Techspeak – What the hell is... 4G?

4G? The iPhone’s not even 3G yet!Yep, we know. But never fear 4G is some way off yet. It’s the next big thing for wireless though, with No

4G? The iPhone’s not even 3G yet!

Yep, we know. But never fear 4G is some way off yet. It’s the next big thing for wireless though, with Nokia and Sony Ericsson hooking up this week to create LTE (Long Term Evolution), so they can share their patents for the speedy tech.

So what is it then?

Basically it’s faster and covers more distance than your regular 3G. On top of that, Nok reckons it’ll replace your regular Wi-Fi. That means the potential for a one–stop–shop provider, serving up hi–def movies, tunes and anything you fancy downloading on the move and at home.

Isn’t Wimax supposed to be taking Wi-Fi’s crown though?

Er, yeah. Intel, who are behind Wimax says 10 million people will be using their wireless standard by 2009 with “hundreds of millions two years after that.” Still, Nokia’s Wimax–toting N810 will be the last the Finnish mobile mavens crank out, as they focus on LTE instead.

Okay, so when does this 4G action begin?

Don’t hold your breath. Experts reckon we’ll need to wait until wired and wireless tech converges, offering anything up to 1Gbps. Considering the UK averages a lowly 4.6Mbps at the moment, and Ofcom wants to stick cables in the sewers to speed things up, we’ve got a long wait ahead. The US and China will get the LTE version of 4G first anyway. Rubbish.

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