Generations of Wireless Technology

Wireless systems and services have undergone a remarkable development, since the first cellular and cordless telephone systems were introduced in the early 1980s. First generation cellular and cordless telephone systems were based on analog FM technology and designed to carry narrow-band circuit switched voice services.

Here , entire evolution of wireless technology is named as generations of wireless technology based on the changes are made and new inventions took place in the market.

  • Wireless Generations:
    • 1st Generation (1G)
    • 2nd Generation (2G)
    • 3rd Generation (3G)
    • 4th Generation (4G)
    • 5th Generation (5G)

Comparison Chart of all 1G to 5G technology based on technical specification. View Here.

1G- First Generation Cellular System:

  • The early 1970s saw the emergence of the radio technology that was needed for the deployment of mobile radio systems in the 800/900 MHz band at a reasonable cost.
  • In the early 1980s, many countries deployed first generation cellular systems based on frequency division multiple access (FDMA) and analog FM Technology. With FDMA there is a single channel per carrier.
  • When a MS accesses the system two carriers (channels) are actually assigned, one for the forward (baseto- mobile) link and one for the reverse (mobile-to-base) link.
  • 1G is an analog technology and the phones generally had poor battery life and voice quality was large without much security, and would sometimes experience dropped calls.
  • The maximum speed of 1G is 2.4 Kbps .These are the analog telecommunications standards that were introduced in the 1980s and continued until being replaced by 2G digital telecommunications.

2G- Second Generation Cellular System:

  • Second generation digital cellular systems have been developed throughout the world. These include the GSM/DCS1800/PCS1900 standard in Europe, the PDC standard in Japan, and the IS 54-/136 and IS-95 standards in the United States.
  • Cell phones received their first major upgrade when they went from 1G to 2G. The main difference between the two mobile telephone systems (1G and 2G), is that the radio signals used by 1G network are analog, while 2G networks are digital .
  • Main motive of this generation was to provide secure and reliable communication channel. It implemented the concept of CDMA and GSM. Provided small data service like sms and mms.
  • Second generation 2G cellular telecom networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja in 1991. 2G capabilities are achieved by allowing multiple users on a single channel via multiplexing.
  • During 2G Cellular phones are used for data also along with voice. The advance in technology from 1G to 2G introduced many of the fundamental services that we still use today, such as SMSinternal roaming, conference calls, call hold and billing based on services e.g. charges based on long distance calls and real time billing.
  • 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 kb/s up to 115 kb/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.
  • 2.75 – EDGE is an abbreviation for Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution. EDGE technology is an extended version of GSM. It allows the clear and fast transmission of data and information up to 384kbit/s speed.

Comparison Chart of all 1G to 5G technology based on technical specification. View Here.

3G- Third Generation Cellular System:

  • 3G- generation set the standards for most of the wireless technology. We have come to know and love with Web browsing, email, video downloading, picture sharing and other Smartphone technology were introduced in the 3G.
  • 3G was Introduced commercially in 2001. The goals set out for third generation mobile communication were to facilitate greater voice and data capacity, support a wider range of applications, and increase data transmission at a lower cost .
  • The 3G standard utilizes a new technology called UMTS as its core network architecture – Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. This network combines aspects of the 2G network with some new technology and protocols to deliver a significantly faster data rate.
  • Based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 ( IMT-2000 ) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. One of requirements set by IMT-2000 was that speed should be at least 200Kbps to call it as 3G service.
  • 3G has Multimedia services support along with streaming are more popular. In 3G, Universal access and portability across different device types are made possible (Telephones, PDA’s, etc.).
  • 3G increased the efficiency of frequency spectrum by improving how audio is compressed during a call, so more simultaneous calls can happen in the same frequency range.
  • Like 2G, 3G evolved into 3.5G and 3.75G as more features were introduced in order to bring about 4G. A 3G phone cannot communicate through a 4G network , but newer generations of phones are practically always designed to be backward compatible, so a 4G phone can communicate through a 3G or even 2G network .

4G- Fourth Generation Cellular System:

  • 4G is a very different technology as compared to 3G and was made possible practically only because of the advancements in the technology in the last 10 years. Its purpose is to provide high speed , high quality and high capacity to users while improving security and lower the cost of voice and data services, multimedia and internet over IP.
  • Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony , gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, 3D television, and cloud computing.
  • The two important 4G standards are WiMAX (has now fizzled out) and LTE (has seen widespread deployment). LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a series of upgrades to existing UMTS technology and will be rolled out on Telstra’s existing 1800MHz frequency band.
  • The max speed of a 4G network when the device is moving is 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps for low mobility communication like when stationary or walking, latency reduced from around 300ms to less than 100ms, and significantly lower congestion.
  • When 4G first became available, it was simply a little faster than 3G. 4G is not the same as 4G LTE which is very close to meeting the criteria of the standards. To download a new game or stream a TV show in HD, you can do it without buffering .

Comparison Chart of all 1G to 5G technology based on technical specification. View Here.

5G- Fifth Generation Cellular System:

  • The 5G network is on its way and is widely anticipated by the mobile industry. Many experts claim that the network will change not just how we use our mobiles, but how we connect our devices to the internet.
  • The improved speed and capacity of the network will signal new IoT trends, such as connected cars, smart cities and IoT in the home and office.

Comparison Chart of all 1G to 5G technology based on technical specification. View Here.

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