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Welcoming 4G

So what is 4G?
To start, think of wireless technology as a family that gets faster with each generation. Second-generation (2G) networks were faster than the original first-generation wireless technology; third-generation (3G) is faster than 2G; and 4G is faster than 3G. Speed is important for data transmission (not so much for voice) because a faster network lets you do more with your phone. The 3G networks that we use today allow us to stream video, download music tracks and other large files, and surf the Web on full HTML browsers. Think of it like moving from a dial-up Internet connection to cable or DSL–suddenly you could do more with your computer and do it faster.

That’s why it’s easiest to think of 4G not in terms of what it is, but rather in terms of what it can do. While 3G offers data speeds of about 1.5 to 2 megabits per second (Mbps), 4G will double that–and it could go even faster. It’s important to remember, however, that promises are just that.

Types of 4G
Just as there are different types of 3G (EV-DO, UMTS, and HSDPA) there are two main types of 4G. I’ll tell you the basics, but before we start it’s important to note that 4G more or less marks the end of the traditional CDMA/GSM divide.

LTE, aka long-term evolution, is the natural outgrowth of current 3G technologies. As it has an all-IP architecture, it treats everything ittransmits, even voice, as data. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) have chosen LTE.

According to 4G, its network is capable of download speeds of 40Mbps to 50Mbps and upload speeds of 20Mbps to 25Mbps. Average speeds, however, will more likely range from 5Mbps to 12Mbps for downloads and 2Mbps to 5Mbps for uploads.


In contrast to LTE, WiMax, which stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, isn’t an evolution of current cellular systems. Rather, it’s more related to current Wi-Fi technology. The initial version for mobile use is based on the 802.16e wireless standard (Wi-Fi is 802.110). It has potential for very long range transmission (up to 30 miles) and could offer speeds of about 10Mbps.

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Written by Shahzoor Ali


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