• What is 4G?

    What is 4G?

    As mobile phone technology has evolved, cell phones have become more than just a way to call or text friends and family. The advent of smart phones has created the ability for people to use their cell phone as a hand held computer. These phones can access the Internet via mobile broadband technology and feature applications that allow access to popular streaming media programs, social media news feeds, weather, elaborate games and more. The nature of this technology requires that the Internet made available to mobile phones be easy to access and provide high speeds to users.

    When cell phones are advertised, the quality of their Internet speed is generally classified as 3G, 4G and LTE. There is a common misconception that the number in these categorizations makes specific reference to the upload and download speed capacity of a device, when, in fact, these numbers refer to the generation of mobile phone communications standards. In order for a phone to be categorized as 4th generation, it must meet the most modern standards for a mobile phone. This includes specific network standards including packet distribution, sharing of network resources, link spectral efficiency and the ability to support the most modern forms of multimedia. The inclusion of the LTE standard raises the bar on what the current standards are required to provide.

    These new phones are some of the most popular phones on the market right now because of the advanced features they provide. Their networks have an efficiency advantage over those that are still using a 3rd generation network, so they are considered to be the top of the line. The use of these phones allows consumers to have near perfect Internet signal in many locations. Some applications that are spotty and do not run well on a 3rd generation phone work much better when installed on a newer device. Because 4th generation is the new mobile standard, application designers are creating applications with the use of a 4th generation device in mind. The increased functionality of a phone that meets current standards is a major selling point for many people, especially those in the business sector who value the ability to be able to perform important work related tasks anywhere at any time with the use of their mobile phone.

    While these phones have many benefits for consumers and society, one must also consider the fact that cell phone companies sell them for significantly more than a 3G phone. 3rd generation phones still have the accessibility necessary to complete work tasks, use applications, stream music, watch movies, play games and participate in other smart phone activities. The inclusion of the new standard encourages people to upgrade their phones to hardware that is, in the end, not significantly different from the hardware of their previous phones. It also encourages people to buy first generation releases of new phones which may still have firmware bugs and other undiagnosed problems which could brick the phone if used incorrectly or may require many firmware updates, a frustrating and time consuming process. 4G has both benefits and detriments in terms of mobile technology and technology as a whole, but in the end, the decision to choose a generation of mobile communications standards is left to the buyer.