The 4G "MYTH"


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  1. mainevent3405

    mainevent3405 Member This Topic's Starter

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    Many of us are so geeked about 4G speeds....the mytouch 4G sprouting about its HSPA+ network which is supposed to make this a better phone and such, but it's all hogwash. I found the article below very interesting and rather revealing as to how these carriers manage to soup us up and get us to believe what they want us to believe, true or not. Sad, but very enlightening.


    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- You've seen the 4G advertisements from T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, bragging about a much-better wireless network with blazing fast speeds.

    Here's the secret the carriers don't advertise: 4G is a myth. Like the unicorn, it hasn't been spotted anywhere in the wild just yet -- and won't be any time in the near future.

    The International Telecommunication Union, the global wireless standards-setting organization, determined last month that 4G is defined as a network capable of download speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps). That's fast enough to download an average high-definition movie in about three minutes.

    None of the new networks the carriers are rolling out meet that standard.

    Sprint (S, Fortune 500) was the first to launch a network called 4G, going live with it earlier this year. Then, T-Mobile launched its 4G network, claiming to be "America's largest 4G network." Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) plans to launch its 4G network by the end of the year, which it claims will be the nation's largest and the fastest. AT&T (T, Fortune 500) is expected to unveil its 4G network next year.

    Those networks have theoretical speeds of a fifth to a half that of the official 4G standard. The actual speeds the carriers say they'll achieve are just a tenth of "real" 4G.

    So why are the carriers calling these networks 4G?

    It's mostly a matter of PR, industry experts say. Explaining what the wireless carriers' new networks should be called, and what they'll be capable of, is a confusing mess.

    To illustrate: Sprint bought a majority stake in Clearwire (CLWR), which uses a new network technology called WiMAX that's capable of speeds ranging from 3 Mbps to 10 Mbps. That's a different technology from Verizon's new network, based on a standard called Long Term Evolution (LTE), which will average 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps.

    Seeing what its competitors were up to, T-Mobile opted to increase the speed capabilities of its existing 3G-HSPA+ network instead of pursuing a new technology. Its expanded network -- now called 4G -- will reach speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps.

    No matter what they're called, all of these upgrades are clear improvements -- and the carriers shelled out billions to make them. Current "3G" networks offer actual speeds that range from between 500 kilobits per second to 1.5 Mbps.

    So Sprint and Verizon have new, faster networks that are still technically not 4G, while T-Mobile has an old, though still faster network that is actually based on 3G technology.

    Confused yet? That's why they all just opted to call themselves "4G."

    The carriers get defensive about the topic.

    "It's very misleading to make a decision about what's 4G based on speed alone," said Stephanie Vinge-Walsh, spokeswoman for Sprint Nextel. "It is a challenge we face in an extremely competitive industry."

    T-Mobile did not respond to a request for comment.

    One network representative, who asked not to be identified, claimed that ITU's 4G line-in-the-sand is being misconstrued. The organization previously approved the use of the term "4G" for Sprint's WiMAX and Verizon's LTE networks, he said -- though not for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network.

    ITU's PR department ignored that approval in its recent statement about how future wireless technologies would be measured, the representative said. ITU representatives were not immediately available for comment.

    "I'm not getting into a technical debate," said Jeffrey Nelson, spokesman for Verizon Wireless. "Consumers will quickly realize that there's really a difference between the capabilities of various wireless data networks. All '4G' is not the same."

    And that's what's so difficult. The term 4G has become meaningless and confusing as hell for wireless customers.

    For instance, T-Mobile's 4G network, which is technically 3G, will have speeds that are at least equal to -- and possibly faster -- than Verizon's 4G-LTE network at launch. At the same time, AT&T's 3G network, which is also being scaled up like T-Mobile's, is not being labeled "4G."

    That's why some industry experts predict that the term "4G" will soon vanish.

    "The labeling of wireless broadband based on technical jargon is likely to fade away in 2011," said Dan Hays, partner at industry consultancy PRTM. "That will be good news for the consumer. Comparing carriers based on their network coverage and speed will give them more facts to make more informed decisions."

    Hays expects that independent researchers -- or the Federal Communications Commission -- will step in next year to perform speed and coverage tests.

    Meanwhile, don't expect anyone to hold the carriers' feet to the fire.

    "Historically, ITU's classification system has not held a great degree of water and has not been used to enforce branding," Hays said. "Everyone started off declaring themselves to be 4G long before the official decision on labeling was made. The ITU was three to four years too late to make an meaningful impact on the industry's use of the term."
     

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  2. w_bovine

    w_bovine Well-Known Member

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    None of this is news to anyone who is even marginally technically inclined. What, you really expected to see 100Mbps on your phone? Years ago 3G was touted as being the end all be all for mobile data, and in all that time it never came close to what was originally advertised.

    Granted, the term 4G can be misleading, but it doesn't take much to realize it's not what the carriers want you to think it is. And how many people know that the theoretical speed of 4G is supposed to be 100Mbps?

    The vast, vast majority of home Internet connections don't come anywhere near such a speed. There's no way one could ever expect such speed for mobile data.

    The bottom line is that 4G is a significant step up from 3G. As to how a carrier achieves the increased speed, who cares? As long as people can contentedly atrophy their minds with YouTube they will be happy.
     
    EarlyMon and pantlesspenguin like this.
  3. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

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    ^^ what he said....

    you are right.. it is not true class of "4G".
    but it is the 4th generation of speed for the carriers. a next step up.

    home cable internet is about 20mb...unless you pay out the ass for better speeds.
    on 4G wireless... can be 2mb - 12mb; depending on signal strength network load.
    What more are you wanting?????
    do you really think the wireless will be faster than wired?

    if my phone can do 100mb download...
    lets think about this. will my phone be that much more usable than 5mb speeds?????

    why do you want 100mb speeds?
     
  4. Tangent

    Tangent Well-Known Member

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    I blame Sprint for starting this idiocy. Due to only a very small percentage of people knowing what 3G or 4G actually is, it was inevitable that the other carriers would have to follow suit and start calling their faster-than-the-3G-you're-used-to speeds 4G as well. What's really stupid about all this is that some of the not-actually-4G companies have the gall to call out competitor networks for doing the same thing they are.

    In the end I suspect the most realistic solution will be for the ITU to reclassify what 4G is unless they want their standards to be totally meaningless. By the time any carrier actually has legit 4G they'll be forced to call it 5G or even 6G so the average consumer understands that it's faster...
     
  5. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

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    sprint is not the only one... using marketing "technology"

    what about iphone 4G????? LOL
     
  6. jonjon0082005

    jonjon0082005 New Member

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    By now like most people on this thread said its basically common knowledge most consumers who use this board or any other forum know this. With that being said its a pr scheme to pray on the less educated but most if not all of us here know this with vz announcing lte offically today all four carriers are cashing in all u can do is stay in the loop and know the truth
     
  7. nlsme

    nlsme Well-Known Member

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    @dan, I have never seen ANYTHING from carriers or apple naming a device the iphone4g.
     
  8. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

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    you are right...

    I was reflecting on pre-release discussions and rumors.
    it was guessed it would be named iphone 4G.. but they changed it to iphone 4.

    I need my mid-afternoon nap...
     
  9. rawness

    rawness Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.

    The general consumer doesn't equate 4G = 100 Mbps, and the telcom's haven't been purporting that. VZW is claiming d/l speeds of 5-12 Mbps as an upgrade of 600 kbps-1.4 Mbps speeds of 3G.

    Everytime I see these "myth" headlines I think they're about to show that the telcomm isn't going to reach the claimed speed improvement but it turns out the "myth" lies in the article.
     
  10. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Well-Known Member

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    This is the most common misconception about the iPhone ever. It is the iPhone 4 (official name) or the iPhone 4th gen (a name that some consumers gave it). Apple lies about plenty of things, but this certainly isn't one of them...
     
  11. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Well-Known Member

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    It's one of those things, if I redefined oranges, said they are "sweeter than the competitors" and gave you watermelons instead (and the watermelons were sweeter than any orange you have ever tasted), would I still be right? 4G is a defined technology, regardless of what consumers equate it as. 4G is not defined as "any wireless broadband that is faster than 3G".
     
  12. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Well-Known Member

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    Ok... call me stupid..

    But, unless data caps get raised..

    I forsee a whole bunch of problems.

    ALSO: I hate that people have faster speeds on their phone than my current connection...
     
  13. blkbeltkid17

    blkbeltkid17 Well-Known Member Contributor

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    i find the whole a boat load of crap and by deff my speeds on vzw is dial up speed
     
  14. w_bovine

    w_bovine Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. Sprint is already rethinking their offer of unlimited 4G data. Not that that surprises me in the least. In time I expect all carriers will have tiered service. Bummer.
     
  15. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Well-Known Member

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    At&t took the first step... I have a feeling the others are going to follow sooner or later.

    And really.. when you start offering faster and faster download speeds.. your not doing anything besides encouraging consumption of the data..

    I mean...your average user I don't imagine would be too affected by having the greater speeds..

    But, power users are going to then start having a field day.. Remote desktop my desktop... FROM MY PHONE! QUAD CORE IN MY POCKET LOLOLOLOL

    Type stuff.

    Plus.. as phones get more powerful in addition to faster speeds "Isn't avatar in 3D streamed over my phone epic?!"
     
  16. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    WiMax was originally considered 4G technology.
     
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  17. OstrichSaK

    OstrichSaK Well-Known Member

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    Here's what I know: My Droid on VZW gets the following speeds from the Speedtest.net app:

    WiFi: 2.0mbps down & 2.0mbps up
    3G: 0.5mbps & 0.5mbps down

    I was at a T-Mobile store today and the sales person had a G2 w/the same app and on 4G he got the following:

    4G: 5.0mbps down & 2mbps up

    How did his phone outperform my phone on WiFi? My internet is 15mbps down & 3mbps up and my modem is DDWRT w/b/g/n so I'm not sure why my WiFi speeds are so slow and I was pretty impressed with his measured 4G speed.
     
  18. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Well-Known Member

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    Run it a few more times and see what happens.

    I could go to speedtest and run it twice back to back and get two entirely different results from my home connection.

    I've gotten 8Mbps and then immediately after gotten 24 mbps (while paying for 16)

    Both done on computer..
     
  19. OstrichSaK

    OstrichSaK Well-Known Member

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    That's odd because I can run several tests back to back and separated by months on my hoe PC and they speeds are all generally the same. I also ran all of the tests above several times on each variable to eliminate some sort of anomaly or bad test. The results were all pretty much the same.
     
  20. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

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    try a different speed test...

    I have heard that one.. is not so accurate on mobile networks
     
  21. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    That IS odd.

    WiMax Speed Test:

    Tethered 4G

    [​IMG]

    Tethered 3G

    [​IMG]

    Pingtest 4G

    [​IMG]

    Pingtest 3G

    [​IMG]

    Speedtest App 4G:

    [​IMG]

    Speedtest App 3G:

    [​IMG]
     
  22. TheBrit

    TheBrit Well-Known Member

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    In the UK HSPA is being marketed as 3.5G. I can get up to 7mbits depnding on where I am.
     
  23. w_bovine

    w_bovine Well-Known Member

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  24. ionekoa

    ionekoa Well-Known Member

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    actually that's what would make it "4G". it's a marketing thing, not a technical specification. it sounds pretty and it makes people oooh and ahh, but it doesn't really mean anything. hell, it could be slower than 3G and if it were the 4th generation it would still be 4G, that is unless the G in #G stands for gigabits or some other thing i'm unaware of, but i'm pretty sure it stands for generation.
     
  25. LateNiteMike

    LateNiteMike Well-Known Member

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