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The Real 4G Coming Soon: Mobile Devices 500 Times Faster Than 3G


Experts compare update from switching to fiber-optic cables from dial-up Internet.

GENEVA (The Blaze/AP) -- Mobile technology approved by the United Nations is being called the next generation, but with how much faster the improved mobile devices will be, it's almost like skipping a few generations. Experts compare the new technology to switching from dial-up Internet to fiber-optic cables.

Experts say the technology approved Thursday will make devices 500 times faster than 3G smartphones and eliminate the wait time between the tap of a finger and the appearance of a Web page.

You're probably wondering why it's not being called faster than 4G smartphones. This is because, as IT Wire reports, even though wireless providers have already been bragging about 4G capability, according to ITU standards, it was really still 3G technology.

The technology will be used immediately for planning changes to equipment but it could take two years to show up on consumers smartphone, tablets and other devices because of the time it takes to get to production, International Telecommunication Union spokesman Sanjay Acharya said Thursday.

"This means absolutely no time to get a page open," said Francois Rancy, head of the agency's radiocommunication bureau.

The technology hasn't been available until now because the U.N. must first approve of the international standards for its use.

The IMT-Advanced system uses radio-frequency spectrum much more efficiently, and devices built with it will need less bandwidth to access the Internet, stream videos and transfer data. That means those devices could deliver blazing fast messages, video chats and even high-definition TV.

The new standards for what some call "true" 4G, or fourth generation of mobile wireless standards, were approved by the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly at its meeting this week in Geneva. ITU set the requirements for 4G service in 2009.

In December 2010, ITU said some current technologies such as LTE and WiMax could be billed as forerunners to 4G, even though they don't meet the requirements of the IMT-Advanced system.

The 2G, 3G and 4G families of standards have been set by the International Telecommunication Union to define the services and download speed provided by networks.

The current 3G mobile technology, known as International Mobile Telecommunications, has been widely used since 2000.

IT Wire foresees that with so many in the industry calling their technology 4G, that further confusion will stem when they begin calling what is truly 4G technology, according to ITU, 5G.

Rancy said the new IMT-Advanced systems will deliver "a much higher quality and a much higher bit rate, typically of the order of 100 megabits per second."

A bit is a measure of data, so the new technology would allow devices to obtain data fast enough that most TV shows could be downloaded within about 20 seconds, and CDs within about a minute.

"This is a huge leap," Rancy said. "This is what people are really asking for now."

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