Information Systems for Decision Making: 3g vs. 4g Essay

It has been known for centuries that information is power. What was not known for centuries was how to store information and knowledge in such a way that it can be accessed by everybody from anywhere, anytime. (Alrefai, AbuAli, & Mohammad, 2011) We rely on our cell phones, mobile computers and tablets more and more each day. We are always on the go and we like having the world at our fingertips. The next generation wireless network, as dictated by the standards, creates the opportunity to offer high-speed data services, to build simplified network architecture, and to reduce different operations.

Today we can have information access from anywhere all the time even in a state of mobility. Buzzwords such as mobile, ubiquitous, nomadic, untethered, pervasive, and any time anywhere, are used by different people to refer to the new breed of computing that utilizes small portable devices and wireless communication networks. (Alrefai, AbuAli, & Mohammad, 2011) Just as each generation of a family leaves behind footprints of a rich history for the next generation to follow, generations of mobile telephone systems follow the same unique path.

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The First generation or 1G Mobile telephony system focused on delivering advanced mobile phone service in North America with allocated bandwidth of two 25mHz; one for transmission from base to mobile unit and the second one for transmission from mobile unit to base. The second generation or 2G uses digital encoding, 2G networks support high bit rate voice, limited data communication and different levels of encryption. In 2G systems the data transfer rate is only around 9. 6 kpbs, which is far too slow for retrieving rich information comprising text and images. Alrefai, AbuAli, & Mohammad, 2011) Each new generation usually brings new base technologies, more network capacity for more data per user, and the potential for better voice quality too.

There are so many varieties of 3G, though, that a “3G” connection can get you Internet speeds anywhere from 400Kbps to more than ten times that. 4G phones are supposed to be even faster, but that is not always the case. There are so many technologies called “4G” and so many ways to implement them, that the term is almost meaningless. G networks support multimedia and broadband services at faster speeds than prior generations; they have far greater ranges because they use large satellite connections that connect to telecommunication towers. (Turban & Volonino, 2011) 3G systems were designed to offer mobile multimedia communication capabilities in a seamless and efficient manner. Regardless of their location users will be able to use a single device in order to enjoy a wide variety of applications. Some key characteristics of 3G systems are as follows:

1. Support for both symmetric and asymmetric traffic. 2. Packet-switched and circuit switched service support such as internet (IP) traffic and high performance voice services. 3. Support for running several services over the same terminal simultaneously. 4. Backward compatibility and system interoperability. 5. Support for roaming. (Papadimitriou, Pomportrio, Nicopolitidis, & Obaidat, 2003) 4G offers faster access to data using mobile phones, streaming video works better with 4G with less stuttering and a higher resolution.

In comparison of 3G and 4G there are a number of factors to take into consideration, data throughput, network architecture, services , application and user perception. In terms of data throughput, 3G offers up to 3. 1mbps whereas 4G offers 3 -5 mbps with a potential estimated range of 100 to 300 mbps. The network architecture of 3G is wide area cell based as opposed to 4G being and integration of wireless LAN and Wide Area. 3G service is still more prevalent in most areas than 4g, although customers that have access to 4G perceive it to be faster than 3G.

Although 4G networks have been rolling out across the country for a few years the issue has been slightly confusing; various technologies have been tagged with the 4G label, LTE, WiMax or WiBro; LTE or Long Term Evolution has emerged as the front runner. With 4G LTE, users enjoy extremely fast download speeds and therefore smoother streaming video, faster loading websites, and (eventually) potentially better call quality. 4G LTE can support download speeds of up to 100Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps. (Hill, 2012) From the Verizon Wireless Website it states the following features for 4G LTE:

1. Global adoption. Over 130+ wireless carriers worldwide have chosen LTE as their 4G technology. This means in the future, customers will be able to travel from country to country using the same device, just as GSM has been widely adopted worldwide today. 2. Future availability of more 4G devices and applications. Because LTE has been selected by carriers worldwide, there will be a wide array of devices and applications from wireless manufactures to support the vast adoption and demand for LTE and innovative applications. These innovations will promote maximum efficiency for businesses and consumers. 3. Backward compatibility with existing 3G networks.

Your Mobile Broadband connections are maintained even in non-4G coverage locations. This enables you to experience 4G in launch markets, yet still stay connected to America’s largest and most reliable 3G network in other places. (Verizon Wireless, 2012) The mobile WiMax or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless communications standard designed to provide 30 to 40 megabit-per-second data rates. The name was created by the WiMax Forum which describes WiMax as “a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as alternative to cable and DSL.

WiMax has shown download speeds of 3-6 Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps. WiMax is backwards compatible with previous generations of WiMax. Certain parts of a residential or commercial structure, city, metropolitan area, or other geographic area may have no coverage. Coverage for WiMax is very limited in the U. S. WiBro or Wireless Broadband is the first 4G internet technology, it was developed to allow people to access the Internet from anywhere in the country. Even if you are in a moving vehicle you can still access the internet because the WiBro continues to transmit the signal whether you are moving or sitting still.

WiBro supports data rates between 20 Mbps and 50 Mbps. The WiBro wireless cells have a radius of one to five kilometers. It is believed that WiBro technology can pull up productivity in production sites. Korea became the first in the world to set up a 4G WiBro network. It previously had networks in Seoul and the metropolitan area plus five major cities around the country. It then expanded the network to all cities and major highways. Now its WiBro network covers 85 percent of the total population, far exceeding the WiBro coverage of the United States at 36 percent or Japan’s 70 percent. (Ja-young, 2011)

Every cell phone company is striving to be the best; they are all competing to see who can provide the best phones, service plans, fastest service, minimal roaming and fewest dropped calls. Because we are living in a time where we want everything as quickly as possible it is advantageous for cell phone companies to be ahead of the game. 4G LTE is the new wave of the future; people are always looking for the next best thing. 4G LTE carriers are constantly competing for business and this in turn can be beneficial for end users because they will be willing to go above and beyond to provide what their fiercest competitors can’t provide.

Although AT& T has the fastest service they have the smallest coverage area, people would rather have a phone that is slower by a few seconds than areas with no service. With the continued growth of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, people in more areas of the United States will be able to take advantage of the speed and connectivity offered by the nation’s fastest 4G network. Verizon Wireless currently offers more than 20 4G LTE-enabled devices, including the new Lucid™ by LG and the Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 7. 7. Verizon Wireless 4G LTE is the premier wireless data service in the nation, with more than six times the geographic coverage of our nearest competitor’s 4G LTE network and now available to more than two-thirds of the nation’s population,” said David Small, chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless. “We will continue to introduce new markets and expand covered markets to ensure even more wireless users across the United States can take advantage of the benefits that 4G LTE brings to consumers, small businesses and enterprises. ” [ (Graziano, 2012) ]


Alrefai, H. , AbuAli, A. N. , & Mohammad, H. (2011). Convergence Traffic Over Wireless Networks. International Journal of Academic Research, 33-37. Graziano, D. (2012, April 17). Verizon to add 27 new 4G LTE markets, expand in 47 others this week. Retrieved from BGR: http://bgr. com/2012/04/17/verizon-to-add-27-new-4g-lte-markets-expand-in-47-others-this-week/ Hill, S. (2012, September 27). What Can You Expect from 4G LTE Coverage. Retrieved from The Christian Science Monitor: http://www. csmonitor. com/Buiness/Saving-Money Ja-young, Y. 2011, July 3). WiBro Services Available Nationwide. Retrieved from The Korea Times: http://www. koreatimes. co. kr/www/news/nation Papadimitriou, G. , Pomportrio, A. , Nicopolitidis, P. , & Obaidat, M. (2003). Wireless Networks. England: John Wiley and Sons. Turban, E. , & Volonino, L. (2011). Information Technology for Management; Improving Strategic and Operational Performance. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Verizon Wireless. (2012). Retrieved from Verizon Wireless: http://support. verizonwireless. com/faqs/VZAccess/4g_mobilebroadband. html