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What are 2G, 3G and 4G?


2G, 3G and 4G

2G 2nd Generation (or 2G)
3G 3rd Generation (or 3G)
4G 4th Generation (or 4G)

The term “Generation” refers to the level of advancement in technology.

2G (second generation) was the first generation of mobile phones. These were the original black and white flip phones.
3G (third generation) was the first generation to have color screens.
4G (fourth generation) is the newest generation of smartphones.

The 2nd generation (2G) refers to the first generation of smartphones, which were released between 2007 and 2011. These phones include the iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, and many others.

The third generation (3G) smartphones were released after the release of the 2G generation. 3G was released around 2008 and 2009. Most smartphones released since then have been 3G devices. Examples of 3G include the iPhone, Droid, BlackBerry Storm, Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Evo, etc.

The fourth generation (4G) is the newest generation of smartphones. Smartphone manufacturers started releasing these phones in 2013 and 2014. Examples of 4G include the iPhone 5S/5C, Samsung Galaxy Note III, Google Nexus 6, Apple iPad Air, etc.

There are many different technologies for transmitting data over mobile networks. These technologies have been developed to increase the capacity of cellular networks while also reducing costs. 2G was first introduced in the early 1990s and uses circuit switching technology. 3G (third generation) was released around 2001 and uses packet-switching technology. 4G (fourth generation) was introduced in 2007 and uses both circuit switching and packet switching. Each successive generation offers increased speed and bandwidth, along with reduced cost.

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2G is an acronym for second-generation wireless telephone technology. While its predecessor, 1G, made use of analog radio signals, 2G uses digital radio signals. Based on what type of multiplexing (the process of combining multiple digital data streams into one signal) is employed, 2G technologies may be categorized by whether they are based on time division multiple access (TDMA) or code division multiple access (CDMA).

2G makes use of a CODEC (compression-decompression algorithm) to compress and multiplex digital voice data. Through this technology, a 2G network can pack more calls per amount of bandwidth than a 1G network. 2G cellphone units were generally smaller than 1G units since they emitted less radio power.

The battery life of a 2G handset lasts longer due to the lower-powered radio signals.

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a digital wireless standard for mobile telephony and broadband Internet access. GSM is deployed worldwide in over 100 countries, covering approximately 90% of the world’s population.



3G International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000), better known as 3G or 3rd Generation, is a family of standards for mobile telecommunications fulfilling specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. 3G allows simultaneous use of speech and data services and higher data rates it comes with enhancements over previous wireless technologies, like high-speed transmission, advanced multimedia access, and global roaming. 3G helps to simultaneously transfer both voice data (a telephone call) and non-voice data (such as downloading information, exchanging e-mail, and instant messaging).

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The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third-generation mobile communication system, based on Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), and High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA). GSM uses wideband code division multiple access for higher-speed packet transmission, providing theoretical peak rates of up to 14.4 Mbit/s downlinks, 5.76 Mbit/s uplinks, and 99 Mbit/s total throughputs. HSPA is often referred to as “super GSM” or “3G” in North America. In Europe, the term HSPA+ refers to the evolution of HSPA, being backward compatible with the existing infrastructure.

Features include
1) Several times the higher data speed
2) Enhanced audio and video streaming
3) Video-conferencing support
4) Web and WAP browsing at higher speeds
5) IPTV (TV through the Internet) support.


4G – LTE

4G refers to the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards, the successor to the 3G and 2G families of standards. A 4G system is expected to provide a comprehensive and secure all-IP-based solution where facilities such as IP telephony, ultra-broadband Internet access, gaming services, and streamed multimedia may be provided to users.

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4G would be offering internet data rates up to what is being called “ultra-broadband”, i.e., speed in Gigabytes.

It is expected to use the available radio spectrum more efficiently and, as a result, provide end users with cable-modem transmission speeds that will support high-quality streaming video.

4G services also have in the offing promises of a minimum of 100 Mbit/s data rate between any two points in the world. Another facility that it will provide is global roaming across multiple networks and interoperability with existing wireless standards.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the name given to a project within the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to improve the Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) mobile phone standard to cope with future requirements. LTE provides maximum speeds of 150 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream.


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