If you have been recently thinking of upgrading to 4G mobile broadband, then you might want to look beyond that horizon. There is a new and ten times faster standard that was recently approved called the IMT-Advanced. With all the mobile networks working towards making 4G LTE services available to their customers, it finally seems that 4G mobile broadband is about to become a standard for all networks. But what if we tell you that the technology mobile operators have been calling 4G is not really 4G but can be more accurately named ‘4G Lite’ and that a ten times faster 4G mobile broadband is just around the corner? Wouldn’t that raise your curiosity and force you to ask; Is 5G mobile broadband just around the corner? Just last month the International Telecommunication Union approved a new standard of communications technology called the IMT-Advanced.
International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced (IMT-Advanced) is said to be such a leap in technology that it is said to make our current mobile broadbands feel like dial-up connections. It claims to be faster than the best broadband connection out there in the market whether mobile or desktop.
IMT-Advanced cannot be defined as a specific technology like WiMax, LTE, and HSPA+. It is rather a list of requirements and specifications for all mobile broadband service providers. So to receive the designation of IMT-Advanced what the mobile operators will have to do is build the gear to meet those requirements.
Technically the last approved technology standards by the ITU were those of 3G, so that makes the latest IMT-Advanced a 4G technology. The recently marketed technologies being called 4G don’t even come close to measuring up to the standards of IMT-Advanced. Mobile operators will have to further refine their WiMax or LTE technologies if they want to meet the IMT-Advanced standards.
Benefits of IMT-Advanced
Most mobile operators are relying on 3G which offers a downloading speed of 2 Mbps and a very slow uploading speed of around 200 Kbps. HSPA+ offered by operators like T-Mobile has a downloading speed of 42 Mbps and is in the hopes of offering LTE services with a downloading speed of 82 Mbps.
The WiMax and LTE technologies can only be called an improvement to 3G technology in the ‘ideal conditions’. To understand the ideal conditions just think that you have to stay stationary so no data signals are disturbed. A typical WiMax service will offer 128 Mbps downloading speed, while LTE will offer 50 Mbps in ideal conditions. Of course, this doesn’t account for the bandwidth taken up by housekeeping and protocol transactions.
Now IMT-Advanced will offer 100 Mbps of downloading speed under all normal conditions, i.e. especially while moving. And when not moving you can get up to a maximum of 1 Gbps of downloading speed!
If that got a little too complicated let’s put it a little more simply. With IMT-Advanced, it is going to take you just 20s to download an episode of your favorite TV show and barely a minute to download a whole album of your favorite pop artist with no compression. Now that is what you can call fast! It is something the best broadband services can’t even provide for desktop connections.
When Will We Get to Use IMT-Advanced?
Unfortunately ITU has no say as to how the technology is going to be deployed by mobile operators because they don’t really build the telecommunication gear. Plus, ITU has not considered a society that can bind operators to follow standards. Along with the ITU other bodies like WiMax Forum, IEEE, and 3GPP also play a major role in the standardization of technologies.
So, now it’s their turn to make it the next standard so that licensing issues may be resolved and telecommunication developers can start producing the gear necessary to enable mobile operators’ adaptation to IMT-Advanced.
We just might have to wait another couple of years before the IMT-Advanced technology can be brought into the marketplace. So while you see all the mobile operators advertise their 4G services, remember it’s just a preview of the real thing.
Chances are that mobile operators will probably end up calling it ‘5G’ since they will have already exhausted the term ‘4G’ by marketing it. After all the consumers don’t really understand the technology behind it, so mobile operators will be playing with their psyche.