4G an interesting evolution

4G and roll-out of LTE are two important issues in the wireless industry at the moment. Telia pressed the start button in their LTE network in December last year and the first customers recently started surfing. Northstream posted a blog post on their practical experience of 4G speeds in practice. They measured 12 Mbps in  downlink and 5 Mbps uplink with Bredbandskollen when surfing indoor with a lap top.Their blog post got a really big spread in cyber space where even LTE portal addresses this as breaking news “TeliaSonera LTE network test disappoints”.

Northstream clarifies in a later blog post that they were still pretty pleased with the performance and that they, outdoors, reached speeds of both 25 Mbps and 45 Mbps. Currently, only the 2.6 GHz band is used for LTE and of course that is not the best band for long range applications unless there is a large number of base stations in a small area.

I bet 4G will be huge, but to get the sougt after speed and long range 4G needs the 800 MHz frequency band that is just around the corner. Once the 800 MHz band is opened, 4G will combine good speed with a longer range, making it a contender even in rural areas and indoors. As the situation stands now, operators are waiting until all the European countries agreed on a harmonized standard, and as it seems, this is going to happen during autumn 2010. Therefore I think the operators will start to build the infrastructure at the 800 MHz band by the end of this year. My guess is that the revolution of 4G will start in late 2011 or early 2012, when the network is well developed and the available hardware for the consumer market as well as professional applications will be available at reasonable cost.

If you are considering the technology you will use for M2M in the next two years, I still recommend that you stick to 3G and EDGE.