What is 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G! Mobile Communication Generation Explained! 4G vs 3G vs 2G vs 1G vs LTE-A

Introduction

The cell phone is the crux of communication in the modern world. We have seen it evolve from a wireless version of a landline phone, to become what is now a handheld computer. This has all been possible mostly thanks to the advancement in cellular networks.

In the past two decades (yes I am 21 now! Finally two decades old), I have seen cellular network technology jump leaps and bounds, in everything, i.e. in terms of quality, in terms of data speeds and coverage area. The current mainstream standard is the 4G i.e. the fourth generation (for people who don’t know the meaning of G in 4G). Finally, we are ready to jump into the next generation of cellular network i.e. 5G or Fifth Generation

The History – First Generation

But how did it start? Actually, cellular technology first started on a widespread scale in 1979, by NTT, in Tokyo, Japan. They termed it as 1G, i.e. first generation of cellular technology. This technology spread to the US, and Europe in 1980. There were various standards available and it was necessary to launch something mainstream and common for everyone.

The Launch of 2G – Second Generation

So to meet all the necessities, the second generation i.e. 2G of cellular network was out which brought in data, which paved the way for phones to access the internet. During this time, the mid-generation 2G spead was up to 64Kbps. Additionally there was something called GPRS and EDGE, which increased data speeds up to 384Kbps.

The Next Generation – 3G – Third Generation

This was followed by 3G brought in 2001, which also saw revisions that boosted the speed standards to up to 56Mbps (bits not bytes! not amazed yet)

The Last Generation – 4G – Fourth Generation

Yes! not the last generation but the current generation at the time of this article is 4G which has been a giant leap in terms of speed. Introduced in 2009, 4G also went through revisions, with the latest revisions being LTE-A, going up to 1Gbps in speed. The pattern is that every generation undergoes revisions, for about a decade, and then the next generation comes up.

5G – The New Standard

Actually, 3GPP takes care of the development and maintenance of cellular networks. 5G has been under development from a while now and it looks like they will be launching it in 2019. We will talking about 5G in our next article

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