Feature Article

September 22, 2014

Verizon Lights more XLTE Markets

XLTE basically doubles bandwidth where Verizon Wireless has it deployed. But Verizon Wireless has been very careful not to put specific numbers on what that means, in terms of expected or peak hour speeds.

Verizon originally said it expected speeds as high as 12 Mbps for Long Term Evolution, with typical speeds possibly in the 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps range, downstream, and perhaps 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps in the upstream.

But, speeds customers experience will vary. Some tests have suggested speeds up to 30 Mbps in some markets, and some towers. In perhaps a few markets, speeds up to 150 Mbps might be possible.

Given the wide dynamic range, it is entirely sensible that Verizon would not want to pin specific numbers on expected performance: the numbers will vary too much between different areas on the Verizon Wireless network.

But that might not even be the point. Some might argue the impact of XLTE is not so much top potential speed as access at the originally-promised speeds. As a shared resource, any LTE network can become congested at peak hours of use, causing overall end user access speeds to slow down.

In that sense, XLTE is a solution to address network congestion directly—which affects network speed as a direct consequence.

Verizon's XLTE service accomplishes that by adding Advanced Wireless Services spectrum (2.1 GHz downstream, 1.7 GHz upstream).

One reason Verizon Wireless might be reticent to claim specific speed improvements is that the amount of improvement, at any single cell site, in any single city, will depend on which specific frequency blocks are added.

Contiguous 5-MHz spectrum blocks are more efficient than discontinuous blocks. For that reason, it is a complicated matter to describe precisely what the expected impact will be, in any specific market, to say nothing of nationwide “average” performance. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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