LTE vs WLAN | difference between LTE and WLAN

This page on LTE vs WLAN describes difference between LTE and WLAN. The useful links to difference between various terms are provided here. Though both of these technologies are mainly used for data communication. LTE is used for voice over IP as well as data applications.


The LTE series of standards follow the 3GPP release 8 and above. The technology is mainly developed as upgrade to the existing 3G cellular technologies. It has been designed to support high data rate internet. Voice communication is also possible using VOIP and legacy fallback to the earlier cellular systems such as GSM, HSPA etc.

LTE and its successor LTE advanced are become more popular due to all IP based network architecture. Refer LTE tutorial for more information.


The wireless LAN system acts as a final bridge between end user equipment and wired structure of computers, servers and routers. The WLAN standardization has been done by IEEE with 802.11 series of standards. This standards define specifications of layer-1(PHYSICAL LAYER) and layer-2(MAC layer). Different data rates and distances are covered by different series of standards such as 802.11b, 802.11a/g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.11ad and so on. Refer WLAN tutorial for more information.

Due to availability of WLAN in each and every smart devices and low cost wifi networks, interworking between LTE and WLAN has become affordable and fruitful solution to address increasing demand of data customers.

Due to high volume traffic in cellular networks based on LTE, data offloading to WLAN has become essential. This will help telecom operators address the huge demand of data traffic based customers. But coexistence between LTE and WLAN is a challenge from security perspective as all the WiFi hotspots are not secure. The second concern is that not all the WLAN APs will have connectivity with core network with which cellular subscriber is subscribed. Let us see some of the difference between LTE and WLAN based technologies.

Specifications LTE WLAN
Full Form Long Term Evolution Wireless Local Area Network
Designation of Network elements eNBs(i.e. Base Stations) and UE(Mobile subscriber) APs(Access Points) and STAs(stations or clients)
Distance coverage About 2 to 10 miles About 30 meters(maximum)
Channel Bandwidth 1.4MHz, 3MHz,
5MHz, 10MHz, 15MHz
, 20MHz
20MHz & 40MHz (802.11n),
80MHz & 160MHz in 802.11ac
Applications Both indoor and outdoor with mobility Mainly indoor with little mobility
Access technique OFDMA (downlink)
SC-FDMA (uplink)
OFDM in both uplink and downlink in all latest 802.11 versions
MIMO Supported Supported
Frequency of operation Various frequency bands country wide supported 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Topology Supports TDD and FDD Supports only TDD

LTE WLAN related links

WiFi router Vendors  LTE router Vendors  Terminology  LTE tutorial  LTE Features  UE categories  LTE Bands  what is WLAN   what is wifi and mifi   WLAN tutorial  

What is Difference between

difference between FDM and OFDM
Difference between SC-FDMA and OFDM
Difference between SISO and MIMO
Difference between TDD and FDD
Difference between 802.11 standards viz.11-a,11-b,11-g and 11-n
Bluetooth vs zigbee
Fixed wimax vs mobile
wibro vs mobile wimax
Microcontroller vs microprocessor
wimax vs lte

RF and Wireless Terminologies