“Microwave backhaul” courtesy of Flickr user @jbtaylor
You know what I love about wireless standards? They are so vague and undefined. If you’ve ever shopped for a wireless router and gotten confused over 802.11g vs 802.11n then you know what I’m talking about.
The same confusion and arguments are around for wireless phone speeds as well. Today Sprint announced that Washington, DC among 68 other markets will now have 4G enabled networks for those snazzy Sprint 4G phones out on the market.
Without going too much into the technology, a 4G network means faster data speeds compared to 3G. More Gs, more speed, more fun. That means web browsing, video streaming, all that stuff you do on your phone besides making calls should go faster.
Sounds like great news but of course the other cell phone providers aren’t too far behind with their own “4G technology,” or stuff that isn’t really 4G but they’ll say it is. Verizon hopes to get their 4G in DC come December and AT&T hopes to join the party in 2011.
And what a party it will be, we are already seeing 4G ads out and of course each phone carrier are saying their 4G network is the best.
So remember what I said about wireless standards being vague and undefined? It’s not that there’s not a clear standard, it’s that these companies are taking liberties in what they consider the standard. According to cnet, neither Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile will have 4G networks that actually meets the definition of 4G.
What they will have are faster networks, which in the end is still a plus for us.
So Sprint users, let us know if you are downloading your YouTube videos faster this week. Also of note: the 4G network is currently not supported within the Metro system- you will all have to settle for 3G speeds if you get any signal at all.