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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default How does a 3G tower get converted to 4G?

    I've been wondering what it takes for Verizon to upgrade a tower from 3G to 4G. Anyone know the process? Is it a matter of flipping a switch? New antennas need to be placed?
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    I know AT&T's copper cables need to be replaced with faster fiber optics, that's just one step, the towers, Im not sure will research it though.
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    Thanks for the reply, Chris.

    I live in the (fairly remote) mountains of western Maine... amazingly, a tower went up this past fall carrying Verizon. It's just 3.5 miles away, and I can see it from my house. We are on one mountain, the tower is atop another mountain. Well, I spoke to the Verizon folks back in the Fall about when 4G would come on line here, he said that since the tower was brand new, they would have installed everything with 4G-ready components. So, I was wondering if this tower, and other new towers like it, might get 4G earlier than towers with only 3G configurations. I believe the Verizon person told me that this tower already has fiber optics hooked in. My Thunderbolt, running the 3G hotspot, regularly achieves DL speeds of 280-300 kbps... So I can only imagine, and wetly dream of what speeds we will get once this tower is bumped to 4G!
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    Like chris said, the main issue is the backhaul. Especially in rural areas, the company has to run the line all the way from a developed area (for example, I only get 3MB down at my house on DSL, so there's no way the nearest Verizon tower would get upgraded easily). The fact that they already have the lines hooked means they just have to switch out some equipment on the tower.
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    tirith's Avatar
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    Fiber-optic cables carry insane speeds, but the only drawback is because they use light, the fiber-optics only run so far without amplifiers...

    but areas with fios installed may be easier and quicker to come up...
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    Cell towers must be upgraded or retrofitted to have new anntenas that are capable of transmitting the 4G signal. In most cases, three parabolic antennas are installed. They appear dish-like in appearance. Look for them next time you see a cell tower in a metropolitean area. There are other necessary upgrades to the infrastructure, so it's not that easy. This doesn't take into account the entitlement process with the local entity, which can be time consuming and expensive.
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    I know about rural areas. I don't have WIFI access in Cave Creek. I don't need 4g 3g works fine. My brother is in Kimberling City MO and they just got Verizon two years ago in their area. He was stuck with AT&T He is thrilled to have Verizon and have decent coverage. They won't be getting 4g anytime soon. As he put it and I quote "We are just happy to have Big Red and good call quality".
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  8. Thread Author  Thread Author    #8  

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    Thanks for the help, guys. Shed some light.
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    Moscow Desire's Avatar
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    There is no true 4g in the US. Only a hybrid or enhanced 3g.
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    If there is no "True 4G" how come Sprint advertises as the network with the ONLY TRUE 4G in america?

    (saw it in an email I got 2 days ago as a member of Sprint Premier)
  11. #11  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moscow Desire View Post
    There is no true 4g in the US. Only a hybrid or enhanced 3g.
    What is the requirement for true 4G? By the old rules nothing anywhere in the world is yet 4G, by the new rules almost everything is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tirith View Post
    If there is no "True 4G" how come Sprint advertises as the network with the ONLY TRUE 4G in america?

    (saw it in an email I got 2 days ago as a member of Sprint Premier)
    Its marketing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valeuche View Post
    What is the requirement for true 4G? By the old rules nothing anywhere in the world is yet 4G, by the new rules almost everything is.
    IMO, sprint and verizon have 4g. It should be based on technological leaps,.which they have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tirith View Post
    If there is no "True 4G" how come Sprint advertises as the network with the ONLY TRUE 4G in america?

    (saw it in an email I got 2 days ago as a member of Sprint Premier)
    Because it's false advertising!! You can look it up. The ITU (International Telecommunications Union) was basically forced in December to change the definition of 4G to include the enhanced 3G networks that are in existence. Originally, to be called 4G, a network had to support 100Mbps mobile speeds. We are no where near that right now, but hopefully we'll be closer in a few years.

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