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Thread: 4G Is A Myth!

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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    Default 4G Is A Myth!

    4G Is a Myth (and a Confusing Mess)

    by David Goldman, staff writer
    Wednesday, December 1, 2010
    You've seen the 4G advertisements from T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, bragging about a much-better wireless network with blazing fast speeds.
    Here's the secret the carriers don't advertise: 4G is a myth. Like the unicorn, it hasn't been spotted anywhere in the wild just yet -- and won't be any time in the near future.
    The International Telecommunication Union, the global wireless standards-setting organization, determined last month that 4G is defined as a network capable of download speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps). That's fast enough to download an average high-definition movie in about three minutes.
    None of the new networks the carriers are rolling out meet that standard.

    Sprint (NYSE: S - News) was the first to launch a network called 4G, going live with it earlier this year. Then, T-Mobile launched its 4G network, claiming to be "America's largest 4G network." Verizon (NYSE: VZ - News) plans to launch its 4G network by the end of the year, which it claims will be the nation's largest and the fastest. AT&T (NYSE: T - News) is expected to unveil its 4G network next year.
    Those networks have theoretical speeds of a fifth to a half that of the official 4G standard. The actual speeds the carriers say they'll achieve are just a tenth of "real" 4G.
    So why are the carriers calling these networks 4G?
    It's mostly a matter of PR, industry experts say. Explaining what the wireless carriers' new networks shouldbe called, and what they'll be capable of, is a confusing mess.
    To illustrate: Sprint bought a majority stake in Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR - News), which uses a new network technology called WiMAX that's capable of speeds ranging from 3 Mbps to 10 Mbps. That's a different technology from Verizon's new network, based on a standard called Long Term Evolution (LTE), which will average 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps.
    Seeing what its competitors were up to, T-Mobile opted to increase the speed capabilities of its existing 3G-HSPA+ network instead of pursuing a new technology. Its expanded network -- now called 4G -- will reach speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps.
    No matter what they're called, all of these upgrades are clear improvements -- and the carriers shelled out billions to make them. Current "3G" networks offer actual speeds that range from between 500 kilobits per second to 1.5 Mbps.
    So Sprint and Verizon have new, faster networks that are still technically not 4G, while T-Mobile has an old, though still faster network that is actually based on 3G technology.
    Confused yet? That's why they all just opted to call themselves "4G."
    The carriers get defensive about the topic.
    "It's very misleading to make a decision about what's 4G based on speed alone," said Stephanie Vinge-Walsh, spokeswoman for Sprint Nextel. "It is a challenge we face in an extremely competitive industry."
    T-Mobile did not respond to a request for comment.

    One network representative, who asked not to be identified, claimed that ITU's 4G line-in-the-sand is being misconstrued. The organization previously approved the use of the term "4G" for Sprint's WiMAX and Verizon's LTE networks, he said -- though not for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network.
    ITU's PR department ignored that approval in its recent statement about how future wireless technologies would be measured, the representative said. ITU representatives were not immediately available for comment.
    "I'm not getting into a technical debate," said Jeffrey Nelson, spokesman for Verizon Wireless. "Consumers will quickly realize that there's really a difference between the capabilities of various wireless data networks. All '4G' is not the same."
    And that's what's so difficult. The term 4G has become meaningless and confusing as hell for wireless customers.
    For instance, T-Mobile's 4G network, which is technically 3G, will have speeds that are at least equal to -- and possibly faster -- than Verizon's 4G-LTE network at launch. At the same time, AT&T's 3G network, which is also being scaled up like T-Mobile's, is not being labeled "4G."
    That's why some industry experts predict that the term "4G" will soon vanish.
    "The labeling of wireless broadband based on technical jargon is likely to fade away in 2011," said Dan Hays, partner at industry consultancy PRTM. "That will be good news for the consumer. Comparing carriers based on their network coverage and speed will give them more facts to make more informed decisions."


    Hays expects that independent researchers -- or the Federal Communications Commission -- will step in next year to perform speed and coverage tests.
    Meanwhile, don't expect anyone to hold the carriers' feet to the fire.

    "Historically, ITU's classification system has not held a great degree of water and has not been used to enforce branding," Hays said. "Everyone started off declaring themselves to be 4G long before the official decision on labeling was made. The ITU was three to four years too late to make an meaningful impact on the industry's use of the term."

    Source: 4g-is-a-myth-and-confusing: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance
    Darn. I was really looking forward to upgrading to 4G. Though that makes me wonder what will happen to 3G when 4G becomes the norm.

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVash View Post
    Hays expects that independent researchers -- or the Federal Communications Commission -- will step in next year to perform speed and coverage tests.
    Meanwhile, don't expect anyone to hold the carriers' feet to the fire.
    <img width=1 height=1 alt=&quot;&quot; src=&quot;http://us.bc.yahoo.com/b?P=bHLiJ0wNc...OegAA695&T=17s io1akn%2fX%3d1291270632%2fE%3d97702456%2fR%3dfin%2 fK%3d5%2fV%3d2.1%2fW%3dH%2fY%3dYAHOO%2fF%3d1503018 822%2fH%3dc2VydmVJZD0iYkhMaUowd05jbUQwWFdxQ1RNaUlT d0Z0VEdPZ2trejNPZWdBQTY5NSIgc2l0ZUlkPSI0NDUxMDUxIi B0U3RtcD0iMTI5MTI3MDYzMjI2MzcyMyIg%2fQ%3d-1%2fS%3d1%2fJ%3d89720D4C&U=12c6do7oc%2fN%3d6rgsGUw NO7Y-%2fC%3d-1%2fD%3dFSQR%2fB%3d-1%2fV%3d0&quot;> "Historically, ITU's classification system has not held a great degree of water and has not been used to enforce branding," Hays said. "Everyone started off declaring themselves to be 4G long before the official decision on labeling was made. The ITU was three to four years too late to make an meaningful impact on the industry's use of the term.".
    what?
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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    Sorry about that. Dont know what happened there but I just edited it out.

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    SVZ
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    they did the EXACT same thing when 3g was coming out. a lot of the phones that were "3g" ready, etc weren't.

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    Elite Member angelais's Avatar
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    Hell, all I care about is that my phone is charged and I have a signal. Too much technical jargon and I get all confused.
    Did you know that an anagram for "Conscious Uncoupling" is "Iconic Uncool Pus Guns"? - MohandasKGanja

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    Elite Member o0Amber0o's Avatar
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    I'm a technology junkie but I think technology needs to SLOW DOWN. What is wrong with a 3g connection? It does what it should do for the device/purpose. If you need something faster then wait until you can get to a computer *gasp at the concept of "waiting"* The world doesn't need 4G.
    All you can do at life is play along and hope that sometimes you get it right.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by o0Amber0o View Post
    I'm a technology junkie but I think technology needs to SLOW DOWN. What is wrong with a 3g connection? It does what it should do for the device/purpose. If you need something faster then wait until you can get to a computer *gasp at the concept of "waiting"* The world doesn't need 4G.
    Since 4g is supposed to be used largely for mobile handheld devices, I think the question is what applications would required anywhere near the theoretical speeds of 4G? Would it be something like watching for HD movies for a sustained amount of time on a cell phone?

    A 4g device like an HTC Evo has a screen resolution of 960 x 640, which is sub HD 720 resolution. In order to get sustained maximum resolution (with Mpeg compression) on the device, you would need a sustained download rate of about 12-15 Megabits per second of data. The actual data download rates for the Verizon/T-Mobile/Sprint networks are barely touching that.

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    Elite Member o0Amber0o's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Since 4g is supposed to be used largely for mobile handheld devices, I think the question is what applications would required anywhere near the theoretical speeds of 4G? Would it be something like watching for HD movies for a sustained amount of time on a cell phone?

    A 4g device like an HTC Evo has a screen resolution of 960 x 640, which is sub HD 720 resolution. In order to get sustained maximum resolution (with Mpeg compression) on the device, you would need a sustained download rate of about 12-15 Megabits per second of data. The actual data download rates for the Verizon/T-Mobile/Sprint networks are barely touching that.
    And again, are we so out of touch that we're actually walking around watching HD movies on our cell phone's 4 inch screen (which are getting bigger as we speak, I bet in less than 5 years we'll be carrying around Zack Morris phones with screens)? This is definitely a cultural rant and doesn't have a whole lot to do with the purpose of this thread I guess but it's just interesting to think about.
    All you can do at life is play along and hope that sometimes you get it right.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by o0Amber0o View Post
    And again, are we so out of touch that we're actually walking around watching HD movies on our cell phone's 4 inch screen (which are getting bigger as we speak, I bet in less than 5 years we'll be carrying around Zack Morris phones with screens)? This is definitely a cultural rant and doesn't have a whole lot to do with the purpose of this thread I guess but it's just interesting to think about.
    Sadly, I think we are that out of touch. My BIL, and a guy who works for me, are two examples of the kind of person who will use any justification for getting a new bleeding-edge phone - including the purported
    "need" to watch HD YouTube videos on them. They are both a couple of knuckleheads.

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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    I think it might have been an EVO, Im not sure. But I remember awhile ago a woman and I were chatting in the mall and she sold phones. We happened to be in line for a fast food place but she had a new one and was testing it out. We got to talking and she tried to sell me on it. Didnt work since I wasnt even on her carrier but nevertheless she tried. She told me how the phone came with Avatar the movie already loaded onto it then showed me some of it. The animation was crisp and beautiful but one thing glared out at me the whole time. I couldnt keep quiet about this so I asked her. I asked her who in the World would watch a two and a half to three hour long movie on their cell phone? With a screen like that there was no doubt in my mind the person would get maybe halfway through before the phone needed a charge, who would actually deal with that? I tried watching an MP4 of a TV show on mine once and I got about five minutes in before the fact that it was on such a small screen and the battery would die in no time started bugging me enough that I shut it off.

    Honestly they need to work on getting batteries to last longer. Droids are known to be amazing phones but people are lucky to get a full days charge out of them. Instead of adding all these high tech battery draining features why dont they figure out a way to keep the battery going?

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