Gigabit LTE: Crazy-fast wireless speeds, explained


You might have missed one of the Samsung Galaxy S8’s best features — support for Gigabit LTE.

That’s because, for now, it’s still a little-known technology most phones don’t support. The good news is the carriers are doing something about it, upgrading their networks to higher speeds and more capacity, all so that episode of “The Walking Dead” or that YouTube cat video streams to your phone without any distortions or buffering. And with that comes more phones that support it.

As these networks get faster, you’re going to hear the term Gigabit LTE get bandied about. Samsung‘s Galaxy S8, for instance, is the first phone capable of tapping into the technology.

But what is Gigabit LTE? And why should I care? Here are all the answers to your Gigabit LTE questions.

What is Gigabit LTE?

Gigabit LTE is an advanced form of LTE, the 4G wireless technology that the cellular carriers use to connect mobile devices. Just check out the upper right hand corner of your phone — the letters LTE (which stand for Long-Term Evolution) will appear next to the signal bars.

Gigabit LTE is named so because the connection speed peaks at 1 gigabit per second, or the same speed that Google Fiber offers its landline-based internet connection. In other words, really, really fast stuff.

Is this that 5G thing I keep hearing about?

Nope. While many of the techniques used are similar to next-generation wireless technology, this isn’t 5G. Of course, the carriers could go on a big marketing…

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