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Assignment 2 4G Wireless Networks
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Different wireless companies such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint always
tries hard to convince consumers that their wireless network is the best, the
fastest or offers the latest technology for mobile devices. With changing
technology, almost everybody has a smart phone which enables them to check
their emails or surf the web. Currently, there are two different wireless
networks: 3G and 4G. 3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunication is pretty
much an application service that includes wide-area wireless voice telephone,
mobile internet access, video calls, and mobile TV, all in a mobile environment.
4G is pretty much the same concept as 3G except it’s ten times faster than 3G.
(Lee, 2011).
Smartphone users are now consuming more data than ever before on a per-user
basis (Kellogg, 2011). With the availability of new apps, services, and cloud
storage, users are now utilizing their internet connection more than before
(Nguyen, 2012). The current architecture of the 3G network starts with a base
station what is referred as a Node B. The radio network controller (RNC) will

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provide various types of radio-related functionality such as: resource allocation,
link layer encryption, and paging and fine-grained location tracking for mobiles
in idle mode. It will also provide mobility anchoring for mobiles` data flow as
they move from node to node. Meaning it will receive data destined for a given
mobile and redirecting the data to the mobiles current point of attachment. The
Serving GPRS support node (SGSN) is the main component of the GPRS
network that provides high levels of mobility anchoring, paging, and location
tracking for idle mobiles moving from one RNC to another RNC. Finally the
Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) would be responsible for the
interworking between the GPRS network and the external packet switched
networks. It will allocate IP address to mobiles and acts as a gateway router for
the subnet from which the mobile’s IP address is allocated. Data designed for
the given mobile is routed from the Internet to the GGSN. The GGSN applies
operator policies to the data flow, which will then give a tunnel data to the
mobile’s serving SGSN. The SGSN will then tunnel the data to the RNC, then it
will segments the data into link layer protocol data unites which will deliver it
to Node B (base station). Below is a diagram of how the 3G network architect
would look like (Agrawal & Bedekar, 2007).
Figure 1. 3GPP network architecture (Agrawal & Bedekar, 2007).
4G networks will not fix dropped calls or other service problems but it is a lot
faster than the 3G network. It lets the consumers browse the web, download
songs and stream movies a lot quicker than the 3G networks (Lee, 2011). When
comparing 3G and 4G, the data throughput for 3g is up to 3.1 mbps and the 4G
data throughput is 3-5 mbps. 4G networks have a higher frequency band at 2-
8GHz compared to 1.8-2.5GHz. In addition, the peak download rate for 4G is
much more than 3G (3G vs 4G, 2011). As for user perception, most people think
that 4G is faster than 3G, which is true. However, wireless carriers do no
advertise how fast 4G is with numbers, instead, they advertise the “experience”
and the “feel” of the technology.
First off, the "G" stands for a generation of mobile technology. Each "G"
generally requires you to get a new phone, and for networks to make expensive
upgrades. The first two were analog cell phones (1G) and digital phones (2G).
Then it got complicated.
Third-generation mobile networks, or 3G, came to the U.S. in 2003. With
minimum consistent Internet speeds of 144Kbps, they were considered mobile
broadband. There are now so many varieties of 3G, though, that a 3G

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connection can get you Internet speeds anywhere from 400Kbps to more than
ten times that.
New generations usually bring new base technologies, more network capacity
for more data per user, and the potential for better voice quality, too.
4G phones are supposed to be even faster, but that's not always the case. There
are so many technologies called "4G," and so many ways to implement them,
that the term is almost meaningless. The International Telecommunications
Union (ITU) tried to issue requirements to call a network 4G but they were
ignored by carriers, and eventually the ITU gave up. 4G technologies include
HSPA+ 21/42 (HSPA was for 3.5G), WiMAX, and LTE (although some
consider LTE the only true 4G of that bunch, and some people say none of them
are fast enough to qualify.)
There's one thing for sure though, each generation offers faster Internet speeds
than the last, on the same carrier. Sprint's WiMAX 4G is almost always faster
than its CDMA 3G. But AT&T's 3G HSPA can be faster than MetroPCS's 4G
LTE. You can rely on speeds to move up within your carrier, though.
PC Mag runs a yearly Fastest Mobile Networks contest, and in last years test,
they found (quoted from the magazine) “that Verizon's 4G LTE network was the
fastest, followed by T-Mobile 4G HSPA+, AT&T 4G HSPA+, Sprint 4G
WiMAX, MetroPCS 4G LTE, Verizon 3G, and Cricket 3G, with Sprint coming
in last. As AT&T and Sprint put out their LTE networks, they are expected to be
competitive with Verizon's LTE speeds.”
You have to ask yourself when it is right for you to get 4G. Right now the
mobile carriers are still building up their 4G networks, so first off, you’ll need
4G coverage to appreciate a 4G phone. Of the national carriers, Verizon and T-
Mobile have the broadest 4G coverage. AT&T currently only covers about a
quarter of the nation’s population.
Sprint is in the middle of switching 4G systems, from WiMAX to LTE. The two
are not compatible with each other, so you must check coverage in your city for
the specific variety of 4G you're buying.
If your data plan is not unlimited, you better watch out for the amount of data
you use, because it's easy to use up a lot very quickly with 4G.
If you have a 3G phone and the clogged-up networks frustrate you, 4G may be
the solution. You'll be switching to a different, less-trafficked network for your

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Really great stuff, couldn't ask for more.