An Introduction to 4G Technology

The fourth generation of wireless standards for cellular systems is 4G, the planned successor to the 3G standard. The ITU (International Telecommunications Union) has specified that the peak speed requirements for the 4G standard are to be 100Mbps for a mobile connection (such as in a car) and 1Gbps for stationary connections (such as sitting at a computer). 4G services that meet these requirements are not publically available yet (as of June 2011) but telecommunications providers are looking to upgrade their infrastructure to cater for 4G services in the not too distant future. The 4G service is set to offer a fast and secure all-IP, roaming mobile broadband solution to devices such as laptops with wireless 4G modems, 4G smartphone mobile phones and other 4G mobile devices that require internet access with speed intensive facilities being made available, including on-demand HD television, IP telephony, on-demand gaming and, of course, high speed internet access.

Currently marketed technologies such as LTE (Long Term Evolution) and WiMAX have been around for a few years and are being marketed as 4G whilst not meeting the requirements set by the ITU. It was recently announced that these services could continue to be marketed as 4G as they are precursors to the IMT-Advanced, 4G standard whilst also operating on the same basis of technology; however, these should really be considered as "Pre-4G" or "3.9G" as they technically do not offer the required data rates of (stationary) 1Gbps.

The ITU has recognised two standards that are planned to meet the 4G IMT-Advanced requirements put forward by the two groups, 3GPP and IEEE. These are the LTE Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced (WiMAX-Advanced) standards and will almost certainly abandon the old spread system technology found in 3G systems for OFDMA and other equalisation schemes, use MIMO technology, channel-dependant scheduling and dynamic channel allocation... all technologies that are being found on new, modern wireless networking equipment.