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4g vs 3g

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4G Wireless Networks
Elizabeth McDowell
Strayer University
CIS 500, Summer Semester
Professor Robert Culver
August 20, 2012 (for week 4)

4G Wireless Networks Standards for communication have come a long way in the world of mobile devices. It starts as early as the 1980’s with the 1G, or first generation, that was a totally analog service (Brown, 2012). The nineties stepped up technology with the 2G, or second generation, network and this service was fully digital and the beginnings of wireless data being supported by mobile devices (Brown, 2012). The two most current used services are 3G (3rd generation) and 4G (4th generation). 3G was introduced in the 2000’s and offered faster service than the 2G did previously. It offers data throughput of up to 3.1 mbps, with a peak upload rate of 50 Mbit/s and a peak download rate of 100 Mbit/s (NA, 2012). It uses packet switching and a Wide Area cell Based network (NA, 2012). Although, truly, there is no clear definition of what data rate a user can expect with 3G service (Segan, 2012). There is, however an increased transmission rate with the 3G service of 2 Mbit/s for someone who is stationary and 384 Kbit/s in a moving vehicle (Goodman, 2005). Current services that can be offered on a 3G network are mobile TV, video conferencing, telemedicine, location based services and GPS. This was the first service that allowed for streaming of audio, video and video calling (NA, 2012). 3G is found with all of the major carriers for cell phones: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, TMobile. 4G is the latest and greatest and was rolled out in the end of the 2000’s and is standardized on the LTE platform as of 2010 (Brown, 2012). The data throughput for 4G is 3 to 5 mbps with a peak upload rate of 500 Mbit/s and a peak download rate of 1Gbit/s (NA, 2012). It uses packet switching and message switching with an LAN and Wide Area networks (NA, 2012). It increases the capacity and speed of wireless data by using digital signal processing (Viswanahan, 2012). 4G is incompatible with 3G ad 2G network and has no backwards compatibility. The applications that are currently being used on 4G networks are mobile IPTV and 3D TV, social networking services, mobile marketing and advertising, E-reader applications, wireless VoIP and telematics (NA, 2012). 4G is available in some areas; however some carriers have less coverage than others. With all of these upward trending services, there is confusion as to what is what when discussing networks. There is 4G LTE, 4G WiMax, and 4G WiBro. 4G LTE (4G long term evolution) was first used by Verizon. One of the main problems with 4G is that there are fewer sites to access to be on a 4G network. However, if a user is in a 4G network and moves out of it, their device should default back to the 3G network to complete the task. WiMax is a mobile wireless broadband access via microwave and is sometimes called the “standard of wireless broadband Conjecture, 2012). It is often labeled as “4G”. It has similar speeds when compared to 4G and it is also compatible with 3G. It has a peak download of 128 mbit/s and a peak upload of 58 mbits/s (Conjecture, 2012). It allows for such applications as VoIP and it can be used for home or mobile devices. One of the problems with WiMax is that it can only have so many users on at a time. So if too many users are one, it will “bump” off other users to accommodate its max number of users (NA, 2012). WiBro is only available in South Korea at this time. It is a wireless broadband that has also similar speeds to that of WiMax. It has a peak download of 128 mbit/s and a peak upload of 56mbit/sec (NA, 2012). There is a lot of competition between carriers to be the fastest and the most reliable and anyone who watches any amount of media will see that this is what the industry is striving to do. The competition depends on the availability of broadband speeds related to the fixed line access available. There is a difference in the speeds when the user is on the go versus stationary (NA, 2012). But the closer that gap becomes, the more productive the user feels and the more satisfied they are with the provider and service. One of the points of competition is the price that they can offer the user for the service (Viswanahan, 2012). The price should go down when all carriers offer the service, but when the service is new or held by only one or two carriers, it can make it more expensive. The second biggest area of competition among carriers is that of coverage. Right now the carrier are all scrambling to make themselves have the biggest and most reliable coverage by adding areas as fast as they can. In conclusion, 4G appears to be the fastest and the best that there is to offer on the market, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a 5G right around the corner. How fast will it be and what areas will it cover….that will just remain to be seen.

Brown, S. (2012, March 8). [Web log message]. Retrieved from 4g-on-iphone-4s-masters-of-deception/
Goodman, D. (2005). 3g cellular standards and patents. IEEE Wireless Com, Retrieved from
NA. (2012, April). 3g vs 4g. Retrieved from
NA. (2012). What are the differences between wifi®, wimax and wibro™?. Retrieved from
Segan, S. (2012, February 24). 3g vs 4g: What's the difference?. PC Magazine Online, Retrieved from,2817,2399984,00.asp
Viswanahan, P. (2012). Pros and cons of the 3g and 4g networks. Retrieved from Pros and Cons of the 3G and 4G Networks

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