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Definition of 4G technology

4G

LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards and, when it was launched in 2009, it was also the fastest cellular network technology available on the market. It uses the UMTS infrastructure and is also known as 3.9G because, technically, it doesn’t fully meet the specifications of the 4G standard. Although many carriers refer to LTE as 4G for marketing purposes, only LTE Advanced (LTE-A) corresponds to the definition of 4G. LTE Advanced Pro (LTE-AP) is the final iteration and the pre-5G development stage.

It’s important to remember that there are different categories of LTE. The 3GPP standardisation organisation has defined various LTE release versions and user equipment categories. The release version (REL) indicates technical parameters such as transmission rates. The user equipment category (CAT) defines the performance and the capabilities of the user equipment within a release version. Release 8 is divided into user equipment categories (CAT 1-5). 

Generation

Technology

Max. bandwidth or data rate

Frequency band DE

2G

GSM

9,6 KBit/s

890 to 915 MHz

2.5G

GPRS

54 KBit/s

935 to 960 MHz

2.75G

EDGE

220 KBit/s

1710 to 1785 MHz

3G

UMTS

384 KBit/s

1805 to 1880 MHz

3.5

HSPA

7,2 KBit/s

HSPA+

42 KBit/s

3.9G

LTE (bis CAT 4)

150 KBit/s

4G

LTE Advanced (LTE-A, CAT 6 and above)

300 KBit/s

4.5G

LTE Advanced Pro (LTE-AP, CAT 11 and above)

600 KBit/s

5G

5G NR

Up to 10 GBit/s

5GHz

4G LTE-Advanced, CAT6 and above

LTE-Advanced is an enhancement of the LTE standard. It is abbreviated to LTE-A or LTE+. 4G LTE Advanced can achieve far higher data rates than its predecessor of between 300 and 600 Mbps. One of the features of LTE-Advanced which increases the data rate available to users is carrier aggregation. LTE-Advanced is a category 6 (CAT 6) LTE version.

4.5G LTE Advanced Pro, CAT 11 and above

The LTE-Advanced Pro Standard or 4.5G or LTE-AP (CAT 11 and above) represents the next advancement in LTE technology development. It generally aggregates three component carriers  and can achieve peak data rates of 600 Mbps. LTE Advanced Pro is an important step forward towards 5G.

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