Whatever your mobile device of choice, Smart phone, Rugged PDA, Tablet or even Laptop, these days the chances are you’re going to want it connected whilst on the move.  The way you do this is by using the mobile networks data services that typically fall into the GPRS or 3G category.

Now we have a really great post on GPRS and 3G, just search for it in our blog search box, but Vodafone is currently trialling a brand new technology called 4G in London right now.

So just what is 4G all about then?

In layman’s terms, 4G is the next generation of mobile data technology, the new 3G if you like! To the average person it’s going to be the latest way to connect whilst on the move.  4G however is way-way faster than 3G speeds, in fact about 10 times faster so even when it’s clogged up with users we’re told that it’s going to still be a significantly faster way to connect.  It’s going to easily rival broadband speeds and it will change the way we work when mobile.

According to the specs it has to hit speeds of at leat 100MB Per Second, and to put that into perspective, the average broadband speed is still 8MBps, maximum 50MBps for those lucky Virgin customers who can get it!  However that’s for faster moving mobile clients such as cars and trains and for slower moving mobile clients 1GBps (1000MBps) is the aim which would be truly astonishing.

Do I need a new phone or device?

Yes, certainly there are no 4G rugged PDA’s at the moment, there are some smartphones and tablets, but my advice is not to worry about it right now.  4G is going to be so far away from being a full UK service that it’s probably best to let chips mature and then buy when the service is fully up and running.

What other benefits does it have

It’s a more stable and secure technology.  3G networks are historically poor at hiding IP addresses and are generally less secure than other IP-based technologies, however 4G is far more IP-like and will offer greater security. The technology is supposedly more stable too so it will support streaming far better and shouldn’t struggle to stay connected as much.

When’s it going to be here?

Trails are ongoing in the UK, however in the USA it’s already live (kind of) and I got to have a play over there recently where I was pretty impressed with the speed I got, although i was in the middle of a city and it certainly wasn’t 100MBPS.  In the UK it’s being rolled out at the end of 2012, but it does require a full upgrade to work so it won’t be before 2013 and beyond when the network operators have a wide-spread enough platform for us to use seamlessly.  It will be interesting to see the coverage charts grow slowly over the next few years but until then we’ll still probably be watching stuttering movies!!

Ask any questions you want, we’ll do the best we can here!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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