Ericsson has demonstrated technology that can transmit data over wirless at 160Mbit/s - with the ultimate target of 1Gbit/s by 2013
The company is promoting LTE or Long Term Evolution as a '4G' successor to HSPA infrastructures currently deployed by mobile carriers. Ericsson currently has proof of concept products but hopes to deliver on some of these towards the end of next year.
In the demonstration, an engineer was able to show how fast it took to transfer files from a base station to a notebook. A 10MB email attachment downloaded almost in the blink of an eye, and 300MB of attachments was download in just over 10 seconds.
However, Colin Goodwin, strategic marketing manager for Ericsson did make clear that it was "cheating gloriously" in the demonstration. The notebook had a dedicated connection to the base station. However, in the real world, where the cell is shared, speeds would be significantly less than the 160MB downlink - and 40MB uplink, which the company also demonstrated.
LTE, which is part of the GSM family, has many improvements over 3G. It clobbers it in terms of speed - anywhere from 10-20 times faster. However, it also has better latency - 16ms compared to 70ms and even 200ms for 2G GSM.
Although Ericsson and vendors such as Nortel and Huawei are working on LTE technology, full deployment might take a while; LTE, unlike HSPA, requires a different spectrum allocation. The goal of the ITU is for it to be harmonized globally and operate in the IMT Extension Band 2.50-2.69 GHz so users, among many benefits, can have seamless roaming.
The progression of LTE is also being helped by big players AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the US who have stated plans to adopt LTE, with major rollouts planned for 2011 or 2012.