Official 4G/WiMax: what is it, why do we want it

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  1. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

    I couldn't help but wonder what WiMAX 4G was and why I should be interested in it. To understand its significance, I decided to do some Internet searches. What I learned is, WiMAX speeds are generally considered to be 4 to 5 times faster than 3G, but on Sprint’s official site, they indicate WiMAX speeds are up to 10 times faster than 3G.

    Ultimately, WiMAX speeds will rival DSL and cable broadband on your desktop computer. Just think of what that could do for streaming video, live TV and video conferencing on your phone.

    4G Systems

    Within the United States, there are two major systems using 4G mobile technology. One is known as WiMAX and is backed by Clearwire, a firm whose majority owner is Sprint Nextel. They began testing services in Baltimore in 2008 and then expanded into new major markets in 2009. Sprint intends to have 80 cities covered by the end of 2010. The rival system, Long Term Evolution or LTE, is backed mainly by Verizon. They are expected to begin testing LTE this year, but it will not be available for widespread use on Verizon until 2012.


    The term 4G is a broad term which does not meet any standards, but that will change.

    Wikipedia 4G Article. A 4G cellular system must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbit/s for high mobility such as mobile access and up to approximately 1 Gbit/s for low mobility such as nomadic/local wireless access, according to the ITU requirements.

    The world's first publicly available LTE service was opened in the two Scandinavian capitals - Stockholm and Oslo a couple of months ago on the December 14, 2009, and was branded 4G. The Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e-2005) mobile wireless broadband access (MWBA) standard is sometimes branded 4G. It offers peak data rates of 128 Mbit/s downlink and 56 Mbit/s uplink over 20 MHz wide channels.

    The IEEE 802.16m evolution of 802.16e is under development, with the objective to fulfill the IMT-Advanced criteria of 1000 Mbit/s for stationary reception and 100 Mbit/s for mobile reception.

    4-12-2010 - Update: Intel, Motorola, Samsung and more join forces to support WiMAX 2
    IEEE pushing 802.16m WiMAX to 1Gbps, hopes to converge with 4G


    The goal of 4G will be to replace the entire core of cellular networks with a cellular network based on the IP (Internet Protocol) for video, packet data utilizing Voice over IP (VoIP) and multimedia services.


    Below are a few news articles that go back almost 5 years about Sprint and WiMAX. I only mention these, because some people think Sprint just started working on WiMAX.

    6-30-2005 - WiMAX begins to gel at Sprint. Cell phone operator Sprint plans to begin testing next-generation WiMAX handsets and other WiMAX equipment from Motorola, a sign that Sprint's future network plans are falling into place.

    12-8-2005 - Mobile WiMAX gets green light. An industry standards group has approved a new specification for WiMAX that includes mobility support, thus paving the way for chipmakers and device manufacturers to start working on new products. The standard, called 802.16e was finalized two months ago, but it was formally ratified on Wednesday by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. WiMAX is considered a promising next-generation wireless technology because it supports high data rates and has a long transmission reach.

    8-8-2006 - Sprint to use WiMAX for 4G wireless network. Sprint executives said during a press briefing here that the company plans to spend about $1 billion on the network in 2007. It will spend another $1.5 billion to $2 billion in 2008. The new fourth-generation, or 4G, network is expected to go live in the fourth quarter of 2007. About 100 million people will have access to the network by the end of 2008, the company said.

    5-7-2008 - Sprint Nextel and Clearwire detail 4G plans. Sprint Nextel and Clearwire are combining network assets to build a new nationwide 4G wireless network that the companies say has huge benefits for each of them. Until now, Sprint and Clearwire have been on separate paths to build nationwide broadband wireless networks using WiMAX, an IP technology that can blanket entire cities and provides more than five times the speed of 3G wireless networks. Now they are joining forces and creating a new company that will have access to more wireless spectrum than any other company in the entire country.

    12-1-2008 - Clearwire-Sprint Nextel unveils new brand. Clearwire and Sprint-Nextel announced Monday they have completed their joint-venture transaction and will offer mobile WiMAX service under the "Clear" brand.

    Comparison Chart

    Comparison Chart of Wireless standards.

    How WiMAX works

    Video demonstration of WiMAX by Intel.

    Building WiMAX Networks

    Sprint is the only national wireless network to offer 4G. It is available now in 33 cities and that is expected to more than double this year, to over 80 cities. WiMAX networks are fairly inexpensive and easy to set up, and that’s because the base stations can be installed on current cellular towers and on towers at the top of buildings.

    1-12-2010 - A rumor that Wal-Mart and Sprint plan to work together in an effort to grow the nationwide WiMAX network. This includes placing WiMAX towers on the top of all Wal-Mart locations. Many stores overlap each other in a 30-50 mile radius. Essentially, this would be enough to cover a good chunk of the United States. Plus, this would not cost nearly as much as erecting towers and dealing with hassles like zoning permissions.

    This is nothing new as I found articles going back to 2004 stating that Wal-Mart wanted to install base stations attached to all of its stores "to bestow broadband Internet access upon a good portion of the US".

  2. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member


    I read that the Supersonic works on EVDO/EVDO Rev A, so my guess is, wherever your Instinct works, the Supersonic should also work. I'd say you would have the best of both worlds. When in Dallas, you'd would have 4G broadband type speed like you get on your desktop.

    It would be great if the rumor about Wal-Mart putting WiMAX on all their buildings comes true. The following map shows where all their stores are located.


    It looks like this would give you coverage at the university as well.
  3. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    Ok as for voice/data at the same time, I would say yes, if your in 4g coverage. 4g woul be a different radio, and you can use wifi while on a call, so its definately possible. Edge- no. Supersonic is cdma. Edge is gsm.

    Wimax to lte via software? Definately possible. Wimax and lte are very very similiar, so I don't see why this would be a problem.
  4. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

    Where WiMAX 4G Coverage is Available Now

    I've been trying to nail down where WiMAX 4G is available and where it should be coming soon. Clear/Sprint isn't making it easy to figure out where they're going to deploy next, so this may not be accurate on the "Coming Soon" locations.

    Available Now

    Georgia: Atlanta, Milledgeville.
    Hawaii: Honolulu, Maui.
    Idaho: Boise
    Illinois: Chicago.
    Maryland: Baltimore
    Nevada: Las Vegas
    North Carolina: Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh.
    Oregon: Portland, Roseburg, Salem,
    Pennsylvania: Philadelphia.
    Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, Killeen, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, San Antonio, Temple, Waco, Wichita Falls.
    Washington: Bellingham, Everett, Kitsap, Seattle, Tacoma

    Coming Soon

    California: Chico, Merced, Modesto, Redding, Stockton, Visalia
    Ohio: Dayton
    Florida: Daytona, Jacksonville, St. Augustine
    Minnesota: Duluth, St. Cloud
    New York: Rochester, Syracuse
    Oregon: Bend, Eugene,
    Tennessee: Nashville
    Texas: Longview
    Virginia: Richmond
    Washington: Aberdeen, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Medford, Snohomish, Tri-Cities, Wenatchee, Yakima.
    Washington DC
    Wisconsin: Eau Claire

    Texas seems to be the clear (no pun intended) winner so far where 4G is already operational. As I mentioned above, the cities where the roll-out is underway seems to be somewhat of a secret. I would appreciate any input.
  5. Roddy

    Roddy Well-Known Member

    so i have a "crazy question" please don't laugh for my ignorance! lol

    but with 4G, will there be voice and data simultaneously like on AT&T? or is that still limited to GSM?
  6. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

    No Roddy, it's not a crazy question at all, but I'm not able to prove it one way or the other right now. Guess we'll have to wait until the phone is released to find out. Perhaps someone with WiMAX/VoIP/mobile experience will be able to answer.

    My reason for posting this thread is because I'm excited about the HTC Supersonic. I wrote quite a bit tying to stir interest and was hoping people would be able to comment and expound more on the subject.

  7. twospirits

    twospirits AF's janitor Moderator

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  8. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

    Calroy, if you look at this thread, you will see Houston listed as an upcoming city. With all the coverage Texas has, I'm surprised Houston isn't one of them already.
  9. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

    I found this article on 4G very informative and interesting.
  10. cary328is

    cary328is Well-Known Member

    Not sure if some of you are on twitter or are fans of twitter, but the person who has given me a TON of insight on anything Sprint 4g is @svinge if you want to follow her. She is a really friendly PR for Sprint on 4G and responds fairly quickly with answers. Here's her page:

    svinge (svinge) on Twitter
    billsmed likes this.
  11. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Cary. I check her out.
  12. twospirits

    twospirits AF's janitor Moderator

  13. evotitans

    evotitans Well-Known Member

    I remember reading, not exactly sure where, another forum probably....that EVDO/EVDO Rev A itself IS capable of Voice and Data at the sametime, but it was not stable. Therefore Sprint never turned it on, I believe that only one area actually had it running.

    But WiMax should do Voice and Data at the sametime.....considering if your Data is running of the 4G "Wifi" network, it should not interfere with the basic Voice radio signal at all....unless Sprint is incorporating a VOIP type network thru 4G?

    I work for a Telecom company(You could say somewhat Major in the US) that only thru company rumors was trying to set up a deal to help Sprint with a VOIP network. Only problem being is that we are a huge Verizon I dont think conversations got too far.
  14. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

    It's too bad for the sake of the industry and for the sake of 4G that they don't get together. It would be best for everyone worldwide if the did.

    I was reading about the " EVDO/EVDO Rev A itself IS capable of Voice and Data" thing also (somewhere), but that's based on 3G and it stresses the network too much. Things will be a lot better with 4G. If the telecoms would get together instead fighting each other, it would make the whole 4G thing come together a lot faster.
  15. evotitans

    evotitans Well-Known Member

    I think thats why Sprint never implemented sametime Voice + Date with EVDO/Rev would stress the network too much. And I remember when Rev A was rolled out, Sprint was already in the process of working on 4G. Probably didnt seem feasable to them to activate it on Rev A, and for it to go faulty and lose more customers than they already were.

    But I will say, I fully expect 4G to do this....Sprint has had to have this in mind for awhile now. Do you know how much a selling/marketing point it would be that on this brand new 4G network you can surf and talk at the same time??? Add in the cheapest plans(No extra charge for 4G), free mobile minutes and the EVO a phone that spec wise is unmatched right now and I could see Sprint racing towards being atleast the #2 Carrier for some time.
    Covert_Death and billsmed like this.
  16. Covert_Death

    Covert_Death Well-Known Member

    COMPLETELY agree %100!!!!!!!
  17. So-Low Da Don

    So-Low Da Don Well-Known Member

    Even though my contract isn't gonna be out wen the EVO comes out I'm droppin my hero and gettin it
  18. Norril

    Norril Well-Known Member

    I have not read all the article links posted in this thread yet, but I remember reading up on WiMax years ago, when it was being created. The idea was that with it being cheaper to put up the transcievers that cell and such incredible bandwidth, it would ultimately replace the cell networks completely and free up that whole chunk of frequency for other uses.

    Yes, with the speeds of WiMax, EXPECT Voip to be the dominant form of voice communication. Also expect video calls to be the standard by 2015. the only time a phone will need to be dual band, would be for international use, or a universal unlocked phone, that would jump from Wimax to LTE.

    They could easily do Voip on the current 3G networks today, but like a few others have stated, the issue is stress of network bandwidth. There are fcc regulations that require a certain quality of service for voice communication and to insure that, when sharing the same network as your data, you have to throttle the data, to make sure you never choke the voice traffic. That means you potentially lose a good portion of your data speed. That would really suck.

    4G solves that issue nicely, because that chunk of bandwidth needed for voice is now a much smaller percentage of the total pipe, so easier to handle.

    My coisin helped develope the technology for WiMax, to allow you to smoothly travel from zone to zone. It was pretty exciting stuff back in the day and I am so pleased it is finally here for us to use.

    nice to meet you all.
  19. Archon810

    Archon810 Well-Known Member

    So has anyone seen any actual evidence in print (article, press release - anything) confirming or denying that the WiMax technology EVO 4G is going to use will support simultaneous data and voice or not?
  20. billsmed

    billsmed Well-Known Member

  21. subzero123

    subzero123 Well-Known Member

    So is anyone on here in an area that will most definitely NOT be getting 4G this year, if ever?
  22. Android 17

    Android 17 Well-Known Member

    I personally don't think I'll be getting it. I live in Tallahassee, Florida. You'd think the capital of Florida would be first to get it before Jacksonville, Daytona, or St. Augustine right? But I guess not.....

    I used to live in Jax for over 6 years too, so it stings a little, lol.
  23. dylan88

    dylan88 Well-Known Member

    tampa is rumored. guess ill have to wait and see. but honestly, the 3g signal here is amazing.
  24. dandm4life

    dandm4life Well-Known Member

    T-mobile has a program where if you own your own property they *may* install a tower on it with your permission. Does anyone know if sprint has a similar program?
  25. andiron

    andiron Well-Known Member

    I thought the "Why the WiMax vs LTE Battle isn't a Battle" link was awesome! It pretty much vindicates my current leanings. I was planning on switching from Sprint to Verizon for the Incredible....but live in Austin, TX. So...I'm in a prime location to enjoy WiMax. Then in the future, if LTE is deployed here...I will have a choice. Very simple...just as i have a choice now. And if the Sprint plans stay the same I will be on the Shared Every Mobile plan (not exact title)....and have a lower cost than if I switched. And since my reason for switching was that most of my family migrated to Verizon...I can rest easy knowing that every mobile is shared! That combined with the 30 day no hassle trial for new subscribers should propel Sprint back into a competitive territory. This WiMax sounds like it's going to be awesome! :D
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