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How 4G Works

        Tech | Wireless

How 4G Works: Author's Note

Famously anti-social, I waited longer than any of my friends to buy a cell phone. The idea of phone calls ringing in my pants pocket while I was out fishing or camping was positively horrifying. No one, I thought, needs to be able to call me whenever they feel like it, even my insistent friends.

Eventually, I caved. I bought a brick-sized model and carried it far into the flip-model age, at which point my "friends" once again began mocking my technological deficiencies. I ignored the catcalls and kept the phone for six long years; it was still working just fine when another friend forcibly dragged me to a shop and made me buy a shiny blue flip phone with fancy texting features.This was the beginning of the end of my stubborn resistance to cell phone culture.

But it's not the calling or communications capabilities that hooked me. It's the fact that these devices are now wildly powerful, pocket-sized computers that can serve up critical (or just trivial) information of every kind no matter where you happen to be. With 3G networks, this kind of ubiquitous data is often spotty and exasperating to use. 4G, however, will realize the mobile Internet dream. Camping in the wilderness and you forgot to buy Tom Petty concert tickets? No problem. With 3G you might have been out of luck, but 4G will help you get those first-row seats

4G won't change everything. You still won't catch me fielding phone calls while I'm trying to catch largemouth bass. But you can bet that I'll be using 4G to keep an eye on the weather radar, check satellite maps for hidden fishing holes and locate remote camping spots so that I can disconnect for a while and just enjoy the solitude. Even with 4G, my smartphone still has an Off button.

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