Introduction and description
Over the last 20 years there have been major developments in the in the telecommunications industry. As the “G” stands for generation, it shows the forward steps taken in the industry. Ever since the advent of the analog system (1G) in the early 1980s, there has been a steady improvement every so often in the industry. The introduction of 2G marked a move into the digital age in the early 1990s. With the coming of the new millennium, a new unprecedented system came into play and it was known as 3G. With 3G, the speeds and quality were much improved for telecommunication. It is from this 3G technology that 4G technology in telecommunication is based.
4G technology is the short of 4th generation technology. It is the predecessor to the 3G and the 2G technologies in telecommunication. It is a form of wireless/ cellular communication with specific set standards. 4G specifically provides solutions through mobile broadband for laptops, mobile phones, smart phones and devices, gaming consoles and wireless modems. It is a relatively new technology capable of transmitting information at very high speeds.
4G represents a move from the network core form of communication to complete, comprehensive and secure IP-based form of communication. 4G provides a single environment that acts as a platform for all telecommunication activities such as voice, video, multimedia and internet transmission for both wireless and fixed networks. Unlike in the past, the telecommunication system now allows for complete integration of both voice and data communication without the need for circuit switches and other voice-centric capabilities.
Due to its new capabilities, 4G aims at ironing out the still prevalent problems with the former systems such as 3G. It is expected to address are the problems associated with the former technologies in terms of speed and quality of the transmissions. It is capable of offering a wide variety of services, at relative ease, through wireless channels. The services include high quality voice, high definition video and high data rate in one instance.
The fuss around the 4G system is much warranted when you consider the fact that it not only support next generation mobile devices but can also support fixed communication systems. With minimal or no changes, individuals can still their old devices that supported the 3G system. It is from the 3G platform that the 4G system has been developed and integrated. It is a natural and seamless extension of the 3G technology with an added twist to make it a much better technology.
The 4g system generally shifts the focus to the user. Unlike in the past where the user could not control the options available to him/her at will, the 4G system does allow him/her to do so. By using an array of available intelligent terminals, he/she can get simple broadband to perform a range tasks taking into consideration to his/her taste and preferences at one particular time. Without stopping one activity, for example a conversation, the user can quite easily and effectively switch to terminals between the networks in use i.e. whether fixed or mobile. In performing all these tasks and switches, the user manages to retain total control over the costs and security options.
The capabilities of 4G technology extend beyond what was possible in the past. Depending on the strength and proximity of an individual to a 4G signal, the individual can actually use the technology for a home broadband connection without the need of cables. In addition, the technology provides services on mobile devices anywhere and at anytime. Unlike the 3G technology, where one had to be at an internet hotspot in order to enjoy the services, 4G allows for roaming with minimal restrictions. Most of these hotspots were in libraries and coffee shops or even in parks. On top of all these, the 4G technology improves on efficiency and the cost per bit making it relatively cheaper than that of current voice networks. This thus proves to be the coming of the user’s age.
The 4G technology functions as per what is known as the 4G standards. For a network service to be accepted to be 4G, then it has to meet all these minimum requirements. A 4G system has to meet the following requirements;
- It has to be an all IP-based packet system.
- Have a peak data rate of up to 100 Mb/s for mobile devices and a peak of up to 1 Gb/s for fixed or low mobility devices.
- Hs to capable of sharing and utilizing network services to support multiple users simultaneously per cell.
- Has a wide bandwidth of between 5MHz and 20MHz.
- It should have the capability to provide high quality service to next generation multimedia devices.
Technology involved in 4G telecommunications
Despite the fact that most of the technological infrastructure in use in 4G telecommunication has been borrowed from either the 2G or the 3G systems, there are some glaring differences that exist between the former and the current. 4G technology in 4g telecommunications is purely IP packet based which is very different from the network core base that is in use in the 3G system of communication. Due to this specification, 4G is quite capable of running, utilizing some of the most advanced, and sophisticated technologies in the industry at the moment to get the best results possible.
4G technology can be considered to be a multi-purpose system thus being capable of utilizing all the packet switching technologies. 4G technology is quite capable of running on both orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) and orthogonal frequency division multiple accesses (OFDMA). However, of greatest importance is OFDM, which is capable of splitting a digital signal into different frequencies or even narrowband. This means that it is capable of sending information or data in parallel channels on one instance. Other technologies such as 3G can only utilize one channel thus limiting the amount and quality of transmissions.
Another technology in use with the 4G is the ultra wide band (UWB). UWB usually has a wide bandwidth, which spreads, over a wide area. On top of this, the frequency of the signals is usually altered such that it is very high; from ranges of 1Ghz up to 3.1Ghz. these altered high frequencies ensure that there is no interference from other electronically transmitting devices such as televisions and radios. On the other hand, UWB transmitters transmit a very narrow radio frequency at very low power levels and at short pulse periods. This ensures that the frequency transmitted, though wide, will fall below the normal detection levels of most radio frequency receivers. One notable advantage of the use of UWB is the fact that it is not susceptible to multipath distortions and interference. This ensures the quality and frequency of the transmissions is constant throughout.
The other technology in use is adaptive modulation and coding (AMC). The basic function is to manage transmissions to the best available channels in the network. This allows to adaptation of users’ data rates depending on the conditions of their channels. Over time of adaptation, the system gathers information from both the receiver and the transmission as pertains to the channels available for modulation and coding. By doing so, it is capable of selecting the best option or channels to transmitting thus optimizing the whole process. In addition, the adaptive nature of the system allows for the integration and running of 4G systems on either 2G or 3G devices available in the market. Therefore, individuals do not have to acquire new devices to utilize the various services under 4G telecommunication.
Utilization of multiple smart antennas or what is known as multi-in multi-out (MIMO) is another technology used in 4G technology. Multiple antennas are placed at the receiver and/or the transmitter to optimize the radiation of the frequency by automatically responding to the signal and the environment. The fact that MIMO is both a transmitter and a receiver generally simplifies the whole process making it possible to transmit and receive high data rates at the same time. This is also due to the fact that multiple antennas create multiple parallel channels through which data transfer and reception can be done simultaneously at the same time.
Finally, another technology in this system is the open distributed ad-hoc wireless network. This allows for individual handsets in use to automatically route in the best path/ channel utilizing minimal power requirements. This also helps in integrating various personal network computing user needs. Through this enabling of the individuals, it becomes possible to create human rather than computer networks. The social network will mark the rise of the human age in computing.
Future trends in 4G telecommunications
With the coming of 4G, technology to the fore of the telecommunications industry marks one major step in the right direction. One major effect of the introduction of 4G technology is the urgent need for devices that can be used in tapping the potential of this development. Though most of the current devices that make use of 3G can be used with minimal or no adjustments, they cannot maximize the potential of 4G technology.
Though 4G is a relatively new system, with a majority of countries yet to embrace it, there are already plans to develop new and even better systems. The telecommunication industry has never been the type to be stuck for too long with one form of technology. The fact that the 4G system worked without much of a problem really opened the industry to a horizon of possibilities. With a growing demand for faster yet quality ways of communicating, the industry has to always be on its toes to meet this demand.
There are already plans to improve on the 4G system by introducing the 5th generation in the line of production. The 5G is currently in the design, testing and development stage. It is expected to provide even better services than the 4G system.
Currently in Europe, there are scientists working on a new technology that will be able to deliver mind blowing speeds of up to 12.5GB/s. the project is known as millimeter-wave is meant not only for commercial telecommunication applications, but also for various other fields such as astronomy, security and radar. This is ever completed will mark a substantial leap in performance in the telecommunication industry. Following this development, various companies in Europe are already gearing up to take advantage of vacuum that already exists. If implemented, there are no devices in the market that can support this system and as such, the relevant companies are starting to develop the devices.
Companies involved 4G telecommunication
With 4G being an open system open for use to everyone, it requires an exerted effort by both network service providers and device makers to ensure that it can be used effectively; a transmitting end should be met a receiving end to ensure success.
Major companies engaged in development and productions of devices such as mobile phones already have devices in the market to meet the new growing demand from the consumer. Companies such as LG, Nokia, Samsung, Apple and Sony have over the last few years launched devices that can utilize the services on offer with the 4G packet. Most of devices had been developed pre 4G but with little or tuning they can work properly. Every new day, these companies launch better devices to comply with the new capabilities of the system. This are basically the hardware required for use with 4G technology.
Other companies involved are those engaged in developing software or platform on which the 4G system can run on. It should be noted that some device building companies such as Nokia develop their own systems that run in the devices they build. Smart phones, which are the most common devices, have been around for a while. In the recent past, companies such as Google have come up with even better systems on which 4G services can be optimized. The Android system was specifically marked as a next generation system tailored to provide the functionality required for 4G telecommunication.
Finally, the companies required in the transmitting the services such as mobile phone service providers are also essential. A good example is T-Mobile in the US. Most of the service providers and the US and Europe have already started offering the services or have already set up the necessary infrastructure awaiting implementation in the near future.
Regulatory issues in 4G telecommunications technology
As a regulation, service providers have to have a license in order to specifically provide 4G and related services. The fact that providers have to have multiple licenses in order to provide interlinked services is very costly. Companies that initially held licenses to provide 3G related services have to undergo the whole process acquiring a new license though the basic make up of the two is the same. Currently, just a handful of providers in the US have the license to provide the services. This is against the growing demand for the services from the public.
The 4G package offers a variety of services that vary in terms of frequency. The current regulation requires that a service provider to sign up for a specific range or group. As was the case with the 3G, the service providers find themselves tying their clients to a specific service. The users of the services in this case would find themselves on the losing end. If a provider does not have the desired package, then they stand to lose a lot in terms of clientele base. The devices in the market may also not be compatible with 4g services that they may be offering.
Finally, the fact that the process of designating and acknowledging of the 4G standards is carried out by one single body takes a lot of time. Approval is done by the international telecommunications union (UTI). The UTI follows a stringent set of rules before acknowledging the authenticity of the service. A good example of this is the fact that initially, the major carriers in the US such as T-Mobile and Verizon found it a hard task to have their services approved to be 4G standard.
Global implications of 4G telecommunication technology
4G technology in telecommunication is a relatively new technology in the World. Taking into consideration the fact that 3G is yet to be implemented in most of the 3rd world countries, 4G thus proves to be a major leap in the right direction. Currently, the implementation and use of the 4G technology has been concentrated in the North Americas, Europe and parts of Asia. However, proper implementation of 4G technology promises to have some great implications in the way people relate in the World.
One thing that 4G promises is the harmonization of the communication systems in the whole World. 4G system of communication promises services anywhere and anytime. This will essentially create a global village where information is shared easily, quickly and freely. Through this enabling of individuals, most cultural and other social barriers can be eliminated. Individuals can cultivate relationships between individuals of different national, cultural and social backgrounds.
Through the technology in use in 4G, individuals are able to create human networks through computing devices. This is what is generally known as social networking. Through the existence of these networks, individuals are able to establish relationships with individuals everywhere in the world. It may encourage cultivation of working relationships in various parts of the World. This will essentially mean individuals do not have to travel long distances to seek new business opportunities.
Through creation of social profiles, the individuals can actually live in what is a virtual world. Communication everywhere and anytime allows individuals to work or perform their tasks from any point in the World. The 4G system provides no security restrictions as to where and how one chooses to perform their various tasks and activities. Through this, global bodies such as the United Nations can easily manage its activities and also optimize its operation ability.
After a careful examination, it is quite evident that the implementation of 4G technology in the telecommunication industry can only be seen as a revolutionary step. Over the years, there has been demand for a system that integrates all the services in on package with relative ease. 4G has managed this with minimal complexity to the whole system. the service id user friendly in terms of cost effectiveness and efficiency.