What is default bearer and dedicated bearer in LTE?

In LTE networks, a default bearer is the initial connection between a user’s device and the network, providing basic internet access and signaling. It has predefined quality of service (QoS) settings. In contrast, dedicated bearers are dynamically established for specific services like VoLTE or video streaming, offering customized QoS to ensure high-quality performance, and they are created as needed, enhancing the network’s efficiency and flexibility.

What is default bearer and dedicated bearer in LTE?

In Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks, the concepts of default bearer and dedicated bearer are crucial for efficiently managing data traffic and providing quality of service (QoS) to different types of services and applications. Let’s understand into the details of what default bearers and dedicated bearers are in LTE:

Default Bearer:

Definition: A default bearer is the initial communication channel established between a User Equipment (UE), such as a mobile device or smartphone, and the LTE network when a connection is first established. It serves as the default route for all data traffic.

Purpose: Default bearers are used for various purposes, including initial attach procedures, signaling communication, and basic internet access. They are essentially a basic data path that provides connectivity to the LTE network for a UE.


  • Default bearers are typically established during the initial network attach procedure when a UE connects to the LTE network.
  • They are associated with a specific QoS profile, which defines the quality and priority of service for the traffic carried over the bearer.
  • Multiple default bearers can exist for a single UE, each with its own QoS parameters, allowing for the separation of different types of traffic.

Example: When you turn on your smartphone and connect to an LTE network, the initial data connection is established using a default bearer. This bearer is used for general internet access, such as browsing, emails, and app updates.

Dedicated Bearer:

Definition: A dedicated bearer is a specialized communication channel that is established on-demand or dynamically for specific data flows associated with particular services or applications. It is created after the default bearer and serves to meet the specific QoS requirements of those data flows.

Purpose: Dedicated bearers are used to ensure that certain applications or services receive the necessary quality of service, including low latency, high bandwidth, and priority handling.


  • Dedicated bearers are set up when there is a need for differentiated QoS treatment. For instance, real-time services like voice over LTE (VoLTE) or video streaming may require dedicated bearers.
  • Each dedicated bearer has its own QoS parameters, which can be customized to meet the specific requirements of the service or application.
  • Dedicated bearers are established and released dynamically as needed, based on the traffic requirements of the UE.

Example: When you make a VoLTE call on your smartphone, a dedicated bearer is established to ensure low latency and high-quality voice communication. Similarly, watching a high-definition video may trigger the creation of a dedicated bearer to provide sufficient bandwidth.

Default bearers serve as the initial, basic data paths for UEs in an LTE network and are associated with general internet access and communication. Dedicated bearers, on the other hand, are specialized channels created on-demand to meet the specific QoS requirements of different services and applications, ensuring optimal performance for services like VoLTE or video streaming. This distinction allows LTE networks to efficiently handle diverse types of data traffic and prioritize critical services.

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