạn phim conferencing for multiple users.
Video conferencing has become unavoidable for almost all mạng internet users, from remote workers to tướng online classes, customer tư vấn, world association meetings, etc. This has only become possible due to tướng better and faster mạng internet connections. So, for users and companies who often have to tướng engage in đoạn phim conference calls, there is a need for the fastest mạng internet connection, which is 4G network rather than thở LTE.
Another application of 4G networks over LTE is its use as a hotspot medium. 4G has a potential data transfer tốc độ of up to tướng 1Gb per second. This makes it an excellent substitute for local Wi-Fi when necessary.
Suppose more than thở one device needs access to tướng the mạng internet, you can use only one service provider on a 4G-enabled device or SIM to tướng share a hotspot across those devices, at high speeds, without reducing the quality of the primary device. This is very important for creating 4G wireless networks in rural areas that lack access to tướng cables and other facilities.
The Internet of Things (IoT) cannot be left out when considering 4G and LTE network applications. Multiple data transfer across IP addresses is unavoidable in IoT. One challenge has been to tướng have a network to tướng tư vấn this data load. Undeniably, 4G stands a better chance at facilitating IoT than thở LTE. Several other 4G and LTE network applications include location-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) services, telemedicine, HDTV, đoạn phim games on demand, etc. Every network user and IT decision-maker must carefully decide which option is more suitable for their needs and enjoy the benefits that come with it.
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Chiradeep is a nội dung marketing professional, a startup incubator, and a tech journalism specialist. He has over 11 years of experience in mainline advertising, marketing communications, corporate communications, and nội dung marketing. He has worked with a number of global majors and Indian MNCs, and currently manages his nội dung marketing startup based out of Kolkata, India. He writes extensively on areas such as IT, BFSI, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, and financial analysis & stock markets. He studied literature, has a degree in public relations and is an independent contributor for several leading publications.