Motorola LTE Test Drive at CTIA

Sidecut Reports had more than a few geek moments at an incredibly busy CTIA this week, the last part of which was a test drive of a small mobile Long Term Evolution (LTE) network that Motorola built for the show. While you will have to wait until next week for us to pull together some deep thinking on what the show meant for the leading 4G technologies, here’s a quick look at the LTE drive courtesy of Motorola (and hat tip to Mari Sibley for posting it for all to consume).

Some more geek info for those who like it:

– The LTE network consisted mainly of two antennas working in the 700 MHz spectrum range, which is the spectrum slice that will be used for LTE by Verizon and AT&T in the U.S. Though there was some interference (since the antennas were basically side-by-side on the LVCC roof, not an optimal deployment), the network performed pretty much as expected, allowing video streams to run while the bus cruised down Paradise Road in front of the convention center.

– One interesting aspect of LTE at 700 MHz was the reflection aspect — according to the Moto folks in the demo bus, the physics of 700 MHz waves don’t actually penetrate buildings all that well (since the waves are quite large) but they do reflect well, allowing them to bounce around blocking objects. While concrete buildings and aluminum walls are problematic (the convention center apparently has a large aluminum part of its roof that blocked LTE signals), the Jetsons-looking and metallic-sheathed Wynn and Encore casinos provided a handy “backboard” to bounce LTE signals back from the Strip to the bus, several blocks away. Vegas geek fun!

– For a brief moment it appeared I had made LTE history by sending an email from one Gmail account to another, from a loaned iPod Touch using Wi-Fi in the truck, over the LTE link to the Moto servers in the CTIA show floor booth. But alas then another Moto person in the car said an earlier test guest had used the LTE link to order something on Amazon. Nevertheless, it was proof that LTE could work in the wild, albeit on a very small scale.

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