LTE Vs. Wi-Fi

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project Long-Term Evolution technology, or LTE, is a 4G wireless network technology. LTE is built on the High-Speed Downlink Packet Access 3G network protocol, and offers high-speed wireless cellular network connectivity through mobile computing devices. Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that enables several types of computing devices, including personal computers and mobile phones, to connect to a wireless network through a router.

Released in 2008, LTE is technically designated as 3GPP technology, and is designed to work with mobile computing devices, such as mobile phones and tablet computers. At the time of publication, LTE technology is available on a selected number of phones that offer access to the 4G network. Wi-Fi technology came on the market in 1999 with the release of the 802.11b standard, and was intended to provide wireless networking functionality to computers and mobile devices. Unlike LTE technology, the Wi-Fi standards require a router to provide wireless network connectivity.

At the time of publication, LTE technology is available in various release versions, including Release 12, which is the technology’s current version. The Wi-Fi protocols include the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11 n standards. The LTE standards are produced by the collaborative efforts of electronics manufacturers and wireless service providers, including Samsung, Sony, AT&T and T-Mobile. The Wi-Fi standards are built to the specifications established by the Wi-Fi Alliance, an international organization comprised of several of the same companies that belong to the 3GPP.

Speeds and Range
LTE technologies provide data transfer speeds of between 100 megabits per second and one gigabit per second. The Wi-Fi standards transfer data between 11 Mbps and 600 Mbps. An assortment of conditions and situations can cause these speeds to vary, such as bad weather, network traffic and the capabilities of each device. The LTE standards enable connected devices with widespread network coverage, typically nationwide. Wi-Fi computing devices must remain within 300 feet of a wireless router to maintain wireless network functionality.

You can also use a mobile router to take advantage of LTE network connectivity. A mobile router allows any computing device to connect to your wireless service provider’s 4G network using Wi-Fi technology on one end and LTE on the other. WiMAX technology is built on the 802.16 Wi-Fi standard, and extends Wi-Fi type wireless connectivity from 300 feet to up to 30 miles. WiMAX is categorized as an LTE technology, but it relies on a WiMAX-enabled router for its connectivity instead of a wireless service provider’s 4G network.

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