The evolution of cell phone mobile connection standards
It’s fabulous that your swanky new phone runs on a 4G network. However…and this might be a really silly question, but one a lot of us are a tad afraid to ask: What exactly does 4G mean?
If you’ve pondered that question, alone, in the dark, clutching to your phone, you wouldn’t be alone. However, when it comes to actually finding out about the silly questions in life that I can’t answer—I take action—and of course look it up online!
Here is what I found out about 4G phones…
Basically, 4G refers to a fourth generation of cell phone mobile connection standards (or technology that’s used across the entire network), where there are three generations preceding it. So if you have a 4G phone in your hands, you are enjoying the fourth generation of the mobile connection technology...or the successor of the third generation (3G) standards offered. The idea is that things are perfected each time a new generation is introduced to the market!
4G phones basically introduce users to a technology that provides mobile ultra-broadband Internet access—meaning that the internet data transfer rate is much higher. What this means is that a 4G phone provides better mobile access between smart phones as well as to other mobile devices (like a tablet or laptop). In addition to improved mobile web access, 4G technology also promises never before available gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, Internet Protocol telephony (or packet -switched connections to exchange voice, fax, and other forms of information), video conferencing, and 3D television.
Starting off, most 4G phones are faster than their 3G counterparts. So, for instance, if streaming video was painfully slow and constantly interrupted on your 3G phone, chances are it will be better with fewer interruptions on your 4G phone due to improved mobile connection standards. The same can be assumed for email and text speed, and also for downloading large attachments that might have gotten backed up on your 3G phone.
You should understand that connection speed is not the be all and end all of super fast phone. No, the dedication of your connection also depends greatly on the entire network, which affects everything—from the speed your data (text, video stream, downloaded photo, email) travels from your phone, to the server, to the cell antenna, and finally to your recipient’s wireless card. All of these touch points are important when it comes to the technology used across your network—and 4G phones are meant to improve all of that.
You also need to consider cell usage in your area or on your network. For instance, if everyone runs out to buy T-Mobile 4G phones, you might get a saturated network (basically too many people are using it at the same time). Without enough capacity for everyone, the network is bound to suffer setbacks.
OK, so now that you have a handle on exactly what 4G means, let’s take a look at how your 4G phone came to be the super mobile machine it is today with a little look back in time…
1G phones were introduced in the early 1980s, giving and receiving analogue transmissions like AM/FM radio (some later 1G phones even switched between analog and digital networks, working on 1G and 2G)—opposed to digital transmissions like our phones give and receive today.
2G phones were unveiled 1991 when the first, fully digital modem phones were released to the mass consumer market. This digital system would eventually lead to wireless, which includes perks like sending texts and video, and the ability to actually surf the web.
3G phones came about in 2001 in Japan and then 2003 in Europe following in 2003. We had to wait for a bit longer in North America, but when we finally got access to 3G phones, we could suddenly do all the great things we’re used to—such as access the internet, send texts, and use the phone…all at the same time.
In 2008, 4G phones were introduced complete with gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, the IP telephony already mentioned (for voice, fax, and exchange of information), video conferencing, and 3D television.