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Why 2016 will be the year of the 4.5G network

With 5G not expected to be officially standardised until 2020, can an evolution of 4G meet web demands of impatient consumers?
Written by Danny Palmer, Senior Writer

Can 4.5G satisfy our need for bandwidth, at least for a while?

Access to a good web connection is now expected - and demanded - by many, thanks to our hyper-connected lifestyles.

Be it to meet the demands of video calls, watching movies, transferring data to and from wearable devices or ensuring that your connected home is running smoothly, we want the most bang for our internet buck.

3G was a decent start: it allowed us to check emails, view the web, post photos to social media channels, but when it came to more demanding tasks, it faltered. 4G, we were told, would fix all that, enabling us to use our smartphones and tablets to access high-definition video, gaming services, clearer telephone calls and more.

And it did, at least for a while, but even this fourth generation of mobile telecommunications technology sometimes still feels as if it isn't quite cut out for evermore demanding users. So now it's down to 5G to solve all of these problems, thanks to data rates which are several tens of megabits per second faster, with better coverage, range and lower latency.

However, the technology is still far off being standardised by mobile providers and therefore it's thought the next incarnation of mobile technology won't be with us until 2020. For some, that's just too far off, especially at the rate other technologies are advancing.

One option in the meantime is the so-called '4.5G' which Qui Heng, president of network marketing operations at telecoms giant Huawei believes will 'explode' in 2016 and beyond.

The company is predicted that more than 60 commercial 4.5G networks will be deployed worldwide in 2016.

"Globally speaking, each person will averagely consume as much as five gigabytes each month by 2020. And also, not only people, but three billion things will be connected to networks. Our answer to this vision is 4.5G," he explained.

4.5G promises mobile broadband data rates exceeding 1,000 Mbit/s - or ten times faster than current 4G rates - which also opens the way for new applications.

"You can imagine the internet services you can enjoy with 4.5G networks. Not only does the network become very fast, even more applications become possible with 4.5G networks. Cloud storage, 4K mobile video, even virtual reality will become possible using 4.5G mobile networks," he said, adding "With 4.5G we can improve the video experience globally, so you can enjoy high definition video, anytime anywhere".

It could also be a big factor in the evolution of the Internet of Things.

"Maybe the Internet of Things isn't a completely new concept, even GSM can provide the Internet of Things, but it is completely different with our new technology in 4.5G," Qui explained.

Huawei is still working on the development of 5G, but says that consumers need an improved service sooner, rather than later.

"When it comes to the vision of 2020, it includes both 4.5G and 5G. While we believe 4.5G is an evolution of 4G, 5G is an entirely new technology. We believe that both evolution - 4.5G - and innovation - 5G - are equally important" said Qui," adding "we're talking about 4.5G is because we're still five years from 2020 and our customers still need to be provided for".

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