Cellular Technology Overview
All over the world, wireless communication services have enjoyed dramatic growth over the past years. If you were asked to list the different types of cellular technology that currently are offered on the market, do you think you'll be able to answer? Now, the average person may not be able to provide that many examples, while others may not even know what cellular technology even is. Cellular technology is what mobile phone networks are based on, and it's the technology that gave mobile phones the name "cell phones". It also refers to a network technology that facilities mobile device communication that is comprised of cells and transceivers. But the most common type of transceivers within a cellular network would, of course, be our cell phones or mobile phones as many would say. In the world we live in now, we can use our mobile phones to communicate with each through various ways such as placing phones calls, sending messages via SMS (short message service) also known as text messagess, checking emails, web browsing, and so on.
Types of Technology
Now, you're probably wondering, what are the type of cellular technologies currently are offered out in the market today? Throughout the history of cellular technology, major technologies include 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, GSM, CDMA, and LTE.
Past, Current, and Future Technologies
- 1G was the first generation of wireless cellular technology. The very first generation of commercial cellular network was introduced in the late 70's with fully implemented standards being established throughout the 80's. The first commercially automated cellular network was launched in Japan. They were titled with the level and G for generation. 1G was an analog technology with phones that generally had poor battery life and large voice quality. The analog telecommunications standards that were introduced in the 1980s continued until being replaced by 2G digital telecommunications.
- 2G (or 2-G) (Second Generation) of cellular telephone technology and the first to use digital encryption of conversations. 2G networks were the first to offer data services and SMS text messaging but their data transfer rates are lower than those of their successors. New generations usually bring new base technologies, more network capacity for more data per user, and the potential for better voice quality, too.They were introduced in the 1990's. The lesser-known 2.5G and 2.75G was an interim standard that bridged the gap before making the major leap from 2G to 3G.
- 3G (Third Generation) of cellular telephone technology sets the standards for most of the wireless technology we have come to know and love. Web browsing, email, video downnloading, picture sharing and other smartphones technology were introduced in the this generation. The goals set out for 3G mobile communication were to faciliate greater voice and data capacity, support a wider range of applications, and increase data tansmission at a lower cost. The 3G standard utilises a new technology called UMTS as its core network architecture. The network combines aspect of the 2G network with some new technology and protocols to deliver a significant faster data rate. It was launched around the 2000's. 3G evolved into 3.5G and 3.75G as more features were introduced in order to bring about 4G.
- 4G (Fourth Generation) current technology of mobile phone communications standards. It's a successor of the 3G and provides ultra-broadband internet access for mobile devices. The high data transfer rates make 4G networks suitable for use in USB wireless modems for laprops and even home internet access. 4G 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.
- GSM (Global System for Mobiles) is actually only the formal name for the 2G system. GSM offers users wider international roaming capabilities than other US network technologies and can enable a cell phone to be a "world phone." GSM also has the advantage of easily swappable SIM cards. GSM phones use the SIM card to store your (the subscriber's) information like your phone number and other data that proves you are in fact a subscriber to that carrier. You can put the SIM card into any GSM phone to instantly continue using it on the network with all your previous subscription information (like your number) to make phone calls, text, etc.
- CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is often found in the U.S. and Russia, though GSM is also present in those countries. CDMA grants users full access to the entire spectrum of bands, thus allowing more users to connect at any given time. It also encodes each user's individual conversation via a pseudo-randomized digital sequence, meaning the voice data remains protected and filtered so that only those participating in the phone call receive the data. Phones on CDMA networks do not use SIM cards. Instead, each phone is built specifically to work on that carrier's network.
- LTE stands for Long-term Evolution and isn't much a technology as it is the path followed to achieve 4G status is being an actual technology, which is why it's considered as an ungrade for both GSM and CDMA based networks. It increased bandwidth availability for choice and data communications by using a different radio interface combined with several network improvements.
- 5G (Fifth Generation) is a generation currently under development, that's intended to improve on 4G. 5G promises signigicantly faster data rates, higher connection density, much lower latency, among other improvements. Some of the plans for 5G include device-to-device communication, better battery consumption, and improved overall wireless coverage. However, not all 5G works the same and vary depending on who the carrier is. It is predicted that there will be both slow but repesonsive 5G and fast 5G but with limited coverage.