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Old 06-03-2010, 02:04 PM  
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4G-Hype or substance?

What do those in the know think about this article's claims that "there's less to 4G than meets the eye"?



4G wireless: It's fast, but the
technology may be
outstripped by the hype

by Peter Svensson - Jun. 2, 2010 04:44 PM
Associated Press


NEW YORK - Cellphone companies are about
to barrage consumers with advertising for
the next advance in wireless network
technology: "4G" access. The companies are
promising faster speeds and the thrill of
being the first on the block to use a new
acronym.

But there's less to 4G than meets the eye,
and there's little reason for people to
scramble for it, at least for the next few
years.

Sprint Nextel Corp. is the first carrier to beat
the drum for fourth-generation wireless
technology. It's releasing its first 4G phone,
the EVO, on June 4.

In the fall, Verizon Wireless will be firing up
its 4G network in 25 to 30 cities and
probably will make a big deal of that. A
smaller provider, MetroPCS Communications
Inc., is scheduled to introduce its first 4G
phone around the same time.

So what is 4G?

Broadly speaking, it's a new way to use the
airwaves, designed from the start for the t
ransmission of data rather than phone calls.
To do that, it borrows aspects of the latest
generation of Wi-Fi, the short-range wireless
technology.

For consumers, 4G means, in the ideal case,
faster access to data. For instance,
streaming video might work better, with less
stuttering and higher resolution.
Videoconferencing is difficult on 3G and
might work better on 4G. Multiplayer video
games may benefit, too.

Other than that, it's difficult to point to
completely new uses for 4G phones - things
they can do that 3G phones can't.

Instead, the upgrade to 4G is more likely to
enhance the things you can already do with
3G, said Matt Carter, president of Sprint's 4G
division.

"View it as the difference between watching
regular TV and high-definition TV," Carter
said. "Once you've experienced high-
definition TV it's hard to go back to standard
TV. It's the same sort of thing here."

So the improvement from 3G to 4G is not as
dramatic as the step from 2G to 3G, which
for the first time made real Web browsing,
video and music downloads practical on
phones. The introduction of 3G started in
earnest about five years ago, but it isn't
complete - AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA still
have little rural 3G coverage, for instance.

There's an important caveat to the claim that
4G will be faster, as well. It will definitely be
faster than the 3G networks of Sprint and
Verizon Wireless - about four times faster,
initially. But the other two national carriers,
AT&T and T-Mobile, are upgrading their 3G
networks to offer data-transfer speeds that
will actually be higher than the speeds 4G
networks will reach this year or next.

That means that rather than focusing on real
speeds, Sprint and Verizon will try to frame
their marketing around the "4G" term, said
Dan Hays, who focuses on
telecommunications at management
consulting firm PRTM.

"It's a terrible story from a consumer
standpoint, because it's tremendously
confusing," he said.

AT&T and T-Mobile are able to upgrade their
3G networks because they use a different 3G
technology than Verizon and Sprint, which
have maxed out their 3G speeds. Taking the
step to 4G is natural for Verizon and Sprint,
especially because they have new chunks of
the radio spectrum that they want to take
advantage of.

The fact that Verizon Wireless and Sprint are
adding fresh spectrum may be more
important than the fact that they are using it
for 4G service. No matter if used for 4G or
3G, new spectrum means the companies can
accommodate more data-hungry devices
such as smartphones.

AT&T's network is already staggering under
data congestion caused by the iPhone in New
York and San Francisco. The carrier has
made relieving the congestion a top priority
this year, and its 3G upgrades are part of
that process. (As an aside, there is a lot of
talk of a coming "iPhone 4G." Apple Inc. will
most likely release the fourth generation of
the iPhone for AT&T's network this summer,
but it's virtually certain that it will not be able
to use a 4G wireless network. It likely won't
be called the "iPhone 4G" either.)

There's another, more subtle benefit to 4G.
While it's not always faster than the best 3G
when it comes to helping you download a big
file in less time, it is definitely faster in the
sense that it takes less time to initiate the
flow of data to you. What that means is that
4G is faster for quick back-and-forth
communications. You wouldn't notice this
when surfing the Web or doing e-mail: We're
talking delays of 0.03 second rather than
0.15 second. But it could mean that 4G will
work better for multiplayer gaming, where
split-second timing is important. Even
phone calls could benefit from shorter audio
delays.

Sprint and Verizon are taking different
routes in 4G. Sprint owns a majority of
Clearwire Corp., which is building a network
using WiMax technology. Once seen as very
promising, WiMax looks set to be a niche
technology, and WiMax devices like the

Sprint EVO phone won't be able to use
networks built using the dominant 4G
standard, called LTE, for Long Term
Evolution. Verizon and MetroPCS plan to use
LTE, as does AT&T, starting next year. T-
Mobile says it will probably use LTE
eventually. Even Sprint hasn't ruled out
using LTE eventually, because the
technology has huge momentum.

In five years or so, many phones are likely to
have 4G capabilities, but they'll complement
it with 3G. Rather than a sudden revolution,
consumers are likely to experience a gradual
transition to the new technology, with
increasing speeds. But for now, 4G is no
magic bullet.

"It's an important thing for the industry,"
said Bill Davidson, senior vice president of
marketing and investor relations at wireless
technology developer Qualcomm Inc. "It's
absolutely needed. . . . But I just think some
of this has gotten a bit ahead of itself in
terms of expectations for consumers."

http://www.azcentral.com/business/ar...echnology.html
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:09 PM   #2
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3g is plenty fast and has been around forever. we dont offer or sell any 4g digital faxes that i know of.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:10 PM   #3
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I was at Best Buy the other day off I-35 & 119th in Olathe. The guy was showing me the aircard they have, and was running on 4G. He went to speedtest.com and it registered at a download speed of 5.2 mbps........so I'd say it's not hype. In some area's it'll only be 2-3 mbps on your phone, but that is a hell of alot better than 3G.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:10 PM   #4
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as i understand it, if sprint desired to switch to LTE in the future, it would simply be a software switch. however, Verizon, et al, cannot simply switch to WiMax.

either way, i'm happy that 4G is where I'm at.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWillie007 View Post
I was at Best Buy the other day off I-35 & 119th in Olathe. The guy was showing me the aircard they have, and was running on 4G. He went to speedtest.com and it registered at a download speed of 5.2 mbps........so I'd say it's not hype. In some area's it'll only be 2-3 mbps on your phone, but that is a hell of alot better than 3G.
I know you know what you are talking about BW. What I'm not clear on is what will that 2-3 mbps actually get me that is so much better than what I have on my 3G Hero? My internet and gps are plenty fast now, is it just a matter of them being faster?

Or is this something that people who download music and video and whatever else on their phones will appreciate more than those of us who don't?
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vailpass View Post
I know you know what you are talking about BW. What I'm not clear on is what will that 2-3 mbps actually get me that is so much better than what I have on my 3G Hero? My internet and gps are plenty fast now, is it just a matter of them being faster?

Or is this something that people who download music and video and whatever else on their phones will appreciate more than those of us who don't?
The $29.99 per month high speed internet provided by Cox is a 3mbps connection. Hopefully that gives you a point of reference when judging how impressive 4G really is.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pr_capone View Post
The $29.99 per month high speed internet provided by Cox is a 3mbps connection. Hopefully that gives you a point of reference when judging how impressive 4G really is.
Howdy PR,

I understand the speed (at least in my own layman's way) what I don't understand is if/how this will be a substantial benefit over my 3G Hero. If you don't dowload music or movies is it really that visible of an improvement?

BTW I'm curious just as a matter of principle, not because I'm opposed. When my next upgrade comes up I'm going to get the 2nd gen EVO.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWillie007 View Post
I was at Best Buy the other day off I-35 & 119th in Olathe. The guy was showing me the aircard they have, and was running on 4G. He went to speedtest.com and it registered at a download speed of 5.2 mbps........so I'd say it's not hype. In some area's it'll only be 2-3 mbps on your phone, but that is a hell of alot better than 3G.
well it depends upon your 3g. For instance I get 2-3mb/s on my 3g already. But really for the most part the bandwidth you shouldn't think of as making things faster but as giving more headroom to allow more people on a single cell. It is afterall a shared medium.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vailpass View Post
Howdy PR,

I understand the speed (at least in my own layman's way) what I don't understand is if/how this will be a substantial benefit over my 3G Hero. If you don't dowload music or movies is it really that visible of an improvement?

BTW I'm curious just as a matter of principle, not because I'm opposed. When my next upgrade comes up I'm going to get the 2nd gen EVO.
It's kind of like why you want strippers to have big tits. Cuz they are awesome
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vailpass View Post
Howdy PR,

I understand the speed (at least in my own layman's way) what I don't understand is if/how this will be a substantial benefit over my 3G Hero. If you don't dowload music or movies is it really that visible of an improvement?

BTW I'm curious just as a matter of principle, not because I'm opposed. When my next upgrade comes up I'm going to get the 2nd gen EVO.
Ah, apologies.

Even if you don't download music or movies your web browsing will be infinitely better than it was before. Now, if you hardly use the web on your phone then the speed difference will be little to nothing for you.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pr_capone View Post
Ah, apologies.

Even if you don't download music or movies your web browsing will be infinitely better than it was before. Now, if you hardly use the web on your phone then the speed difference will be little to nothing for you.
Thank you sir, that was my question. Here in Phoenix the 3G internet seems plenty fast though I dont know the rate,
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:05 PM   #12
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:37 PM   #13
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SCREW 4G


I want ****ing 12 G's
Is 4G going to be like when people went nuts over 1200 bps modems?
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by vailpass View Post
I know you know what you are talking about BW. What I'm not clear on is what will that 2-3 mbps actually get me that is so much better than what I have on my 3G Hero? My internet and gps are plenty fast now, is it just a matter of them being faster?

Or is this something that people who download music and video and whatever else on their phones will appreciate more than those of us who don't?
You're thinking too small. You can use 4g for a lot more than just your cell phone. If 4g is as fast as your home internet, you can ditch your home ISP. You can pay a single price for internet at home plus anywhere else on your laptop. You can have streaming Netflix on roadtrips and things like that.

Once more people are carrying connected laptops/netbooks/tablets everywhere, you'll probably see a lot of creative apps and uses come out that nobody has thought of yet. Also, the phones will also start to have video conferencing, which will be cool.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by phillip View Post
You're thinking too small. You can use 4g for a lot more than just your cell phone. If 4g is as fast as your home internet, you can ditch your home ISP. You can pay a single price for internet at home plus anywhere else on your laptop. You can have streaming Netflix on roadtrips and things like that.

Once more people are carrying connected laptops/netbooks/tablets everywhere, you'll probably see a lot of creative apps and uses come out that nobody has thought of yet. Also, the phones will also start to have video conferencing, which will be cool.
Thanks, I see your point. That would be good for some people. I would never ever ever get rid of my landline internet and can't see myself streaming movies but I'm sure people would.
Apps I like.
Doesn't look like 4G is going to be much of a game changer for me but who knows what the next evolution will bring?
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