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An acronym for Long Term Evolution, LTE is a 4G wireless communications standard developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) that’s designed to provide up to 10x the speeds of 3G networks for mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, notebooks and wireless hotspots. 4G technologies are designed to provide IP-based voice, data and multimedia streaming at speeds of at least 100 Mbit per second and up to as fast as 1 GBit per second.

4G LTE is one of several competing 4G standards along with Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) and WiMax (IEEE 802.16).  The leading cellular providers have started to deploy 4G technologies, with Verizon and AT&T launching 4G LTE networks and Sprint utilizing its new 4G WiMax network.  In terms of mobile devices, many newer Android-based smartphones are 4G LTE capable, and Apple have built-in 4G LTE capabilities.

To date, more than 40 countries have rolled out 4G and are already reaping the benefits of faster mobile networks.

These nations include economic powerhouses such as the USA, Russia and Japan, and also smaller countries such as Angola, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania.

These countries are investing in 4G for a very simple reason: they realize that technology is an engine for economic growth, one that will help existing businesses to grow while encouraging investment from overseas.  This technology will benefit everyone globally.  For example, all businesses that require connectivity, for example those that operate in entertainment, media and e-commerce, are set to benefit from faster and more reliable mobile data services, improving efficiency and productivity.

When you’re shopping for wireless Internet service, the selection can seem overwhelming. Simplify the matter by knowing who you are and what you want: for people who want to stay connected anytime, anywhere, 4G (fourth generation) presents a superior solution.

Take the World Wide Web With You

With 4G wireless Internet service, your connectivity isn’t limited to the desktop in your home office, and you won’t have to lug your laptop searching for a wireless hotspot in a coffee shop either. No matter where you are, you can simply pull out your mobile Smartphone and access wireless Internet within seconds. Whether you are at home or on the road, 4G frees your Internet access from being confined by your location. (image courtesy – wikimedia)

4G modem

High Speeds to Meet Your Needs

Of course, this technology could never compete if it were slow! The 4G wireless system is built to be fast: high data rates are offered at an expectation of 100 Mbps wireless service (about four to six times faster than 3G). This allows 4G users to maximize use of online multimedia applications – upload pictures, download music and stream high-definition video at optimal quality and speed. No lag, no drag!

Security is Still Essential

You don’t have to sacrifice security for 4G’s speed and accessibility. 4G technology was actually pioneered by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense. Developers continue to anticipate security needs and are creating a standardization in security that will still allow for the flexibility that 4G provides.

Make it Yours

Options for 4G capable smartphones are expanding. In addition to Sprint Nextel’s HTC Evo and Apple’s iPhone, Samsung and Motorola and T-Mobile now offer an impressive 4G Smartphone lineup. Verizon has recently announced plans to debut its own 4G network, with a corresponding Smartphone set to arrive in February 2011.

HTC Evo 4G

To be clear, a 4G network is not the same as a 4G Smartphone – the phone is built to operate on the network. Currently, 4G network coverage is limited to select US cities (about 38) but that number is expected to grow with the technology’s popularity.

Wireless Internet Service for the Future

The benefits of 4G have yet to completely blossom, for the implications of a 4G network may be larger than we currently understand. Remember what cell phones did for the telecommunications industry; globally, there are now more than five billion cell phone subscriptions, and one out of two Americans are expected to own a Smartphone by 2011 – making land line phones practically obsolete.

If developed successfully, 4G wireless Internet service may set a similar pattern, forcing wired Internet providers to expand their value and services if they want to stay relevant. More importantly, with the Internet potentially available to everyone everywhere, barriers are removed, collaboration is improved, and the market may feature a wider assortment of novel applications and tools to make use of this ubiquitous connection.

4G represents an evolution in the way we use the Internet, and the future certainly looks bright.



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