Although the blazing fast LTE is still quite far from becoming a widely-available technology, while LTE Advanced is even farther from reaching the consumer market, it doesn’t mean that engineers aren’t looking for ways to come up with even faster data speeds. On that note, Huawei recently announced that they have developed a wireless technology that will enable peak transfer rates of about 30Gbps. This technology is being referred to as “Beyond LTE”.
While it is too soon to call it 5G technology, if the limited amount of specs Huawei have detailed for its “Beyond LTE” turn out to be real, it would seem like we are looking at a technology that delivers 20 times the speed of currently available LTE commercial networks, and up to 6 times the transfer rates of LTE Advanced. On a side note, it should be mentioned that less than 7% of smartphones sold in the US during Q4 2011 use LTE, as this recent study points out.
Unfortunately for spec buffs, Huawei has not detailed the exact bandwidth requirements. Instead, the official presentation focused on the relatively low power consumption rates (a problem that plagued some of the first LTE handsets) and implementation costs:
“Key features include: innovative antenna structure [that] greatly improves performance and meets wideband requirements [and] next generation direct radio frequency technology [that] reduces costs and power consumption, and realise ultra broadband carrier aggregation.”
The LTE technology uses 20MHz bands to ensure transfer rates of up to 300Mbps, while LTE Advanced (estimated to become commercially available somewhere around 2014) uses up to 100MHz of bandwidth to ensure download rates of about 3.3Gbps. Common sense dictates that Huawei’s Beyond LTE will use wider bands than both LTE and LTE Advanced, but I’m sure detailed specs on this new technology will surface soon enough. As you probably are accustomed by now, we’ll be here to report when that happens.
Obviously, Huawei has a lot of convincing to do ahead of them if they really want their “Beyond LTE” technology to be adopted as a 5G standard. Tech standards are historically not only about providing the best technology around, as the main factor in these situations rests in the number the major players one tech or the other is able to bring on-board.