4G: Everything you need to know

Are there any downsides to 4G?

While other networks are admittedly catching up quickly, there's still a clear leader in the 4G game EE. With a 10-month lead on the technology, the company has been able to build up its offering to include a range of advantages not even on the others' radar, but it also means that connectivity is still limited. Devices ready for 4G aren't much use if your area does not yet have coverage.

There's also a big issue with security, which is reportedly the main concern amongst consumers still considering whether or not to switch. In February 2014, the MailOnline reported from the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona that, while the majority of phones at the event were being sold with 4G in mind, the improved data speeds come at the price of greater vulnerability.

Leonid Burakovsky, senior director of strategic solutions at F5, says: "What the industry has done with 4G/LTE is taken a self-contained telephone network, secured primarily by virtue of being separate from the internet, and then bolted-on internet capabilities which were never designed to prevent eavesdropping."

The less secure protocol used for 4G means that all manner of sensitive information is essentially left more vulnerable, from passwords to bank details, and this poses a huge problem for businesses interested in utilising the technology.

"The main security problem with 4G networks is that user information can become easily available to hackers via, for instance, man-in-the-middle' attacks, and hackers can compromise new services like mobile health or mobile commerce," Burakovsky continues.

With the technology still relatively young, especially in the UK, networks are under pressure to reassure consumers of 4Gs' safety, especially in a business environment in which the sharing of potentially sensitive information is a part of day-to-day life.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at caroline.preece@futurenet.com.