Audi and communications company Alcatel-Lucent are pioneering a mobile broadband connection in the latest A8 with a long-wheelbase prototype engineered to feature broadband internet with long-term evolution (LTE) technology.

LTE technology offers data transfer speeds of up to 100Mbps, which is similar to a fixed-line broadband connection. This means passengers in the prototype can use the LTE broadband connection to stream music, high-definition videos and other data on up to six computer or mobile phone devices. Current 3G connections can only offer data transfer speeds of around 14.4Mbps.

The A8’s mobile broadband connection is a fourth generation (‘4G’) technology that is hotly-tipped to replace the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and the Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard (UMTS) systems that underpin 3G. LTE allows data to be transferred faster than conventional 3G technology and modern digital subscriber line (DSL) connections – wired landline broadband. LTE can also cope with large numbers of users streaming data, even at peak times, because of its extra bandwidth.

“We will use LTE technology to extend our advantage in automotive networking and further consolidate the Audi connect strategy,” said Audi technical development head Michael Dick, during the presentation of the prototype.

Chairman Rupert Stadler announced that LTE technology would be used in cars by early 2011 at the Consumer electronics show in Las Vegas last year.

LTE technology offers more dynamic and reliable internet access, particularly when large amounts of data need to be uploaded or downloaded. Technicians have tested the capabilities of LTE by streaming high-definition videos – which have notoriously large data streams – live to the prototype.

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