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Understanding WiFi at 4G and the future of WiFi - Printable Version

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- SoulRaven - 04-08-2012

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;text-align:center;line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:1" align="center"><b><span style="font-size:20.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-font-kerning:18.0pt">Making sense of 4G and other myths</span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;text-align:center;line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:1" align="center"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-font-kerning:18.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">Thanks to Kim Kommando for this column 4/7/2012</span></p> <table class="MsoNormalTable" style="width:100.0%;mso-cellspacing:0in;mso-yfti-tbllook:1184;mso-padding-alt: 0in 0in 0in 0in" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr style="mso-yfti-irow:0;mso-yfti-firstrow:yes;mso-yfti-lastrow:yes"> <td style="padding:0in 0in 0in 0in" valign="top"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">If you're confused about 4G, welcome to the fastest-growing club! AT&amp;T claims to have the nation's largest 4G network. Verizon touts America's fastest 4G LTE network with "a higher standard of coverage." The advertising war is on.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">AT&amp;T recently befuddled millions of iPhone 4S customers. After upgrading to iOS 5.1, users discovered that the 3G network indicator next to the signal bar had mysteriously changed to 4G. Many thought, "Lucky me!" Not so fast.</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><br> <br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> <br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> </span></p> <table class="MsoNormalTable" style="width:100.0%;mso-cellspacing:0in;mso-yfti-tbllook:1184;mso-padding-alt: 0in 0in 0in 0in" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr style="mso-yfti-irow:0;mso-yfti-firstrow:yes;mso-yfti-lastrow:yes"> <td style="padding:0in 0in 0in 0in" valign="top"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Since the carriers and gadget makers won't call the whole thing off, it's time to take a fresh look at the state of 4G.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">The term 4G refers to the fourth generation of cellular wireless technology. It all began in the 1980s with those 1G analog wonders that were the size - and weight - of a brick. Late, digital networks allowed users of 2G cellular phones to send text and email. 3G networks, of course, ushered in the age of smartphones and data.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">With 4G technology, the distinction between voice and data goes away. It essentially turns a cellular phone into a Voice-over-IP system. That means faster, clearer communication.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">How fast? The International Telecommunication Union defines 4G as the ability to download data at speeds of 100 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second. The 1Gbps standard is for home and low-mobility situations, such as someone walking around with a phone. The 100Mbps standard is the theoretical maximum download speed that a user traveling in a car or train would experience.</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <table class="MsoNormalTable" style="width:100.0%;mso-cellspacing:0in;mso-yfti-tbllook:1184;mso-padding-alt: 0in 0in 0in 0in" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr style="mso-yfti-irow:0;mso-yfti-firstrow:yes;mso-yfti-lastrow:yes"> <td style="padding:0in 0in 0in 0in" valign="top"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Although current networks in the U.S. are nowhere near those kinds of speeds - and won't be for a few more years - the rollout of 4G LTE is an important interim leap.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">LTE (Long Term Evolution) theoretically maxes out at 100Mbps. Real-world speeds are more like 20Mbps or less. Mobile Internet speeds can vary greatly from one location to another. Cell towers are scattered, and when many users are connected to a tower at the same time, speed bogs down.</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><br> <br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> <br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> </span></p> <table class="MsoNormalTable" style="width:100.0%;mso-cellspacing:0in;mso-yfti-tbllook:1184;mso-padding-alt: 0in 0in 0in 0in" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr style="mso-yfti-irow:0;mso-yfti-firstrow:yes;mso-yfti-lastrow:yes"> <td style="padding:0in 0in 0in 0in" valign="top"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Still, LTE speeds can put some home broadband connections to shame.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Verizon has brought 4G LTE to more than 200 million people in 203 cities. More than 260 million customers in 400 markets will be able to access 4G LTE by the end of the year.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">AT&amp;T's 4G LTE network is live in 28 markets. The carrier expects to complete its LTE network by the end of 2013.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Sprint customers in Baltimore, Kansas City, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Atlanta are slated to receive 4G LTE service by mid-2012.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">T-Mobile will launch 4G LTE next year.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">If you're an AT&amp;T customer in a city that doesn't have LTE yet, your 4G is actually HSPA+. T-Mobile 4G users are also on a HSPA+ network. Current Sprint 4G customers, meanwhile, are using the WiMAX standard.</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <table class="MsoNormalTable" style="width:100.0%;mso-cellspacing:0in;mso-yfti-tbllook:1184;mso-padding-alt: 0in 0in 0in 0in" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr style="mso-yfti-irow:0;mso-yfti-firstrow:yes;mso-yfti-lastrow:yes"> <td style="padding:0in 0in 0in 0in" valign="top"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Although marketed as 4G, HSPA+ and WiMAX are more like souped-up 3G. If you're going to be buying a smartphone in the near future, it's important to know exactly what you're getting. If it's an HPSA+ or WiMAX phone, it'll only be a little faster than 3G. It's also a good idea to check whether you're in a 4G LTE coverage area (or will be soon).</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><br> <br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> <br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> </span></p> <table class="MsoNormalTable" style="width:100.0%;mso-cellspacing:0in;mso-yfti-tbllook:1184;mso-padding-alt: 0in 0in 0in 0in" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr style="mso-yfti-irow:0;mso-yfti-firstrow:yes;mso-yfti-lastrow:yes"> <td style="padding:0in 0in 0in 0in" valign="top"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">AT&amp;T says the iPhone 4S can take advantage of its HPSA+ network speeds. However, the phone doesn't have the chipset that would allow it to join a true 4G LTE network.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">The new iPad does. But it's currently only compatible with the 700MHz and 2,100MHz LTE bands that North American carriers use. That's why the 4G LTE iPad doesn't work in Australia; carrier Telstra uses the 1,800MHz frequency.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">This points out what could be a looming problem for globe-trotting Americans. In order to feed the mobile data beast, carriers in Europe and elsewhere may adopt entirely new bands as they build out their 4G networks in coming years. Your "world" 4G smartphone or tablet may revert to slower standards if it isn't compatible with some of those new frequencies.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">So, are you ready for 5G?</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table>