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Cellphones Wireless Networking

Cutting Through the 4G Hype 283

Posted by kdawson
from the sitting-out-a-generation dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Cell phone companies are about to bombard us with advertising for the next big thing — 4G access. The first 4G phone, Sprint Nextel's EVO, comes out this week. But just how big a deal is 4G? Is it fast enough to warrant the hype, or are consumers better off waiting a while? AP technology writer Peter Svensson looks at the differences between 4G and 3G technologies."
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Cutting Through the 4G Hype

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:04PM (#32403098)
  • 4G? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:06PM (#32403118) Homepage Journal

    Canadian carriers just upgraded their networks to 3G, so I'm guessing we won't hear about 4G until 2015.

    • Re:4G? (Score:5, Informative)

      by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:56PM (#32403504)
      I'm in the US, in a somewhat outlying suburb but certainly not in the "country," and still waiting for 3G at home. Verizon seems to have 3G coverage here (I will not use them), AT&T's 3G is very spotty, while T-Mobile and Sprint have no 3G coverage here. How about bringing the networks up to date before hyping the crap out of the next technology?
      • Verizon seems to have 3G coverage here (I will not use them),

        Why not / who do you use now that's better?

        • Wi-Fi (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by tepples (727027)

          Why not / who do you use now that's better [than Verizon]?

          For voice, my phone plan with Virgin Mobile costs me $80 per year. For data, I prefer to use Wi-Fi while in a building and my netbook's hard drive while in a vehicle. In a country with $720 per year mobile broadband, Read It Later [readitlaterlist.com] on my netbook has already paid for itself.

      • Re:4G? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Monday May 31, 2010 @06:15AM (#32405470)

        Here in Japan, nationwide 4G is expected to be out by 2012. Docomo has already successfully street-tested 7Gbps 4G. I believe that's two orders of magnitude faster than Sprint's "4G".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kenshin (43036)

      The post should be "Funny", not "Informative". Rogers has had 3G for a few years now. It's only Bell and Telus that have recently adopted it, and that's because they switched over their whole network away from CDMA. I regularly get "3.5G" in and around the city, as well.

      Rogers had planned on covering Vancouver with 4G/LTE for the Olympics, but that appears not to have worked out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Not entirely sure what you're smoking, but Telus, Bell, and Rogers are all now using HSPA+ 22mbit over GSM networks, and they both introduced it before any carrier in the states. (Rogers slightly before Bell and Telus, because Rogers' network was already GSM, whereas Bell/Telus have been using CDMA and had to build a sympathetic network to run alongside their existing network)

      In other words: wireless/cellular data transfer is currently better coverage and faster speeds in Canada than the US. (Bell's network

  • Oh c'mon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:10PM (#32403142) Homepage Journal

    You guys are just posting this story because...Apple doesn't have a 4G and you're jealous.

    Sorry.

    Had to be said.

  • by youn (1516637) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:10PM (#32403148) Homepage

    difficult to find at first, but when you find it, reactivity is good, data flow takes off

  • Marketing 101 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:11PM (#32403154)

    4 > 3. 'nuff said.

  • 4G is a big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zyklone (8959) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:12PM (#32403166) Homepage

    For the first time we'll get decent latency over cell phone connections with 4G.
    LTE atleast promises huge cuts in latency which will make many new applications possible.

    • Not trolling, just asking ...

      When Sprint & Verizon roll out their 4G networks will they be able to handle simultaneous voice and data or will they still be stuck with an either/or situation?
    • Unfortunately for me, there are no 4g linux drivers out yet. Best we can do is get a 3g/4g device and only connect using 3g.

      I am looking at the new andriod phones that can allow others to connect to it wirelessly. The HTC EVO looks interesting and I will probably grab it when the price comes down a bit.

      • by SScorpio (595836)

        There is always the Sprint Overdrive 4G. You connect to it just like a normal WiFi access point so you don't have to worry about drivers for it.

        • I was looking at that a few weeks ago but most of the reviews I read on amazon said that it did not work very well.

          Did you experience better results?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by nanospook (521118)
            I got one a week ago. if you live in a 4G network area, then it works well. You can connect and get 5-6MB. If you live in a 3G then you are going to connect at 1.6 or under.. maybe way under. But otherwise, it works pretty well. The only issue I have is that sometimes it doesn't power down correctly. Then I have to pull the battery (easy to do). It has a little screen on the front that tells you whether you are in a 3 or 4 G area and also what your connection speed is. The real issue is that 4G is just no
      • by Cylix (55374)

        My phone masquerades as an ad-hoc wireless ap. This has proven to be fairly useful, but it can consume a wee - bit too much juice.

        If I feel like being tethered it will connect as an ethernet over usb device. I have not yet tested the latter solution with linux, but because neither windows 7 nor xp required specialty drivers I'm going to safely assume it will.

        Note, that is not an active sync connection, but a real true to life usb ethernet connection.

        In any event, the point is that there are sufficiently adv

    • by bnenning (58349)

      Hmm. With my EVO (thanks Google!) I get ping times to 4.2.2.2 of 30ms on wifi, 90ms on 3G, and 180ms on 4G. Although I only have one 4G bar so presumably it will be better with a stronger connection.

  • by Texodore (56174) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:18PM (#32403224)

    Raleigh-Durham, 4G since November as my primary home internet connection.

    It doesn't work well in the rain or a thunderstorm. 6-7 Mbit down 1.5 or so up. That is as fast as the DSL connection I could get. I refuse to give money to Time Warner so that's out of the question.

    The connection isn't as reliable as DSL or cable modem. It's kind of flaky and the DNS servers that come with Clearwire service are bad. Use Google's or opendns.

    That said, it is basically a wireless DSL connection. It is way way faster than a 3G signal. Don't know how it will be on the EVO, but unless the iPhone 4G/HD blows me out of the water, when my iPhone 3G contract comes up in July, I'm going to Sprint to take advantage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by schnikies79 (788746)

      How are your ping times?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)

      If it isn't reliable, they're skimping on error-correction in order to inflate the best-possible speeds. More fools them. All a competitor has to do is include error-correction into their calculation of data rates (so their marketing doesn't look any worse) and then use the improved reliability and improved actual speed to steal customers away.

    • by catmistake (814204) on Monday May 31, 2010 @01:50AM (#32404148) Journal

      ... but unless the iPhone 4G/HD blows me out of the water, when my iPhone 3G contract comes up in July, I'm going to Sprint to take advantage.

      Ah, I see you've noticed that tech journalists are unabated idiots. It went something like this... the next gen iPhone is stolen or left in a bar, and tech journalists immediately start referring to it as the "iPhone 4G" even though it's obvious (to anyone that stops to think about this for 10 seconds) that whatever it is, it can't possibly be that.

      So... the difference between the iPhone 4G and every other 4G phone that might be released? Every other 4G phone is a 4G phone, while the iPhone 4G, named by the brilliant tech journalists, due out next month, is only a 3G phone and the third generation of Apple iPhone products. It is the 4th released iPhone... where the 'G' comes in is anyone's guess.

      Until the poor bastard lost his prototype iPhone, the 'G' moniker was used only for multiples of earth gravity and cell phone generations. Now, the G is used to describe the fourth iPhone, i.e. the 3rd gen iPhone, aka the iPhone 4G... and like a good Weezar album or a Rocky movie, the iPhone following subsequent to the release of the next iPhone will also be known as the iPhone 4G, and it will be a 4G phone. Please don't confuse the iPhone 4G with the iPhone 4G. The former is a 3G phone, while the latter is a 4G phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Comen (321331)

      "I refuse to give money to Time Warner"
      I belive that Time Warner owns some of Clear Wire along with some other big companies. Time Warner also resells Clearwire service labled as Road Runner Mobile.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:19PM (#32403230)

    Other than that, it's difficult to point to completely new uses for 4G phones -- things they can do that 3G phones can't.

    Couldn't you say the same thing about Dial-Up? After all, its difficult to point to completely new uses for broadband, things they can do that dial-up connected computers can't. The point of 4G isn't to be "revolutionary", it wasn't claimed to be. It is simply trying to be faster. The same thing could have been said about EDGE to 3G.

    • by WarlockD (623872)

      If you want a dial up analogy, for 2G to 3G was the difference between upgrading from el chepo 2400 band modem to a 14.4k.

      The idea that you could suddenly download a 1.44 floppy in 14 minutes was amazing at the time. Almost overnight bbs' were changing over to them.

      When, 28.8k (4G) modems came out though, it was kind of meh. Not all BBS's had them and not many people could connect to the true 28.8k (I never connected faster than 21k myself.). You felt the faster speed, but it wasn't the kind of initial j

      • If 5G is anything like the demonstration of "true 4G" mentioned here in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], I'll gladly take that incremental kick up.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        Maybe 5/6G would be worth it if in the US, we can get the CDMA and GSM providers to agree on a single standard. This way, they can do tower sharing as opposed to inundating an area with multiple antennas for coverage. I doubt it though -- if carriers make it impossible to jump to another carrier with the same unit (either differing bands for the same communication like 3G, or different radio protocols like GSM/CDMA), they make more money.

    • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:25AM (#32403694) Homepage Journal

      After all, its difficult to point to completely new uses for broadband, things they can do that dial-up connected computers can't

      YouTube. Now was that so hard?

  • edge - 3G - 4G (Score:2, Insightful)

    by debatem1 (1087307)
    So, I take it that the author of this article is happy just using EDGE, right? Since that's only distinguished from 3G by its speed?
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:42PM (#32403396)

      So, I take it that the author of this article is happy just using EDGE, right? Since that's only distinguished from 3G by its speed?

      You can't use data on EDGE during a phone conversation (nor receive calls). It's actually more annoying than you might think.

      With both 3G and 4G you can do both at once.

      • by Gudeldar (705128)
        Not with Verizon's 3G you can't. Apple even made an ad [youtube.com] that took a swipe at Verizon for not being able to do data and voice, personally I've never been on a call and thought "You know what I wish I could browse the Internet right now".
        • Other way (Score:5, Interesting)

          by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday May 31, 2010 @02:26AM (#32404360)

          personally I've never been on a call and thought "You know what I wish I could browse the Internet right now".

          Have you ever been browsing and wished you could receive a call? Or watching streaming video? Or using a GPS that pulls data frequently?

          In all those cases you are potentially blocking incoming calls, which is the worse problem I think.

          As for the use case you mentioned, browsing internet while on a call- what about looking up restaurants, or a map while you are talking to the other person? I do that pretty frequently. It means no data from any application can get out while you are on a call. It's not a bother all the time, just enough to be annoying (I had a 1st gen iPhone with EDGE only for around two years).

          • by Gudeldar (705128)
            Maybe I'm just not popular enough, but usually I've looked up all the information I need before I call somebody. Hanging up and then calling someone back isn't exactly the most onerous thing in the world either. I have an iPhone and I think the only time I've used that ability is a few times when I was on hold and not near my desktop/laptop (which doesn't happen that often).
  • G definitions (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhaktha (1462779) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:21PM (#32403246)
    Technically speaking. The various G definitions are based on the underlying technology that is used for hauling the bits over the air interface 1G - Analog technology (AMPS et al) 2G - Digital transmission (GSM, TDMA, CDMA et al) 3G - WCDMA (UMTS (aka the orginal 3G), HSPA, EVDO et al) 4G - OFDM (LTE, WiMax et al)
  • by WarlockD (623872) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:23PM (#32403262)

    Getting Sprint's 4G Evo this Friday. Replacing my Palm Pre for it.

    I could care less about the 4G side. Being faster is nice, but they put so many features in it. FM Radio (now just need a ATSC tuner:P), a wifi endpoint for half the cost of a USB dongle, Google OS with HTC touch skin. Did I mention the same cpu as the nexus with double the flash?

    My only worry is the speed HTC updates the firmware. The 4G is just a nice feature.

    • by karnal (22275) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:27PM (#32403292)

      No need to worry about HTC (who, with your worry about speed, will probably only ever update your device once. Or twice) - just jump on the XDA-Developers bandwagon!

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/ [xda-developers.com]

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      The good news is that the 4G appears to be already rooted, with YouTube videos showing a working su on the device. This means that if you don't get an official update to FroYo, some modder will have an unofficial update working on the platform, so you will be able to use some type of update.

      Now, I wish someone can come out with a similar device, but with a sliding keyboard similar to the Droid. Maybe its just me, but doing a VT100 terminal without a hardware keyboard is a PITA, even with Swype, especially

      • by znerk (1162519)

        Maybe its just me, but doing a VT100 terminal without a hardware keyboard is a PITA

        Try the HTC incredible, next time you're in a Best Buy (or other phone portal that lets you play with Verizon's phones). The on-screen keyboard is nice, and the multi-touch feature makes it work more like you expect a "hardware" keyboard to. I was pleasantly surprised by its "tactile feedback", despite the fact that it's a virtual keyboard, instead of physical buttons.

        Not sure, but would not be surprised to discover the HTC EVO incorporates the same features that make the keyboard on that phone so nice to w

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:29PM (#32403304)
    Ever have a fast connection to a network with a slow backbone? Then compare that with a slower connection to a network with a faster backbone?

    I have, and I'd take 3G on a fast network to 4G on a slow one. I even made the move from 2G to 3G when 3G was worse than 2G. It eventually got better, but they started 3G in some areas very poorly. Maybe they were holding back bandwidth at first to make sure the demos and "protected" content (videos and such from specific providers) worked best, but the first 3G networks seemed universally slower to me. So I don't trust demos and marketing. Get the devices in the hands of the reviewers who aren't paid to review and have to buy the handsets themselves. Then we'll have a better idea.
    • Get the devices in the hands of the reviewers who aren't paid to review and have to buy the handsets themselves. Then we'll have a better idea.

      It's called Consumer Reports, right? That'd be the only source I've ever seen without bias. Every other site/mag accepts advertising, even Ars Technica.

      CR's tech coverage sucks for a slashdotter, because they focus on mass-market needs. Do you have a link to a better unbiased tech reviewer?

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        CR is worthless. They use purposefully ignorant reviewers to simulate "average" people when an expert is needed to examine and review subtle differences.

        And they take one advertiser. Themselves. That's why they purposefully violated their written testing policies in order to make things flip, then issue press releases, stage fake photos, and such. This means that when they think something is noteworthy, they are willing to lie to sell themselves. I'd rather take some guy in his basement who takes ads
    • by mlts (1038732) *

      The critical thing are two numbers: Bandwidth and latency. Right now, 3G (and 3.5G) may use different protocols for voice and data, but you can do both on an AT&T and T-Mobile phone. True 4G runs everything on the IP network. However, that shouldn't be a big deal.

      I have read some mention T-Mobile's "3.5g" performance, and they give Sprint/Clear's 4G a run for the money. Depending on location, T-Mobile can be significantly faster. Another advantage of HSPA+ is that updates require more of a "reflas

  • TFA:

    >For instance, streaming video might work better, with less stuttering and higher resolution. Videoconferencing is difficult on 3G and might work better on 4G.

    People videoconference on their cellphones?

    People videoconference?!

    >Multiplayer video games may benefit too.

    People play multiplayer games on their cellphones?!

    Is this guy not a tech writer or am I just hopelessly lost? The most exciting thing I've heard done on a Smartphone is Skype.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by forkazoo (138186)

      People videoconference on their cellphones?

      People videoconference?!

      Oddly enough, non-geeks seem to love video conferencing. We tend not to care much about seeing a person, but lots of grandparents of the world consider to be really great.

      I think geeks are more interested in what a person has to say. The mundanes love all the non-lingual communication with body language, and seeing people smile and stuff. I don't really understand it, but it is very common.

      People play multiplayer games on their cellphones

      • >Oddly enough, non-geeks seem to love video conferencing.

        You can do without the condescention. I'm actually wondering why I've never seen videoconferencing outside of a Microsoft commercial. I can stream movies faster than real time, what's to stop me from streaming live video? Except that it's never been done.

        Oh wait, you say that it has.

    • by LingNoi (1066278) on Monday May 31, 2010 @01:14AM (#32403988)

      People play multiplayer games on their cellphones?!

      Yes they do here are my favorites..

      http://www.chickenbrickstudios.com/games/projectinf [chickenbrickstudios.com]
      http://www.chickenbrickstudios.com/games/cestos [chickenbrickstudios.com]

  • Pricing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zuriel (1760072) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:35PM (#32403350)
    3G is a weird system that mixes voice circuits and packet data. 4G will be pure packet traffic. The really interesting thing that I'm looking forward to is: how will carriers justify charging so much more for a one minute voice call than they charge for half a megabyte of data, when the load on the network is identical? Hands up if you think they'll just accept the loss in revenue. Anyone? And packet data will need to be low latency and reliable, otherwise voice calls won't work. It should be fun to watch.
    • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:07AM (#32403576) Homepage Journal

      how will carriers justify charging so much more for a one minute voice call than they charge for half a megabyte of data, when the load on the network is identical? [...] And packet data will need to be low latency and reliable, otherwise voice calls won't work.

      You may have answered your own question. Packets get routed through the slow backbone with 1000 ms ping and noticeable jitter unless you turn on expedited forwarding (RFC 3246) in the packet header's DiffServ field. They won't charge for minutes used for voice; they'll charge for minutes used for expedited packets.

  • More than likely not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:35PM (#32403356)

    So far my experience with 4G has been Clear Wireless. What I can tell you is that initially, the latencies were not something to write home about (110), but the bandwidth was fairly decent. I could easily hit 3mb/s during testing throughout the city.

    Based on my experiences I deployed a large number of them as wireless backups at Kiosks and smaller branch offices.

    8 months later now we are considering canceling all the accounts and going with something else as a redundancy solution. 9/10 the modems are not available when going over to fail over and need constant re-provisioning by Clear. Bandwidth is now very high latency (300ms+) and in short supply.

    I have heard nothing but extremely negative feedback about 4G (for the last 3 months) in the mobile units as well as the standalone units designed to compete with non-mobile offerings like cablemodem and DSL.

    I fear that 4G is really just a bunch of hype because the networks are not ready for the load and they are overselling their infrastructures to meet demand at the cost of actually being able to service the customer.

    Just my two cents. If your an area where hardly anybody is using the 4G stuff you are going to have a fantastic experience... for awhile. Dense usage areas? Save your money.

    • by lidocaineus (661282) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:12AM (#32403606)

      My experience is completely different. In Chicago, we literally have 50+ of these things deployed all over the city, all at 6/1 speed tiers. We regularly get 10mb down (well above our bandwidth tier), and always get at least 1mb up. Latency is anywhere from 50-100ms to most hops; it could be better, but Clear is somewhat nacent and I hear they're focusing more on raw bandwidth than latency (apparently with 4G you can approach the latency of wired services). We've had these units in place for about 7 months now, both as primary and out of band connections - we really couldn't be happier. The only thing that could be improved upon is the lack of NAT control on the devices they currently use.

      I have a feeling that wherever you are, the backhauls are completely overloaded. This actually happened to a couple of our POPs - one in particular was only getting 1/1 and was getting daily dis-associations from the WiMax tower sometime between 1 and 3AM for about 20 seconds. Customer service was unbelievably accommodating though - they said that work was being done on the tower that particular POP was associating with, and that we wouldn't be charged AT ALL until the tower work was verified complete and our connection was stable. Basically we had an ok and usable connection for free, and when whatever work was completed, we knew right away - the bandwidth jumped up to right where the other POPs were. Consider me impressed with their customer service, to which I'm normally used to horrible, horrible experiences.

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:49AM (#32403872)

        The only thing that could be improved upon is the lack of NAT control on the devices they currently use.

        The Motorola modems huh? Yeah, the lack of bridge mode is a real pain in the ass. However, I have noticed something a lot more disturbing. IP addresses that were sold to us as effectively static, are changing. Now because we have routers using them as failover connections the WAN interface is a LAN IP and we use DHCP reservations on the Motorola to ensure we get the same one and port forwarding to allow the VPN's to work. The changing IP addresses is proving to be an issue right now.

        I have a feeling that wherever you are, the backhauls are completely overloaded.

        Las Vegas. We don't have a single area of the city with the same coverage levels of 8 months ago. Across all locations, and every single person I talk with both professionally and personally, coverage area and quality of service has taken a nose dive from about 4 months ago.

        It's to the point that the general consensus with everybody I deal with is that 4G is no longer a viable tool that can be seriously recommended in the Las Vegas area.

        Consider me impressed with their customer service, to which I'm normally used to horrible, horrible experiences.

        Totally agree. From the service reps on up everybody I have talked to has been very accommodating and pleasant to deal with. Too bad that just being nice at the end of day won't keep delivering the bandwidth where it needs to be.

        • Las Vegas - that makes sense. From everything on the broadbandreports.com forum, LV + Clear is failing badly. I'm not sure why as you LV doesn't appear to be a difficult city to cover with WiMax, but what do I know...

          Supposedly the Motorola units will have bridge mode eventually, though I'm not holding my breath (really, is it that hard? It's in the interface, just disabled). It's fairly annoying (similar experiences to yours with VPNs/port forwarding), but since it works well otherwise, we're willing t

    • by tepples (727027)

      If your an area where hardly anybody is using the 4G stuff you are going to have a fantastic experience... for awhile. Dense usage areas? Save your money.

      That was the consensus about cable Internet at one time. Then the cable companies realized that DSL was eating their lunch in peak-time performance, and they upgraded their infrastructure to put fewer subscribers on each network segment. Likewise, once Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile roll out LTE, Sprint will have to make more WiMAX network segments (that is, towers) or lose customers.

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        That was the consensus about cable Internet at one time. Then the cable companies realized that DSL was eating their lunch in peak-time performance, and they upgraded their infrastructure to put fewer subscribers on each network segment. Likewise, once Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile roll out LTE, Sprint will have to make more WiMAX network segments (that is, towers) or lose customers.

        Quite right. They are losing us as customers right now. There have been several dozen incidents in the last week where fai

  • My worry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by initialE (758110) on Sunday May 30, 2010 @11:48PM (#32403446)

    If 4G doesn't take off, then will we start seeing ISPs throttling the speeds of 3G so as to make it look more attractive?

    • 3G is already capped (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)
      They already do. A 3G mobile broadband connection from any of the four major U.S. providers is limited to 5 GB per month, while Sprint plans to offer significantly higher monthly transfer caps to 4G customers.
  • Look, it's pretty simple.

    I have Clear. It's vastly superior to my AT&T DSL line in every single way except for latency (which isn't bad at all). I won't be playing online first person shooters, but other than that it's good enough. In fact, it's better. Much better.

    And it's portable.

    4g is the real deal. I am not going back.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      I think it would be nice to have both. My experience with DSL is that it has low latency. Combine that with a 4G connection from an Evo, and bulk data transfers can go through the 4G network where latency isn't an issue. Time sensitive items such as video streaming, ssh sessions, and online gaming go through the DSL pipe.

      4G has some very good advantages. One of the biggest is that no wiring is needed, other than plugging the WiMax router into a 120VAC source.

  • by dokebi (624663) on Monday May 31, 2010 @12:04AM (#32403562)
    Basically, the lower the frequency, the further it reaches. Verizon bought gobs of spectrum in the 700Mhz range, which is great for building penetration and longer reach. Compare that to Sprint/Clearwire's 2500Mhz spectrum, which is known to be blocked by wet leaves. T-mobile also bought spectrum in the 700Mhz range, but likely will use it to build out their 3G network.

    AT&T pretty much sat that auction out, so I can't imagine their data service getting much better. I hope their pico cell strategy pans out.
    • by codepunk (167897)

      Yes but you are only telling half of the story here. The lower the frequency the lower the theoretical bandwidth. So yes 700mhz is great for long range communications but it is horrible for high data transmission rates.

  • Am I living under a rock or something? I'm vaguely aware that there's something called "4G", and it's supposed to be faster than "3G". Beyond that, I haven't really heard much.

    Nothing like whether Avatar is "worth the hype"...

    Though, judging from the things I see described this way on Slashdot, maybe hype itself is overhyped?

  • Coverage so far for 4G seems really thin. [sprint.com].

    For now I don't know if I would get a device that supports it, but a mobile hotspot device might be good if you go to one of those areas at all often.

  • Sprint is not 4G, it's just Sprint's 4th generation. They are not going to be able to run the 4G phones like Verizon and AT&T.

  • by sgt101 (120604) on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:45AM (#32405056)

    Latency : we will not see any change while people are still using MIP (Mobile IP) - this is the source of latency on mobile devices; it gives seamless roaming, but the price is playing ping pong with your packets.

    Throughput : if you have a MIMO (multiplex in, multiplex out) implementation of 4G you will see 375 MB throughput in a cell as opposed to 75 ish with Wimax or 3G, the good thing about LTE as I understand it is that you can mix MIMO nodes and normal nodes in a network with no worries, so that means that you can put MIMO nodes where you want them. Of course you can get similar architectural effects with femento cells, but I think that the architecture will work out better and consumers will see better throughput for their devices and more consistency in metro areas even when there is heavy and popular use.

    Having said that it is not going to be the case that you will want to switch from your DSL to this - or even more particularally from your NGA to this.

    Another key constraint is the battery life of the devices using this - pulling through loads of data is going to drain those batteries, so we will have to see some improvement there just as we did for 3G I guess.

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