Wireless Internet has steadily progressed through several iterations from narrowband to broadband. The first generation wireless network (1G) was launched in the 1980s using analog technology as the standard for mobile service. The switch to digital technology in the early 1990s marked the second generation (2G) network’s arrival with increased voice transmissions and to a certain extent, data functions.
The latter part of the 1990s until the beginning of the 21st century witnessed the wireless expansion to multimedia applications. With significant improvements, the third generation (3G) network replaced 2G as the standard of mobile communication. The technological innovation enabled high-speed Internet on mobile phones as well as simultaneous access to voice and data functionality, including text messaging.
Feature-rich smartphones now support email, file downloads and other web-based applications such as streaming videos and video conferencing. They take pictures, serve as virtual assistants and perform a host of other tasks, all in one handheld device. More robust algorithms of data encryption have enhanced security. Increased bandwidth has considerably speeded up the rate of data transfer as well.
With each succeeding model and version, mobile phones have become more compact in size, sleeker in design and smarter in technology. The number of mobile phone subscribers has also grown exponentially, resulting in network congestion during peak periods of use. A quicker, more efficient system is required to manage the heavy traffic volume. The ever increasing uses of mobile devices for streaming multimedia content, video, music and games in HD format demand instant access at ultra speeds.
Now the fourth generation (4G) network, also known as long term evolution (LTE) technology, is touted to raise the bar several notches higher. It uses Internet Protocol (IP) packets instead of the older phone system. Faster connection with more secure and expanded communication protocol will propel 4G to dominate the world of wireless broadband. For example, a data transfer rate of 1 Gbps (gigabit per second) should be possible for stationary or low mobility use (while sitting or walking). A rate of 100 Mbps (megabits per second) should be the minimum standard speed for high mobility locations such as airplanes, trains or cars.
Better standards of service quality are also anticipated in terms of reduced dropped data, clearer reception and overall improved functionality across multimedia platforms. With a superior infrastructure in place, more rapid transmission across networks with minimal loss of signal and service interruption should be expected.
This article is courtesy of Vividwireless, an Australian leader in 4G wireless broadband services.