4G Definition: 4G is not one defined technology or standard, but rather a collection of technologies and protocols aimed at creating fully packet-switched networks optimized for data. 4G networks are projected to provide speeds of 100 Mbps while moving and 1 Gbps while stationary. Fourth Generation Cellular Communication
Evolution of Data Standards: The radio telephone system preceded modern cellular mobile telephony technology (1G). The radio telephone system contained one central antenna tower per region. The central antenna required radio phones to have a powerful transmitter, capable of transmitting up to 50 miles. The number of radio telephones per region was limited by the number of available channels. Unlike closed radio systems, radio telephones were connected to the public telephone network and were typically mounted in cars, trucks, and briefcases.
The 1G cellular telephone system divided cities into small cells. This division allowed extensive frequency reuse across a city, allowing millions to use cell phones simultaneously. 1G cell phone technology encompassed analog standards introduced in the 1980s and continued until replaced by 2G digital cell phones.
Second Generation Cellular Communication (2G) 2G digital technologies can be divided into two standards: TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) – GSM: Originally from Europe but used worldwide – iDEN: Proprietary network used by Nextel in the US – PDC: Used exclusively in Japan CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) – IS-95: Commonly referred to as CDMA and used in the Americas and parts of Asia
Third Generation Cellular Communication (3G) 3G networks provide the ability to transfer voice data and non-voice data (music downloads, emails and instant messaging) over the same network simultaneously. 3G networks deliver broadband capacity and support greater numbers of voice and data customers at lower incremental costs than 2G. Standards: – W-CDMA: Wideband Code Division Multiple Access – EVDO: Evolution-Data Optimized
3G vs. 4G: Less Complexity, Faster Transmission Unlike the 3G networks which are a combination of circuit switched and packet switched networks, 4G will be based on packet switching only. This will allow low-latency data transmission.
4G Possibilities: Enhanced Mobile Gaming Experience enhanced wireless capabilities that deliver mobile gaming interaction with latency less than five milliseconds. Play online multiplayer games while travelling at high speeds or sitting outside.
Personal Media Repository Create a personal media repository that can be accessed from home and on the road to view photos, watch movies and listen to your personal music collection.
Virtual Presence Use hologram-generating virtual reality programs that provide an artificial presence just about anywhere. For example, decide if you want to personally respond when someone rings your front door while you are away from home.
Broadband Access in Remote Locations 4G networks will provide a wireless alternative for broadband access to residential and business customers. In addition, 4G will provide the first opportunity for broadband access in remote locations without an infrastructure to support cable or DSL access.
WiMAX: World Interoperability for Microwave Access There are two main applications of WiMAX: Fixed WiMAX (IEEE 802.16-2004) – Fixed WiMAX applications are point-to-multipoint enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL for homes and businesses. Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e-2005) – Mobile WiMAX offers the full mobility of cellular networks at true broadband speeds.
WiMAX Adoption: Fixed WiMAX Adoption Fixed WiMAX is currently available however the adoption rate is impacted by the high cost of equipment in comparison to cable or DSL. Fixed WiMAX provides greater benefits for developing countries that do not already have physical infrastructure to support wired broadband access. Mobile WiMAX Adoption Mobile WiMAX equipment will arrive to carriers toward the end of 2007. However, mobile equipment testing typically takes between 12 to 18 months before the equipment is introduced to the consumer market.
WiMAX vs. Wi-Fi: WiMAX / Wi-Fi Comparison WiMAX and Wi-Fi are somewhat independent, addressing slightly different needs. WiMAX uses private, licensed spectrum and provides Wi-Fi-like service with guaranteed performance to larger public areas, similar in coverage to cellular networks today. Wi-Fi uses shared spectrum and operates at short distances, making it ideal for low-cost, private networks (where usage of the network is constrained to an office building or campus) or free public systems (where service guarantees are not required).
4G Access Options: Embed 4G technology into all end-user devices Develop mobile personal gateways Develop external interfaces with 4G peripherals
The lack of clarity and overuse of the term 4G could prove its biggest opportunity, or could spell its premature demise. As carriers begin to rollout 3G the term 4G may be rendered meaningless by lack of definition. However, the rollout of mobile broadband will have a profound impact on the way we work and live.