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Summary:

Samsung is showing off a new 4G wireless technology that allows people to connect to the Internet at 100 megabits per second in a vehicle moving at 37 miles per hour. With that you can get 32 channels of video, make video calls and oh, surf […]

Samsung is showing off a new 4G wireless technology that allows people to connect to the Internet at 100 megabits per second in a vehicle moving at 37 miles per hour. With that you can get 32 channels of video, make video calls and oh, surf the Internet. It is also showing off a one gigabit per second fixed wireless technology, reports The Wall Street Journal.

While 4G is not likely to arrive till 2010, the race is on. NTT DoCoMo has shown off a 2.5 gigabit-per-second technology, while others are working on their own variations. By comparison, WiMAX looks painfully slow. Taking a longer term view, it seems that everyone from Samsung to Siemens is looking to escape from under Qualcomm’s yoke, and take better control of their destiny.

Exciting as these breakthroughs might seem, Samsung’s new technology and NTT DoCoMo offerings are unlikely to be commercially available any time soon. The 3G phones have only now started to ship in meaningful numbers, and the 3G networks are only getting lit in many parts of the world. Cingular, one of the largest wireless carriers in the world has only recently started turning on its 3G services.

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  1. 4G is this decade’s PCS. It started out as a title for a service description in a standards body, but before the standards body gets through the service definition and standards-setting process and anyone has time to implement anything, it’ll be totally co-opted by operators as a marketing term. Sprint is already referring to their planned WiMAX network as “4G”; it’s only a matter of time before other wireless operators start referring to their newest technology (EV-DO Rev B, HSUPA, whatever) as “4G” so they’re not perceived as falling behind.

    There will be a brief hue and cry from the technical blogniscenti that they’re misusing the term “4G”, just as when AT&T Wireless introduced their “PCS” service in the mid-90s and there was a brief hue and cry in the technical community that it wasn’t “really” PCS. But over time this will die away as the operators actually start selling the service and competing on things like bandwidth, latency, and openness as opposed to what they call it.

  2. Unofficial definition of 4G:

    ITU defines 4G technology as a future wireless telecommunications technology allowing data transfer rates of 1Gbps at nomadic circumstances and 100Mbps at mobile circumstances. The spectrums for 4G technology will be decided at WRC (World Radiocommunication Conference) in October of 2007. The 4G mobile communications format is expected to become commercially available around 2010.

  3. IP Convergence: Beyond VoIP, Beyond Cost Savings Thursday, August 31, 2006

    What is 4G…

    Even before we had a chance to get a handle on what 3G is (it’s still not even in my local market), wireless providers are starting to tout their 4G technology.
    Earlier this month, Sprint announced their plans for a 4G offering based on WiMax, and now…

  4. With the above definition of 4G, Wimax doesn’t even come close. I’m interested in the technology behind Samsung’s high speeds. I noticed they are using an 8×8 MIMO, whatever that means.

  5. Is this the same as WiBro ?

  6. No, WiBro is basically the same as Wimax.

  7. Certainly good news for mobile website operators looking to provide heavier content.

  8. Jesse Kopelman Thursday, August 31, 2006

    The dirty secret behind these 4G trials is how much spectrum you need to get those 100 Mbps mobile / 1 Gbps stationary speeds. Technologies are judged on their efficiency in terms of bps/Hz. CDMA-based 3G technologies tend to come in at < 1 bps/Hz. The most optimistic claims for WiMax are 4 bps/Hz and I am aware of no current gear that can do that in real-life. Even assuming your stationary system had an unheard efficiency of 10 bps/Hz that would mean you would need 100 MHz of spectrum to offer this service. That is pretty much the equivalent of the entire spectrum holdings of Verizon or Cingular in any given market, a good portion of which is already in use for mundane voice service.

  9. “The dirty secret behind these 4G trials is how much spectrum you need to get those 100 Mbps mobile / 1 Gbps stationary speeds.” And “That is pretty much the equivalent of the entire spectrum holdings of Verizon or Cingular in any given market..”

    Bravo Jesse for pointing this out. Spectrum is limited – nice techie trial to stir the PR pot. But come one – let’s look at reality here and now.

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