What is 4G Mobile Technology?

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  • Originally Written By: John Lister
  • Revised By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2015
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Fourth Generation (4G) mobile technology is a set of standards for providing broadband Internet access to devices like cellphones and tablets. Though it first became available in the US in 2009, no specific technologies were officially designated as 4G until 2011. Despite this, many devices were labeled as "4G" even though they did not meet the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) standards for the technology. The main difference between it and previous standards is a big increase in data transfer speeds and the types of media people can access with it.


There are also a number of technical specifications, including things like the wireless standard, radio interface, and frequency spectrum used. As of 2011, there were only two technologies officially designated as 4G mobile: LTE-Advanced and WiMax Release 2. Though devices using these technologies can theoretically reach the data speeds and functionality requirements set out by the ITU, the actual function varies according to the network coverage, infrastructure, and location.


Other Versions

Former versions of LTE and WiMax, and another technology called HSPA+, are also commonly referred to as 4G; despite the name, none actually meet the standards set out in IMT-A. The technologies were marketed so often as "4G" that the ITU allowed them to claim the designation. Most major carriers in the US work with at least one of these standards, with some supporting both. Generally speaking, LTE services are faster than WiMax, but WiMax can often support a farther-ranging signal than LTE, meaning that a user could conceivably use the mobile device farther away from a hotspot. Additionally, LTE is primarily used for cellphones and similar mobile devices, while WiMax is sometimes used to provide at-home Internet connections.

As Compared to 3G

The main difference between 4G mobile technology and the previous standard, 3G technology, in terms of end usage is the data transfer speeds provided. This means that users can access much more sophisticated data that requires a lot of bandwidth very quickly. Depending on the service provider, however, 4G mobile devices may be limited to specific zones for making phone calls that are generally smaller than the areas covered by 3G. This means that people trying to make a call would have their call dropped if they went outside the covered area. Some 4G phones also have much shorter battery life than most 3G phones.


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Discuss this Article

Post 73

I am excited to know about 4g and how it works.

Post 70

I think my phone does those text things as well as the occasional phone call. How many Gs do I need? Will 4G and 5G and 99G stop people shouting into phones in public places and bumping into me in the street? Manners are more important than toys.

Post 69

I'm not sure but I think there are no implementation of 4G yet. Most of the so-called 4G networks nowadays are the Super-3G ones. Hope it come soon. The most noticed difference is the speed (in theory 100Mbps to 1Gbps) and the larger bandwidth in comparison to 3G. Renata, Brazil

Post 67

I am umashankar. I just need to know about 4G technology, and how it is different from other mobile technologies.

Post 64

i need to know how 4g technology works?

Post 57

well i think 4g mobile technology can give to access video phone calls. If anybody knows more about 4th generation please explain it fully.

Post 56

I knew 1G and I knew 2G. 3G was a standard but was not always adopted uniformly and supposed to have a convergence between CDMA and TDMA (GSM), but it was exploited as a marketing hype when plain old digital became mundane.

Sprint was looking at WIMAX as unused band to be used for cellular and looks like they have done it. But that is not a technology standard, it is just an adoption of wireless technology.

I have been wondering for a while how I missed this evolution since I have been out for about 3-4 years. I knew technology moves fast and felt that may be I have become passe. And now I read that it is all just a hype, just like 3G was and is. We are still waiting! - Pete for NJ

Post 54

Many here don't know the difference between 3g and 4g. And am using 3g which is very common in India now. It's really superb speed. Am awaiting for the launch of 4g in india. in 3g speed varies from 100kbps to 8Mbps. In 4g it is 100Mbps to 1GBps. Amazing speed!

Post 46

This is shankar. i want information about the 4G technology and powerpoints.

Post 45

When will 2G come to Africa and India?

Post 44

There should be precise standards across the world for 4G mobile technology. If there is only a little difference between 3G and 4G in terms of speed, then 4G is not really 4th Generation. It must have superior features in terms of security, speed, connectivity, more user-friendly environment and should give a feel of technological advancement. - Raj from India.

Post 43

this was good and communicative and we need more.

Post 41

i need some information about 4G technology for a paper presentation.

Post 38

i need some info about 4g technology to give a powerpoint presentation.

Post 36

The 4G LTe technology is already tested in Denmark, and with nice results.

TDC, the biggest telecom company in Denmark will roll out 4G in Denmark in January 2011.

Post 35

i need some info about 4g technology to give a powerpoint presentation.

Post 33

There is a difference between 4G Network and Fourth Generation phones 4G. People who don't know the difference could think the two are the same.

Post 32

when is 4g going to arrive in india?

Post 29

Never mind Africa. When will 4G get to South Africa?

Post 27

i really want to know about the book and if it is available nd many things related to it.

Post 26

Yeah, it's good, but this content should also contain the information about the 4G network and how it works.

Post 25

need more info regarding 4g like the features provided, etc.

Post 24

when will 4G technology get to Africa?

Post 23

So the basic difference b/w 3G and 4G is only the speed- Sathishkumar

Post 22

this is really good but needs more info and explanations.

Post 21

this technology is amazing. may i know more about this?

Post 20

It is nice to have 4G tech in future which is amazing. Till then enjoy the technology you have.

Post 17

here is uma. 4G is amazing but I need to know in detail as it will be helpful to me to present a seminar.

Post 16

no 3g, no 4g.

if you get any g, the speed is always 5kb in india.

unless otherwise, god help us.

Post 15

This is Hendry from Dindigul. I want to know more about 4G tech? And also i wish to know when will it come to the market?

Post 13

i'm sumit and work as a network planning engineer in a well known telecom organization in India. Can anybody help me to know which technologies are being used in 4G mobile communication era and which countries and companies are involved in 4G deployment.

Thanks and anticipating satisfying answers.

Post 12

for a known novice with technology, i know more today, however still perplexed about its specifics.

Post 11

Really good idea about all technologies out there. It would have been really nice, had you covered opportunities of improvements in 4G.

Post 9

really nice, short article. nice, brief description. my presentation topic is also 4G technology, so is there anyone who can help me a bit?

Post 7

this is a good one. I want to know how it works? how can I set my ip address? how it will work in different networks?

Post 5

i m rahul from bhopal india and i'm very much interested in 4g technology and its application. I also want to get any related information on how it's (4g) going to serve in the future. so please help me to get this information.

Post 4

hi this is bhanu. i want to know more information about 4g as i am planning to do a project on it.

Post 2

Hi this is mohan from erode. I need a diagrammatic representation about the 4g network. thank you.

Post 1

this was very good, but i need to know more about 4G.

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