The Roots of 3G and 4G Technologies

The first radiotelephone service was introduced in the US at the end of the 1940s, and was meant to connect mobile users in cars to the public fixed network. In the 1960s, a new system launched by Bell Systems, called Improved Mobile Telephone Service” (IMTS), brought many improvements like direct dialing and higher bandwidth. The first analog cellular systems were based on IMTS and developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The systems were “cellular” because coverage areas were split into smaller areas or “cells”, each of which is served by a low power transmitter and receiver. This first generation (1G) analog system for mobile communications saw two key improvements during the 1970s: the invention of the microprocessor and the digitization of the control link between the mobilephone and the cell site. Second generation (2G) digital cellular systems were first developed at the end of the 1980s. These systems digitized not only the control link but also the voice signal. The new system provided better quality and higher capacity at lower cost to consumers

Now let us take a deeper sight of the two technologies.
First Generation: 1) Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) was first launched in the US. It is an analog system based on
FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) technology. Today, it is the most used analog system and the second largest worldwide.

FDMA: Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) is the most common analog system. It is a technique whereby spectrum is divided up into frequencies and then assigned to users. With FDMA, only one subscriber at any given time is assigned to a channel. The channel therefore is closed to other conversations until the initial call is finished, or until it is handed-off to a different channel. A “fullduplex” FDMA transmission requires two channels, one for transmitting and the other for receiving. FDMA has been used for first generation analog systems. 2) Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) was mainly developed in the Nordic countries. (4.5 million in 1998 in some 40 countries including Nordic countries, Asia, Russia, and other Eastern European Countries) 3) Total Access Communications System (TACS) was first used in the UK in 1985. It was based on the AMPS technology.

Second Generation:
1) Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) was the first commercially operated digital cellular system. It was first developed in the 1980s through a pan-European initiative, involving the European Commission, telecommunications operators and

equipment manufacturers. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute was responsible for GSM standardization. GSM uses TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) technology. It is being used by all European countries, and has been adopted in other continents. It is the dominant cellular standard today, with over (45%) of the world’s subscribers at April 1999. 2) TDMA IS-136 is the digital enhancement of the analog AMPS technology. It was called D-AMPS when it was fist introduced in late 1991 and its main objective was to protect the substantial investment that service providers had made in AMPS technology. Digital AMPS services have been launched in some 70 countries worldwide (by March 1999, there were almost 22 million TDMA handsets in circulation, the dominant markets being the Americas, and parts of Asia) 3) CDMA IS-95 increases capacity by using the entire radio band with each using a unique code (CDMA or Code Division Multiple Access) . It is a family of digital communication techniques and South Korea is the largest single CDMA IS-95 market in the world. 4) Personal Digital Cellular (PDC) is the second largest digital mobile standard although it is exclusively used in Japan where it was introduced in 1994. Like GSM, it is based on the TDMA access technology. In November 2001, there were some 66.39 million PDC users in Japan. 5) Personal Handy phone System (PHS) is a digital system used in Japan, first launched in 1995 as a cheaper alternative to cellular systems. It is somewhere in between a cellular and a cordless technology. It has inferior coverage area and limited usage in moving vehicles. In November 2001, Japan had 5.68 million PHS subscribers.

What is 3G technology?
A ‘third generation’ wireless communications technology having evolved from first generation analog, and second generation digital, communication technologies. 3G systems are like huge departmental stores. All your basic needs – plus a few extra items thrown in to spice things up – under a single roof. A plea to modern man’s psychological need for convenience. And that’s how it is with the current crop of 3G packages. A simple, all-in-one access to everything users could ever want from a mobile phone (and then some). 3G systems are designed to offer increased voice capacity and higher-speed data rates by providing a more robust wireless pipeline. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a regulatory and standards-setting body, states that any system claiming to be 3G must be capable of a minimum speed of 144K bits/second, and theoretically going up to 2 Mbps. Very good, you might say. But why is there such a need for speed? Well, 3G systems aim to provide faster access to all kinds of data, thus turning your wireless phone (or appliance) into a handier, cooler, tool. This speed is matched with the promise that it will “keep people connected at all times and in all places.” What results is the capability to access the Internet as you

would at home, mobile instant messaging, enhanced multimedia options, usability as a fax/pager/email tool, as well as the obvious premise of crisper and more stable voice communications. Very impressive, but not without a lion’s share of problems.

Advantages of 3G technologies:
Cellular phone companies are now beginning to develop new technologies that will help make telecommunications much easier and more appealing to a lot of its consumers. One particular advancement that these cellular phone companies have made on their cellular phones is the 3G technology. 3G technology, which is short for third generation mobile telephone communication systems technology, improves the efficiency of data can be transferred through your cellular phone. The data transfer rates for third generation mobile telecommunications is up to 2 Megabits per second. Aside from this feature, 3G cellular phones also have conventional voice, fax and data services, as well as high-resolution video and multimedia services which can be used while on the move. It also includes mobile office services such as virtual banking and online-billing, video conferencing, online entertainment and access to the Internet. Such mobile telephone technology would improve the way people will be able to communicate with each other, as well as develop new uses for their cellular phones. One particular advantage of using such a technology on your cellular phone would be your phone’s ability to watch television shows on your phone, and it also allows you to have video conversations with other people who also use the same 3G technology. This makes one of the 3G phone’s most essential feature better, which is the ability for people to conduct video conferencing. However, this only makes up a very small fraction of use from the 3G phones. Other applications of the 3G technology include map and positioning services, as well as multiplayer gaming, which is more popular with the mobile phone’s younger subscribers. The 3G technology in cellular phones can also benefit you while you are at your home with its different other applications. 3G can help you simplify everyday tasks such as shopping, wherein you can order items that you need to restock your supply at home at your local market so it would be ready for pickup once you are there, giving you the opportunity to make better use of your time. You can also pay your bills and balance your checks by logging on to your bank account using the 3G devices that you have. You also book in advance dinner and hotel reservations in any city that you are in. Such technology also benefits you by giving you enough flexibility to function at your best in your workplace. Teleconferencing is one of the best applications for the 3G technology in your work.

Limitations for 3G technologies:
For starters, 3G services are bound to be ‘expensive’, especially due to the very high prices paid for 3G spectrum licenses. Secondly, the services offered by 3G are nice, but are beyond the current demands of the average user. So now we have a situation where the consumer is not satisfied with the current level of service, yet is also balking at paying so much for something that resembles overkill. Market analysts are faced with the challenge of accurately predicting how much technology consumers will actually be willing to pay for 3G services. With 3G providing features that are ‘cool’ but expensive, and with cheaper and adequate alternatives available in the form of 2.5G, the pure cell-phone features

no longer hold any ‘pulling’ power. In fact, some critics argue that 2.5G speeds are just fine, thank you, and provide enough flexibility for most applications. The rapid development of wireless LANs based on the 802.11 standard and the future 802.11g standard means that 3G systems now have serious competition. Although Wi-Fi support is still patchy (and suffers from the same security issues), and some users prefer 2.5G and 3G systems instead of Wi-Fi due to the widespread coverage, wireless LANs have completely taken over the office environment. Not only that but wireless LAN systems are getting faster and becoming more robust. There are plans to develop 802.11 systems that approach 1.5 Mbps in theoretical speeds. Intel and others are also looking into developing metropolitan area networks (MANs) that expand that 300 feet Wi-Fi bubble to about 30 miles, or across an entire city.

After 3G its 4G Now:
In the last few years, new networking technologies are being developed to offer faster data transfer in competitive rates and a wider bandwidth - such as 3G. 3G offers up to 2Mbps data transfer speed, but practically speaking its max speed is closer to 400kbps. Three quarters of cell phone users still prefer 2G over the new networking technology. That might change soon. HP and a Japanese development company, NTT DoCoMo, are developing a new technology, 4G. It is estimated that 4G technology will be launched in Japan in the next 6 years. There aren't enough details about this new technology so we can't really compare it to anything we have now, but it looks like it's going to be a lot faster, using wider bandwidth, and cheaper - or in one word: BETTER. Whad we DO know about 4G is that with 4G, we will be able to make a video conference call - 3 or more callers - and video will be transferred a lot smoother, thanks to the wider bandwidth. Those devices will have wireless internet in bandwidths wider than that used by 2G technologies, never before seen in a mobile phone - 100MHz; which will also cut costs on large data transfers, and will make video and music downloads cheaper. New security features will help better protect users from theft and fraud, and network security will get much tighter. Data transfer speed reaches new levels with the new technology: up to 1Gbps (!). Some features that were supposed to be included with 4G seem as if they were taken from a sci-fi movie about the future. Researchers are working on features that would allow the cell phone user to know the direction from which the call is coming and how far away the caller is. Also, we will be able to speak using our other senses as well, or without having to use our vocal cords at all. These features will probably not be ready in time for the launching of 4G, but developers promise "they'll come in time for 5G.

Benefits of 4G technology:
It will be natural for many people to be skeptical when companies claim to have mastered the concept of wireless internet. Frankly, the technology could not be possible unless a number of different players were involved in the process. For starters, government agencies would have to provide a certain level of support, in order for the lines to be installed throughout the country. On top of that, the actual equipment would need to be upgraded—everything from home computers and cell phones to laptops—making the manufacturing end of it just as important. Finally, the carriers would need to come out with a plan that was affordable enough that customers could see it as worthy of replacing their service with something bigger and better.

With the latest 4G wireless internet technology hitting the market, it appears that many of those obstacles have been removed. The lines and physical capabilities have been going down over the last several years, making it only a matter of time before the newest service arrived. One can see the reasons for making sure the process was seen through to the end: another less-than-perfect form of wireless would have been extremely discouraging. Now that the time appears right, here are some ways that the 4G technology will benefit users. 1. Added control. Most people are not fully operational without having the internet available when they need it. If operating at its full capability, this service should never abandon any user, keeping you in control of your life at every step. 2. A mobile retreat. In a world where empty spaces are becoming less and less available, the wireless service coming out can turn almost any secluded place into a work station or, better yet, a relaxation station. Finding that solitude with the internet running has never been an option before. Even watching live streaming video won’t be a problem. 3. Eliminating limitations. The idea behind this version of mobile internet is to turn the entire area into a hot spot for internet coverage. That means wherever one might need the internet, it will be available for usage. For people who take work on the road, it will add an unprecedented opportunity for productivity. 4. The installation process. Getting the service installed is an extremely painless process. In most cases, it will involve little more than plugging a USB device into your computer and you are ready to go. For cell phones, having the device equipped for 4G service is all it takes. The draining installation process of the old service has evaporated. 5. An overlapping product. With the amount of different services and plans every individual must maintain, a terrific benefit of this service is its flexibility. Home internet and mobile services can be combined into one plan, making the bill ritual a little bit easier when the time comes every month.

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