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Mobile 4G speed record has been broken

The firm Elisa, based in Finland, has said it has achieved a 1.9 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) speed on a test network —said to be the fastest speed ever recorded on a commercial device. In theory, this hyper-fast mobile Internet service could download a Blu-ray quality movie in just 44 seconds.

4G is the fourth generation (the ‘G’ stands for generation) of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. There are two primary standards — the Mobile WiMAX standard and the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. 4G, in general terms, is around ten times as fast as 3G.

With the recent record-breaking feat, Elisa indicates it used technology provided by Chinese telecoms company Huawei, and that this delivered a mobile network speed that close to the 2Gbps threshold. It should be noted that the University of Surrey, in 2015, achieved 5G level speeds of one terabit per second (Tbps). This was designed as a laboratory experiment.

According to the BBC, however, many analysts are skeptical of the apparent record-breaking feat. Although the speed may have been broken on a special Elisa-only network, technology commentators say the only true speed test is on a publicly available network.

Sami Komulainen, vice president of mobile network services at Elisa explained why the speed test was important: “A speed of almost two gigabits may seem unheard-of, and many people are wondering if such speeds are even needed in everyday use. However, there will be more and more demand for high-speed connections in the future as, for example, 360-degree videos and virtual reality applications become more popular.”

Elisa has stated that it plans to introduce a premium 1Gbps network in Finland within the next two years. In contrast, Vodafone Germany plans to get there faster. The operator has said it plans to provide 1 Gbps on its 4G network by the end of 2016.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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