Understanding the strengths of the technology existing in your cell phone is easy when you know the meaning of 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G. In the field of wireless cellular technology, 1G is the first generation, 2G is the second, and so on. Just like any other technological update, every next generation has better features and is faster. Currently, a majority of wireless carriers support both 3G and 4G technologies.
The introduction of 1G dates back to the early 1980s. Since then, a new wireless mobile telecommunications technology has been introduced every decade. Each of them is released with reference to the technology used by the device and the mobile carrier. Every subsequent generation surpasses the previous one in terms of features and speed; and the next generation, 5G, scheduled to release in 2020 is expected to revolutionize the mobile world.
Let us understand the different generations more deeply:
The first generation of wireless cellular technology only supported voice calls. Remember the analogue phones being used in the 1980s? Yes, these operated on 1G – analogue technology. These phones did not have a strong battery life, the voice quality was poor, there was little security, and the chances of call drops were high.
An extremely important upgrade was noticed when cell phones went from 1G to 2G. A transformation was witnessed from analogue to digital communications. Users started to enjoy call and text services including picture messages, SMS, and MMS.
While 2G has further been upgraded by recent technology versions, it is still used in different parts of the world.
The next generation in wireless cellular technology was introduced in 1998. It brought faster data-transmission speeds allowing you to use the services for mobile internet access and video calling. 3G technology brought in the word ‘mobile broadband’ for the first time.
Just like 2G, 3G was also superseded a lot sooner with faster versions of 3.5G and 3.75G. More and more features were added to the cellular device to bring what was an even better version – 4G.
The highest speed for a non-moving 3G device is calculated to be 2 Mbps whereas, for a moving device, it is 284 Kbps.
This is the current generation, which released in 2008. 4G is similar to 3G and supports the basic mobile web access along with HD mobile TV, 3D TV, gaming services, video conferencing, and other services that require high-speed data.
The highest speed for a moving 4G device is 100 Mbps. Most cell phones available across the world support both 3G and 4G technologies.
This technology is yet to be released. It promises to be a game-changer for humanity and is believed to revolutionize the mobile world. It is expected to further enhance the features and speed of 4G. It is estimated that the number of 5G smartphone subscribers will cross 100 million 2021.
Superfast 5G promises to improve data rates and connection density. It aims to reduce latency by a great level, save on energy, and bring about other improvements. The maximum speed anticipated from a 5G connection is around 20Gbps.