Background of 3G technology in Mobiles

‘G’ stands for generation of wireless technology. Each generation offers increased data speed, enhanced voice clarity, transmission of data in various forms (text and video) and many more. Since Alexander Graham Bell has invented telephone, we have been continuously trying to improve the technology quickly and efficiently. With each generation, advanced technologies are being innovated to make use of mobiles for wide variety of applications.

Following are the different generations of wireless technologies-

0G (Radio telephones): Before the existence of modern cellular mobile technology, these telephones were used. Mobile radio telephones used technologies like PTT (Push To Talk), MTS (Mobile Telephone System), IMTS (Improved Mobile Telephone Service). These telephones were usually mounted in cars or trucks.

1G: 1G means the 1st generation of wireless technology which has offered only the voice service. This generation used analog technology by which only voice signals were communicated. This is the earliest cellular systems to be developed. This technology depends on a network of distributed transceivers to communicate with the mobile phones. Analog signals were transmitted by method of frequency modulation.

In the early stages of cell phone evolution, in one calling area (an area of 26 square kms) only 23 phone calls were possible simultaneously. But after the launch of 1st generation, this capacity was increased to 359 simultaneous calls. In this age, there were only 20 million global mobile subscriptions.

2G: In this generation, analog technology was upgraded to digital technology and digital voice service was provided. 2G networks were built mainly for voice services and slow data transmission. Roaming facility was also made available in this technology.

Digital data services like SMS and email were started in this generation. Digital systems were designed to emit less radio power from handsets.

These devices were first used in Europe in the early 1990s. 2G technology can be divided into TDMA-based (GSM) and CDMA-based technologies. TDMA accounts for over 80% of subscribers around the globe while CDMA accounts for over 17% globally (source: www.cdg.org).

  • 2.5G: 2.5G acts like a bridge between 2G and 3G. GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) played a major role in the evolution of GSM networks to 3G. The evolution of CDMA to 3G occurred with the help of 1xRTT. As GPRS is for GSM mobiles, 1xRTT (Single Carrier Radio Transmission Technology) is for CDMA phones.

    These technologies were used for faster and continuous data transmission. GPRS makes it possible for the users to make a telephone call and transmit data at the same time. GPRS provide data rate from 56Kbits/s up to 115Kbits/s. It can be used for services like WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) access, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Services) and internet communication like email and world wide web access through mobile services.

  • 2.75G (EDGE): Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), EGPRS technologies allowed improved data transmission rates. EDGE was deployed on GSM networks from 2003. With this technology, higher data transmission (up to 236.8Kbit/s) rates can be achieved.

3G: It is an advanced wireless packet switching technology. Bandwidth has increased with faster data transmission rate. This technology allows video calling along with voice and data transmission with high speed mobile, TV transmission and enhanced quality of service.

World wide adoption of 3G is relatively slow. It is still under adoption. 3G offers greater security features than 2G like Network Access Security, Network Domain Security, User Domain Security, Application Security.

4G: It is also known as fourth generation wireless technology. There are two different technologies in 4G – LTE (long term evolution) and WiMAX (World wide Interoperability Microwave Access). 4G service is about 10 times faster than 3G.

WiMAX can offer peak download speeds up to 6Mbps and upload speeds up to 1Mbps. 4G is now available in US and Canada. In Japan, it is still in trial state.

Advancement in the wireless technologies enables greater transmission speeds and enhanced security. A person can now use his smartphone as a mobile, TV and also as a personal computer, thus simplifying his life.

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