Could we see a future free from unsightly cell phone towers? A number of companies are working hard on technology that will let smartphones communicate directly with other devices, provided they’re within a 500 meter range. These will use LTE radio frequencies to connect, bypassing cell phone towers to talk with other mobile devices, local businesses, and other devices within this range. This new wireless technology is called LTE Direct, and it could become a common feature in the near future.
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A Broader Range
With a range spanning up to 500 meters, LTE Direct is an exciting prospect because it can reach farther than either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Big-name companies including Facebook, Yahoo, and Qualcomm are currently experimenting with it, and we could see LTE Direct enabled devices later this year. So what would the benefits be of this type of technology, and will it become a widespread future of our LTE phones?
One benefit of LTE Direct could be its ability to automatically connect with nearby businesses, landmarks, and people. This would be useful when you’re travelling and want to find a certain type of business, or if you’re looking for specific information on a local level. From the business standpoint, this would provide companies with new opportunities for targeting their customers.
Another benefit of this technology is its ability to connect with other devices without draining its power. IT would be able to discover phones and beacons in public transportation networks or businesses while using very little power, compared to alternative technologies such as Bluetooth. It would constantly be scanning your environment, looking for these connections. Beacons would be particularly useful for commuters and tourists, in need of special information about train delays or weather reports.
On a social level, the technology could also have a number of new and exciting uses. It’s easy to see why Facebook is interested in this technology when you think about how it could be used to broadcast information about local meet-ups and special events. A band could play a surprise gig, broadcasting details with little notice to fans in the area, for example. Community groups could LTE Direct to organize impromptu meetings.
From a technological standpoint, LTE Direct could help reduce network traffic as well. In major cities or during busy events, a high volume of people often try to connect to a single cell tower, which reduces network speeds and leads to glitches. LTE Direct would effectively eliminate this traffic, because the devices would simply communicate with one another to glean information rather than clogging the network.
The Bottom Line
LTE networks are already considered to be the future of connectivity. At the moment, there are two configurations, including FDD and TD LTE configuration with Nokia Networks and other 4G providers. It’s not a huge leap to think about how these could be combined with the LTE Direct technology that’s currently in development. These are just a few ways that LTE Direct could lead to a more immersive mobile experience, creating new apps that route data between devices and make it easier to receive user-targeted information when and where you want it.