Fourth Generation (4G) Technology


23 Mar 2015 13 Dec 2017

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4G technology is a transition from the earlier technology i.e. 3G technology and it promises to bring some of the revolutionary changes in the mobile world which will be very favorable for the mobile users. Fasters data and IP packet transmissions and a lot of other applications like high quality voice and multimedia in real-time anywhere across the globe are some incontrovertible features of the 4G mobile phones. This switching of the technologies are promised to be accomplished by the end of this commercial year by a number of mobile carriers like VERIZON and AT&T. Thus mobile users will be enjoying the best of the mobile phone technology by the end of the year. 4G technology is supposed to be the best because all the flaws that were experienced in the former ones are tried to eliminate in this one to give the best results to the users.



Since past some decades cell phone world has experienced a considerable amount of transition. This transition initiated from the First generation (1G) mobile phones carried forward by the 2G and 2.5G mobile phones. Nowadays, people are habituated of using the 3G technology. But the technologies and inventions are ever-restless and therefore the cell phone industry is again hopping with a great speed towards the Fourth generation (4G) technology. 4G mobile phone technology is a complete replacement of wireless communication in 3G technology. Like the transition of 2G technology to 3G technology had increased data-transmission speeds, the transition from 3G technology to 4G technology promises even higher data rates than existed in previous generations and thus considered to be a successor to 2G and 3G standards. “4G promises voice, data and high-quality multimedia in real-time (“streamed”) form all the time and anywhere” (Fendelman, n.d, Para 03).


The fundamental nature of the service is responsible for the typical nomenclature of the cell phone generations. Analogue technology was flipped from first generation to the digital technology in the second generation. Third generation was designed with multimedia support which is now going to flip to the fourth generation where transmission of data and IP packets is faster than the former generations.“A 4G system is expected to provide a comprehensive and secure all-IP based solution where facilities such as IP telephony, ultra-broadband Internet access, gaming services and streamed multimedia may be provided to users” (4G and Beyond 3G Technology, n.d. Para 05). Thus switching to the 4G is like moving from a dial up internet connection to a cable or DSL which can make all the works done fasters and faster than the previous ones. “4G marks the end of the traditional CDMA/GSM divide” (German, 2010 March 15, Para 04).


There are 2 main types of 4G one of which is the Long-term evolution LTE and the other one is mobile WI-MAX.


A natural extension of the current 3G technology is the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) which is also referred as the pre-4G technology. Transmission of all data including voice takes place as LTE is architectural design that can send all types of IP packets and data. “For a 20 MHz channel the downlink transmission bit rate of LTE up to 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps in the uplink and the bit rate capacity increases for a Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)”( 4G and Beyond 3G Technology,n.d. Para 05). According to German (2010, March 15) some of the well-known mobile carriers in United States like VERIZON and AT&T and several across the globe would convert their network to LTE and world's first publicly available LTE-service was opened in the two Scandinavian capitals Stockholm and Oslo on the 14 December 2009. “VERIZON said that LTE testing in Seattle and Boston has gone well and that it will bring the technology to 25 to 30 markets this year” (German, 2010 March 15, Para 06).“According to the VERIZON, downloading speeds of 40Mbps to 50Mbps and upload speeds of 20Mbps to 25Mbps” (German, 2010 March 15, Para 06). However according to Nelson and Pica (2010, March 3) the average speeds will range from 5Mbps to 12Mbps for downloads and 2Mbps to 5Mbps for uploads.

“In contrast AT&T has announced that they will begin LTE testing in this commercial year and launch their network in the upcoming year 2011” (German 2010 March 15, Para 07). LTE is not only being planned to launch by the end of this year in United Stats but also the Telco Mobile One (M1) in Singapore conducted a demo of LTE technical trial. Also NTT Do Como will the first to introduce LTE in Japan this year itself.


WI-MAX is elaborated as Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, and unlike LTE it is not an extension of current cellular system rather it's more related to current Wi-Fi technology. “The initial version for mobile use is based on the 802.16e wireless standard (Wi-Fi is 802.110)” (German, 2010 March 15, Para 11). It has potential for very long range transmission (up to 30 miles) and could offer speeds of about 10Mbps” (German, 2010 March 15, Para 11). Where all the majority mobile carriers are interested in using the LTE the only US carrier to adopt the Wi-max technology is SPRINT. SPRINT has a Wi-max network in 27 cities and shows potential average speeds of 3Mbps to 6Mbps with maximum speed up to 10Mbps.


The 4G standards were thought to be introduced in order to facilitate users by some of the most incredible features that includes providing flexible channel bandwidth between 5MHz to 20MHz to a maximum extent up to 40 MHz. Also a data rate of at least 100Mbps between any two locations across the globe. It also promises to provide a maximum Link spectral efficiency in downlink up to 15bit/s/Hz and 6.75bit/s/Hz in uplink which means 1000Mbps in downlink should be possible over less than 67 MHz bandwidth. Furthermore the system spectral efficiency for downlink of 3bit/s/Hz/cell and for uplink it is 2.25 bit/s/Hz/cell. Ultimately 4G has all the flaws recovered that were noticeably found in the former standards.



4G exhibited increase in efficiency and ability in terms of the access techniques used for it. Plain TDMA i.e. Time division multiple access and FDMA i.e. Frequency division multiple access were used in he 1G technology. But TDMA is less efficient as it is unable to handle high data rate channels. This is because TDMA requires large guard periods to improve the multipath impact. Similarly there were problems with FDMA as it used more bandwidth to avoid inter-carrier interferences. Thus to overcome these problems in the 2G technology one set along with the combination of TDMA and FDMA other set of access scheme was introduced which is known as the CDMA i.e. Carrier division multiple access. “Thereby the system capacity was increased but as a drawback placed a soft limit on it rather than the hard limit (i.e. a CDMA network will not reject new clients when it approaches its limits, resulting in a denial of service to all clients when the network overloads)” (Rumney M, 2008). Data rate is increased as this access technique is able to manage multiple path channel. “ This enabled the third generation systems, such as IS-2000UMTSHSXPA1xEV-DOTD-CDMA and TD-SCDMA, to use CDMA as the access scheme”(Rumney M, 2008). Although CDMA technique seems to be good so far yet it suffers from poor spectral flexibility and computationally intensive time domain equalization for wideband channels.
More importance is given to the OFDMA i.e.Orthogonal FDMA, IFDMA i.e. Interleaved FDMA, SFDMA i.e. Single carrier FDMA and MFDMA i.e.Multicarrier FDMA because of the troubles in the traditional FDMA, TDMA and CDMA. The later used access schemes are based on efficient FFT (Fast fourier transform) algorithm and frequency domain equalization which would result in lower number of multiplications/s. Also bandwidth can be controlled and a spectrum can be formed in a flexible way.


Circuit switched and packet switched networks are the base of the infrastructure of the 3G where as 4G will be based on packet switching only which would require low latency data transmission. Till the time when 4G will be introduced in the market and be a most used device the process of IPv4 address will be exhausted as a result a new version will be essential so that more wireless enabled devices can be supported. So IPv6 is be used to accomplish this task. “By increasing the number of IP addresses, IPv6 removes the need for Network Address Translation (NAT), a method of sharing a limited number of addresses among a larger group of devices, although NAT will still be required to communicate with devices that are on existing IPv4 networks” (Morr, D 2009).
SDR is one form of open wireless architecture (OWA)” (Rumney, 2008). The final version out in the market of the 4G device will be a perfect combination of the former standards. “This can be realized efficiently using SDR technology, which is categorized to the area of the radio convergence” (Rumney, 2008).


The 4G iphone which is going to be launched as soon as possible is promised to multitasking which allows accomplishing one of more iphone applications at the same time and also lets to continue the applications running in the background even if the user makes or takes a call. Verizon is launching the 4G phone six months before the expectation because of some of the incontrovertible features of 4G that lures world towards itself. HTC HD3 and HTC HD2 are going to be 4G phones.


Last but not the least the advancement in technology i.e. transition from the current 3G and 2.5G to 4G will make a drastic change in context of data transmissions which will be able to carried in some fraction of seconds. It will be definitely proved very helpful to the future generations.


  1. Open wireless open mobile. (n.d.) Retrieved from
  2. Fendelman, A. (n.d.) Retrieved from
  3. Choney, S. (2008, April 15) Retrieved from
  4. 4G Phones (n.d.) Retrieved from
  5. German, K (2010, March 15) Retrieved from,39050603,62061890,00.htm
  6. At&t (2010, February 18) Retrieved from
  7. Pica, T & Nelson, J (2010, March 8) Retrieved from
  8. Koh, D (2010, March 3) Retrieved from
  9. 4G. Retrieved from
  10. 4G and Beyond 3G Technology (n.d.) Retrieved from


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