Mobile technology is constantly evolving and changing. With every new generation of iPhone and Android comes a whole new set of technological terms and descriptive phrases for us to define and understand. The current new generation of mobile networks and technology has included the 4G and the 4G LTE, but what exactly do these terms refer to? And what exactly is the difference between the two?
To begin with, let’s expand the abbreviations and backtrack to take a look at the 4G and 4G LTE mobile predecessor. Before either 4G or 4G LTE, there was 3G. 3G stands for Third Generation and refers to its constructed mobile data network. 4G thus stands for Fourth Generation and 4G LTE is Fourth Generation, Long Term Evolution. 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE are all mobile technology networks that were built to provide high-speed data service to mobile and wireless devices. The 4G and 4G LTE are data networking standards that have been built to replace, eventually making obsolete, the current and widely used 3G wireless data networks.
3G made smartphones not only feasible, but changed the way millions of users communicated. The problem was that companies and mobile innovators never anticipated the way people would use their 3G devices. Smartphones became so much more than voice and text machines. They became alternate laptops, and people everywhere were downloading massive chunks of information from the Internet. The more it got used, the slower this 3G network became used. Mobile carriers were quickly alerted to the necessity for a faster network, and thus was born the 4G and 4G LTE.
4G and 4G LTE are both, in one simple word, fast. Both networks are obscenely faster when compared to older networks. 4G networks carried by Internet Service Provider, allow downloads as fast as, 3 to 8 megabits per second. In comparison, older 3G networks typically download at 800 to 950 kilobits per second. 4G finally brought ultra-broadband speeds to the everyday USB wireless modems, smartphones, and other mobile devices. One of the main reasons it is able to do this is by redesigning the mobile network as primarily a data network rather than a voice one by using the same TCP/IP protocols underlining the Internet.
Of course, as with every improved technology, there comes another technological improvement fast on its heels, eager to make its predecessor obsolete. 4G LTE relies on the same 4G network, but the LTE refers to a particular 4G protocol that taps into a network aspect that allows what is currently the fastest mobile Internet experience. A 4G smartphone accessing the 4G LTE network can download data at speeds as high as 10 to 12 megabits per second. That means data files may be downloaded from the Internet up to ten times faster than files downloaded with a 3G phone or mobile device accessing the 3G network. File downloads at this speed transform mobile devices into the most efficient mini-computers, allowing quick response times in online multiplayer games and smooth live video streaming.