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Understanding the Gs in Telecom Networks
– 0G,1G,2G,3G,4G,5G explained

Anand | Dec 30th, 2009

Driven by competition, the telecom companies are selling themselves with network quality as their biggest differentiator. As there are no “official” definitions for 1G, 2G, 3G… they can be considered as a segregation of similar generation mobile phone technologies, which has enough acronyms to confuse a normal cell phone user.

0G Networks

Represents the 1st Generation of mobile telephony, where satellite phones were developed and deployed for boats mainly – but anyone could get one in one’s car in the beginning of the 90s for several thousand dollars. Networks such as Iridium, Global Star and Eutelsat were truly worldwide.

1G Network

Provided the facilities of making voice calls and sending text messages. (NMT, AMPS, TACS) are considered to be the first analog cellular systems, which started in early 1980s. The greatest disadvantage 1G had was that it only allowed to contact within the premises of that particular nation, NO CROSS OPERATOR ROAMING FACILITIES were provided.

2G Network

Represents the 2nd Generation of mobile telecommunications and is still the most widespread technology in the world; also known as GSM (GSM stands for Groupe Spécial Mobile in French, renamed in Global System for Mobility). Delivered data at the slow rate of 9.6 Kbytes/sec.

2.5G Network

This mid generation was introduced mainly for involving latest bandwidth technology with addition to the existing 2G generation. This offered a higher data rate than 2G technology and enabled the delivery of basic data services like text messaging. Still the data rates were not enough to download an image or browse a website from a PDA. 2.5 G could provide data rate upto 144 kbps. GPRS, EDGE and CDMA 2000 were 2.5 technologies.

2.75G Network (a.k.a EDGE)

To be able to watch streaming video and download mp3 files faster – that’s precisely what EDGE stands for where data packets can effectively reach 180kbps. EDGE is now widely being deployed in India.



3G Network

Represents the 3rd Generation designed to overcome all the limitations of above technologies. In this, 3G Wide Brand Wireless Network is used to increase the clarity giving the perfection like that of a real conversation. GSM 3G networks are termed UMTS, or the universal mobile telecommunications service, in the United States, while wideband CDMA (WCDMA) is an effectively synonymous term for UMTS used elsewhere in the world. One of the major positive points of UMTS is its global roaming capabilities. The speed is 3 times that of a GSM, so its called a 3GSM service.

3.5G or 3G+ NETWORK

HSDPA (3.5G) standard today offers anywhere between 7.2 and 14.4 Mbps on cell phones, Practically speaking, this would mean downloading an mp3 file would take about some seconds instead of something like 2 minutes.

4G Networks

It is mainly a marketing buzzword at the moment. Some basic 4G research is being done, but no frequencies have been allocated. The Forth Generation could be ready for implementation around 2012. The term also has become shorthand for Internet everywhere — a high-speed wireless network that gives speeds and QoS similar to fiber and will enable business applications and personalized consumer services alike. LTE is considered as 4G technology. Harri Honkasalo, the director of IPR for Nokia Corporation, states that “4G should support at least 100 Mbps peak rates in full-mobility wide area coverage and 1Gbps in low-mobility local area coverage”. The speeds of 3G can be up to 2Mbps, which is much slower than the speeds of 4G.

5GNetworks (Real wireless world) (completed WWWW: World Wide Wireless Web)

The idea of WWWW, World Wide Wireless Web, emerged from 4G technologies. The following evolution will be based on 4G that will boost the dream of having a REAL wireless world. Thus, 5G should make an important difference and add more services and benefit to the world over 4G; 5G should be a more intelligent technology that interconnects the entire world without limits.

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4G is the short name for fourth-generation wireless, the stage of mobile communications that will enable things like IP-based voice, data, gaming services and high quality streamed multimedia on portable devices with cable modem-like transmission speeds. It's a successor to 2G and 3G wireless, whereby the first signified the shift from analog to digital transmissions, bringing data services like SMS and email to mobile phones for the first time, and the second refers to the advent of things like global roaming as well as higher data rates.