In this knowledgebase article we will focus on the evolution and development of various generations of mobile wireless technology along with their significance and advantages of one over the other. In the past few decades, mobile wireless technologies have experience 4 or 5 generations of technology revolution and evolution, namely from 0G to 4G. Current research in mobile wireless technology concentrates on advance implementation of 4G technology and 5G technology. Currently 5G termis not officially used.
0G Wireless technology
0G refers to pre-cell phone mobile telephony technology, such as radio telephones that some had in cars before the advent of cell phones. Mobile radio telephone systems preceded moderncellular mobile telephony technology. Since they were the predecessors of the first generation ofcellulartelephones, these systems are called 0G (zero generation) systems.
1G: Analog Cellular Networks
The main technological development that distinguished the First Generation mobile phones from the previous generation was the use of multiple cell sites, and the ability to transfer calls from one site to the next as the user travelled between cells during a conversation. The first commercially automated cellular network (the 1G generations) was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979.
In 1984, Bell Labs developed modern commercial cellular technology, which employed multiple, centrally controlled base stations (cell sites), each providing service to a small area (a cell). The cell sites would be set up such that cells partially overlapped. In a cellular system, a signal between a base station (cell site) and a terminal (phone) only need be strong enough to reach between the two, so the same channel can be used simultaneously for separate conversations in different cells.
As the system expanded and neared capacity, the ability to reduce transmission power allowed new cells to be added, resulting in more, smaller cells and thus more capacity.
2G: Digital Networks
In the 1990s, the ‘second generation’ (2G) mobile phone systems emerged, primarily using theGSM standard. These 2G phone systems differed from the previous generation in their use of digital transmission instead of analog transmission, and also by the introduction of advanced and fast phone-to-network signaling. The rise in mobile phone usage as a result of 2G was explosive and this era also saw the advent of prepaid mobile phones.
The second generation introduced a new variant to communication, as SMS text messaging became possible, initially on GSM networks and eventually on all digital networks. Soon SMS became the communication method of preference for the youth. Today in many advanced markets the general public prefers sending text messages to placing voice calls.
Some benefits of 2G were Digital signals require consume less battery power, so it helps mobile batteries to last long. Digital coding improves the voice clarity and reduces noise in the line. Digital signals are considered environment friendly. Digital encryption has provided secrecy and safety to the data and voice calls. The use of 2G technology requires strong digital signals to help mobile phones work properly.
“2.5G” using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) technology is a cellular wireless technology developed in between its predecessor, 2G, and its successor, 3G. GPRS could provide data rates from 56 kbit/s up to 115 kbit/s. It can be used for services such as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) access, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), and for Internet communication services such as email and World Wide Web access.
2.75 – EDGE is an abbreviation for Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution. EDGE technology is an extended version of GSM. It allows the clear and fast transmission of data and information up to 384kbit/s speed.
3G : High speed IP data networks
As the use of 2G phones became more widespread and people began to use mobile phones in their daily lives, it became clear that demand for data services (such as access to the internet) was growing. Furthermore, if the experience from fixed broadband services was anything to go by, there would also be a demand for ever greater data speeds. The 2G technology was nowhere near up to the job, so the industry began to work on the next generation of technology known as 3G. The main technological difference that distinguishes 3G technology from 2G technology is the use of packet switching rather than circuit switching for data transmission.