I find that now more than ever before, there's a prominance of ISP/cell carriers promoting their 4G wireless network technology. Aside from it obviously meaning 4th generation and thus "faster" than the previous generation, what is the actual spec difference? I remember the upgrade form 2G to 3G - the difference seemed almost like night and day (or at the very least noticeable).

So i suppose my question is, how much of this 4G hype is marketing and how much is actually warranted?

skilly commented: i have always wondered that myself +0

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Not exactly. It really depends on your area. Your cell phone may show 4g but it may not be true 4g. To be honest, most areas show up 4g but are not true 4g. It is more like a little faster than 3g.

Most carriers have true 4g in LA, Vegas, and NYC. Other larger cities do not have true 4g.

4g means...4th Generation :)

4G has been a marketing buzz word that has been bandied about increasingly with little regard to what 4G was originally designed to be. Though it was originally meant to designate speeds of 100 megabits per second down and other requirements, the International Telecommunications Union last month relaxed its definition to include any substantial improvement in performance over 3G, allowing LTE, WiMAX and HSPA+ to all claim 4G status.

also A major issue in 4G systems is to make the high bit rates available in a larger portion of the cell, especially to users in an exposed position in between several base stations.

it specifies a device’s wireless data speed, doesn’t really tell you anything about how fast your gadget might surf the Web.

First off, "4G" currently does not exist. Thats the first thing right off the bat that has to be understood.

In March 2008, the International Telecommunications Union-Radio communications sector (ITU-R) specified a set of requirements for 4G standards, named the International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (IMT-Advanced) specification, setting peak speed requirements for 4G service at 100 megabits per second (Mbit/s) for high mobility communication (such as from trains and cars) and 1 gigabit per second (Gbit/s) for low mobility communication (such as pedestrians and stationary users).[1]

Since the above mentioned first-release versions of Mobile WiMAX and LTE support much less than 1 Gbit/s peak bit rate, they are not fully IMT-Advanced compliant, but are often branded 4G by service providers. On December 6, 2010, ITU-R recognized that these two technologies, as well as other beyond-3G technologies that do not fulfill the IMT-Advanced requirements, could nevertheless be considered "4G", provided they represent forerunners to IMT-Advanced compliant versions and "a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed".[2]

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Therefore, true "4G" does no exist. Not only does it not meet the speed neccesary but other things are not met either. "4G" may be faster with LTE and WiMAX tech but it does not complete the standard. This is a lot like the 802.11n debate back in the day. Pre 802.11n hardware did not contain the final spec (although they were compatible at the end BUT did require a firmware update to meet the spec officially)

Oh and for the record, "5G" is in development but once again does not exist.

Next time you are at the Cell Phone store ask the salesman how much bandwidth 4G is. I was told 10X faster then 3G. I then asked, How fast is 3G? They didn't know. I told the guy that I couldn't buy something from him if he didn't know what he was selling. I found it to be funny, but I work on networks for a living and always know what my link speeds are.

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