4G is the latest buzzword to hit the advertising campaigns for mobile and tablet retailers. As with any update to the mobile network there are now also a number of lawsuits taking place with regards to the actual availability of 4G for users who fork out extra for the improved network. But what does 4G actually mean for you as a customer and what can you expect?
New mobile generations are developed around once a decade and this has been continuing since 1G was introduced to replace analogue in 1981. The last update took place in 2001 with the introduction of 3G. The 3G standard is that which you may well be using as you read this article on your mobile whilst your cruise along your daily commute. The 3G standards state that a 28Mbit/s downstream should be available on the network.
Why 4G is Better
The peak speed requirements for 4G mobile internet usage have been set at 100Mbit/s for high mobility communication and an amazing 1Gbit/s for stationary or low mobility downstream speeds. There has since, however, been a recognition that these speeds do not necessarily need to be achieved where systems are deemed to be a substantial improvement on 3G. Whilst these speeds may remain as yet unobtainable, there will undoubtedly be an increase in speed once the system is fully operational.
Is There Actually 4G?
The most common discussion about 4G at the present time is with regards to whether it actually exists. The answer to this question is yes. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has, however, challenged Apple in court for claiming that the new iPad has the ability to access 4G despite the fact that it cannot access the existing Australian 4G network. This network currently operates on an 1800Mhz frequency which cannot be accessed by the new iPad, so your ringtone downloads will remain as fast as ever for now.
Apple’s defence to this claim is that some of Australia’s networks are actually 4G despite still being labelled as 3G networks. These networks, deemed to be a significant improvement on 3G, are equivalent to those which are determined as being 4G in other nations.
What this Means
In reality the move to 4G doesn’t really mean anything yet. It is a faster method of providing mobile broadband which will become the norm slowly and over a long period of time. The Telstra 4G network offered in Australia is faster than the 3G networks, but as yet the speed is not substantially faster. For now there will be no change to the ways in which you operate your 1300 number and your mobile banking through your phone, but there will be a gradual shift towards a faster downstream speed.
But I Already Bought a 4G X,Y or Z!
If you have already bought a 4G system then don’t worry. The new iPad and the many new 4G phones can be viewed like a HD Ready TV. The system will take time to implement and there will never be a sudden surge in speed, but to all intents and purposes you are prepared for the next generation of computing. If you do really feel swindled then you can get a refund from Apple for your new iPad, but it really doesn’t seem worth it.