4G Wireless Networks: Overview

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 4
Words: 1127
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Master

3G wireless networks and 4G networks

Both 3rd and 4th generations are mobile communication standards set to define the general airwaves utility. They are both forms of transmissions that carry information in form of voice and data. The most notable difference between the two transmission networks is the speed and rate at which data is transferred. The fourth generation network is faster compared to the third although the regulatory bodies in the mobile data industry have not yet come up with a clear standard to define forth generation network.

Unlike the third generation network technology, the forth generation is not clearly standardized and this is explained by the fact that there are three carriers already in the market using varied technologies and considering their products as forth generation network technology (Graziano 2012). High Speed Packet Access, World Wide Interoperability for Microwave Access and Long-term Evolution have been labeled as forth generation technologies a subject that is raising a lot of concerns (Ja-young, 2011).

The set standard speed for the forth generation network was placed at 100Mbps by the International Telecommunication Union. The 3rd generation’s architecture is based on a wide area cell while the 4th generation’s is based on integration of wireless Local Area Network and wide area. With regards to services and applications, the third generation supports Code Division Multiple Access as well as Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service which enables transmission of voice, data, video and discs on the 3G network platform (Ja-young, 2011).

The Enhanced Data GSM Environment is also a third generation characteristic application that was meant to increase the speed of the Global System for Mobile communication (Diaconescu, 2012). The fourth generation network on the other hand uses a faster WiMax which has the capability to transmit a range of 30-40 megabyte-per-second and LTE advance (Ja-young, 2011). 3G’s data throughput goes up to 3.1 mbps while in the 4G platform, though not yet achieved, is expected to go up to the range of 100-300mbps (Diaconescu, 2012).

Currently the 4G network data throughput has been ranging at 3-5 mbps though experts maintain the range will be improved in the near future. The fourth generation network ideally is meant to be faster than the third generation but test runs have proved users perceptions wrong. A good instance is the difference in the speed of the AT&T’S third generation network which was tasted against Metro PCS’ fourth generation network. The former was faster compared with the later (Diaconescu, 2012).

4G LTE, 4G WiMax, and 4G WiBro networks

The three network platforms are all classified as 4G networks even though they are all developed differently and using different procedures. The only common ground with regards to these networks is that they all produce the same end product, the 4G speed network. The fourth generation Long Term Evolution network is an advanced development of the 3G network designed for mobile devices (Syputa, 2009). This platform is faster than the previous 3G network.

Going by the standard laid for 4G networks, LTE’s projected speed is about 100mbps and can go up to a maximum of 1GB per second. LTE also benefits from the advantage of being compatible with the previous 3G network platform. WiMax which provides network connections to computer notebooks allows a limitless number of users online. It covers a wide range area of up to 9,300 square kilometers (Syputa, 2009).

The WiBro is the fastest with a download speed of up to 40.32 Mbps (Ja-young, 2011). The services provided by the three platforms are basically similar only that with the WiBro, the network connection is more advanced. WiBro allows users to access connections while in motion in very high speed. This includes connection in high speed moving cars and subways (Ja-young, 2011). All of these platforms are developed differently and are all competing with each other for recognition by the International Telecommunication Union.

Competition between the 4G LTE carriers

Wireless connectivity is an area of very stiff competition and the firms in this industry are highly competing against each other. Every network platform is providing the users with distinct advantages making it very difficult to come up with a standard measure of the best offer. This has been proved by the 4G wireless speed test to determine which one is the fastest. The major national carriers involved in this test were AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.

Of the three service providers , Verizon’s network according to the test stands out to be the fastest with a record download speed of about 6 Mbps and an upload speed of 5 Mbps on laptop modems tests (Sullivan, 2011). AT&T was second in this test with a download speed of about 2.48 Mbps and uploading speed of 0.85 Mbps (Sullivan, 2011). The third position according to Sullivan (2011) was taken by sprint with a downloading speed of 2.15Mbps and an uploading speed of 0.61Mbps. With connections on Smartphones, the tests reveal the fastest wireless provider to be sprint with an average download speed of 1.50 Mbps (Sullivan, 2011).

AT&T is placed second in this category with a1.45 downloading speed capability. Verizon is the slowest of the three in mobile connectivity with a downloading speed of about 1.01 Mbps (Sullivan, 2011).

Why Verizon is able to cover more markets than AT&T

Verizon is taking the lead in the network industry even as it rolls out its services to the new 27 markets as Graziano (2012) reports. Graziano (2012) suggests that by the end of this year, the company will have covered not less than 400 markets translating to approximately 260 million users in the United States alone. The growth of the company and its ability to cover more markets more than AT&T is due to the company’s combined coverage and ability to provide a wide range of devices (Graziano, 2012).

This enables customers to access and take advantage of the company’s services. The company is unremittingly involved in expanding its existing markets giving it an upper hand in the industry. Verizon has the advantage of a wide geographical coverage that the AT&T does not enjoy hence making it very difficult for the later to compete with the firms vast exposure (Diaconescu, 2012). The company has the capability over its competitors to expand into new markets with the help of it already existing coverage which gives it an infrastructural benefit.

As Diaconescu (2012) foresees, the company may have an upper hand in the wireless industry for quite along time before any of its competitors becomes a threat to it. The level of infrastructure that Verizon enjoys would take quite a long time for AT&T to pool its resources to be at per. This has as a result put Verizon o the lead and will continue to do so for quite sometime (Diaconescu, 2012).


Diaconescu, A. (2012). Verizon’s 4G LTE network to cover 2/3 of US population after new expansion. Web.

Graziano, D. (2012). Verizon to add 27 new 4G LTE markets, expand in 47 others this week. Web.

Ja-young, Y. (2011). Technology. Web.

Sullivan, M. (2011). 4G Wireless Speed Tests: Which Is Really the Fastest? Web.

Syputa, R. (2009). What is the Difference Between WiMax and LTE? Web.