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LTE – Long Term Evolution: The New, Faster, Stronger Network For Mobile

LTE – Long Term Evolution: The New, Faster, Stronger Network For Mobile

The world is changing at a rapid pace in the mobile industry. With the onslaught of smartphones, the need for higher network speeds is becoming more crucial than ever. Every carrier is marketing the next generation in speed. First there was GSM and CDMA (3G is how it is typically marketed). Now 4G has all but taken over the marketing of every carrier—reminds me of the latest Best Buy commercial; Outdated World. Funny! True. (Best Buy Buy Back Program: Outdated World.) So, what does that mean for us? Let’s start with some basics. Here is a breakdown of the current speeds and how they relate to us:

CDMA: Allowing for a maximum speed of about 3.1mbps (about 600kbps in practice), which is similar to what a DSL line has to offer and 1mbps upload (about 300kbps in practice).

GSM: 3G networks typically have a maximum speed of 7.2mbps (around 2mbps in practice) download and 1.4mbps upload (more around the 700kbps in practice). Similar to cable speeds.

But as we all know, these speeds are not always consistent.

Now the news on LTE is that it is growing. And growing fast. Currently, only a handful of countries are using LTE and AT&T have said they are going to launch the new network sometime this year (2011). The speeds are far different than the current networks. For example, the theoretical speeds of LTE allow for 35mbps download and 12mbps upload. That is on par with FIOS (Fiber Optic communications network) currently offered by Verizon to select areas. These numbers are theoretical, but offer some very promising results. LTE has the ability to change mobile communications in a drastic way.

So how does this relate to us?

Let me tell you. For those gamers out there, like myself, it has been a long time coming. The ability to have and play multiplayer games over the mobile network completely changes the possibilities of the industry. Imagine playing Need For Speed, in real time, with someone else on a mobile device. Or World of Warcraft! The games now have limitless possibilities and developers can redefine what mobile really means.

(I seriously love the idea that multi-player games will have a true opportunity to shine.)

Of course, there are caveats:

FIRST, the network will need to be pervasive. The “all over network” of today won’t do the games any good, or anything for that matter, regardless of the speed at which they run. The network has to be up and running at full potential, everywhere.

SECOND, mobile game developers will have to rethink the turn-based gaming that has been dominating the last few years.

LASTLY, it would better to see original content for the devices rather than remakes of the old games.

I call to all mobile developers: MAKE SOMETHING GREAT!


About the Author
Author

Justin Radeka Justin Radeka, served as former Head of Fishlabs Entertainment U.S where he worked driving mobile game development and business development in the US, Justin also served as Technology Evangelist for ARM Inc., where he worked closely with mobile game developers around the world in driving 3D graphics and games into the market. Prior to joining ARM, He served as Vice President of Developer Relations for Falanx Microsystems where he helped introduce one of the first fully programmable mobile GPU’s into the smart phone market. He has also served as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of EVGA, a PC graphics board manufacturer, and as head of the gaming group at Hewlett Packard where he launched one of HP’s first gaming PC’s. He works closely with standards organizations to drive 3D mobile gaming. Mr. Radeka has spoken at events such as Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Games Developer Conference (GDC), Austin Games Conference (now GDC Online), London Mobile Games Forum, and SIGGRAPH. He has published articles on the state of the mobile game industry. He holds a BA from the University of California.


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