London becomes 4G high speed internet hotspot London will begin to switch on 4G high-speed
mobile internet with the launch of the first large-scale
public trial in Britain. Initiated by O2, Britain's second
largest operator with 22 million customers, the trial
involves more than 25 masts covering 15 square miles. It
will run for nine months, and the equipment installed will
eventually become part of O2's first commercial 4G
The technology is 10 times faster at navigating the
internet than the current 3G networks, which often
frustrate smartphone users because they are significantly
slower than the average home broadband connection.
The 25 masts in London will be able to carry more data
than O2's entire national 3G network.
Britain's 4G or long-term evolution (LTE) upgrade,
expected to begin in earnest in 2013 after a much delayed
spectrum auction, will make mobile networks powerful
enough to handle video calls, high definition TV and live
multi-player gaming. About 1,000 users will be invited to
join the London trial.
Initially, the O2 trial will not involve phones,
because no compatible handsets exist yet. Samsung
dongles will be handed out to plug into tablets and laptop
computers, as will portable miniature modems that can
create small WI-FI hotspots linking into O2's 4G
infrastructure or "backhaul".
The new technology is capable of speeds of up to
150 megabits per second. During the trial, users will be
more likely to experience average speeds between
25Mbps and 50Mbps. When 4G is introduced nationally
the average speeds are likely to drop to between 10Mbps
and 15Mbps. This is faster than 3G, which averages
between 1Mbps and 1.5Mbps, and compares well with the
average household, fixed line broadband connection,
which rose to just under 7Mbps this year.
Live gaming against other players and video calling
without delays will become possible from phones,
because the speed at which new information loads onto
the screen will be reduced from 1 second to 0.07 seconds. (Adapted from www.guardian.co.uk, Sunday 13, November,
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