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Cellular Phones/Cellular Networks

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Question
Can you help me understand cellular networks?    I know that the major carriers refer to 3G and 4G networks.   I think 4G is better because it is faster, but I don't know why it would be faster..   Do all cell phones work with both networks or do phones exist, say an older iPhone that worked with 3G would that same iPhone work on the 4G network?

Are cellular NETWORKS (3G and 4G) virtual vs. mechanical and exist like wi-fi networks do?

Answer
Phones are always backwards compatible but never forward compatible. 4G LTE is the most recent technology and the fastest speeds. Carriers recently upgraded their networks to LTE which is comparable to the speeds you get at home on DSL and Cable Modems (and faster). Cellular networks have evolved over the years and technology changes have allowed for better and more efficient and faster networks. Cellular networks are not virtual. They have fiber at their core. An iPad 2, for example, has the ability to access the 3G network and prior but cannot run on the 4G network or 4G LTE because when it came out, it wasn't designed with the chip to access that type of network. Today, all phones on the market being sold work on 4G LTE and are backwards compatible. Once all prior networks are replaced with LTE, customers with older phones will have to upgrade in order to get service. This is similar to when carriers did away with the old TDMA network. Hope this helps.

Cellular Phones

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DebiN

Expertise

I can answer questions on cellular phones, the physical device, the network, contracts, billing, ordering, porting and what to look for when purchasing cell phones. I am located in the United States. I am an expert on BlackBerrys, Treos, HTC devices and iPhones as well as cellphones and aircards. I have over 15 years of experience in both the wireless and wireline world with the carriers. I have a lot of knowledge regarding the wireless providers - their services, prices and policies, both GSM AT&T and T-Mobile) and CDMA (Verizon, Sprint/Nextel). I am very familiar with the individual devices and their specifications. I can also answer questions regarding BlackBerrys, iPhones and other PDAs, both Palm-based and Windows-based. I can troubleshoot most any problem someone is having with their cellular device or with the provider.

Experience

Over 20 years in the Telecom industry working for the carriers with individuals, small business, medium business and large corporations(Fortune 500). Also worked as a professor in Maryland for 10 years teaching telecommunications.

Organizations
I belong to several organizations

Education/Credentials
Master's in Telecommunications

Awards and Honors
Received several awards for papers that I have published over the years

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