Notes to self

Not gold alone brought us hither

Feb 16, 2009

LTE – Start imagining the consequences of 100 MBps

LTE (Long Term Evolution), the most popular pet project from 3GPP promises to deliver data speeds upto 100 MBps. And this is in not-so-distant future even by the standards of internet time. They say the first commercial deployments should go live in 2010 and LTE will be mainstream by 2012.

Now, let me start imagining the consequences of having such data speeds available on a wireless medium, when the norm now (in early 2009) is data speeds in the range of a few Kbps on most networks in most places. This is sometimes true even for 3G networks and you can read about one such story inspired by disappointment 3G speeds here.

Even the early commercial deployments of LTE in 2010 are expected to deliver bandwidths of 8 MBps. Eventually, they will reach speeds upto 100 MBps if the designers of LTE did mean that when they wrote the specs. Whats more, this thing is expected to work, albeit with some reduction in performance, for mobile terminal devices moving at speeds of upto 500 Kmph! That’s faster than you can go on Auto Bahns of Germany where they forgot to put a speed limit. Any faster than that, say Schumacher in his racing car, will probably not want to video chat with his friend about how well he is donig in the race, both because he would put his life at risk and also because the poor dude does not race any more since he was asked to retire so other race drivers could wi. Ok, back to our LTE topic…

Here are things that I think will change when LTE will arive with its full force:

  • Handsets will have to evolve to support applications that can benefit from high bandwidth, which means, streaming video will be pretty much the norm in any handset (yes, I know its this way even now, but later it will be impossible to find a handset that will not support video).
  • Services that provide bandwidth intensive content will flourish and TV show production houses will give equal weightage to mobile consumers.
  • Wired broadband providers will eventually become extinct because laying a physical cable all the way to your doorstep will be prohibitively costly in comparision to wireless.
  • There will be an exodus of people from cities to rural areas because it will no longer be required for people to live in cities just to find employment and yet be connected to the world in every possible way.
  • Voice communication will actually become free of charge, once and for all, no matter what device you use.

If you are imagining in what other ways things will change, share your thoughts in the comments below. Until then, happy browsing on your slow internet connection!