April 12, 2011
Telia Company 's Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Finland has been put to the test by UK network measurement specialist Epitiro , revealing the latest benchmarks for LTE performance.
The peak download speed achieved on the LTE network was 48 Mbit/s while the mean latency speed recorded was 23 milliseconds. Epitiro also measured TeliaSonera's 3G network to compare the results and found that the LTE network's mean download speed was nine times faster than 3G's, and the mean latency was five times faster.
To gather these results, Epitiro installed measurement probes on the network, collecting 20,000 data points over a five-day period. The test probes connect to the Internet and mimic typical user behavior.
"Based on our observations, this LTE rollout is directly comparable to high-speed fixed line services," said Jon Curley, CTO of Epitiro, in a press statement. "Further, the low latency times measured indicate the Finnish LTE service is capable of handling the most demanding of web-based applications including VoIP, video streaming and even HD IPTV."
Why this matters
It's not exactly news that an LTE network would be faster and have lower latency than a 3G network. But these results come from one of the world's first commercial LTE networks, up and running just since December. What stands out in particular is latency, which is lower than expected and would be a key for being able to deliver services like voice over IP (VoIP) with good quality of service. (See TeliaSonera Launches 4G in Finland and Where in the World Is LTE?)
When Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown saw TeliaSonera's LTE network in action in Oslo, Norway, in October last year, he said that the latency was between 25 milliseconds to 35 milliseconds. (See Road Testing LTE.)
According to Iain Wood, marketing manager at Epitiro, the company had to double check the latency figures to make sure that they were right. The voice over IP calls measured had "excellent" voice quality, he says.
That will be good news for LTE operators wanting to deliver VoIP over their new mobile broadband networks, rather than relying on their circuit-switched 3G networks for voice services. But this also presents an opportunity for over-the-top VoIP challengers to take advantage of the low network latency and offer their own services over LTE networks. (See LTE Voice Lag Leaves Operators Vulnerable .)
Finland is one of Europe's next LTE battlegrounds as TeliaSonera ramps up its services and as competitor Elisa Corp. plans launch services later this year. Here's more on TeliaSonera's LTE history.
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