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Cutting Through the 4G Hype

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the sitting-out-a-generation dept.

Cellphones 283

crimeandpunishment writes "Cell phone companies are about to bombard us with advertising for the next big thing — 4G access. The first 4G phone, Sprint Nextel's EVO, comes out this week. But just how big a deal is 4G? Is it fast enough to warrant the hype, or are consumers better off waiting a while? AP technology writer Peter Svensson looks at the differences between 4G and 3G technologies."

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Difference between 3G and 4G (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403098)

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403180)

That begs the question, how far could a sparrow travel with a coconut under the influence of 2G?

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (4, Funny)

oiron (697563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403202)

Is that an African sparrow or a European sparrow?

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (4, Funny)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403242)

Well, if it were an european swallow, it would be running GSM. But you see it is sprint, which uses CDMA based technology and so.....

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403258)

::ding ding ding:: We have a winnah!

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403272)

Well, if it were an european swallow, it would be running GSM. But you see it is sprint

If it's such a fast sprint, wouldn't it be cheetah?

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32404102)

Is that an African sparrow or a European sparrow?

they are european. nigger swallows haven't invented cell phones, they are primitive tribal apebirds

fail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403236)

sparrow

You're doing it wrong. It's swallow, as in what your wife does when I cum in her mouth.

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403244)

Nowhere. A Swallow, on the other hand.....

Re:Difference between 3G and 4G (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403830)

Off topic, Karma bonus disabled.

The Swallow
By Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

In birds have poets often found their muse,
both in their flight and in their feathered hues.

The Raven, dark as blood dried on a knife.
The Songbird, calling spring from death to life.

Thus birds can be beloved or despised
Based on the things they've often symbolized

Yes, symbols might make up the way we see,
the citizens of every bush and tree.

From stately hawk to vultures in the air,
and early birds delight in wormy fare.

(So before you think my words ring hollow,
I present a poem of the Swallow.)

Though might is often tied to creatures' size,
That is not where the swallow's power lies,

And while it may catch insects on the wing,
I write about a very different thing.

Perhaps some few shall see through my intent,
And understand just what the swallow meant.

It may be small but you can be assured
a swallow on its own has often cured,

An ailment that could bring your spirits low
and limit when you come and where you go.

To save you from some twenty years of work,
Invoke the swallow and banish the stork.

Jump straight to 5G!!!! (2, Interesting)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404060)

Uh oh. We better jump from our Mach 3G Turbo straight to 5G!! That's right, I said 5G!! [theonion.com]

Re:Jump straight to 5G!!!! (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404170)

That satire written so many years ago turned out to be prophetic, instead. How sad is that?

p.s. I saw a six-blade razor in Asia last year.

4G? (4, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403118)

Canadian carriers just upgraded their networks to 3G, so I'm guessing we won't hear about 4G until 2015.

Re:4G? (4, Informative)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403504)

I'm in the US, in a somewhat outlying suburb but certainly not in the "country," and still waiting for 3G at home. Verizon seems to have 3G coverage here (I will not use them), AT&T's 3G is very spotty, while T-Mobile and Sprint have no 3G coverage here. How about bringing the networks up to date before hyping the crap out of the next technology?

Re:4G? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403578)

Verizon seems to have 3G coverage here (I will not use them),

Why not / who do you use now that's better?

Wi-Fi (1, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403668)

Why not / who do you use now that's better [than Verizon]?

For voice, my phone plan with Virgin Mobile costs me $80 per year. For data, I prefer to use Wi-Fi while in a building and my netbook's hard drive while in a vehicle. In a country with $720 per year mobile broadband, Read It Later [readitlaterlist.com] on my netbook has already paid for itself.

Re:4G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32404070)

I'm in the US, in a somewhat outlying suburb but certainly not in the "country," and still waiting for 3G at home.

I live in Hawaii. We apparently already have Sprint's 4G setup on two different islands...?

Find it really odd that we of all people got it, being more or less out in the sticks and all but whatever. I guess we're a hub of international commerce and travel or something. Probably makes sense for us to get it, but still find it strange.

Re:4G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403508)

Don't quote me on this, but supposedly Bell and Telus (in creating their GSM-compatibile network) were actually targeting 4G technologies in the long term. In particular, LTE.

Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403138)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

Re:Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

germansausage (682057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403266)

Well he ran down the hall and he cried Oh how could his garments have lied When they said he was an only son He thought he was the only one Oh what a lonely boy Oh what a lonely boy Oh what a lonely boy

Re:Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403364)

i loled at cosmonaut

Oh c'mon (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403142)

You guys are just posting this story because...Apple doesn't have a 4G and you're jealous.

Sorry.

Had to be said.

Re:Oh c'mon (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403208)

I thought of that too. Just another pro-Apple story in disguise.

Re:Oh c'mon (2, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403264)

Damn you for stealing my thoughts! My variation was that if this had been an Apple product, 4G would be the greatest thing since cooked food...

Re:Oh c'mon (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403268)

I hope Apple takes a shot at 'simplifying' the terminology.

I really want an 'iG' capable iPhone.

Imaginary G (5, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403482)

I hope Apple takes a shot at 'simplifying' the terminology.

I really want an 'iG' capable iPhone.

iG? An imaginary [wikipedia.org] connection will just make things more complex.

Re:Imaginary G (5, Funny)

Santzes (756183) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404046)

Imaginary connection is pretty much what you get with AT&T

Re:Oh c'mon (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403300)

Google is paying Slashdot handsome sums of cash in exchange for bad Apple press.

Here's why Slashdot's efforts to save face don't work:
  • Being anti-Apple to tout the "open" Android is disingenuous given the fact that at least one Slashdot commander is a hardcore Machead. So,
  • Maybe you're right -- but blaming their dealer for their crack addiction is a poor way to save face.
  • They really love Apple but they hope that they can rationalize their addiction by attempting to change Apple's domineering behavior through gripes. Fat chance.

for optimum data speed use, look for the 4G-spot (5, Funny)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403148)

difficult to find at first, but when you find it, reactivity is good, data flow takes off

Re:for optimum data speed use, look for the 4G-spo (1)

Massacrifice (249974) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404050)

Speaking of G-spot, I'd rather have Fergie than Fourgee.

Marketing 101 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403154)

4 > 3. 'nuff said.

4G is a big deal (4, Interesting)

zyklone (8959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403166)

For the first time we'll get decent latency over cell phone connections with 4G.
LTE atleast promises huge cuts in latency which will make many new applications possible.

Re:4G is a big deal (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403408)

Not trolling, just asking ...

When Sprint & Verizon roll out their 4G networks will they be able to handle simultaneous voice and data or will they still be stuck with an either/or situation?

Simultaneous voice and data (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403506)

When Sprint & Verizon roll out their 4G networks will they be able to handle simultaneous voice and data

My sources say yes [wikipedia.org] because 4G treats voice as VoIP.

Re:Simultaneous voice and data (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404052)

I hope it comes with QoS, because I'm not really looking forward to my voice calls taking a back seat to some smartphone jackass and his sense of self importance.....

Re:4G is a big deal (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403574)

When Sprint & Verizon roll out their 4G networks will they be able to handle simultaneous voice and data or will they still be stuck with an either/or situation?

I don't know about Verizon's LTE network, but with Sprint's EVO, you can do voice over the old network at the same time you do data over WiMax, assuming you're in an area with WiMax at the time.

Re:4G is a big deal (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403692)

Unfortunately for me, there are no 4g linux drivers out yet. Best we can do is get a 3g/4g device and only connect using 3g.

I am looking at the new andriod phones that can allow others to connect to it wirelessly. The HTC EVO looks interesting and I will probably grab it when the price comes down a bit.

Re:4G is a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403786)

the wimax card in my laptop runs fine in both windows and linux.

Re:4G is a big deal (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403906)

There is always the Sprint Overdrive 4G. You connect to it just like a normal WiFi access point so you don't have to worry about drivers for it.

Re:4G is a big deal (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403982)

I was looking at that a few weeks ago but most of the reviews I read on amazon said that it did not work very well.

Did you experience better results?

Asking the obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403190)

Anyone without 4G coverage or who just invested in 3G will say it's useless. Until it's at their fingertips, then it's suddenly great. They'll make up reasons to justify their change of heart at your request, e.g. _now_ the phones are good or _now_ it's affordable. This is how it goes every single time.

Anyway, you don't need it, I don't even need 3G, it just makes my life so much easier.

Gimme that 4G. Quick!

Much ado about nothing (1)

Chih (1284150) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403200)

Amirite?

Re:Much ado about nothing (3, Informative)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403274)

urrite
I found this article to be poorly written and researched. Including such weasely gems as:

For consumers, 4G means, in the ideal case, faster access to data. For instance, streaming video might work better, with less stuttering and higher resolution. Videoconferencing is difficult on 3G and might work better on 4G. Multiplayer video games may benefit too.

might may might maybe

a brief experience with 4G, since november (4, Informative)

Texodore (56174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403224)

Raleigh-Durham, 4G since November as my primary home internet connection.

It doesn't work well in the rain or a thunderstorm. 6-7 Mbit down 1.5 or so up. That is as fast as the DSL connection I could get. I refuse to give money to Time Warner so that's out of the question.

The connection isn't as reliable as DSL or cable modem. It's kind of flaky and the DNS servers that come with Clearwire service are bad. Use Google's or opendns.

That said, it is basically a wireless DSL connection. It is way way faster than a 3G signal. Don't know how it will be on the EVO, but unless the iPhone 4G/HD blows me out of the water, when my iPhone 3G contract comes up in July, I'm going to Sprint to take advantage.

Re:a brief experience with 4G, since november (2, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403330)

How are your ping times?

Re:a brief experience with 4G, since november (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403494)

If it isn't reliable, they're skimping on error-correction in order to inflate the best-possible speeds. More fools them. All a competitor has to do is include error-correction into their calculation of data rates (so their marketing doesn't look any worse) and then use the improved reliability and improved actual speed to steal customers away.

Re:a brief experience with 4G, since november (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403748)

So the competitor will advertise lower speeds with an asterisk, and the footnote will say "actual speed, improved reliability". You're a marketing genius.

Re:a brief experience with 4G, since november (1)

chromas (1085949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404206)

Even better: Express the speed in unary digits (units) and double the number!

Re:a brief experience with 4G, since november (3, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404148)

... but unless the iPhone 4G/HD blows me out of the water, when my iPhone 3G contract comes up in July, I'm going to Sprint to take advantage.

Ah, I see you've noticed that tech journalists are unabated idiots. It went something like this... the next gen iPhone is stolen or left in a bar, and tech journalists immediately start referring to it as the "iPhone 4G" even though it's obvious (to anyone that stops to think about this for 10 seconds) that whatever it is, it can't possibly be that.

So... the difference between the iPhone 4G and every other 4G phone that might be released? Every other 4G phone is a 4G phone, while the iPhone 4G, named by the brilliant tech journalists, due out next month, is only a 3G phone and the third generation of Apple iPhone products. It is the 4th released iPhone... where the 'G' comes in is anyone's guess.

Until the poor bastard lost his prototype iPhone, the 'G' moniker was used only for multiples of earth gravity and cell phone generations. Now, the G is used to describe the fourth iPhone, i.e. the 3rd gen iPhone, aka the iPhone 4G... and like a good Weezar album or a Rocky movie, the iPhone following subsequent to the release of the next iPhone will also be known as the iPhone 4G, and it will be a 4G phone. Please don't confuse the iPhone 4G with the iPhone 4G. The former is a 3G phone, while the latter is a 4G phone.

Wasn't the same thing said of Dial-Up (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403230)

Other than that, it's difficult to point to completely new uses for 4G phones -- things they can do that 3G phones can't.

Couldn't you say the same thing about Dial-Up? After all, its difficult to point to completely new uses for broadband, things they can do that dial-up connected computers can't. The point of 4G isn't to be "revolutionary", it wasn't claimed to be. It is simply trying to be faster. The same thing could have been said about EDGE to 3G.

Re:Wasn't the same thing said of Dial-Up (1)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403450)

If you want a dial up analogy, for 2G to 3G was the difference between upgrading from el chepo 2400 band modem to a 14.4k.

The idea that you could suddenly download a 1.44 floppy in 14 minutes was amazing at the time. Almost overnight bbs' were changing over to them.

When, 28.8k (4G) modems came out though, it was kind of meh. Not all BBS's had them and not many people could connect to the true 28.8k (I never connected faster than 21k myself.). You felt the faster speed, but it wasn't the kind of initial jump it was before.

I bet 5G or 6G will be marginal upgrades at best:P

Re:Wasn't the same thing said of Dial-Up (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403688)

If 5G is anything like the demonstration of "true 4G" mentioned here in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , I'll gladly take that incremental kick up.

Re:Wasn't the same thing said of Dial-Up (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404080)

Maybe 5/6G would be worth it if in the US, we can get the CDMA and GSM providers to agree on a single standard. This way, they can do tower sharing as opposed to inundating an area with multiple antennas for coverage. I doubt it though -- if carriers make it impossible to jump to another carrier with the same unit (either differing bands for the same communication like 3G, or different radio protocols like GSM/CDMA), they make more money.

Video is a new use for broadband (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403694)

After all, its difficult to point to completely new uses for broadband, things they can do that dial-up connected computers can't

YouTube. Now was that so hard?

Re:Video is a new use for broadband (1)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403832)

Video still works over dial-up. It just works very slowly.

edge - 3G - 4G (1, Insightful)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403234)

So, I take it that the author of this article is happy just using EDGE, right? Since that's only distinguished from 3G by its speed?

Actually one other large difference - data + voice (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403396)

So, I take it that the author of this article is happy just using EDGE, right? Since that's only distinguished from 3G by its speed?

You can't use data on EDGE during a phone conversation (nor receive calls). It's actually more annoying than you might think.

With both 3G and 4G you can do both at once.

Re:Actually one other large difference - data + vo (1)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404162)

Not with Verizon's 3G you can't. Apple even made an ad [youtube.com] that took a swipe at Verizon for not being able to do data and voice, personally I've never been on a call and thought "You know what I wish I could browse the Internet right now".

G definitions (5, Informative)

bhaktha (1462779) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403246)

Technically speaking. The various G definitions are based on the underlying technology that is used for hauling the bits over the air interface 1G - Analog technology (AMPS et al) 2G - Digital transmission (GSM, TDMA, CDMA et al) 3G - WCDMA (UMTS (aka the orginal 3G), HSPA, EVDO et al) 4G - OFDM (LTE, WiMax et al)

Re:G definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403500)

CDMA is 3G. You could even make a decent argument that 3G is CDMA.

cdmaOne (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403702)

CDMA is 3G. You could even make a decent argument that 3G is CDMA.

That depends on whether you're talking about cdmaOne or CDMA2000.

Re:G definitions (3, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403716)

"CDMA" in the context of 2G is the transmission method - code division multiple access. The "CDMA" used by Verizon/Sprint is more properly "cdmaOne" (2G) or "CDMA2000" (3G).

On paper it looks like a good phone. (4, Interesting)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403262)

Getting Sprint's 4G Evo this Friday. Replacing my Palm Pre for it.

I could care less about the 4G side. Being faster is nice, but they put so many features in it. FM Radio (now just need a ATSC tuner:P), a wifi endpoint for half the cost of a USB dongle, Google OS with HTC touch skin. Did I mention the same cpu as the nexus with double the flash?

My only worry is the speed HTC updates the firmware. The 4G is just a nice feature.

Re:On paper it looks like a good phone. (5, Insightful)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403292)

No need to worry about HTC (who, with your worry about speed, will probably only ever update your device once. Or twice) - just jump on the XDA-Developers bandwagon!

http://forum.xda-developers.com/ [xda-developers.com]

Re:On paper it looks like a good phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403434)

> I couldn't care less about the 4G side.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:On paper it looks like a good phone. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403496)

> I couldn't care less about the 4G side.

There, fixed that for you.

I could care less that you fixed that for him.

Re:On paper it looks like a good phone. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403730)

Let's just split the difference and call it "I could barely care less". As in "I could barely care less about 4G if it's going to be priced out of my price range." I could pay $80 for a month of 4G data, or I could pay $80 for a year of basic voice and then sync the data next time I'm at Wi-Fi.

Re:On paper it looks like a good phone. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404114)

The good news is that the 4G appears to be already rooted, with YouTube videos showing a working su on the device. This means that if you don't get an official update to FroYo, some modder will have an unofficial update working on the platform, so you will be able to use some type of update.

Now, I wish someone can come out with a similar device, but with a sliding keyboard similar to the Droid. Maybe its just me, but doing a VT100 terminal without a hardware keyboard is a PITA, even with Swype, especially doing control characters.

The one thing I can say about HTC is that rooting their phones has been easy, not to mention that they give out reference stuff for their phones so modders can mix and match, as well as have the critical pieces in place to support the phone's core functions. Other Android handset makers are nowhere near as good in this area.

It's like comparing FIOS to DSL (2, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403304)

Ever have a fast connection to a network with a slow backbone? Then compare that with a slower connection to a network with a faster backbone?

I have, and I'd take 3G on a fast network to 4G on a slow one. I even made the move from 2G to 3G when 3G was worse than 2G. It eventually got better, but they started 3G in some areas very poorly. Maybe they were holding back bandwidth at first to make sure the demos and "protected" content (videos and such from specific providers) worked best, but the first 3G networks seemed universally slower to me. So I don't trust demos and marketing. Get the devices in the hands of the reviewers who aren't paid to review and have to buy the handsets themselves. Then we'll have a better idea.

Re:It's like comparing FIOS to DSL (1)

Thundersnatch (671481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403592)

Get the devices in the hands of the reviewers who aren't paid to review and have to buy the handsets themselves. Then we'll have a better idea.

It's called Consumer Reports, right? That'd be the only source I've ever seen without bias. Every other site/mag accepts advertising, even Ars Technica.

CR's tech coverage sucks for a slashdotter, because they focus on mass-market needs. Do you have a link to a better unbiased tech reviewer?

Re:It's like comparing FIOS to DSL (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403696)

CR is worthless. They use purposefully ignorant reviewers to simulate "average" people when an expert is needed to examine and review subtle differences.

And they take one advertiser. Themselves. That's why they purposefully violated their written testing policies in order to make things flip, then issue press releases, stage fake photos, and such. This means that when they think something is noteworthy, they are willing to lie to sell themselves. I'd rather take some guy in his basement who takes ads but doesn't really pay attention to them than someone who claims the high ground while being no better than anyone else.

4G is used for what? (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403312)

TFA:

>For instance, streaming video might work better, with less stuttering and higher resolution. Videoconferencing is difficult on 3G and might work better on 4G.

People videoconference on their cellphones?

People videoconference?!

>Multiplayer video games may benefit too.

People play multiplayer games on their cellphones?!

Is this guy not a tech writer or am I just hopelessly lost? The most exciting thing I've heard done on a Smartphone is Skype.

Re:4G is used for what? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403344)

I'm going with 'you are an American with no idea what folks in Europe or some parts of Asia are used to'.

Re:4G is used for what? (2, Insightful)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403582)

People videoconference on their cellphones?

People videoconference?!

Oddly enough, non-geeks seem to love video conferencing. We tend not to care much about seeing a person, but lots of grandparents of the world consider to be really great.

I think geeks are more interested in what a person has to say. The mundanes love all the non-lingual communication with body language, and seeing people smile and stuff. I don't really understand it, but it is very common.

People play multiplayer games on their cellphones?!

Is this guy not a tech writer or am I just hopelessly lost? The most exciting thing I've heard done on a Smartphone is Skype.

Yes, some people play multiplayer games on their cell phones. As the technology improves, and makes a wider range of multiplayer games easy an impressive, I'm sure it'll become more common. The cell phone is becoming a more ubiquitous platform for applications than the PC, which means that people have come up with all sorts of uses for them, and will continue to push the envelope with new ideas.

And, Skype is one of the things people commonly use for video conferencing.

Re:4G is used for what? (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403712)

>Oddly enough, non-geeks seem to love video conferencing.

You can do without the condescention. I'm actually wondering why I've never seen videoconferencing outside of a Microsoft commercial. I can stream movies faster than real time, what's to stop me from streaming live video? Except that it's never been done.

Oh wait, you say that it has.

Pricing? (4, Interesting)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403350)

3G is a weird system that mixes voice circuits and packet data. 4G will be pure packet traffic. The really interesting thing that I'm looking forward to is: how will carriers justify charging so much more for a one minute voice call than they charge for half a megabyte of data, when the load on the network is identical? Hands up if you think they'll just accept the loss in revenue. Anyone? And packet data will need to be low latency and reliable, otherwise voice calls won't work. It should be fun to watch.

Voice has low latency (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403576)

how will carriers justify charging so much more for a one minute voice call than they charge for half a megabyte of data, when the load on the network is identical? [...] And packet data will need to be low latency and reliable, otherwise voice calls won't work.

You may have answered your own question. Packets get routed through the slow backbone with 1000 ms ping and noticeable jitter unless you turn on expedited forwarding (RFC 3246) in the packet header's DiffServ field. They won't charge for minutes used for voice; they'll charge for minutes used for expedited packets.

More than likely not (5, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403356)

So far my experience with 4G has been Clear Wireless. What I can tell you is that initially, the latencies were not something to write home about (110), but the bandwidth was fairly decent. I could easily hit 3mb/s during testing throughout the city.

Based on my experiences I deployed a large number of them as wireless backups at Kiosks and smaller branch offices.

8 months later now we are considering canceling all the accounts and going with something else as a redundancy solution. 9/10 the modems are not available when going over to fail over and need constant re-provisioning by Clear. Bandwidth is now very high latency (300ms+) and in short supply.

I have heard nothing but extremely negative feedback about 4G (for the last 3 months) in the mobile units as well as the standalone units designed to compete with non-mobile offerings like cablemodem and DSL.

I fear that 4G is really just a bunch of hype because the networks are not ready for the load and they are overselling their infrastructures to meet demand at the cost of actually being able to service the customer.

Just my two cents. If your an area where hardly anybody is using the 4G stuff you are going to have a fantastic experience... for awhile. Dense usage areas? Save your money.

Re:More than likely not (4, Interesting)

lidocaineus (661282) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403606)

My experience is completely different. In Chicago, we literally have 50+ of these things deployed all over the city, all at 6/1 speed tiers. We regularly get 10mb down (well above our bandwidth tier), and always get at least 1mb up. Latency is anywhere from 50-100ms to most hops; it could be better, but Clear is somewhat nacent and I hear they're focusing more on raw bandwidth than latency (apparently with 4G you can approach the latency of wired services). We've had these units in place for about 7 months now, both as primary and out of band connections - we really couldn't be happier. The only thing that could be improved upon is the lack of NAT control on the devices they currently use.

I have a feeling that wherever you are, the backhauls are completely overloaded. This actually happened to a couple of our POPs - one in particular was only getting 1/1 and was getting daily dis-associations from the WiMax tower sometime between 1 and 3AM for about 20 seconds. Customer service was unbelievably accommodating though - they said that work was being done on the tower that particular POP was associating with, and that we wouldn't be charged AT ALL until the tower work was verified complete and our connection was stable. Basically we had an ok and usable connection for free, and when whatever work was completed, we knew right away - the bandwidth jumped up to right where the other POPs were. Consider me impressed with their customer service, to which I'm normally used to horrible, horrible experiences.

Re:More than likely not (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403872)

The only thing that could be improved upon is the lack of NAT control on the devices they currently use.

The Motorola modems huh? Yeah, the lack of bridge mode is a real pain in the ass. However, I have noticed something a lot more disturbing. IP addresses that were sold to us as effectively static, are changing. Now because we have routers using them as failover connections the WAN interface is a LAN IP and we use DHCP reservations on the Motorola to ensure we get the same one and port forwarding to allow the VPN's to work. The changing IP addresses is proving to be an issue right now.

I have a feeling that wherever you are, the backhauls are completely overloaded.

Las Vegas. We don't have a single area of the city with the same coverage levels of 8 months ago. Across all locations, and every single person I talk with both professionally and personally, coverage area and quality of service has taken a nose dive from about 4 months ago.

It's to the point that the general consensus with everybody I deal with is that 4G is no longer a viable tool that can be seriously recommended in the Las Vegas area.

Consider me impressed with their customer service, to which I'm normally used to horrible, horrible experiences.

Totally agree. From the service reps on up everybody I have talked to has been very accommodating and pleasant to deal with. Too bad that just being nice at the end of day won't keep delivering the bandwidth where it needs to be.

Re:More than likely not (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403612)

If your an area where hardly anybody is using the 4G stuff you are going to have a fantastic experience... for awhile. Dense usage areas? Save your money.

That was the consensus about cable Internet at one time. Then the cable companies realized that DSL was eating their lunch in peak-time performance, and they upgraded their infrastructure to put fewer subscribers on each network segment. Likewise, once Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile roll out LTE, Sprint will have to make more WiMAX network segments (that is, towers) or lose customers.

Re:More than likely not (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403794)

That was the consensus about cable Internet at one time. Then the cable companies realized that DSL was eating their lunch in peak-time performance, and they upgraded their infrastructure to put fewer subscribers on each network segment. Likewise, once Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile roll out LTE, Sprint will have to make more WiMAX network segments (that is, towers) or lose customers.

Quite right. They are losing us as customers right now. There have been several dozen incidents in the last week where failover was not available or inadequate. They simply cannot deliver the same level of service they were giving us 8 months ago.

Nothing personal. We are discontinuing services. Like you said, they will have to realize that at some point and create more WiMax network segments.

What I fear though is that the majority of customers will end up putting up with crappy service for quite some time and they won't have that motivation for awhile. Not in a time frame I need.

What? (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403398)

From sprints commercials you would think 4g phones had been out for at least 6 months now form them. I think the whole "4G" ads started at least back at the beginning of the football season. Guess the ads were just for mifi and mobile broadband then?

Long Term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403428)

TFA:

the dominant 4G standard, called LTE, for Long Term Evolution.

Who named this? If it was Marketing, I'm waiting five minutes for the next standard...

My worry (2, Interesting)

initialE (758110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403446)

If 4G doesn't take off, then will we start seeing ISPs throttling the speeds of 3G so as to make it look more attractive?

3G is already capped (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403628)

They already do. A 3G mobile broadband connection from any of the four major U.S. providers is limited to 5 GB per month, while Sprint plans to offer significantly higher monthly transfer caps to 4G customers.

4g is real (1)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403526)

Look, it's pretty simple.

I have Clear. It's vastly superior to my AT&T DSL line in every single way except for latency (which isn't bad at all). I won't be playing online first person shooters, but other than that it's good enough. In fact, it's better. Much better.

And it's portable.

4g is the real deal. I am not going back.

Re:4g is real (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404154)

I think it would be nice to have both. My experience with DSL is that it has low latency. Combine that with a 4G connection from an Evo, and bulk data transfers can go through the 4G network where latency isn't an issue. Time sensitive items such as video streaming, ssh sessions, and online gaming go through the DSL pipe.

4G has some very good advantages. One of the biggest is that no wiring is needed, other than plugging the WiMax router into a 120VAC source.

700Mhz vs 1900Mhz vs 2500Mhz (3, Informative)

dokebi (624663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403562)

Basically, the lower the frequency, the further it reaches. Verizon bought gobs of spectrum in the 700Mhz range, which is great for building penetration and longer reach. Compare that to Sprint/Clearwire's 2500Mhz spectrum, which is known to be blocked by wet leaves. T-mobile also bought spectrum in the 700Mhz range, but likely will use it to build out their 3G network.

AT&T pretty much sat that auction out, so I can't imagine their data service getting much better. I hope their pico cell strategy pans out.

Re:700Mhz vs 1900Mhz vs 2500Mhz (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404212)

Yes but you are only telling half of the story here. The lower the frequency the lower the theoretical bandwidth. So yes 700mhz is great for long range communications but it is horrible for high data transmission rates.

most obvious advantage not stated? (1)

JoeGarvey (1461939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403566)

From TFA, Both Verizon and AT&T are basing their 4G technology on LTE -- no more GSM vs. CDMA. Shouldn't this mean then that devices that work on one network can be taken over to another network now? ie-- 4G iPhone on Verizon, and Droid phones on AT&T?

Re:most obvious advantage not stated? (1)

Rytr23 (704409) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403708)

Sure..probably in 2018 when vzw/AT&T might have LTE coverage over most of their footprint and they are selling LTE only devices.

Tri-band, quad-band... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403758)

A phone for all the networks will have to support the frequency bands that all the networks use. Right now, GSM/UMTS phones are theoretically portable between AT&T and T-Mobile, but your device will drop to EDGE speeds if it doesn't support the band that a particular network uses for 3G.

Hype? What hype? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403660)

Am I living under a rock or something? I'm vaguely aware that there's something called "4G", and it's supposed to be faster than "3G". Beyond that, I haven't really heard much.

Nothing like whether Avatar is "worth the hype"...

Though, judging from the things I see described this way on Slashdot, maybe hype itself is overhyped?

rtfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403892)

"Cell phone companies are about to bombard us..."

Sprint is already saying "4G" in some ads; it's reasonable to assume that pretty much all the cell phone companies will be using it in their advertising pretty soon.

4G sounds cool, but coverage terribly thin (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32403670)

Coverage so far for 4G seems really thin. [sprint.com] .

For now I don't know if I would get a device that supports it, but a mobile hotspot device might be good if you go to one of those areas at all often.

VPN's can be problematic (Wimax 1400 byte mtu) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32403680)

Keep in mind that most "4G" networks are really just WiMax. WiMax has an odd MTU cap of 1400, and this can be problematic if you start encapsulating packets or appending bytes on via VPN or GRE tunnels and the like. Most VPN clients will automatically lower your MTU with auto discovery, but if you're using a USB type of "modem" or hot spot then you will have to change your MTU manually. For Windows XP and older, this means a registry edit or third party hardware. Vista and Windows7 can alter the MTU from the netsh command line, or just the usual ifconfig from a linux machine.

Hype-Free? (0)

LS (57954) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404184)

"View it as the difference between watching regular TV and high-definition TV," Carter said. "Once you've experienced high-definition TV it's hard to go back to standard TV. It's the same sort of thing here."

Thanks for the technically detailed article that cuts through all the hype, Slashdot.

Sprint is not 4G (1)

gig (78408) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404188)

Sprint is not 4G, it's just Sprint's 4th generation. They are not going to be able to run the 4G phones like Verizon and AT&T.

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