Erin’s Blog

We’re just getting used to 3G…now there’s 4G?

There are currently ½ billion people in the world that utilize some sort of mobile device. This is a huge increase over the amount of people who have PCs, meaning that mobility is easier and less expensive than having a PC. Obviously it’s easier to pay $150-$350 for a phone than it is to drop $1000 on a PC.

Right now people with these mobile phones are utilizing a technology called 3G, sometimes referred to as 3G LTE, meaning Third Generation Long Term Evolution. Now that phones are not only used for voice communication, but for data sending and receiving as well, there needs to be significant changes for how they retrieve this data. This is why 4G was proposed.


4G stands for Fourth Generation Wireless, meaning the newest stage of broadband mobile communication that will replace 3G. explains:

While neither standards bodies nor carriers have concretely defined or agreed upon what exactly 4G will be, it is expected that end-to-end IP and high-quality streaming video will be among 4G’s distinguishing features. Fourth generation networks are likely to use a combination of WiMAX and WiFi. Technologies employed by 4G may include Software-defined radio receivers, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access, multiple input and multiple output technologies, [and more]. All of these delivery methods are typified by high rates of data transmission…The high speeds offered by 4G will create new markets and opportunities for both traditional and startup telecommunications companies. 4G networks, when coupled with cellular phones equipped with higher quality digital cameras and even HD capabilities will enable vlogs to go mobile, as has already occurred with text-based moblogs. New models for collaborative citizen journalism are likely to emerge as well in areas with 4G connectivity.

According to a friend of mine who works in telecommunications, Verizon recently released a test network inn northern New Jersey and Minnesota. The networks are designed to have streamlined voice communications as well as high-speed data. They’ve actually clocked the data time to 40 mbps to 60 mbps! To put this into perspective, a computer plugged into an Ethernet cable is designed to have a maximum bandwidth of 100mbps. 4G will have about half that speed! He warns, however, that there will most likely be a decrease in efficiently when the market becomes saturated with more users and more devices, but everything will still be up and running at about 30mbps. As far as he’s heard, the fastest domestic US was clocked on the iPhone at 7mbps on the download and 10mbps on the upload. So, with 4G technologies, there will be a 300 to 400% increase in efficiency!

This is a thing of the past with 4G technology on your wireless.

This is a thing of the past with 4G technology on your wireless. explained that “a Japanese company, NTT DoCoMo, is testing 4G communication at 100Mbps for mobile users and up to 1Gbps while stationary. They plan on releasing their first commercial network in 2010. Other telecommunications companies, however are moving into the area even faster. In August 2006, Sprint Nextel announced plans to develop and deploy a 4G broadband mobile network nationwide in the U.S. using WiMAX.”

Mobile Enterprise Mag featured an article by George Lawton called 4G: What Does Your Enterprise Need To Know? which explains that most discussion about 4G wireless focuses on the competing standards and speeds of the networks, but there are a lot of benefits for the end user.

Compatibility with Internet Protocol (IP) infrastructure will improve. The push for open networks will transform a core part of what enterprise I.T. does across the wide area. Unified communications and fixed-mobile convergence, will become easier to execute than is currently possible [and] increased interoperability will redefine the service relationship between enterprises and wireless providers.

Mark Adams, Chief Architect of Networks and Communications for Northrop Grunman’s Information Technology Sector suggests that:

Commercial wireless wide area networks (WANs) based on cellular and WiMAX technologies will become more compatible extensions of the enterprise network than they are today. This will make it less costly than it currently is for enterprises to integrate the software on existing corporate applications services with those applications running on mobile devices. Companies will be able to leverage existing IP-based equipment, applications and services to create virtual private networks (VPNs) that seamlessly extend their existing corporate I.T. infrastructure to wireless.

Lawton continues,

In a 3G world, data services operate independently of voice services, requiring multiple radios and protocols…that develop unified communications solutions for customer service call center. The goal is to open up the protocol stack used in networking-which includes protocols, used to connect and direct traffic between the software, hardware, network interface cards and routers. This would allow the server on the corporate side and the software running on the client side to share the same protocols at all these different levels of connectivity. 4G promises to be open.

Although there’s a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo involved with 4G innovations, all I know is that things are going to get crazy fast in our mobile devices. We will all be able to connect to one another seamlessly, as well as to our work programs, breaking the boundaries of business and making both business and pleasure capable of being everywhere simultaneously, and quickly!

At the moment, 4G technologies are sometimes referred to by the acronym “MAGIC,” meaning “Mobile multimedia, Anytime/anywhere, Global mobility support, Integrated wireless, and Customized personal service.” Like I said, it’s a little complicated, but it sounds amazing!

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