Tag Archives: 4G

4G Long Term Evolution LTE Bands

As an aside from the previous post the new 4G frequency bands are being rolled out throughout Europe since the start of 2013.  These operate on 800MHz and 2600MHz.

Despite 4G equipment offering higher data transfer rates (especially the 2600MHz band as high frequencies allows higher data rates) it is estimated that across Europe by 2017 there will still only be 20% coverage of 4G bands.  The roll-out of these frequencies is causing some technical problems for the networks.

In general, per Watt of power, you get better coverage (larger cells) from a lower frequency (800MHZ) than a higher frequency (2600MHz).  In addition to this the higher frequency tends to reflect more off surfaces, such as the side of a building, meaning indoor signal strength is further impeded.  Therefore the preference outside of built up areas, where smaller cells are OK, is to use the 800MHz band.  However this is causing interference with terrestrial television reception.  You may have received an at800MHz card through your door https://at800.tv/  Well it turns out that perhaps LTE 800 interferes with digital reception too!

Ofcom Statement on 800MHz DTT Interference

This means that, in addition to receiving the wanted DTT signal, they may also pick up unwanted signals from new mobile base stations that could result in interference and degraded DTT reception.

Our modelling shows that, absent any mitigation, up to 760,000 households could potentially be affected by this interference problem, although we believe there are ways of reducing this number substantially

It was thought that once the analogue switch over occurred this problem would go away… perhaps not!

The other issue mobile users will face with 4G is the number of different frequency bands LTE operates on throughout the world.  In North America, 700, 800, 1900 and 1700/2100 MHz are used; 2500 MHz in South America; 800, 900, 1800, 2600 MHz in Europe; 1800 and 2600 MHz in Asia and 1800 MHz in Australia and New Zealand.  Designing equipment and antennas for use in all of these countries is extremely difficult and will likely result in each model of phone being designed specifically for each continent – making roaming on 4G impossible.

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SIM Card Selection for GSM Gate Openers and Auto-Dialers

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We get asked a lot ‘what SIM should I use’ and ‘will X-brand SIM work?’ with our Alpha GSM boards.  Well the simple answer is any apart from 3 mobile.

Our board is a quad band board (http://www.adventcontrols.co.uk/gsm-gate-opener.html).  In the UK and Europe (indeed most of the world) the ‘2G’ standard GSM frequencies are 900/1800MHz and established networks, such as Vodafone, O2, Orange all have the infrastructure to support these bands.  The reason ‘3 Mobile’ doesn’t work with this type of equipment is because they never invested in it and just went straight to the 3G frequency of 2100MHz thus limiting their compatibility to 3G only equipment.  ‘3’ is the only network which does not have a 900/1800MHz infrastructure.

In the Americas they had a slightly different set of frequencies at 850MHz and 1900MHz making older ‘dual band’ equipment incompatible with the rest of the world.  Quad band products like ours mean no matter where you are in the world you will be able to find a network to support our products.

The final word on frequencies is that the 4G network operates at 800MHz and 2600MHz and if an operator started up who only offered 4G compatibility they would also not work with traditional GSM gate openers and auto-dialers (and all but the very latest phones!).

Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile all own 2G network infrastructure and also the licenses to operate on these frequencies so any of these networks will be compatible with our products – even if they offer 3G services.  The board will select the 900/1800MHz frequency from the SIM card and find the network using one of these bands.

Then we have the MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that resell the major network’s products as their own.  These are companies like Virgin Media (T-Mobile), Talk-Mobile, Vectone (EE which is in turn T-mobile and Orange) and so on.  You can often find a better deal using these MVNOs than you can through the major networks directly.

There is one MVNO you should avoid and they are called ‘shebang’ – they exclusively use the Three Mobile 3G only network!

Up to now we have been recommending Vectone mobile simply because they provide good value and also offer a £1 per month contract with up to 50 minutes.  You can find this deal on their website at:

http://www.vectonemobile.com

If you have any queries please get in touch.

Michael