Wi-Fi and wireless connectivity is pretty much a staple in our daily lives. Be it at home, public transport, office or even a random McDonalds, anyone can just set up a wireless network and connect all your gadgets to it. Well in the not too distant future, you’ll also be able to set up your own network using the LTE protocol which thus far is only available via cellular networks.
Think about it. You essentially get your home router giving you fast LTE connections to mobile devices. In addition to creating competition for regular cellular networks, your ISP could even incorporate this into their cable boxes and other devices, thus creating an entire line up of high-speed mobile data networks.
Called MuLTEfire, the new version of LTE is currently in development by Qualcomm, Using the same encoding method as LTE, it can be used over frequency range as your regular Wi-Fi network. According to Qualcomm, they can offer faster, less erratic connections when compared to Wi-Fi as LTE has the performance and reliability to act for cellular networks anyway.
In addition, since the radio frequencies used by Wi-Fi are not only for use of any company, it would save quite a lot of financial resources. Also a MuLTEfire hotspot can host any device, regardless of the cellular carrier.
The proposal put forth by Qualcomm is based on an extension of a technology called LTE-U, which is just in its infancy. The technology allows only cellular operators to use LTE in Wi-Fi bands.
Malls, airports and even stadiums can turn ye average public Wi-Fi network into a MuLTEfire hotspot in order to give customers a much faster and more reliable connection. MuLTEfire incorporates LTE’s characteristics designed to minimize interference and enable devices to transition smoothly from different base stations.
Regular cellular networks too could have a lot of gain from providing MuLTEfire services. For example, in certain scenarios, they have to team up with rival cellular providers in order to provide coverage in rural areas that don’t have the required scale or infrastructure. MuLTEfire can pretty much alleviate the need for such scenarios.
In reality though, Qualcomm’s proposal still has a way to go. For example, MuLTEfire will require the approval of a wireless standards body before Qualcomm or any other interested party can start developing chips or other hardware to support the technology.