What is 4G?

Randall Stokes/American Profile

The term 4G has been bandied about a lot lately, but what exactly is it?

4G available and in development. WirelessInternet.org reports that this latest development in wireless communication is becoming more available, as 4G technology is adopted by an increasing number of companies. Several — including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS and Verizon — currently use the 4G system. Clearwire and some cable companies are marketing a product called 4GWiMAX for home Internet access.

What is 4G?

The answer can be different depending upon who you ask. A global standards body has been formed recently to address the issue of standardization. That means 4G will be the same for one company as another. Wireless Internet defines 4G as the fourth generation (or version) of wireless technology. Each new generation will improve speed of Internet access, data transfer, sound quality and capacity. Unfortunately, the current 3G standard devices are not compatible with 4G devices. That means, among other things, you will need to buy a new cellphone if you want to use the 4G features and services; 4G will work on an open wireless architecture.

What is OWA?

OWA or (open wireless architecture) is predicted to be the prevailing standard for all future wireless communications. While OWA technology is not new, 4G will use open wireless architecture exclusively in order to standardize, and work from, a common platform for ease of cross-compatibility. That means different devices will all work off of a standard common platform. The open platform model of 4G is expected to be an improvement in more ways than standardization. It will be open technology where the source code will be available and open to everyone. OWA is superior because the open platform allows input from many developers, which can lead to an improved product.