What is 4G?
4G is a fourth-generation wireless or mobile communication system, succeeding 3G (third generation) wireless communication and preceding 5G (fifth generation) communication.
It is based on the capabilities defined by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Every generation of wireless communication brings increased speed and network capacity.
4G cellular data or wireless communication provides speed transmission of over 100mbps, whereas 3G provides only 14mbps.
It is much faster than the 3G network and has brought a new and fast experience to the next level. To better understand 4G, let’s first discuss about Mobile Communication.
What is Mobile Communication
Mobile communication is a way to communicate wirelessly. It allows people to communicate with each other without using any physical link, irrespective of location, time, and distance.
It allows the transfer of media, voice, and text messages worldwide without any physical connection.
4G connection can be established through a Mobile phone, Smartphone, or Cellular phone.
When was 4G introduced?
- It was introduced to the public in the year 2010 in order to meet the fast speed and network requirements.
- In 2012, the first company to launch a 4G network was Airtel using LTE technology in Kolkata.
- Later it was launched in Banglore, Pune, Mohali, Chandigarh, and Panchkula.
- Then, 4G services were launched by various broadband companies like Aircel, Vodafone, Jio, etc.
Features of 4G Network
- It provides high speed at a low cost
- It provides high voice quality.
- Ensures high-speed transmission of data to any location
- It aims to provide scalable network capacity, network mobility, and portability.
- It is much faster compared to 3G network.
Network Standards of 4G
Many network standards are available that provide 4G connectivity used by different cellular providers.
- LTE (pre 4G- 3G)
- LTE Advance,
- Ultra-Mobile Broadband (UMB).
4G network mainly operates on two network standards which are LTE-A and WiMAX:
LTE-A (Long-Term Evolution- Advanced)
- LTE is an abbreviation for Long-Term Evolution. It is used in 4G connections, a standard for high-speed wireless communication. With the help of LTE, data is transmitted with faster speed and lower latency(the time it takes to travel data in the network).
- LTE is not a technology but a path to provide 4G network capacity. LTE-A provides much more speed and bandwidth than 3G but not at a fixed rate. LTE-A speed for a 4G network varies from 20mbps to 100mbps.
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwaves Access (WiMAX)
- WiMAX, or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwaves Access, is a wireless connection standard similar to Wi-Fi. It helps the user to access data without any wire or physical link. It is similar to WiFi but not a WiFi. It provides a connection range from cell phone towers to a high-speed network like broadband. The highest range of data speed provided by WiMAX is upto 128 Mbps for downlink and 56 Mbps for uplink. WiMAX in a mobile offers a 4G network, but all 4G networks do not provide WiMAX network standards.
Advantages of 4G Network
- 4G network is a high-speed network that is a major requirement today.
- The cost of a 4G network is much less than a 3G network. Thus, it provides high speed at a low cost.
- 4G is a portable network connection, i.e., it provides a connection to everywhere and is easy to carry.
- Accessing services and applications through a 4G network connection has become easier.
- The quality of services has increased with 4G.
- Communication systems have become affordable to the lower-middle class with the 4G mobile connection.
- It has high bandwidth with tight network security.
Disadvantages of 4G Network
- The roaming of data and voice together has yet to be implemented.
- Battery consumption is high in 4G network connectivity.
- The device which is required to access 4G connectivity is quite expensive.
How does 4G work?
4G connection works through an antenna that transmits over radio frequencies, enabling mobile devices to connect with mobile networks at a basic level.
The transmission and receiving capabilities of the 4G network are done with the help of MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technologies. MIMO and OFDM enable high bandwidth and network capacity as compared to 3G. With the help of MIMO, the 4G network has reduced network congestion compared to the 3G network, in which 4G can support more users.
4G supports all Internet Protocols (IP) where data and voice transmission is possible, whereas 3G network supports only data transmission over IP and enables voice over circuit switch network.
Future of 4G
5G is the future of the 4G mobile network. Although, 4G is a fast and comparatively better network than 3G but still has some facilities required to compete with today's requirements.
5G is the next generation in the field of mobile network technology. The 5G network promised to increase bandwidth and speed with upto 20 Gbps which is much higher than 4G, which only provides up to 100 Mbps speed.
5G will also consume less energy than the 4G network, enabling the devices' long battery life. It will have a latency of less than 1 millisecond and less congestion.