Gigabit LTE will give your current phone insane speeds. Here’s how it works

Despite not getting its fair share of press, Gigabit LTE is an important stepping stone between the current 4G standards and the newly-proposed 5G. Gigabit LTE is capable of delivering speeds up to 1 Gbps. In the real world, this often translates to speeds around 400 Mbps, but compared to the national averages of 23 Mbps (for mobile networks) and 64 Mbps (at home), it is a substantial improvement.

Several new technologies, both in your phone and the towers that they reach, allow us to reach ridiculous speeds. Carrier Aggregation allows carriers to use multiple frequencies on their cell towers to send data to and from you phone — essentially widening the lanes of the highway you can use to access data.

In the real world, this often translates to speeds around 400 Mbps.

256-QAM allows more data to be transferred at one time. Continuing with the highway metaphor, that means that each truck on the highway can now carry more information and prevent that highway from getting more congested. Additional antennas on devices — known as MIMO 4×4 — allow your phone to pick up signals better and increase speeds because it has more ports.

Carriers are also using License Assisted Access (also known as LAA) to use their licenced radio waves as well as the waves used by everyone to increase speeds, which further pushes phones toward the theoretical 1 Gigabit speed.

With Gigabit LTE, you can quickly download games, and TV shows on the go, and tether multiple devices to your phone to access fast internet wherever you are. The service is already pretty widely available and is only becoming more widespread. It is supported by over 40 operators, on 16 devices, and across 25 countries.

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It not only improves speeds for those who have it — you can actually access data online faster than you can access the data on your phone with Gigabit LTE — but it also clears up congestion faster caused by Gigabit LTE users and makes speeds faster across the board. It is more reliable in areas that don’t have good coverage and this could really be the tipping point in wireless technology where mobile data will surpass broadband speeds and change the way we access information.

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