Wireless networks are a significant game-changer for connectivity. Thanks to wireless technologies the world is now more connected than ever.
With 5G on the horizon, it’s a good time to reflect on how each generation of mobile technology has built up to this point. Let’s take a look at how these technologies evolved over time and review their influence on making today’s world of instant connectivity a reality.
What is a Generation?
When talking about mobile communications, a generation refers to a change in the underpinning technology of how messages are communicated. Newer generations use newer technologies that surpass previous generations, like better hardware capabilities and broader frequency bandwidths.
New mobile generations have appeared every 10 years, and the current standard is 4G, which provides ultra-broadband access to the Internet.
0G: Pre-Cellular Mobile Technology
The rise of wireless connectivity began in the 50s as mobile radios with telephone capabilities. These radios were used in cars and briefcases, but could only handle a limited amount of channels for information transmission. They were analog devices that transmitted real-time voice calls between two endpoints.
In the pre-cell days, there would be multiple operators for every call. You were then restricted to a certain channel allocation region. In order to switch frequencies, you needed to get off and do it manually.
As the potential to communicate wirelessly became apparent, the development of 0G went further.
1G: First-generation Wireless Technology
The first generation of telephone technology was created in the 80s. With a wireless transmission range of 2.4Kbps, 1G allowed people to make analog voice calls at a much larger scale.
With an increase in the number of geographical base stations, frequency reuse led to better network coverage. This initial increase in scale laid the groundwork for a global wireless network.
The first generation of cell phones were capable of international roaming but could not interoperate between countries. Different countries still used different telecommunication systems. This limited the capacity and reliability of these cell phone networks.
The first, analog-based 1G system also could not encrypt information. This allows others to track your private conversations. This lack of security drove the next innovation in wireless communication networks.
2G: The Rise of Texting
Around a decade later, the second generation of wireless communication emerged. 2G was a huge leap for the industry with improved security and data speeds.
The second generation brought about the rise of modern texting. SMS, emojis, picture and multimedia messaging, conference calls, call holds, and roaming are among the features of 2G still used today.
Instead of transmitting data through analog signals, the 2G network used digital signals which could finally encrypt the information, providing long-sought-after security.
64 Kbps was the max speed for 2G networks, but this was plenty of bandwidth for many industrial applications. For this reason, 2G played a significant role in IIoT because most machines did not require such heavy transfers of data.
3G: The Evolution of U.S. Mobile Wireless Technology
3G is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology. It was created by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The goal for 3G was to create a global frequency band in the 2000 MHZ range that would be implemented in all countries as an international standard for wireless communication.
3G is what brought wireless internet connection to the world! 3G gave people the ability to browse the Internet and connect wirelessly without requiring additional data storage hardware.
3G technologies provide a wider range of services and uses, including video calls. The network has greater spectral efficiency and also provides wide-area wireless voice telephony, video calls, internet access, GPS capabilities, and video conferencing in a mobile environment
With improved speeds and security protocols, 3G networks reached over 200Kbps and worldwide coverage is more efficient than older generations. 3G became widely adopted thanks to these improvements, allowing increased tracking of machinery with IIoT applications.
4G: Modern Speeds and Connectivity
4G is a concept that enables high-speed data transfer. The 4th generation of wireless networks was created to meet the demands of a high-performance lifestyle and manage increased speeds.
4G has improved features on all levels: capacity, speed, security, and cost of data. 4G networks were able to continuously monitor and control all types of IIoT applications as well as stream high-definition videos.
To be identified as 4G, the wireless network download speeds must be higher than 100Mbps. Yet, most networks had trouble matching the set standard. So, to differentiate these improved networks from the true 4G specification, the term “4G LTE” was invented to identify this improved network.
4G internet is not planned to be abandoned any time soon, but it’s important to recognize that we’ve finally reached the newest stop in wireless networks. The fifth generation arrives with serious upgrades.
What is 5G?
5G is beginning to impact our lives significantly. With minimized latencies, higher bandwidth, and speeds, 5G will offer consumers ten times the experience of the 4G network.
5G networks are digital cellular networks, with cells around geographic areas. Analog signals, such as sound and images, are digitized in the telephone and transmitted as streams of bits. This stream is converted by an analog-to-digital converter and transmitted to a high-bandwidth wireless device in a cell. The 5G telecommunications can be accessed by crossing geographical distances with a seamless transition between cells.
With 5G, our everyday networks won’t depend on wires. This will push forward the development of advanced IoT projects like smart homes and cities, self-driving cars, smart farming, and more.
5G is just starting to take shape and will revolutionize the way our machines and infrastructure is able to communicate. If you’d like to discover what a partner in IoT can do for you and your business, schedule a call with our sales team.
Morey’s vision is to lead the creation of connected products with the ultimate goal of empowering our partners to meet their business needs through smart solutions. Contact us today to discover how partnering with Morey can benefit your company.