In today’s world, the use of the Internet on mobile phones is increasing day by day.
The way of communication is continuously evolving since its introduction in 1979 to the current date.
In the long run of 40 years, new improvements & features were introduced as Technological Advancements were and are still being tested & implemented as we speak to make it even better.
If we understand the meaning of 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G & 5G it is quite easy to identify how we came this far in Mobile Internet technology.
Well, all the “G’s” refer to generations. As the number with the “G” increased the strength & speed of the wireless cellular technology increased.
It was as if both were directly proportional to each other. You might’ve studied physics in school right?
Let us dive in to understand the technological evolutions that have happened over the years.
The 1st Generation
The 1st Generation was introduced in the late 1970s & was launched in Tokyo (Japan), this was the first-ever generation of Mobile Internet which was used throughout the ’80s.
Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Company came up with the technology utilizing an Analog System. The technology within 5 years spread to the UK, Mexico, and Canada.
1G was based on analog technology,
The mobile phones of that time had poor battery life, their voice quality was good either.
They did not provide any kind of security to the user & sometimes a Dropped call or Error in connectivity was experienced.
The max speed 1G had was only 2.4 Kbps.
The analog telecommunication standards that were introduced in the 1980s and they were used until being replaced by 2G.
Imagine using that today with all the heavy data using the application we have now.
Facts & Features of 1st Generation:
- The first generation of cell phone technology.
- Only capable of simple phone calls.
- Used throughout the 1980s.
- Only referred to as 1G once 2G was introduced.
- Phased out by 2G in the early 1990s.
The 2nd Generation
The evolution continued and mobile phones received their first upgrade when they went from 1G to 2G.
In 1991 Radio-Linja launched the first-ever GSM network in Finland. In some countries, the 1G system was shut down to make room for the 2G system.
Now there was a difference.
The older technology was based on an analog system in which radio signals were used to transfer data, this upgrade came with the Digital system.
The goal of this generation was to provide users with a secure and reliable way of communication. It was implemented using the concept of GSM & CDMA.
We could now avail services that used a small amount of data like MMS & SMS.
2G strength and speed were achieved by allowing multiple users on a single channel via multiplexing.
During this era, 2G phones were allowing users to send SMS as well as voice calls with minimal interruption.
The technological advancements introduced many of the services we still use today like SMS, Internal roaming, Conference calls & Billings.
Although these were paid services so the people who were availing had to pay charges.
The max speed 2G was offering was 50 Kbps or 1 Mbps for GSM Evolution commonly known as EDGE.
Then came a drastic change in the mobile network technology when 2G took a major leap and evolved into 3G.
Facts and Features of 2nd Generation:
- Utilized Digital signal processing rather than the Analog signaling used in 1G.
- Digital signaling processing allowed networks to support data transfer, as well as the voice traffic previously supported by analog signaling.
- 2G became very popular because users were capable of connecting their mobile devices to the Internet and business networks.
- 2G provided speeds of 50 Kbps to 1Mbps to customers at its peak.
- Replaced by 3G in the early 2000s.
The 3rd Generation
This was it! This generation set the standards for almost every technology related to wireless networking that we know and love today.
It was released by NTT DOCOMO in Japan in 2001 on October 1st.
In this upgrade, we got to do web browsing, emails, we could download a video at high speed.
we were able to share pictures instantly and other types of technologies used in Smart-phones came along with the 3rd generation.
3rd Generation was introduced commercially the world spread quickly as 3G was offering faster data transmission, a wider range of support of app’s and greater voice and data capacity at a relatively lower cost.
The 3G systems were based on a new technology called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).
This network had combined some of the features of 2G networks and was using it with some new technology to deliver users faster, more stable and more reliable data transfer rates.
There was a set of standards that 3G had to fulfill just so that it could become a reasonable replacement for 2G.
one of the requirements set by IMT-2000 (International Mobile Telecommunication) was that speed should be at least 200 Kbps to call it as 3G service.
3G is commonly used today and it is used for universal access and portability this is mainly one of the reasons why different devices such as Telephones, PDA’s came into existence.
The efficiency of 3G increased the compression ratio of the frequency by which more calls started to happen in the same frequency range.
3G was now offering a speed of 75 Mbps at its best and an upload speed of 8 Mbps.
3G later with more improvements evolved into 3.5G & 3.70G as more features were introduced eventually this was a way to take another step towards a change.
4th Generation was being designed now.
Facts and Features of 3rd Generation:
- Web browsing services which were now better & faster.
- Emailing services.
- Video downloading at high speeds.
- Picture Sharing was now faster.
- 3G achieved a theoretical maximum download speed of 84 Mbps and an upload speed of 8 Mbps.
- Still used today in areas incapable of 4G coverage.
The 4th Generation
Introduced in 2010 in Capitals of Norway & Sweden, the first version was initially called 4th Generation or 4G.
As compared to its ancestors the 4th Generation is a very different technology. It only came into being because of the evolutions and advancements made in the last 11 years.
The purpose was always the same, to provide users with a high-quality wireless internet connection, to be faster than before while improving security and services at a lower cost.
More services included were mobile web access, gaming services, H-D mobile TV, video conferencing which was faster and smoother, 3D television & cloud computing.
This technology was made possible by MMO (Multiple Input & Output) & OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing). The two pillars of 4G are WiMax & LTE.
LTE (Long Term Evolution) was created through a series of advancements and upgrades made to UMTS technology.
When 4G was newly introduced it was slightly faster than 3G.
To be precise, 4G is not the same as 4G LTE which is very close to meet the standards of the service they expected from 4G.
Like for example, enabling the user to download a new game or stream a TV show in HD without buffering.
The latest mobiles of the newer generation are designed to be backward compatible.
So that they can switch from 4G to 3G or even to 2G so that the user can communicate at any medium he/she finds appropriate for his use.
All carriers have agreed that OFDM is one of the chief indicators to decide if a service can be marketed as 4G or not.
OFDM is a kind of digital modulation in which signals are split into several channels at different frequencies.
Some changes were made to the infrastructure of the network, & were implemented by the service providers because the GSM, UMTS & CDMA2000 are circuit-switched which were providing voice calls so re-engineering was needed to re-configure the voice call network system so it could be compatible with 4G technology.
Then again we have the fractional parts of the 4G: 4.5G & 4.9G which to be honest we’re just teasing us for a new upgrade which was about to come “The 5G”.
4G speeds are significantly higher than 250 Mbps.
Facts and Features of 4G and 4G LTE:
- First introduced in
- Mandates the use of IP for data traffic.
- 4G has become synonymous with 4G LTE.
- 4G has a theoretical maximum download speed of 100 Mbps.
- The next version of 4G LTE promised speed much higher than 100 Mbps and was continued to be introduced in the late 2010s.
The 5th Generation
The 5th Generation is currently being developed and is intended to improve the services which 4G is offering.
The main focus is the same as always to provide a significantly faster speed of internet, more connection density, and other improvements.
Some other plans for 5G are that battery consumption will be reduced and it will improve wireless coverage more than 4G ever could.
Allowing connections for at least 100 billion devices, many speculations are being made before the release of 5G.
Rumors are that 5G will be rolled out by 2020 to meet the demands of businesses and consumers.
The older technologies will be used along with it to give you more than 30 Gb/s with low latency.
The max speed you will get from 5G will be 35.46 Gb/s, which is at least 33 times faster than 4G.
Predicted Facts and Features of 5G:
- Most likely to be introduced by 2020.
- Predicted that it will be offering a speed of 28 to 38 Gb/s.
- Many companies around the world are competing to be the leaders of 5G technology development.