Android Central

You've heard tech pundits talk about the absolute mess that is LTE frequencies before I'm sure. Even Apple was forced to break the tradition of "one phone for all" when they decided to incorporate an LTE radio, and Apple never likes change. The problem is that there are 38 different frequencies with active LTE networks or planned LTE networks world wide. That means that your LTE phone set up for one carrier probably won't work on another. It's a big problem that needs a solution, and quickly.

Android Central @ CES

Enter SkyCross. They just started shipping an LTE antenna that can support up to 12 different frequencies on one piece of hardware. That's just the type of hot hardware injection the future of LTE needed -- as things are about to get worse. I'm going to use US examples, but this applies world-wide (none of you are safe). 

Verizon has been the fastest at rolling out LTE. The currently use the 700MHz band for their LTE network. The issue is that spectrum isn't infinite, and Verizon also has to buy and repurpose 2100MHz spectrum. They will have to bond both frequencies together in what's called aggregation, and any antenna they use will have to support both bands. Now compound this for manufacturers trying to make a device that runs on multiple networks, as we all hope that will be the future of LTE. In the US, the big four will need an antenna that supports up to eight different frequencies to make it happen. We're going to need better antennas that can handle it.

SkyCross plans to officially announce things at CES, and they say we should see their gear in phones this year. We'll keep an eye on this one.

Via: Gigaohm


Reader comments

New antenna from SkyCross hopes to alleviate LTE band fragmentation


Would be awesome if our devices could work on any network at any time but I don't see it happening. Carriers are too heavy handed. Instead of providing the best they can at an affordable rate they would rather get us locked in and unable to move between them. Personally if T mobile worked well in my area I would have gone to them over VZW simply because they aren't as expensive. It seems they are almost like cable in any given area. Only really one to turn to.

+9000 Yeah, the antenna would support multiple frequencies, but the carriers would lock the other domestic frequencies. Perfect analogy, by the way. In most areas, it's one company or no company. Hopefully, that changes soon.

You thinking too much about carriers... you forgot about unlocked phones, they dont get lte due freq fragmentation, including nexus 4.

I say forget LTE for phones. It's too much of a power drain. Stick with HSPA+ for phones, and leave LTE for larger devices such as tablets or laptops.

Funny how LTE on newer devices like Galaxy S3 and Note 2 on Verizon.. LTE isn't a battery suck, in fact it gets through a full day just fine unless you're on a fringe coverage area, in which case the Note 2 will still get through a full day but instead of staying up over night and into the next day you'll have to charge it.

This will be how you get a thin, light, unlocked and cheap Nexus 5 with LTE. I don't think Google can get away with leaving out LTE again next year... this may be the answer. (Short of creating 3 different phones)

Not to burst anyone's bubble, but having an antenna that can work over a large band of frequencies would only fix a small part of the total problem, and arguably one of the easier problems to fix.

Between the antenna and the baseband there are a lot of analog electronics (amplifiers, frequency converters, filters, etc.) and they are much tougher to get to effectively work over a large band of frequencies and in the case of some of the narrow-band filters impossible since that would negate their purpose.

Bottom line this problem isn't going away anytime soon and I believe the near term solution will be to increase the amount of Analog RF hardware used thereby increasing complexity, mass, and cost. But if we want increase interoperability that may be the only choice for now.

You are very correct: This is addressed to others who may be unaware.
Most people have no clue as to how an antenna actually works. I have an amateur radio high frequency setup at my home. The antenna works on a very wide range of frequencies but its characteristics are different on each one.The antenna must also be tuned correctly for optimal performance on each frequency. It is 102 feet long and hangs in clear air high above my yard. Now shrink this down to a cell phone and hold it in your hand. Maybe the picture of how difficult it is to design a cell phone that does everything becomes clear. The engineers must be given a lot of credit for implementing the requirements of the user, you. What is theory and design has to be made real, for you!

Awesome. The more people who get on LTE, the better my 3g gets. Can't understand why people need more than 3 or 4 Mbps on a phone, but God love them and their crappy battery life. :)

I'll admit, I don't really get it either. It would be nice, but wtf am I gonna do with it? More to the point, what are folks with capped data gonna do with it? *shrug* To each their own I guess.

3 or 4 Mbps????? on 3g? Do you live ON the tower? Because at my house, where the signal is low.....1 Mbps is the best I can get. And a normal signal NOT being next to a tower? 2 Mbps at best. Maaaayyyyyyyybe 3. I get 7 - 12 on LTE and that's not close to a tower. When you use your phone to tether.....yes, you need the speed...especially as you can lose some of that speed in the tether connection.