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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

4G Wireless Internet: What is it?

In the U.S. 4G is the latest craze in the mobile phone industry. In September 2008, Sprint launched the first 4G network in the U.S. This was followed by T-Mobile launching its 4G Network (which was not branded as 4G initially) on November 2, 2010. On December 1, 2010, Verizon launched its 4G LTE network. But what is 4G and do the U.S. networks provide 4G service in true sense.

According to the standard of International Telecommunications Union, the standard speed of 4G network should 100Mbits/sec which no carrier in the world has achieved and even cable or DSL broadband network cannot provide such speed. To provide such a speed, the networks are required spend more money on their infrastructure which is not possible. So, ITU later backed down and labeled HSPA+, WiMAX, and 4GLTE as 4G networks.

What is more interesting is that many people in the U.S. do not have a clear understanding of 4G. The Nielsen company conducted a survey on 2131 people and published the results in January 2011. The study revealed that many people do not really understand what 4G stands for. However, 71 percent of the respondents were interested to buy 4G device next year.

So, what does all this means? Did the carriers not upgrade their networks from the current 3G? Yes, they did and it is real upgrade and they offer higher speeds. In true sense, the new network should have been called 3.5G but as the networks offer more speed than 3G, the carriers are using the term “4G.”

Recently, PC World published its study on 4G networks. The magazine tested 4G networks of the four carriers in 260 locations in 13 U.S. cities and Verizon and T-Mobile came up as the winner. Verizon scored best for its modem speeds and T-Mobile recorded highest speeds on smartphones. So even if you do not know about 4G network, do not worry cause eventually you will get higher speeds than 3G on your network if everything goes smoothly.

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