Thanks to Broadband Expert for providing this content for RF Cafe. A lot of people are asking the question, "What is 4G, and how is it different from existing technologies?" This short article begins to answer the question. 4G is still in its infancy, and is therefore somewhat evolving. The current recession (as of 2009) is slowing progress, but advances are being made.
Telecommunications standards are constantly changing as technology advances and the publics hunger for more content delivered to their portable devices faster is a driving force behind these developments. At the moment you may be aware that a majority of modern mobile phones and mobile broadband services for PC and Laptop owners connect to 3G networks. This name refers to the fact that this is considered to be the 3rd generation of mobile telecommunications networking technology, and at the moment 3G networks are capable of download speeds of between 3.6 Mbps and 7.2 Mbps. This speed will depend on the network provider you choose, the level of 3G coverage and the capabilities of the mobile platform you are using to receive the signal. However, there are many companies who are working on creating 4G technologies, or the 4th generation of mobile networking, though at the time of writing 4G is not a standardized, unified technology and there are different companies working on 4G products that won't perform in the same way or to the same level.
What is 4G?
At the moment 4G technologies are looking to be similar in many ways to the wireless networks that you may have used in your place of work or in your own home, only on a much larger scale and integrated into mobile devices as well as desktop solutions. For mobile users it will provide an `always on` mobile broadband connection so that voice calls, media streaming and internet access will be constantly at hand. Additionally the download speeds capable over 4G networking should be far greater than is currently available on 3G or indeed any home broadband service provided by a landline, with test 4G networks in China delivering 100 Mbps download speeds. What`s even better news is that this 100 Mbps speed is claimed by some companies to be the download speed available when the subject is on the move in a train or a car. If you're standing in one spot relative to the broadcasting beacon then up to 1 Gbps data transfer speed could be possible. This is literally an incredible development and a huge leap in terms of download speed and will no doubt further revolutionize the way in which we have access to the internet, as well as drastically lowering the cost of voice calls which use relatively little bandwidth.
4G Future Options
At the moment most people have mobile phones and many will also use wireless broadband, either in their own homes thanks to a wireless router or through a mobile broadband solution using 3G networks. Samsung and other large manufacturers have been demonstrating 4G technology, both WiBro (wireless broadband) and WiMAX for some years now, and there are already mobile phones available that use this technology like the HTC MAX 4G and the Nokia N810 WiMAX edition. Sadly 4G will not be available on a large scale for a few years as standardizations are made and more companies combine their efforts to define 4G, but when the time comes it will be an incredibly exciting product.
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