Mobile, Tech

A Brief Overview Of 4G Technology

Image representing HTC as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Following the launch of the first 4G handsets, Sprint’s HTC Evo, in the United States, a few questions have been asked about 4G technology and whether 4G mobile phones are truly faster than previous versions such as 3G, in terms of their rate of data transmission. The HTC Evo smartphone is specifically designed to handle potentially higher data-transfer speeds promised by 4G technology and uses the Google Android operating system. In addition, HTC Evo has a 4.3″ touchscreen, GPS navigation, HDMI output, mobile hot-spot capabiligy and two cameras, such as can be expected in most smartphones today.

Defining 4G Technology

So what is 4G? Well, 4G refers to the fourth generation mobile communications network that offers speeds that are around 10 times faster than the current third-generation (3G) networks. It can be divided into two broad groups – the Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax). The LTE supports speeds of more than 100Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream while the WiMax is a telecommunications technology that can transmit over much greater distances and handle more data, than the existing WiFi technology. Furthermore, while the LTE is an evolution of current CDMA/HSPA networks, WiMax requires building a totally different network.

3G vs 4G

When it comes to speed and data handling, the current 3G can transfer data with speeds of up to 2Mbps depending on several different factors. However, users of 4G, WiMax, can expect a much faster data transfer rate of up to 6Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1Mbps although LTE is reported as possessing even greater speeds (100 Mbps and 50 Mbps respectively) theoretically.

At present, they are only about 36 American cities that can boast of having 4G network coverage but as the technology becomes increasingly popular, one can only expect it will be adopted by many more mobile network carriers and smartphone manufacturers, including Apple.

Talking Point

Should wireless carriers concentrate more on getting their current 3G networks to work properly rather than investing in the next generation of wireless technology?

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10 Comments

  1. Lets expect that more cities will boast there 4G network coverage so that they can adopt from new technology and can compete to other cities. 4G technology is one of the best example of our rapidly increasing technology.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the now, slightly aging 4G technology. After seeing the sucessful release of the Iphone 4G in the US and UK.

    And as the previous poster stated, technology speeds are increasingly becoming more powerful, and accessable to everyone.

  3. Sorry, I don’t understand. The iPhone 4G has not been released yet. The iPhone 4 is out (and I have one) but it only does 3G max and not 4G. Isn’t that right?

  4. It’s too early for consumers to buy 4G ready electronics. A lot can happen to technology before the world adopt it. So for me i’ll just stick to the #G tech as of the moment.

    Thomas M.

  5. It’s been a year since this post. Still 4g is not popular.
    The carriers are already changing the contracts because they are not happy with people using the internet more and calling and texting less. So they are not very enthousiastic about implementing even faster connections.

  6. Well, i think investing into the 4G technology is way better rather than improving the 3G technology. Basing on how you describe 4G, it would really help and satisfy consumers if everything works the way it was told. Mobile phones are now like tablets that has Operating system and applications.

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