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There is no "true" 4G network

Journeyman

There is no "true" 4G network

Just to encourage some friendly enlightenment on the Sprint 4G system, I felt I should humbly chime in about this subject. Although I like Sprint as a company and a provider of services, this recent marketing push for 4G is somewhat of a falsehood. To be point blank, 4G is not simply a proliferation of 3G technology. For more clarity: 4G will encompass fast download rates, but fast download rates are not solely 4G. Currently the ITU has not defined 4G. The International Telecommunication Union sets the basic standards, policies, and definitions for the telecommunication industry. It has been years in the making that everyone is waiting for them to “somewhat” define 4G, but they really have not. The reason being, it is very complex. Without getting into specific details here is a basic ideology of it: most industry leaders look for 4G to be a ubiquitous network. A network that will probably engulf open wireless architecture and smart phones that can detect, authorize, register, and connect onto any network. It’s a user centric philosophy that goes far beyond one single carrier. As such, many companies (with different technologies) have to have some accord on basic functionality for it to really prosper. At the moment, there are three components that most experts concur will drive 4G. The network will use orthogonal multiplexing, MIMO antennas, and be IP based. Although Verizon has LTE and Sprint has WiMAX and both share these basic functions….there is a slew of processes that are still up for debate. As such, Sprint is quick to advertise this is 4G ( since they have these three items). Although these will be components of 4G…it is not holistically 4G. If you were statically looking at a pie, it would only account for 30% of 4G. The remaining 70% is the real challenging aspect of 4G that has not been addressed. Items such as horizontal handoff, latency issues, package losses, billing accountability, security schemes, and overall QoS are still complicated issues that need to be addressed. Again, 4G is not simply just a proliferation of 3G, but candidly a whole new evolution that will require inter-carrier uniformity (on some levels) and common processing features. It’s quite complicated and that’s the reason it’s not out yet. Verizon has similar speeds “4G rates using LTE around the country”, but notice they not advertising it.  They call it 3GPP. The industry has been working on 4G for close to a decade, but really has not reached a final decision on how exactly the system/network will work.

Sprint very well offers (in certain areas) rates that are faster than traditional 3G…..but that does not translate into 4G.

Message was edited by: PLStewart

19 REPLIES 19
Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

naysayers...?

Highlighted

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

What's the argue?  He's 100% right.  So far...there is no true 4G network.  And mere speed means nothing.  Companies in the Netherlands are already sporting 3G HSPD+ data networks that actually offer over 10Mbps already for download...and that's easily up to the same speed (actually faster) than the best current WiMAX networks.  And since they are able to allegedly do 42Mbps, WiMAX will have to seriously struggle to keep up...and realistically, neither is anything more than a 3G network standard....super-3G? maybe...but still 3G nevertheless.

Master

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

It is true, there is no real 4G network standard yet. Does that mean the industry should sit still? Heck no! Does that mean the marketing team is going to sit on their butts? Heck no! They are going to keep going at it.

Look at the recent AT&T ads touting having the fastest 3G network, that is because theoretically their network can pull faster speeds than other carrier's 3G implementations. Does that mean those are the speeds you will see? Probably not, those are theoretical maximums. Take a look at the Boy Genius Report user survey.

The current WiMax standard is capable of theoretical speeds of 144Mbps down and 35Mbps up. LTE is theoretically capable of 360MBps down and 80Mbps up. Both standards are looking at upgrades in the future to bump up to 1Gbps transfer speeds. You then have to break it down into separate spectrum allocations and frequencies. Larger spectrum allocations means more room for simultaneous connections across the spectrum meaning higher speeds and more people. Lower frequencies usually mean slower rates but higher signal penetration into things like buildings, Higher frequencies usually allow for higher rates but lower signal penetration. Then on top of that in a mobile environment you have to look at what is in the way topographically like hills and plants and urban environment buildings, etc. Plus there's always a chance of an arbitrary limitation on speed from the operator, think tiered speed options like with cable and DSL operators. It is not a simple lab environment here's what you'll get 99.9% of the time type of thing.

There are major differences between theoretical limits and real world usage, and a lot to take into consideration when looking at it. Whatever you do don't just take the marketing at its face value from anywhere. Doesn't matter if it is phones or toothpaste, do a little bit of research to at least be partially educated about it before going in.

Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

All that matters to me is Sprint already has Wimax running in some locations with more to continue being rolled out.  LTE will begin rolling out 2012.  you can wait your 2 years for faster downloads.

About AT&T being the fastest 3G network...can you connect a call?  so many iphoners are eating up the bandwidth with data the network is puking on itself.  And they are about to add 3 Android phones to the mix.

Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

LTE is rolling out now.  It's not live and no one publically came out and said what the progress is, but VZW is rolling it out now.

AT&T is upgrading to HSDPA 7.2, they will most likely not roll out LTE until 2012 (speculated)

Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

Although I have enjoyed the responses (as I also posted the same thing months back in the General discussion thread) the real issue has not been touched.  Speed is nothing.  At least in the whole scheme of things.  4G will be an OWA (Open Wireless Architecture).  Which means your “smart phone”  (not the smart phones that are out now) – will have the ability to detect and use ANY network.  Sprint, Verizon, MetroPCS, etc, etc, etc….  The concept of 4G is WAY BEYOND JUST FAST DOWN LOAD RATES.  It’s a whole evolution.  Without getting into a dissertation – just read the original post.

So, in short, that’s the reason I posted the original message.  It should not be advertised as 4G. 

Lets see if I can get another employee to comment about having faster service now v. later……. Posting messages about having fast service has the same relevancy as posting messages about the Northern Elephant Shrew’s reproduction cycle.

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

halcyoncmdr wrote:

It is true, there is no real 4G network standard yet. Does that mean the industry should sit still? Heck no! Does that mean the marketing team is going to sit on their butts? Heck no! They are going to keep going at it.

No one is saying for anyone to stand still.  But there is also a key factor here...and that is TRUTH IN ADVERTISING!  Sprint claiming that they have a 4G network is completely dishonest.  Does Sprint have access to a network standard that is potentially FASTER than their current iDEN and CDMA networks?  Absolutely, but that new network standard is NOT considered by anyone (except Sprint that is) to be a 4G network.  Hence the issue.

Look at the recent AT&T ads touting having the fastest 3G network, that is because theoretically their network can pull faster speeds than other carrier's 3G implementations. Does that mean those are the speeds you will see? Probably not, those are theoretical maximums.

Again, that's not the point.  If you want to get technical, the wireless network in Europe called "3" is launching their HSPA+ network to deliver up to 84Mb/s, and is currently averaging well over 10Mb/s.  That's using a "regular" 3G network.  Nothing impressive (aside from the speed that is). 

The current WiMax standard is capable of theoretical speeds of 144Mbps down and 35Mbps up. LTE is theoretically capable of 360MBps down and 80Mbps up. Both standards are looking at upgrades in the future to bump up to 1Gbps transfer speeds. You then have to break it down into separate spectrum allocations and frequencies. Larger spectrum allocations means more room for simultaneous connections across the spectrum meaning higher speeds and more people. Lower frequencies usually mean slower rates but higher signal penetration into things like buildings, Higher frequencies usually allow for higher rates but lower signal penetration. Then on top of that in a mobile environment you have to look at what is in the way topographically like hills and plants and urban environment buildings, etc. Plus there's always a chance of an arbitrary limitation on speed from the operator, think tiered speed options like with cable and DSL operators. It is not a simple lab environment here's what you'll get 99.9% of the time type of thing.

There are major differences between theoretical limits and real world usage, and a lot to take into consideration when looking at it. Whatever you do don't just take the marketing at its face value from anywhere. Doesn't matter if it is phones or toothpaste, do a little bit of research to at least be partially educated about it before going in.

What's the point of explaining how WiMAX and LTE fair in the real world?  Given the caliber of the people online, let alone those commenting on this topic to begin with, I'd say that most (if not all) KNOW that theoretical limits are rarely achieved in the real world.

But again, the point is Sprint MARKETS the WiMAX network that it is able to use in select markets as a "4G" network.  No matter how fast the WiMAX network is, it will NEVER be a 4G network.  It's already been classified as a 3G standard.  So, as I said, it's all about truth in advertising.  There is no current 4G network.  LTE is not 4G.  WiMAX isn't 4G.  HSPA+ isn't either.  Simply put, until "4G" is defined as a standard, there is no 4G.

But what about 802.11N, you say?  Well, that was a good point.  Initially, some companies wanted to sell 802.11b/g/n routers so badly that they issued those routers as "Pre-N" standard.  The companies flat out depicted the products as PRE-N, not true N products.  Granted, the standard was nearly identical (only a few minor tweaks thus far) from the pre-N versions, but it was close.  That, however, is NOT the case with 4G.  4G is a standard that will allow a user to go from one carrier to another via software (not hardware) antennas.  At least that's where the 4G definition is so far heading.  In a sense, LTE and WiMAX can deliver that.  However, there is far more to it than merely roaming without roaming fees worldwide. 

Bottom Line: WiMAX is not a 4G standard, let alone network, PERIOD.  And because of that fact, Sprint should stop advertising that it does have a 4G network.

Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

Hear - Hear!  Spoken like a true scholar  (lol). 

Bottom Line: WiMAX is not a 4G standard, let alone network, PERIOD.  And because of that fact, Sprint should stop advertising that it does have a 4G network.

I think there is a point to let people know – no matter how knowledgeable they are about the subject.  Just reading this post would give a simple understanding of the facts.  Thanks for the post and the insightful comments quasijedi. 

Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

anyone else...?

Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

Well, I don't know that much about LTE since its rather new (with 1 deployment I've heard of) but WiMAX (with over 500 deployments) is certainly is open where equipment in each layer of the network, even though from different manufacturers, can and do work together. Not only that but devices can (if not locked down) both roam (like with an account with one service provider used to connect to other service providers with roaming agreements) and just start an new account automatically (via an over-the-air activation/provisioning signup page) with multiple service providers when in their coverage area. For example, the currently available laptops/netbooks with Intel chipsets that support WiMAX. The main limitation that can be encountered is what frequency is used by the service provider and supported by the device. Now to ensure interoperability many standards can and should be used. Related standards bodies FYI: WiMAX Forum, Open Mobile Alliance, IEEE (802.16 specifically), IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force's RFCs) and even 3GPP (like the 29 & 32 series).

As far as the issues that have "not been addressed," well, horizontal handoffs have been improved considerably with 802.16e which is why its considered "mobile WiMAX" and more commonly used. Latency & packet loss can usually be improved with improving the quality of the signal (which is why in urban areas MIMO & beamforming are so important) and/or bandwidth (both raw available speed & spectrum depth/multiplexing to provide a wider path for it to get there). Using licensed spectrum helps security in and of itself. The remaining "issues" I'm just not clear on what you're referring to.

Now back to Sprint advertising their WiMAX network as 4G & if it is true 4G, it certainly depends on how you want to define it. What was 1G? That'd be the first generation wireless technology also known as analog. 2G was known as digital and beyond that it gets a lot more complicated with adding data to a voice-based technology. Now just by being an IP-based network that's a whole new paradigm and so even though wouldn't technically continue the legacy, I'd say is close enough for the average user who just wants it to work well for their modern needs. Now I know speed is not being addressed but just wait till "WiMAX 2" (802.16m).

Journeyman

Re: There is no "true" 4G network

I don't care what you name it! It's faster, and that's all that counts. I live in a WiiMax area, so I can speak out that the EVO 4G running on the WiiMax is twice as fast as the iPhone when both have perfect connection, iPhone on 3G, and the EVO on 4G (or whatever you wanna call it). We loaded the same page (but the iPhone didn't load the Flash content)...so it basically meant it was now more than 2.25 times as fast.

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