For many professionals, telecommuting can be unreliable at best. As more and more people utilise the existing 3G networks around the world for both work and play, they are becoming less and less reliable for any kind of use.
Take for example New York City post-iPhone, where dropped calls and no data is an everyday occurrence. 3G networks have been swamped by devices drawing data and can’t cope with the load.
By contrast, LTE 4G networks use an (incompatible) evolution of the 3G technology to provide lower latency and faster data throughput, but more importantly allow more devices to simultaneously connect to the same network. The idea is that these networks will be able to handle more connections from more customers, while keeping the network stable and responsive.
In the US Verizon and AT&T amongst many others are offering LTE in these areas where it performs brilliantly. Some reporters have compared it to going from dial-up to broadband for the first time, and once converted not many data users will go back.
4G LTE is rolling out throughout the world. It’s already popular in many countries and is only expected to get bigger over the next few years. If your current phone doesn’t support LTE, chances are your next one will, because the technological benefits of LTE are too great to ignore.
A number of manufacturers have released 4G modems that can connect to a wide range of the world’s LTE frequencies, and most recently Qualcomm released a new chipset with the aim to allow handsets and tablets to roam globally on both third and fourth generation networks. It looks like connectivity of the future will be lit up with LTE, but how does that translate to the telecommuter?
For technological reasons, the most reliable connection is always going to be through the wall, but for the worker roaming the globe LTE is going to be the connection of the truly mobile future. With the right device, you’ll be able to work and play almost anywhere in the world if you’ve got deep enough pockets to pay for it.
Presently coverage is limited to specific countries and even specific cities within them, but as networks roll out across the globe you’ll have more choice and range available to you.
The trick is whether the technological trickery designed to make LTE more resilient to congestion will be enough to keep fourth gen data flowing smoothly as more and more subscribers jump on. In the short term things are looking bright, but hopefully in the long term we'll have even better solutions at our disposal.