Why 4G?

Before we get into too much technical jargon such as 4G and so on, it would be interesting to take a moment to discuss iPhone, which was named Time magazine's Inventor of the Year in 2007, and which has a significant impact on many consumers' view of the capability and future of mobile phones. It is amazing to see the enthusiasm of customers if you visit Apple's stores which are always crowded. Many customers were lined up at the Apple stores nationwide on iPhone launch day (the stores were closed at 2 p.m. local time in order to prepare for the 6 p.m. iPhone launch) and Apple sold 270 000 iPhones in the first 30 hours on launch weekend and sold 1 million iPhone 3G in its first three days. There are also many other successful mobile phones produced by companies such as Nokia, Motorola, LG, and Samsung and so on.
It is interesting to observe that these new mobile phones, especially smart phones, are much more than just phones. They are really little mobile PCs, as they provide many of the key functionalities of a PC:
§  A keyboard, which is virtual and rendered on a touch screen.
§  User friendly graphical user interfaces.
§  Internet services such as email, web browsing and local Wi-Fi connectivity.
§  Built-in camera with image/video capturing.
§  Media player with audio and video decoding capability.
§  Smart media management tools for songs, photo albums, videos, etc..
§  Phone call functionalities including text messaging, visual voicemail, etc.
However, there are also many features that some mobile phones do not yet support (although they may come soon), for example:
§  Mobile TV support to receive live TV programmes.
§  Multi-user networked 3D games support.
§  Realistic 3D scene rendering.
§  Stereo image and video capturing and rendering.
§  High definition visuals.
The lack of these functions is due to many factors, including the computational capability and power constraints of the mobile devices, the available bandwidth and transmission efficiency of the wireless network, the quality of service (QoS) support of the network protocols, the universal access capability of the communication system infrastructure and the compression and error control efficiency of video and graphics data. Although it is expected that the mobile phone will evolve in future generations so as to provide the user with the same or even better experiences as today's PC, there is still long way to go. From a mobile communication point of view, it is expected to have a much higher data transmission rate, one that is comparable to wire line networks as well as services and support for seamless connectivity and access to any application regardless of device and location. That is exactly the purpose for which 4G came into the picture.
4G is an abbreviation for Fourth-Generation, which is a term used to describe the next complete evolution in wireless communication. The 4G wireless system is expected to provide a comprehensive IP solution where multimedia applications and services can be delivered to the user on an ‘Anytime, Anywhere' basis with a satisfactory high data rate and premium quality and high security, which is not achievable using the current 3G (third generation) wireless infrastructure. Although so far there is not a final definition for 4G yet, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is working on the standard and target for commercial deployment of 4G system in the 2010–2015 timeframe. ITU defined IMT-Advanced as the succeeding of IMT-2000 (or 3G), thus some people call IMT-Advanced as 4G informally.
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