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Cis 500 - Assignment 2 4g Wireless Networks

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| 4G Wireless Networks | | | | Jason LehmanCIS 500 – Information Systems for Decision Making

| 4G Wireless Networks | | | | Jason LehmanCIS 500 – Information Systems for Decision Making

Compare and Contrast 3G and 4G Wireless Networks
The comparison of 3G and 4G wireless networks can be broken down into four main areas of concern when deciding on the more future-oriented 4G compared to the more established 3G network. The first areas examined are service and applications. Third-generation (3G) networks consist of CDMA 2000, UMTS, WCDMA, and various others. Fourth-generation (4G) technologies include WiMAX, HSPA+21/42, and LTE, of which many consider LTE to be the only “true” 4G network (Segan, 2013). The introduction of 3G technologies heralded a wide range of possibilities to include the ability for user to wirelessly stream audio, video, visual calling and conferencing, and various mobile multimedia functions to include more streamlined E-mail and general web browsing, online banking, basic video games on demand, mobile TV, and location-based services (4Gon Solutions, 2012). 4G application offerings include four main categories: Localized/Personalized Information, Communications, Organizational, and Entertainment (M-Indya, 2012). Localized/Personalized Information applications will offer users the ability to browse various news outlets, more accurate and improved locational servicers, more enhance mobile commerce (i.e. mobile check depositing, investment services), along with various travel services such as flight, hotel, and rental car accommodations as well as public transportation tracking information. The communications applications offered include greatly enhanced versions of short messaging service (SMS), e-mail capabilities, and video messaging experiences. Organizational applications include location-based interactive calendars and alerts such as Apple Inc.’s Push Notification Service, and cloud-based to do lists. Finally, entertainment applications are wide-ranging and can include music streaming via mobile radio applications (e.g. Pandora, Spotify), video streaming applications (e.g. Netflix, Hulu), gaming, and more capable video chatting.
While many of the same services and applications between 3G and 4G may indeed be very similar, within the network architecture lies some major differences. 3G architecture still uses the somewhat antiquated wide area cell-based network with the same circuit and packet switching design subsystem that has been used for some time now in telephone systems. This system tends to rely heavily on satellite connections that in turn communicate with telecommunication towers scattered throughout an area. This includes various processes and subsequent delays including the routing of data from a cell site to a centralized switching office that in turn can impede resources until the connection ceases. On the other hand, 4G networks are hybrid systems consisting of the integration of both LAN (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) and the wide area cell-based network that 3G offers (, 2011). 4G technologies do not contain the same circuit subsystem present in 3G rather they are completely digital with a packetized Internet Protocol (IP) and voice. With the abandonment of circuit switching even for voice and video calls, mobile companies will be able to condense more conversations and data into the same bandwidth as used in 3G (Kumar, et al, 2013).
The next major difference between these two technologies is the variation in their data throughputs or the rate of successful delivery across a network. With 3rd generation networks the data throughput is up to approximately 3.1 Mbps averaging between 0.5 Mbps and 1.5 Mbps and a bandwidth of 5-20 MHz whereas with 4th generation networks the data throughput can approach approximately 20 Mbps with the conservative range being between 2 Mbps to 12 Mbps with a scalable channel bandwidth of 5-20 MHz, optionally up to 40 MHz (Kumar, et al, 2013). While the future does indeed hold more of a place for the 4G technology many now have settled in nicely in the use of their 3G capable devices. 3rd generation, while lacking in future upgradeability, is currently much more widespread and readily available with a more agreeable price tag than that of 4G. For many, 3G technology has afforded them capabilities which were previously unreachable, such as wireless access to the web, e-mail, and various productivity applications that have made life easier on a daily basis. 4G is not as readily available and experiences outages at a rate that is often deemed unacceptable by many mobile users. 4th generation also experiences the dilemma of not being truly understood with the various “false” 4G networks and devices that are currently being offered to the public. While 4G may require a great deal of funds be allocated for it to become more accessible to the public, the capabilities in terms of evolution and network efficiency are unmatched by that of 3G and would appear to be the network of the future for many who desire more speed. The problem companies currently face is attracting the common user, which makes up majority of their customer base, as they are not as easily swayed by faster speeds with less reliability and a higher cost.
Distinction between 4G LTE, 4G WiMAX, and 4G WiBro Networks
With 4G networks becoming increasingly more prevalent with wireless providers, it can confusing trying to understand the various types of 4G available and which ones may be most suitable. The first of the 4G technologies is 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is essentially the next technology in line having evolved from HSPA and quickly became the fastest form of wireless communication available supporting around 1Gbit/s peak download speeds and 500Mbit/s peak upload speeds. Users who have devices that support “true” LTE initially have been finding that these first generation LTE devices are consuming a great deal more battery power than their 3G and 2G counterparts. Also, while many users are indeed quite happy with the speed increase experienced with LTE, there are many reports of limited or no connectivity in many areas as the network is still fairly new and not widespread. Most of these connectivity issues stem from being outside major metropolitan areas where there are far fewer 4G cell towers. LTE was designed in part to be backwards compatible with both GSM and HSPA which allows a device to utilize a 3G network when 4G is unavailable in the area they are in. As of July 2, 2014 the top 4 wireless providers each have the majority of the nation covered with Verizon having the ability to cover approximately 97% and AT&T having the ability to have 92% nationwide coverage with 4G LTE (Goldstein, 2014). However with each additional market added to the 4G LTE network there is always a concern for strain in the network with resulting speed decreases which have been prevalent in the United States as with continual infrastructure improvements average speeds have declined about 32% to 6.5 Mbps (Osborne, 2014).
Another network within 4G technologies is known as Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) and is the evolution of a Wi-Fi, IP-based background. This technology has consistently used the IEEE 802.16 standard yet in terms of technology WiMAX and LTE prove to be very similar in functionality. While WiMAX lags behind LTE in terms of speed with peak download and upload speeds of 128 Mbit/s and 56 Mbit/s, WiMAX does seem to have more ubiquity and is more readily available whereas LTE is still very much under construction. WiMAX was developed to be a more open internet service and to be compatible with most internet devices while maintaining backwards compatibility with previous versions of WiMAX (i.e. 802.16a, 802.16b, 802.16c, etc.) as well as with 3G technologies (, 2009). In terms of service availability, WiMAX is more limited than LTE as it will only allow for a certain number of users on the standard at any given time with ranges of 25 square miles for non-line of sight use and 2,800 square miles for line of sight between the transmission point and receiving antenna (Conjecture Corporation , 2012).
Another fourth-generation wireless technology is Wireless Broadband (WiBro). WiBro is an alternative to WiMAX with certain similarities such as the way in which they both connect to a wireless network for internet access as well as the transmission speeds with WiBro also clocking in at peak download speeds of 128 Mbit/s and peak upload speeds of 56 Mbit/s. The advantage of WiBro over WiMAX is that is has the ability to track the receiver from place to place essentially making it a “wireless” version of WiMAX with its capability of having a mobile receiver with no service degradation, given the receiver stays within range (Conjecture Corporation , 2012). Many users appreciate the mobility of WiBro; commuters with laptops especially appreciate the convenience of having a small device they can simply plug into their laptop to gain network access. Another benefit to users is the use of WiBro in public areas such as cafes in which they can mostly gain free access to secure networks. However, if the network is open unwanted users could use valuable bandwidth essentially slowing the signal down for all other users. WiBro is very much as backwards-compatible as WiMAX is with previous wireless broadband standards set by the IEEE. However, networks are constantly being enhanced and enlarged in many metropolitan areas but users outside major cities may not have nearly as much access to WiBro or WiMAX as those within city limits.
AT&T & Verizon & the Fierce Competition for 4G LTE Supremacy
Today, customers want the best wireless network coverage their money can buy. This demand is the driving force behind the competition between the nation’s two main carriers: AT&T and Verizon and their struggle for the majority of customers. Over the past few years there has been more and more interest in LTE technology. The benefit of having speeds that are aggressively approaching those of landline technologies while being able to harness the ability of taking that same network connection on the go is becoming increasingly more appealing to customers. Many countries such as Japan and South Korea have taken committed steps to increase the availability of 4G LTE technology in their markets with the goal of increasing the capacity as well as the speed of their wireless data networks with a strong belief that LTE is the evolution of data communication technologies. With the ability to offer 4G LTE technology comes the ability for carriers to offer this technology to their customers. Also, with this competition between carriers comes the benefit to users of prices being driven down due to competitors trying to get a majority share of the market. With more and more competition, more customers may find themselves being able to afford more capable devices that afford them the opportunity to utilize this technology of the future.
With Verizon offering the first 4G LTE network in the United States came the advantage of being able to develop coverage in more areas than AT&T, whom was nearly an entire year behind the curve. Verizon also quickly capitalized on their relationship with third party retailers such as Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s Club by supplying wholesale access to them in turn distributing their new 4G LTE network to the many customers that these retailers provide. With Verizon’s aggressive early marketing of their 4G LTE network they provided themselves an immediate advantage over their competition; one in which their competitors have been hard-pressed to recover from. While AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile may in fact be able to eventually offer as much coverage as Verizon the damage may already be done with Verizon claiming majority of users in American markets nationwide.


4Gon Solutions. (2012). An Introduction to 3G Technologies. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from
Conjecture Corporation . (2012). What Are the Differences between WiFi, WiMax and WiBro? Retrieved from (2009, September 22). What is the Difference Between WiMax and LTE. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from
Goldstein, P. (2014, July 2). How much LTE spectrum do Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have - and where? Retrieved July 24, 2014, from
Kumar, A., et al. (2013). Comparision of 3G Wireless Networks and 4G. International Journal of Electronics & Communication Engineering, 6(1), 1-8. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from
M-Indya. (2012). General 4G Services and 4G Applications. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from (2011). 4G - Beyond 2.5G and 3G Wireless Networks. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from
Osborne, C. (2014, February 21). The State of LTE 4G networks worldwide in 2014 and the poor performance of the U.S. Between the Lines. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from
Segan, S. (2013, December 6). 3G vs. 4G: What's the Difference? Retrieved July 22, 2014, from PC Mag :,2817,2399984,00.asp

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