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A Primer To 4G

· IoT Zone

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4G, an acronym for fourth generation, is a technology for the fourth generation mobile phones. 

A successor to 3G, it enables us to access Internet more quickly and efficiently on mobile phones and laptops. 4G is works more effectively for services that need more capacity, such as video streaming, gaming services, cloud computing, etc. 

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an intergovernmental body under the aegis of the United Nations (UN), stipulates that it can only be 4G if a mobile device is able to offer data at the rate of at least 300 Mbit/sec with high mobility and 1Gbit/sec onwards with low mobility, where users are stationary. These speeds are five times faster than that of 3G. 

The matured 4G version is yet to come out, but ITU has approved two formats, Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE Advanced) and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) Release 2, also known as IEEE 802.16m, as being truly '4G'. 

In the US, LTE services are currently being offered by Verizon and AT&T offer LTE, while Sprint offers WiMAX services. 

4G has been able to attain such large speeds owing to the use of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), a type of digital modulation where a signal is divided into various narrowband channels at different frequencies. It helps reduce latency, the time taken to transfer data, besides restricting interference so that more date can be disseminated within a bandwidth than before. 

Also 4G uses the same Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocols that supports Internet, as it was developed as a data network. This means that data will be transmitted by voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), which will help organizations save money and fortify their security. 

With such dependability and better performance, mobile phone capabilities will be on par with laptops. This would mean more people will resort to remote working, helping save time and resources. 

Circuit switched telephony, however, will not be supported by 4G systems. 4G, which will be interoperable with 3G systems, will also see integration of wireless local loop (WLL), wireless local area network (WLAN), personal area network (PAN), and fixed wireless access (FWA). 

As mobile phone users increase exponentially, networks must upgrade themselves and manage more data effectively and be able to satisfy more users at the same time. We can see how analog phones (1G) made way for 2G, and 3G appeared on the scene with the growth of Internet. With the entry of more advanced technologies, a very likely scenario, we will get to see more sophisticated modes of communicating emerging regularly in future.

The IoT Zone is brought to you in partnership with GE Digital.  Discover how IoT developers are using Predix to disrupt traditional industrial development models.


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