Verizon Fires Up LTE-Advanced

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Partners who heard the big wireless operators talk about the future of 5G networks at this month’s Channel Partners Evolution have something to tide them over until those super speeds arrive.

Verizon on Monday launched LTE-Advanced technology to most of the U.S — including more than 288 million people in 461 cities. LTE-A promises 50 percent faster peak data speeds. Data-plan prices will not go up and taking advantage of LTE-A won’t require you to make any changes to your device.

“Our customers just received a major network enhancement for no additional cost,” said Tami Erwin, head of operations for Verizon’s wireless unit. “Verizon LTE Advanced works like a turbocharger on an engine. Speed boosts kick in when you need it most, with big data use.”

Verizon offers a list of 39 LTE Advanced-capable phones and tablets already on its network, and says that any new devices debuting from Apple, Samsung and other mobility giants will be LTE-A ready.

For the geeks out there, Verizon LTE-A uses software to combine two or three bandwidth channels into one larger channel; that routes data more efficiently. This “carrier aggregation” uses a combination of 700 MHz, AWS and PCS spectrum.

“Imagine a road with multiple lanes in which, once you pick a lane, that’s the lane you drive in,” said Nicki Palmer, Verizon’s chief wireless network engineer. ” …  Continuing the metaphor, Verizon LTE Advanced allows cars to change lanes efficiently and flawlessly, balancing the flow of traffic and getting drivers to their destinations more efficiently. That means blindingly fast data transmissions when you need it most.”

Customers will continue to get typical download speeds of between 5 and 12 Mbps, but peak download speeds can hit 300 Mbps with three-carrier aggregation. Verizon is using a combination of two- and three-carrier aggregation.

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