Welcome to JamiaYant.com

Click on the icons below to view information

Home

Home

Biography

Biography

Resume

Resume

Web Development and Design

Web Developoment

Projects

Projects

Articles & Writings

Articles

Contact Me

Contact Me

 

4G Wireless Networks
By Jamia Yant
April 26th, 2012


In the timeline of mobile phone technology, 3G technology will always be tied to the introduction of the smart-phone; but as our mobile phones evolve so does our technology.  Our society is a demanding one and for the technologically savvy those demands are in the form of mobility, connectivity and faster mobile technology.


Compare and Contrast 3G Wireless Networks to 4G Networks
We can compare and contrast 3G wireless networks and 4G networks in four areas: service and application, network architecture, data throughput and user perceptions.  Some examples of services offered by 3G wireless networks are CDMA2000, UMTS, and EDGE along with a list of others while 4G networks offer Wimax2 and LTE-Advance.  The applications are where a lot of users get hooked on technology.  3G opened a whole new realm of possibilities with applications allowing users to stream video and audio, video calling, video conferencing and a huge array of multimedia applications in the mobile environment.   4G applications include gaming services, amended mobile web access, high definition mobile television, video conferencing, IP telephony and even 3D television. One of the differences between these two standards of networks lies in the network architecture; the 3G mobile network is a Wide Area Cell Based network with a circuit-switched subsystem.  It relies on large satellite connections that connect to telecommunication towers.  For example, users make a call or open the internet; a radio signal is transmitted to a 3G tower antenna or cell site. That data travels from the cell site to a central switching office by a wire-line fiber-optic network.  Then the central switching office connects the call or data request with the rest of the world.  The 4G networks are an integration of wireless LAN and Wide Area.  4G does not have a circuit-switched subsystem, it is a purely packet based Internet Protocol (IP) system.  When a Sprint user accesses a website or uses an internet based application, a radio signal is sent to a 4G cell site.  That data request travels from the satellite to a central office wirelessly using microwave technology.  This is a more reliable method than a wire-line transmission because there is less network downtime.  The central office, in turn, connects the data using a wire-line network to the outside world. 
Another difference is in the data throughput.  The data throughput rate for 3G is up to 3.1 mbps with a bandwidth of 5 – 20MHz; while the data throughput rate for 4G networks is 3 to 5 mbps but potentially estimated at a range of 100 to 300 mbps with a bandwidth of 100MHz (or more).  Many users are happy with their 3G wireless network service.  It is readily available and competitive pricing have enabled millions of users to access mobile technology in ways they never imagined possible.  However, 4G networks have had outages and complaints about coverage areas.  The differences are definitely there between the two technologies but the users of today have only gotten a brief taste of the potential benefits of 4G service.  The common users who only listen to music and watch the occasional video won’t be to swayed to evolve but the business mined tech savvy individual will be converting as fast as the technologies change.  In the next few years, I expect to see a few changes in the 4G services being offered.  I look for boosted app performance and capabilities, International 4G Roaming Agreements, Collaborative Network Contributions instead of strain and the end of flat rate data.


Distinguish between the 4G LTE, 4G WiMax, and 4G WiBro Networks
The introduction of 4G networks has given us a variety of network choices: 4G LTE, 4G WiMax, and 4G WiBro.  The 4G LTE network stands for 4G Long Term Evolution.  This is the 4G technology used by Verizon Wireless.  It supports data rate exchanges at speeds of 100 Mbps for downloads and 50 Mbps for uploads.  Users that are really taking advantage of the advancements seem happy with the 4G LTE services offered today, but there have been some reports of poor connectivity and sometimes no connectivity at all.  Most of the problems are away from the metropolitan areas where there are fewer 4G cell sites.  With time this will be resolved.   
It is common knowledge that in order to access a 4G network a user must be equipped with a 4G network enabled device.  Devices have some limits with compatibility of networks when going for 3G to 4G but the real issue is backward compatibility.  There is backward compatibility of LTE-Advanced with LTE.  This basically means that an LTE terminal should be able to work in an LTE-Advanced Network and the same in reverse.  This is because LTE was designed to be backward compatible with GSM and HSPA.  Because of this design, if a piece of mobile equipment travels beyond the range of an LTE network, it can fall back on a 3G network if it has the required radio technologies. 
As of April 19th, 2012 Verizon’s 4G LTE network coverage maps showed their service covered two-thirds of the U.S Population.  This coverage provides service to 230 markets in the United States with expectations of that coverage increasing to 400 markets and 260 million people by the end of 2012.    With benefits like security, customer address control, enhanced customer experience and services for diverse uses it will no doubt reach its projected goals.
The 4G WiMax network stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access and is a different standard (802.16).  This technology is also the current standard of wireless broadband devices in the United States.  Sprint uses this technology for its 4G network.    This type of 4G network was designed to provide broadband wireless access in on open Internet Architecture. Its cost to performance ratio exceeds all other technology and for that reason has already brought access to millions of users.  Most data exchange rates show this technology to have a data rate of 70 Mbps.  Reports have shown Fixed WiMax can provide speeds of up to 75 Mbps and Mobile WiMax offering speeds of up to 30 Mbps. When WiMax standard of 802.16d (fixed WiMax) was upgraded to 802.16e (Mobile WiMax) it was made to be backwards compatible with its previous version.  Like LTE, WiMax is also backward compatible with 3G technologies. The Service availability for WiMax is limited in that it only allows so many users on the standard and will cut off any additional users trying to use the connection.  For non-line of sight the network can reach up to 25 - 30 square miles, but for line of site between the transmission point and the receiving antenna, the range increases to 2,800 square miles.  This Wireless Metropolitan Area Network can offer voice and data services without the high expense of cable or the limitations DSL has with distance.  
The WiBro 4G network technology stands for Wireless Broadband.  This is offered as an alternative to WiMax.  It is a radio service for broadband, mobile access designed in Korea for the purpose of maintaining connectivity on the go.    There are similarities between WiBro and WiMax in that the transmission speeds for both are same.  However, WiBro has the ability to mark out a receiver that is stirring from one location to another location at speeds of up to 74 miles per hour.  WiMax avoids this because it requires a stationary antenna for receiving the signal.  The rate of exchange has data rates of 30 – 50 Mbps. 

  
The Competition between the 4G LTE Carriers
One of the driving factors causing competition between carriers is the customers increase in choices but there are several other factors that are causing more interest in mobile technology today that is also driving such fierce competition.  One of those factors is the availability of mobile broadband speeds that are directly competing with fixed line access technologies.  If an individual can be on the move and have the same level of connection speed as they do at their home or office, their productivity levels increase dramatically.  Another big factor are the businesses with remote branch offices that want to adopt a cellular enabled business plan that adopt cellular-enabled business gateways as either primary or back up WAN connections.  One of the many other factors causing this competition is governments of undeveloped countries wanting to take advantage of global services by using the technology to increase telephone access to rural areas unable to be served by wired telephone infrastructures.  The ability to offer 4G LTE network technology has taken the competition to a whole new level with accompanying benefits for the user.  Prices are being driven down by having more than one carrier offer the service.  Data plans have more competitive pricing and the desire to be the order winner is causing carrier to make improvements to their systems daily.  The race to increase coverage areas is driving the competition along and spreading the benefits to each new market it reaches.       

Verizon and AT&T’s Markets
Verizon was the first carrier in the United States to offer a 4G LTE network.  This gave them a full year’s competitive advantage to develop their coverage areas.  AT&T just launched their network in September of last year and is trying to catch up.  Verizon achieved this lead partly by offering unlimited service plans and popular data-equipped handsets.  Verizon also obtained another 17 million people in their customer base by delivering wholesale access through third party resellers.

One only has to sit and watch television for a brief amount of time and he/she will see the advances in technology.  Commercials for smart-phones abound and the technology accompanying them is showing the world the capabilities of mobile technology.  Advancements from 3G wireless networks to 4G networks are just the next step in mobile technologies evolutionary process.  I can’t wait to see what is next.   


References:

 

Click Icon for PDF Download

Article