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4G/3G/WiFi

Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

Long Term Evolution (LTE) has officially arrived in the US with both MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) and Verizon Wireless turning on their first networks. Verizon's zippier network promises 5-to-12Mbit/s average download speeds with latency of 30 milliseconds or less. (See Verizon's LTE Debut: Keep It Simple, Stupid and Verizon to Launch LTE on Dec. 5.)

So what can you do with the blazing fast speeds Verizon, and LTE in general, are promising? Well anything you could on 3G. But, there are a few apps that will benefit the most from the super-charged speed. Of course, with data plans capped at 5 or 10GB, taking advantage of these apps will put you over the top fairly quickly. (See Verizon's LTE: What You'll Get.)

1) BitTorrent
Verizon's counting on business users and "road warriors" to be the first to take up the service, says George Zastrow, Verizon engineer, data sales. These are the types of users that do a lot of file sharing over BitTorrent, often for huge files like PowerPoints. Zastrow says this is one use case that LTE will make a lot less painful.

2) Netflix and Hulu
With their long-form content, the shot in the arm for Hulu LLC and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) will be even greater for users. It's good news for the viewing experience, but bad for the bill. In a PC Mag test, watching Netflix in standard def with a 1,500Kbit/s stream burnt through the monthly 5GB allotment in less than 7.5 hours. A 720p movie at 3800Kbit/s took under three hours. That's a hefty bill for a little mobile movie magic.

3) Music videos
Any TV or video service will suck up bandwidth as more people watch content on their laptops, but music videos are a YouTube Inc. favorite. Not having to watch the pinwheel of buffering death is the real benefit of LTE here. This was one of the most obvious benefits of the network I observed while taking a ride in Verizon's LTE limo through Chicago.

4) User-generated content
Uploading your own content, video or otherwise, will be a lot less cumbersome on LTE. It could shave a lot of time off uploading those 120-photo big albums to Flickr , and make sharing videos on Facebook much quicker too.

5) Web browsing
At a basic level, Web browsing and searches just got a whole lot faster. Verizon says users can search the Web 10 times faster than they could on the 3G CDMA network.

6) Hosting in the Cloud
Moving forward, mobile apps will increasingly run from the cloud. The low-latency nature of LTE means it's well suited for accessing cloud services, a route NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) is taking. Juniper Research Ltd. predicts there will be a totally cloud-based mobile operating system made available next year. (See Docomo Links LTE to the Cloud.)

7) Multiple sessions
The ability to run multiple sessions is the feature that Verizon's Zastrow was the most bullish about in the Chicago ride along, demoing the capability with YouTube videos, Web browsing, and downloads happening in harmony. It worked as promised, but it's also important to note that the more data-intensive the apps, the quicker that cap will creep up -- potentially in 30 minutes if you're subscribing to the 5GB option.

8) Video calling
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) restricts FaceTime to WiFi, but that will be less necessary when AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has LTE (or when Verizon nabs the iPhone as oft-rumored). Unlike streaming video, two-way video chat like Qik Inc. 's app strains both the uplink and downlink connection, something LTE is better suited to handle. And it's a good thing LTE is being deployed given the growth projections for video chat. (See Video Chat: Meet the New Data Hog and Qik Touts Video Chat Explosion on Sprint's EVO.)

9) World of Warcraft
Your 16 year-old brother is grateful for this one. Online gaming gets a lot more exciting on LTE; especially for multi-player games were real-time movements determine the winner. Of course, if your opponent is on 3G, the differences in latency will ensure you're always the winner.

10) M2M apps
Machine-to-machine apps are another promise of the extra bandwidth afforded by LTE. In-vehicle apps, the smart grid, and eHealth are often cited as potentially lucrative markets, and Zastrow says jute boxes, digital signage, and kiosks are other areas developers are working on for Verizon. Some people don't appreciate the notion of, say, an M2M-equipped fridge talking to you, but others of us want would welcome an enforcer on seconds.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:16:41 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

Not advocating that people use the service, only pointing out that it will work a lot better on LTE than it did on 3G. Getting large files to download on 3G was quite a pain, one that is alleviated on LTE. Of course, the data cap is going to sneak up on users very quickly, but that's a pricing problem - not a problem with the app.

amberlink 12/5/2012 | 4:16:41 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

So, you're advocating that people use a file sharing program on their devices when most providers put a 5Gb cap on usage. Are you also saying that you'll pay for the  overage once they get booted off their providers' plans?


 


Really, if you're going to recommend an application how about not one where all that it can lead to is being booted off?

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:16:40 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

Pandora is definitely a good candidate in addition to music videos. My Pandora app never works on AT&T 3G -- either because of the network or some moral opposition to my Ke$ha station.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:16:40 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

Bo Gowan of Ciena has suggested Pandora for the list:


http://twitter.com/#!/BoGowan/status/11811821757407232

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:16:40 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

 


So, there is actually not that much real time, multi-player online gaming unless it is specific to the handset.  Latency is actually a much bigger deal than bandwidth.  MMOs, like WoW, are actually designed to be played on 56K dial-up.  They don't work great that way, but they do work.  So, even 3G is a lot better than that.  The latency is a bigger deal, especially if the latency is variable (like your switching cells).  Even WiFi is generally considered "bad" amongst gamers compared to being plugged into Ethernet on the same network.


Now...if the bandwidth charges and latency issues could be solved... OnLive would be the way to go if things could be worked.


seven


 

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:16:39 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

You caught me...I've never played World of Warcraft or any games like that. But, I do know that latency has to be just as important as shooting skills (??) to win it.

miar70 12/5/2012 | 4:16:36 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

I'm not aware of enterprises who use bit torrent for distributing powerpoints, mainly because they are usually confidential (at least at the high level) and hence some form of secure VPN is needed. You also need other clients serving up the file for it to work in a p2p scenario. The only exception for this would be things like linux distributions, but I can't imagine anyone choosing to pull that down over a wireless link.


It's an odd combination of Vz raising the torrent protocol and then advocating for enterprise use, almost as though they're advertising that bit torrent will work on their network i.e they're not perfroming any 'special' packet treatment for torrent, while trying to not go near the copyright infringement issue.


This is likely a differentiator compared to 3G networks. Of course if you choose to run it on LTE you will end up paying for quantity of data via your limited quota and overage charges unless you're very careful...

Garci 12/5/2012 | 4:16:35 PM
re: Top 10 Apps LTE Will Super-Charge

Fully Agree with you! Never shared a powerpoint over bittorrent!...

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