Wireless Technologies (2G/GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, 4G)

Monday, November 17, 2008 Labels: ,
2G/GSM
2G (or 2-G) is short for second-generation wireless telephone technology.

Second generation 2G cellular telecoms networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in 1991. Three primary benefits of 2G networks over their predecessors were that phone conversations were digitally encrypted, 2G systems were significantly more efficient on the spectrum allowing for far greater mobile phone penetration levels; and 2G introduced data services for mobile, starting with SMS text messages.

2G/GSM
GSM (Global System for Mobile communications: originally from Groupe Sp├ęcial Mobile) is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world. Its promoter, the GSM Association, estimates that 82% of the global mobile market uses the standard. GSM is used by over 3 billion people across more than 212 countries and territories. Its ubiquity makes international roaming very common between mobile phone operators, enabling subscribers to use their phones in many parts of the world. GSM differs from its predecessors in that both signaling and speech channels are digital, and thus is considered a second generation (2G) mobile phone system. This has also meant that data communication was easy to build into the system.

GPRS
Short for General Packet Radio Service, a standard for wireless communications which runs at speeds up to 115 kilobits per second, compared with current GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) systems' 9.6 kilobits.
GPRS, which supports a wide range of bandwidths, is an efficient use of limited bandwidth and is particularly suited for sending and receiving small bursts of data, such as e-mail and Web browsing, as well as large volumes of data.

EDGE
Acronym for Enhanced Data GSM Environment. EDGE is a faster version of GSM wireless service. EDGE enables data to be delivered at rates up to 384 Kbps on a broadband. The standard is based on the GSM standard and uses TDMA multiplexing technology.

3G
3G refers to the third generation of developments in wireless technology, especially mobile communications. The third generation, as its name suggests, follows the first generation (1G) and second generation (2G) in wireless communications.

3G includes capabilities and features such as:

Enhanced multimedia (voice, data, video, and remote control).

Usability on all popular modes (cellular telephone, e-mail, paging, fax, videoconferencing, and Web browsing).

Broad bandwidth and high speed (upwards of 2 Mbps).

Roaming capability throughout Europe, Japan, and North America.

4G
4G is the short term for fourth-generation wireless, the stage of broadband mobile communications that will supercede the third generation (3G). While neither standards bodies nor carriers have concretely defined or agreed upon what exactly 4G will be, it is expected that end-to-end IP and high-quality streaming video will be among 4G's distinguishing features. Fourth generation networks are likely to use a combination of WiMAX and WiFi.

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