Every few years smart phones and other handheld devices will develop a new set of acronyms tacked on to the end of their names. The new set out on the market today has the suffix of 4G or 4G LTE. To the layman, these terms may seem nebulous and hard to decode but really mean something very simple. It means easy and it means fast.
4G, in a nutshell, means that it is the fourth generation of standards set by the International Telecommunication Union – Radio communication sector (ITU-R). The ITU-R is the governing body organized to manage frequencies used for radios and satellites around the world. Back in 2001, the ITU-R required communications companies to provide customers with 3G technologies but with the advancement and availability of that technology they have been able to push for 4G requirements.
This is not some arbitrary move by the ITU-R to force companies to rename their products. For products to receive the 4G title mobile products, like phones and tablets, must be able to work at 100 Mega bits a second while moving at high speeds, like in a car or a train, and up to 1 Gigabit a second in a more stationary, or pedestrian, position. So for any mobile device to operate within this range could qualify it to be a 4G device.
This corresponds with how quickly the devices work accessing the internet and sending data back and forth. For 4G phones, an even broader step has been taken by moving all the telephone capabilities from the old school circuit switchboard to IP based telephony. This allows for the companies to transfer high amounts of data over the more streamlined IP system.
Applications are available to these devices that operate over IP’s and serve as a telephony service. These are called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and are a means of connecting with friends and family through audio, just like over the phone, or through audiovisual. Programs like Skype, and Kakaotalk are free to download and offer a wide range of services over IP’s. You will be able to connect to other users of the programs for free and for a small fee be able to connect to land lines around the world. This is a great leap in telecommunications for individuals and companies conducting worldwide business since they do not need to purchase expensive hardware and additional technology to produce the same effect.
But how does 4G LTE differ from the rest of 4G? Meaning Long Term Evolution, it is a kind of 4G technologies that is built upon its own network. Carriers throughout the world using this technology do not rely upon older 3G networks like AT&T’s HSPA+ network – technically a 4G advancement but is an expanded-upon version of their 3G networks. Since 4G LTE has only been around for a number of years there are some fallbacks when it has to revert back to an older network. This will drop speeds considerably. However, steps are being made to reduce this problem and in the future a complete network will be constructed around LTE technology.
It is an exciting time for mobile devices and USB operated wireless operators. With the step away from switchboard telephony to IP based, the digitalization will result in the customers’ experience only getting clearer and faster. This technology is quickly improving, too, and in six months any errors that can be found will be corrected and the network will have expanded.
Guest post by contributing author Linda, writing on behalf of Mvoice, one of the largest hosted pbx providers out there.