Monday, January 23, 2012

The Second Coming of 4G: Should You Care?

A little dongle landed on my table late last year. It's SMART's Evolution, their 4G service that uses the fancy new LTE technology that promises up to 42Mbps of speed. 42 fricking Mbps?!?! Wa-chaw!!!

I haven't gotten around to writing about it until now because -- I'll be honest here -- networking gadgets bore the pants off of me. Either they work or they don't work as promised. There's not much more to say. I've always thought that the less you know about your modems, routers, and wireless dongles, the better. (It's about the content, dammit!) This little 4G guy though is promising to be far SEXIER than all existing home networking gear combined. Seriously.

To understand why, allow me to rant about 3G.

3G sucks. Admit it. You agree with me. Even assuming you can get a decent signal (and that depends where you are), 3G just isn't fast enough to do all the things you do with your Internet connection at work or at home. I mean, watching a YouTube video can be troublesome on 3G.

During the days of 2G, we were promised a shining future where you could do all the stuff you do on your laptop, on your mobile phone. You'd be able to surf, video chat (yes, everyone thought video chatting would be big), watch videos, or even do some torrenting if you're so inclined. Boy were we let down. We've managed to make do with 3G, and I guess it's not all that bad, but it's about time something better came along.

And that something -- 4G -- is supposed to be here in a big way. 

Mind you, this version of 4G (called LTE) is the second flavor of 4G. The first flavor is HSPA, and I reviewed one of those wireless dongles last year.

4G promises to truly usher in the age of mobile computing. If it works as advertised, this flavor of 4G could even trump wired connections. I'll be trying to find out if it does work as advertised in the coming days, and I'll tell you if my wired connection should be worried. (Unconventional) review coming soon! 42 fricking Mbps dude!

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