4G Terminologies like LTE, LTE-A and VoLTE

The fullform of LTE is Long Term Evolution. I call LTE as 3.9G. I called it so, because whenever your phone shows 4G it doesn’t exactly mean 4G. ITU-R prescribed the speed of 4G which were impossible to reach despite the fact that Telcos spent a lot of money in the infrastructure. So, a middle path was adopted. According to this path, the technology pursued to achieve those 4G standards was labelled as 4G, provided it is a substantial improvement over 3G. Hence, I called LTE as 3.9G that means it is an improvement over 3G in pursuit of achieving 4G speeds and standards.

Immediately Telcos started endorsing their network as 4G LTE. Thus the Telecom companies started selling 4G without achieving the standards of 4G. It is like claiming to finish the 100 m race without actually finishing it and saying I almost finished it by covering 90m of race.

Do not get puzzled to see one more term LTE-A. The full form of LTE-A is Long Term Evolution Advanced. This is a step ahead of LTE towards 4G. You guessed it right, it gives better speeds and better features than LTE. LTE-A relies on multiple sources i.e it aggregates many channels. Thus, it is able to download from multiple sources at the same time.

Packet Switching and Circuit Switching
To understand how VoLTE works let us first understand what the terms Packet Switching and Circuit Switching means. They are two networking methods to transmit data between two points. In circuit switched network system, a physical path is dedicated till the connections end. During that time that physical path cannot be used for any other connection. It is like VIP movements on Indian roads, where the road is completely dedicated for the VIP. Hence, in Circuit Switching the Telco will reserve a particular path to the number you call till the call ends. In packet switched system, first the data is divided into small parts. After this, the data packets are sent through different paths in the network to arrive at the destination. This allows the sharing of the data path by different users in the network. The routing of these small packets is based on the destination addresses assigned to the packet.

VoLTE means voice over LTE. It is a new protocol in the world of networking which successfully transmits voice data across LTE network. When a voice call is made in 2G or 3G network, the voice information is assigned a particular bandwidth in the pipeline till the call ends. Thus 2G and 3G are circuit-switched based. On a VoLTE network voice calls are divided into small parts of information and then sent into full data pipelines. When this broken information reaches receiver’s end, the information is reconstructed without loss of information. This technique helps in transmitting voice information over a larger bandwidth. Hence call quality improves in VoLTE. Thus, 4G and LTE make use of packet switching.

Are VoLTE and LTE the same things?
No. LTE is suited for only transmitting data over the network. It is a next generation protocol for data transmission. LTE provides higher two-way bandwidth. VoLTE provides a mechanism with which you can send voice calls over LTE network after converting them into small digital packets.

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