A new myth is going to rise, the Generation 4. In the beginning was 2G, then 3G, adopted for mobile phone connection as an indicator, for profane people, that something is going on. Only a few take care of technical details such as speed, coverage, power, that remained covered under the brand.
Now it’s time for another change, 3.5G is already deployed, but the name is not so cool (threedotfivegee), and someone gives the tracks for 4G. Basically these rules where about download and upload speed, spectrum range, backward compatibility, essentially it is a wireless broadband Internet system with voice and other services built on top.
In this foggy scenario 3GPP LTE is born, “Long Term Evolution is the name given to a project within the Third Generation Partnership Programme to improve the UMTS mobile phone standard to cope with future requirements” as in Wikipedia pages. And continues “Goals include improving efficiency, lowering costs, improving services, making use of new spectrum opportunities, and better integration with other open standards. The LTE project is not a standard, but it will result in the new evolved release 8 of the UMTS standard, including mostly or wholly extensions and modifications of the UMTS system. (…) the project has set itself some specific goals, much of which is oriented around upgrading UMTS to a so-called fourth generation mobile communications technology”.
In a word, it is a battlefield, the giants started to place their big feet on the ground, one of them already declared that 4G is WiMax, the opposite parts rise the LTE flags (or NGNM), it seems that the winner could be the one that will shout louder than the others. Man at work, manoeuvres, from a theoretical point of view 4G is an UMTS improvement, so HS(D/U)PA already goes in that way: you squeeze your network and obtain better performances (think at the copper wire, from V21/22 to ADSL, good job). But do we really need it, or the challenge could be provide a meddle of technologies from PAN to WAN, all merged together in a standard architecture? And is really Wi-Max the 3G evolution, the 4G? It’s a battlefield, and very often the winner is the strongest, not the smartest.
Why do I blog this?
The evolution from 2G to 3G surprised us, it happened overnight, it is still ongoing, it gives us benefits that we’re still discovering. 4G needs to be a (r)evolution, not a brand but something that transform connectivity in pervasivity.
You better Watch Out.
Japan seems to hold the answer to this 4G puzzle. Being the leader in 3G, Japan and Korea will dictate the terms of real 4G technology in the near future. It may descend uponus as early as 2008 or latest y 2010.
Hope the Japan’s 4G won’t be too much localized (as happened in the 3G experience), otherwise the puzzle will be much more complicated.