Will horse be sold as beef at Barcelona?
Feb 18, 2013
Except, of course, that any network properly describable as LTE Advanced is unlikely to make it off the drawing board for several years yet. What we're talking about here is that old trick "X ready": as in LTE Advanced Ready. Broadcom, for instance, recently announced a modem chip 'capable' of supporting the speeds expected by LTE Advanced (150Mbit/s or so). Expect to hear more along these lines at this year's Mobile World Congress next week.
This is all wrong.
As GigaOm's Kevin Fitchard points out, LTE Advanced is, like LTE itself, a process more than a technical destination. It's made up of a whole series of technical improvements that are designed to be introduced incrementally to different parts of the wireless architecture as time goes on. Jumping up and down with excitement each time a component is upgraded to support future throughput is just slightly bonkers (see his excellent overview here).
In the end though will it matter? Isn't this just marketeers being marketeers? Nothing to get in a huff about? De-twist those knickers?
We think it matters, mostly because we're just grumpy about marketing hype and distortion as a matter of course, but also because all this LTE Advanced talk supports the mobile generation myth amongst users: that's the idea that we're going to continue with distinct generational leaps - from 1G to 2G to 3G and so on. It hasn't worked like that, really, since the first transition from 1G to 2G, and it will work even less like that now. The clue is in the name - Long Term Evolution.
Users need to be more focussed on real performance (forget the 'G's - what am I being promised on average speed, peak, latency and so on) as we move towards heterogeneous networks.
LTE Advanced is yet another labeling issue (like horse meat) and the GSMA and the other standards bodies should actually step in with some naming and shaming rather than, as they did last time with the 4G usage and abusage, just cave in and let 4G be anything any vendor or service provider wanted it to be.
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