4G is characterized by three words: ubiquitous, mobile, and broadband — 3rd Samsung 4G Forum, Jeju Island, Korea, August 2005
4G shall explore more on application level using available networks and should be a Mediator of all the existing and emerging networks that should be easily accessible by everybody wherever, whenever, whatever —First 4G International Workshop, New Delhi, India, November 2004
Wireless mobile communication comprises a wide range of technologies, services, and applications that have come into existence to meet the particular needs of users in different deployment scenarios. Wireless mobile systems can be broadly characterized by content and services offered, reliability and performance, operational frequency bands, standards defining those systems, supported data rates, bidirectional and unidirectional delivery mechanisms, degree of mobility, regulatory requirements, complexity, and cost.
Versatile communication systems, offering customized and ubiquitous services which are based on diverse individual needs, require flexibility in the technology in order to satisfy multiple demands simultaneously. Wireless mobile multimedia traffic is increasing far more rapidly than word of mouth, and will increasingly dominate traffic flows. The paradigm shift from predominantly circuit-switched air interface design to full IP-based delivery has provided the mobile users with the ability to more efficiently, more reliably, and more securely utilize packet-switched services such as e-mail, file transfers, mobile instant messaging, mobile Web browsing, mobile blogging, gaming, voice-over Internet protocol, location-based, multicast, and broadcast services.
Today, the capacity of current 3G and 3.5G networks is still sufficient for the bandwidth requirements of these applications and the number of users. There are a number of trends, however, which are already visible and will increase bandwidth requirements in the future:
l Rising use - due to falling prices, more people will use mobile applications that require network access.
l Multimedia content – while mobilizing the Web resulted in mostly text-based Web pages, graphical content is now the norm rather than the exception, which increases the amount of data that has to be transferred for a Web page. Video and music downloads are also becoming more popular, which further increases in bandwidth requirements.
l Mobile social networks - blogs, podcasts, picture-sharing sites and video portals are now reshaping the Internet, as users no longer only consume content, but use the network to share their own ideas, pictures and videos with other people. Applications let users upload pictures, videos and blog entries from mobile devices to the Web. In particular, picture, podcast and video transfers multiply the amount of data that users transmit and receive.
l Voice over IP - many of fixed line circuit-switched voice networks will have migrated towards IP-based voice transmission. Likewise, on the network access side, many users will use VoIP as their primary fixed line voice service. A similar trend can be observed in wireless networks. Here, however, the migration is much slower, especially due to the higher bandwidth requirements for transporting voice calls over a packet-switched bearer.
l Fixed-line Internet replacement - while the number of voice minutes is increasing, revenue is declining in both fixed line and the wireless networks due to falling prices. In many countries, wireless operators are thus trying to keep or increase the average revenue per user by offering Internet access for PCs, notebooks and mobile devices over their UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System )/HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) or CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) networks. Thus, they have started to compete directly with DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and cable operators. Again, this requires an order of magnitude of additional bandwidth on the air interface.
l Competition from alternative wireless Internet providers - in some countries, alternative operators are already offering wireless broadband Internet access with Wi-Fi or WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access)/802.16 networks. Such operators directly compete with traditional UMTS and CDMA carriers
The trend toward integration and convergence of wireless mobile systems and services can be characterized by connectivity, content, and e-commerce. This trend may be viewed as the integration and convergence of information technology, telecommunications, and content. This has resulted in new service delivery dynamics and a new paradigm in wireless mobile telecommunications, where value-added services have provided significant benefits to both the end users and the service providers.
From a wireless mobile communication point of view, it is expected to have a much higher data transmission rate, one that is comparable to wire line networks as well as services and support for seamless connectivity and access to any application regardless of device and location. That is exactly the purpose for which 4G came into the picture.
What is 4G Unlike 3G, which refers to a specific mobile standard and allows the transfer of data at a minimum accepted speed, 4G, or the fourth generation of wireless communications, refers to a collection of technologies and standards that will find their way into a range of new ubiquitous computing and connections systems. In its earliest stages, 4G offers the promise of allowing users to connect to the Internet and another through a variety of devices and standards anytime, anywhere, and at a wide range of speeds, from narrowband to broadband.
The 4G will be a fully IP-based integrated system of systems and network of networks achieved after the convergence of wired and wireless networks as well as computer, consumer electronics, communication technology, and several other convergences that will be capable of providing 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps, respectively, in outdoor and indoor environments with end-to-end QoS (Quality-of-Service) and high security, offering any kind of services anytime, anywhere, at affordable cost and one billing.