By: Holly Gildea
Dr. Janet Durgin
May 05, 2013
4G Wireless Networks
By just turning on your TV today you are assaulted with a barrage of cell phone commercials saying they are the best and have more coverage and asking the important questions like can you hear me now? Verizon and AT&T both have a compelling cases that they are winning the 4G Phone war but by looking closer and examining what the two major players in the new 4G race are claiming and what is actually being sold and what these services really amount too. When comparing and contrasting 3G wireless networks to 4G networks we must look at it in the standpoint of services and applications, network architecture, data throughput, and user perceptions. In the first area of service and applications, 3G offers things such as EDGE, CDMA 2000, and UMTS. 3G was originally created mainly for voice communications and has been fantastic in opening customer’s eyes to things like video conferencing, streaming audio and videos, and a large number of multimedia applications. For the 4G network, it was designed particularly for data broadcasts and therefore, this new 4G presents us with Wimax2 and LTE Advance. Customers are all going crazy for the updated gaming services, HD and 3D mobile television, better resolution in video conferencing, mobile web access, and so on.
In the second area of comparing and contrasting we have network architecture. The 3G network has a Wide Area Cell Based that contains fields called circuit switched and packet switched. “Packet-switched networks move data in separate, small blocks -- packets -- based on the destination address in each packet. When received, packets are reassembled in the proper sequence to make up the message. Circuit-switched networks require dedicated point-to-point connections during calls. Circuit-switched networks and packet-switched networks have traditionally occupied different spaces within corporations. Circuit-switched networks were used for phone calls and packet-switched networks handled data. But because of the reach of phone lines and the efficiency and low cost of data networks; the two technologies have shared chores for years” (Copeland, 2000). When we look at 4G networks, which are “purely digital networks” (Turbin & Volonono, 2011), we see the combination of Wide Area and wireless LAN.
As we look at the third area of concern, data throughput, it is observed that 3G networks have up to 3.1 mbps and 4G has 3 to 5 mbps but does have the ability to have a range of 100 to 300 mbps. As far as bandwidth goes the 3G has around 2.5GHz whereas the 4G has up to 8GHz. While there are some people who are quite comfortable with their 3G coverage and some who have no interest in an upgrade. There are others who feel the need and the desire to have the newest and latest technology available and will wait in line all night to get the latest and greatest IPhone or Droid phone available. These users are excited by the unlimited possibilities that 4G presents.
With the 4G network we have so many choices to choose from now; such as 4G WiBro (Wireless Broadband), 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution), and 4G Wimax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). WiMAX is IP based and only “allows only so many users on the standard and then will cut off any additional users trying to use the connection” (Conjecture Corporation, 2013). Also with WiMAX it needs a fixed antenna in order to obtain a signal and when this WiMAX is stationary it can “offer speeds of up to 30 Mb/s” (Going WiMAX, 2009). 4G WiBro “can track a receiver that is moving from place to place…One thing to keep in mind about WiBro is that it is still under development. As it improves, there may come a time when the receivers will be able to maintain connections even while traveling at high rates of speed. In those cases, it may call for a completely different standard altogether with a completely different name”