Broadband Guides

What is 4G mobile broadband?

4G mobile broadband explained:
In the past few years 3G mobile broadband services have been replaced by 4G services for most providers. 4G stands for “4th generation”, in that it is the next progression of communication systems or technologies used in the mobile network. It allows for greater speeds and less congestion over the network with the new technology it uses.

While 3G was useful and represented a big step up from the previous capacities of mobile phones, 4G offers a new standard that is even more advanced. With 4G users can stream content, browse quickly, and send emails without hassle, and more importantly the speeds needed for these activities are accessible in the vast majority of locations (whereas before there was a greater variation in signal capacities depending on the area).

4G is also known as LTE (long term evolution) technology. It enables much greater speeds than 3G which mirrors the development of common internet usage from simple communication to downloading and streaming of HD content and more frequent internet use. The International Telecommunication Union are the organisation that have set the standards for 4G communication and defined the minimum speeds needed.

4G has enabled a new range of smartphone usage patterns. These include increased use of cloud technologies, with many users auto-syncing their files automatically with services such as Google Drive. This is very popular in particular for business and their staff, since it allows for a lot of mobile working and frequent backup of files to the cloud – increasing efficiency, cost effectiveness and security. 4G makes it possible for mobile devices to have nearly the same cloud access capabilities as desktops.

Another pattern is the increased use of multimedia services like calls and messages. Previously, there were a lot of obstacles to video calling and MMS sending, but these issues are basically resolved, mobile users would not think twice about sending pictures on their phone or using Skype for mobile nowadays thanks to 4G.

And the associated costs of these services and usage patterns are significantly lower than they were before 4G. Both bill and prepaid customers now use many times more data per day than before, but providers offer these data levels at much the same prices that someone would have been paying on an average day in the pre-4G era. So data consumption has increased but prices have been kept low.

This is all enabled by the different benefits of 4G and their related underlying technologies. One issue than has been improved significantly is the congestion of networks on 4G compared to its predecessors. There are many more devices than device users and huge demands on the network, which results in patchy service particularly at peak times of the day. So even if speeds can be high, the sheer amount of users will congest the network.

4G has implemented some advances to get around this issue and allow more users to get peak services for more of the day. It is much more efficient and has a higher capacity.

And of course, the speeds possible with 4G are the main reason they can enable the new wave of mobile broadband possibilities mentioned earlier. In fact, while 3G was capable of download speeds of up to 21Mbps, 4G can reach 1Gbps for stationery connections and 100Mbps when the user is traveling at high speed (such as while traveling), making it many times more capable and even fast enough to rival terrestrial broadband speeds in some cases (1 Gbps is very fast) – although these speeds are heavily dependent on the signal.