The Evolution of Wireless Generations – 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G
0G Wireless technology
0G refers to pre-cell phone mobile telephony technology, such as radio telephones that some had in cars before the advent of cell phones. Mobile radio telephone systems preceded moderncellular mobile telephony technology. Since they were the predecessors of the first generation ofcellulartelephones, these systems are called 0G (zero generation) systems.
1G: Analog Cellular Networks
The main technological development that distinguished the First Generation mobile phones from the previous generation was the use of multiple cell sites, and the ability to transfer calls from one site to the next as the user travelled between cells during a conversation. The first commercially automated cellular network (the 1G generations) was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979.
2G: Digital Networks
In the 1990s, the ‘second generation’ (2G) mobile phone systems emerged, primarily using theGSM standard. These 2G phone systems differed from the previous generation in their use of digital transmission instead of analog transmission, and also by the introduction of advanced and fast phone-to-network signaling. The rise in mobile phone usage as a result of 2G was explosive and this era also saw the advent of prepaid mobile phones.
The second generation introduced a new variant to communication, as SMS text messaging became possible, initially on GSM networks and eventually on all digital networks. Soon SMS became the communication method of preference for the youth. Today in many advanced markets the general public prefers sending text messages to placing voice calls.
“2.5G” using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) technology is a cellular wireless technology developed in between its predecessor, 2G, and its successor, 3G. GPRS could provide data rates from 56 kbit/s up to 115 kbit/s. It can be used for services such as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) access, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), and for Internet communication services such as email and World Wide Web access.
3G : High speed IP data networks
As the use of 2G phones became more widespread and people began to use mobile phones in their daily lives, it became clear that demand for data services (such as access to the internet) was growing. Furthermore, if the experience from fixed broadband services was anything to go by, there would also be a demand for ever greater data speeds. The 2G technology was nowhere near up to the job, so the industry began to work on the next generation of technology known as 3G. The main technological difference that distinguishes 3G technology from 2G technology is the use of packet switching rather than circuit switching for data transmission.
4G: Growth of mobile broadband
Consequently, the industry began looking to data-optimized 4th-generation technologies, with the promise of speed improvements up to 10-fold over existing 3G technologies. It is basically the extension in the 3G technology with more bandwidth and services offers in the 3G. The expectation for the 4G technology is basically the high quality audio/video streaming over end to end Internet Protocol. The first two commercially available technologies billed as 4G were the WiMAX standard and the LTE standard, first offered in Scandinavia by TeliaSonera.
One of the main ways in which 4G differed technologically from 3G was in its elimination of circuit switching, instead employing an all-IP network. Thus, 4G ushered in a treatment of voice calls just like any other type of streaming audio media, utilizing packet switching over internet, LAN or WAN networks via VoIP.