Feeds

WiMAX and LTE grab 4G moniker

Talkin' 'bout MY generation

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The ITU has decided that both LTE and WiMAX may be known as "4G" technologies, despite neither properly qualifying as part of the fourth generation of mobile technologies.

The International Telecommunications Union decided in November that only LTE-Advanced and its WiMAX equivalent (WirelessMAN-Advanced2) offered enough speed to qualify as fourth-generation technologies, but with network operators already playing fast and loose with the term the ITU has now decreed that the preceding technologies can also be known as 4G networks.

While the separation between the first generation; analogue, and second generation; digital, networks is clearly defined, their descendants have a less radical evolution with a handful of technologies sitting uncomfortably between generations as engineers developed incremental progressions, and marketeers sought revolutionary claims.

Those marketeers sought so many revolutions they were forced to subdivide the generations, introducing "2.5G", "3.75G" and so forth, despite the terms having no meaning at all.

DailyWireless.org presents a particularly good example from a T-Mobile advertisement.

The ITU makes specific requirements of a technology before it will bestow a generational change, creating definitions based on speed that, for example, allow GSM EDGE to slip in to the definition of 3G (and thus enabling Apple to claim that even the first iPhone was a 3G device) despite the fact that no-one outside the industry considers EDGE to be a 3G technology.

When it comes to 4G the discrepancy is the other way - only LTE-Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced2 fit the profile for 4G as defined by the ITU (100Mb/sec in motion, 1Gb/sec when stationary), but that hardly matters when everyone outside the ITU (including this publication) is already referring to both ordinary LTE and WiMAX as 4G technologies.

So the ITU has relented, admitting that "it is recognized that [4G] ... may also be applied to ... LTE and WiMax". But not content with stopping there, the ITU admits that the term may also be used to refer to "other evolved 3G technologies", basically giving the marketeers free rein to use the term as they feel fit.

Which is what they where going to do anyway, of course. The ITU has no power to prevent anyone calling their technology 4G, 5G or anything else they like. This change in policy will simply prevent the few geeks who thought they knew better from pointing the use of incorrect generational terms out to others who don't really care anyway. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE
Just need to bring the fibre box within 19m ...
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.