Pre-4G (Mobile WiMAX & LTE)


Pre-4th generation technologies have been emerging since the late 2000's. Mobile WiMAX (802.16e) is still the most common in the US, and is currently offered by several carriers. Typical downlink is stated between 3Mbps and 6Mbps, though the standard supports much higher bandwidths of up to 128Mbps downlink and 56Mbps uplink. With the advent of 802.16m, Mobile WiMAX will support MIMO technology, and is expected to provide 1Gbps connections while stationary and up to 100Mbps while in motion.

The competing technology is LTE (3GPP's Long Term Evolution) which is currently being deployed by MetroPCS, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility. LTE boasts a theoretical maximum downlink bandwidth of 326.4 Mbit/s for 4x4 antennae, and 172.8 Mbit/s for 2x2 antennae (utilizing 20 MHz of spectrum), and uplink of 86.4 Mbit/s for every 20 MHz of spectrum using a single antenna.