cellular generations

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cellular generations

The evolution of cellular communications networks is commonly known by 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G designations. We are currently in the fourth generation (4G). See also wireless LAN, wireless glossary and cellular vs. Wi-Fi.

4G - LTE
Starting in the 2011 time frame, GSM and CDMA carriers embraced LTE, which offers higher speeds than 3G networks. LTE embodies the design goals of the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), which integrates all communications using the IP protocol (voice, video, e-mail, Web, messaging, etc.). See LTE and IP Multimedia Subsystem.

4G - WiMAX
Sprint was the first carrier to offer a 4G cellular network in the U.S. Using the WiMAX technology, 4G service was rolled out to major cities in 2009, providing faster downloads than Sprint's 3G service. See WiMAX.

4G - HSPA+
In late 2010, the ITU officially designated HSPA+ as a 4G technology, having previously defined it as 3G. See HSPA.

3G - WCDMA/HSDPA and CDMA2000
Launched after the turn of the century, the third generation features faster access to the Internet with downstream speeds up to 1 Mbps and more depending on the 3G version. The predominant 3G technologies on the GSM side are WCDMA and HSDPA with CDMA2000 on the CDMA side (see WCDMA, HSPA and CDMA2000). 3G also embraces worldwide roaming for global travelers (see GAN).

2G/2.5G - GSM/CDMA, GPRS/EDGE/IS95-B
The second generation refers to the digital voice systems of the 1990s, replacing analog phones and based on the TDMA and CDMA air interfaces. First deployed in Europe, GSM became the predominant TDMA-based cellular system worldwide. Data networks (GPRS, EDGE, IS-95B) were added and commonly called 2.5G technologies, enabling Internet access and e-mail with slow downstream speeds up to approximately 200 Kbps. See GSM, CDMA, GPRS, EDGE and IS-95.

1G - Analog Voice
Introduced in the late 1970s, the first cellular systems were analog voice. Years later, some 1G cellphones occasionally provided wireless data service to a laptop by connecting them to the laptop's dial-up modem, but hookups were precarious, and when it worked, the data transfer rate was minuscule. See AMPS, TACS and NMT.

Dual Support
If an iPhone 3G is in range of a 3G cell tower, it uses the higher speed of HSDPA. However, it throttles down to the lower-speed EDGE (E) channel if a 3G HSDPA channel is not available. See HSPA.


Dual Support
If an iPhone 3G is in range of a 3G cell tower, it uses the higher speed of HSDPA. However, it throttles down to the lower-speed EDGE (E) channel if a 3G HSDPA channel is not available. See HSPA.
References in periodicals archive ?
The early sampling of the family of integrated solutions will help enable the proliferation of mass-market UMTS devices, driving the migration of 2G wireless users to 3G and extending the Company's technology leadership by bringing HSDPA to mainstream markets.
Today, the Polaris WLS solution is commercially deployed with twenty 2G wireless carriers in the US and three 3G wireless carriers in Asia.
The CiPHR modem is designed for GSM and CDMA 3G and is backward compatible with corresponding 2G wireless technologies enabling it to automatically connect to the best network and highest data speed available.
Its backward compatibility with corresponding 2G wireless technologies enables it to automatically connect to the best network and highest data speed available and is thus ideally suited for a broad set of mobile, portable or fixed wireless applications.
Brooktrout's Netaccess Series product lines also enable several elements of the 2G wireless voice and data infrastructure, including the backhaul and SS7 functions found in Base Station Controllers (BSCs) and Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs) in the voice network.
Its backward compatibility to corresponding 2G wireless technologies automatically connects to the best network and highest data speed available and is therefore ideally suited for a broad set of mobile, portable or fixed wireless applications.
In a separate agreement, TI has recently licensed the ARM10(TM) processor family to extend the performance and capabilities of its existing DSP and Microcontroller platform for 2G wireless applications.
All of AirLink's 3G-capable devices are backwards compatible to the corresponding 2G wireless technology and automatically connect to the best network available.
While growth in 2G wireless systems continues, China will soon be aggressively deploying 3G wireless solutions that are expected to further accelerate subscription rates.
Being able to bridge 2G wireless systems with IP based technologies from a single platform is the key to addressing multi-technology applications at the edge of the network," said Jay Salkini, president and CEO, TECORE Wireless Systems.
Kentrox, a leading manufacturer of high-speed network access solutions, announced today the CrossPATH(R) 3G Flexible T1 Cross Connect, an economical, high-density base station access product that easily supports 2G wireless network expansion and enables 3G wireless service migration.
The CEVA Teak and TeakLite DSP cores are ideal for consumer electronics applications such as 2G wireless handsets, 3G phones with videoconferencing, and other telephony applications.