4G - an Introduction

Today's cell phones are generally great at what they were originally intended to do -- make calls, send text messages, that sort of thing. But with an ever-growing amount of Internet-related activity taking place on modern mobile phones, the current networks can't keep up. They have a knack for becoming completely swamped whenever too many people try to update their Twitter account, download music, watch videos, check traffic reports or do whatever other online activities they're burning to do while away from their traditional computers.

How will 4G networks change business?

Just as mainstream cell-users have started to get more comfortable with the term 3G, the third-generation technology that supports "smartphones," whispers of a mythical 4G on the horizon have already started to spread. In a basic sense, 4G (fourth-generation wireless communications) will involve settling mobile communications firmly and fully into the realm of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Although 4G technology will eventually be implemented in a variety of mobile gadgets, such as laptops and gaming devices, it will have the most noticeable impact in the case of mobile phones since they still deal with voice data differently.

Benefits to the Bottom Line

There are several ways a business could benefit from upgrading to 4G-friendly technology. With all its data being transmitted by VoIP -- that is, without any voice data still hitting the airwaves through a separate, dedicated transmission line -- the business could save money and benefit from enhanced security.

One trend that's likely to become more common is phones designed to be ideal for videoconferencing. That way, colleagues working from remote locations can transmit streaming videos -- whether they're out sick or out on safari -- with just the cameras on their cells.