Cellular Network Comparison: 3G, 4G and 5G Network Connectivity

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In telecommunications, the G stands for “GENERATION” for the cellular network connectivity. Each and every generation of wireless broadband or, the cellular network is defined as a set of telephone network standards that describe the system’s technological implementation. While connected to the internet, the connection’s speed depends upon the signal strength shown in abbreviations like 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, etc., on any mobile device.

Wireless communication aims to provide high-quality, consistent communication just like wired communication and every new generation represents a big leap in that direction. Cellular network communication has become more popular in the last few years due to fast reform in mobile technology. To compare 3G, 4G, and 5G, we first need to understand all these technologies’ key features.

In the 1980s the world is introduced the first generation—or 1G—of networks with voice-only, analog service. The top speed of data transmission on a 1G network reached around 2. 4kbps. Then came 2G, 2G converted to 3G. Currently, many of us using 4G and 5G network connectivity is increasing using the 4G connectivity.

2G Networks Connection

The 2G network is introduced in Finland in 1991, permitting cellular phones to move right into the digital globe. 2G allowed for phone calls and also text security along with SMS, and MMS. The maximum speed for 2G was about 50kbps.

3G Networks and Its Functions and Features

The arrival of a 3G network with more data, video calling, and mobile internet began in 1998. We may now consider a “slow” network in many large municipalities was the height of technology until 4G came along. 3G networks reach 2mbps on stationary or non-moving devices and 384kbps on devices in moving vehicles.

This 3G generation set the standards for most wireless technology for the mobile networks we have come to know and love. Internet browsing, email communication, video downloading, picture sharing, and other Smartphone technology were introduced in the third generation. Introduced commercially in 2001, the goals set out for third-generation mobile communication were to facilitate more excellent voice and data capacity, support a broader range of applications, and increase data transmission at a lower cost.

The 3G standard utilizes a new technology called UMTS as its core network architecture – Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. This network combines aspects of the 2G network with some new technology and protocols to deliver a significantly faster data rate. Based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. One of the requirements set by IMT-2000 was that speed should be at least 200Kbps to call it a 3G service.

3G has Multimedia services support along with streaming are more popular. In 3G, Universal access and portability across different device types are made possible (Telephones, PDA’s, etc.). 3G increased the frequency spectrum’s efficiency by improving how audio is compressed during a call, so more simultaneous calls can happen in the same frequency range. The UN’s International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard requires stationary speeds of 2Mbps and mobile speeds of 384kbps for a “true” 3G. The theoretical max speed for HSPA+ is 21.6 Mbps.

Like 2G, 3G evolved into 3.5G and 3.75G as more features were introduced in order to bring about 4G. A 3G phone cannot communicate through a 4G network. Still, newer generations of phones are practically always designed to be backward compatible, so a 4G phone can share through a 3G or even 2G network.

The 3G standard utilizes Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) as its core network architecture. 3G network combines aspects of the 2G network with new technologies and protocols to deliver a significantly faster data rate. By using packet switching, the original technology was improved to allow speeds up to 14 Mbps. It used Wide Band Wireless Network that increased clarity. It operates at a range of 2100MHz and has a bandwidth of 15-20MHz. Some of the main features of 3G are:

  • Speed of up to 2 Mbps
  • Increased bandwidth and data transfer rates
  • Large capacities and broadband capabilities
  • International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) were the specifications by the International Telecommunication Union for the 3G network. Theoretically, 21.6 Mbps in the max speed of HSPA+.

4G Networks and Its Functions and Features

4G, or the existing current standard of cellular networks, was launched in the late 2000s and is 500 times faster than 3G. It has actually been able to support high-def. mobile TELEVISION, video conferencing as well as much more. When a gadget is moving, as when you are strolling with your phone or are in an automobile, the top speed can be 10s of Mbps, and also when the tool is fixed, it can be 100s of MBPS. The 20MHz data transfer industry has a peak ability of 400Mbps. However, considering that users are sharing readily available industry capability among others, evident rate experiences by users are typically in 10s -100s of Mega bite per second.

4G is a very different technology compared to 3G and was made possible practically only because of technology advancements in the last ten years. Its driver is to deliver higher speed, high quality, and high capacity to users while improving security and lower the cost of voice and data services, multimedia, and internet over IP. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, 3D television, and cloud computing.

The vital technologies that have made this possible are Multiple Input Multiple Output ( MIMO) as well as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM). Both essential 4G requirements are WiMAX (has currently blown over) as well as LTE (has seen extensive deployment). LTE (Long-term Evolution) is a series of upgrades to existing UMTS modern technology and will be presented on Telstra’s existing 1800MHz regularity band. The max. internet speed of a 4G network when the gadget is moving is 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps for reduced wheelchair interaction like when fixed or walking, latency lowered from around 300ms to less than 100ms, and also substantially reduced congestion. When 4G first appeared, it was simply a little faster than 3G. 4G is not like 4G LTE which is extremely close to fulfilling the standards of the requirements. To download and install a new video game or stream a TELEVISION show in HD, you can do it without buffering.

More recent generations of phones are typically made to be backward-compatible, so a 4G phone can connect with a 3G or perhaps 2G network. All providers seem to agree that OFDM is among the chief signs that a service can be legitimately marketed as being 4G. OFDM is a kind of digital modulation in which a signal is split right into numerous narrowband channels at different frequencies. There is a significant amount of framework adjustments needed to be carried out by the provider in order to supply due to the fact that voice employs GSM, UMTS, and also CDMA2000 are circuit-switched, so with the adoption of LTE, providers will certainly have to re-engineer their voice call network. And once more, we have the fractional components: 4.5 G as well as 4.9 G marking the shift of LTE (in the stage called LTE-Advanced Pro) getting us more MIMO, more D2D on the way to IMT-2020, and the requirements of 5G.

The main difference between 3G and 4G is the data rate. There is also a massive difference between 3G and 4G technology. The key technologies that have made 4G possible are MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing). The most essential 4G standards are WiMAX and LTE. While 4G LTE is a significant improvement over 3G speeds, it is technically not 4G. What is the difference between 4G and LTE?

Even after it was widely available, many networks were not up to the required speed of 4G. 4G LTE is a “fourth-generation long term evolution,” capable of delivering a high-speed and secure internet connection. 4G is the predetermined standard for mobile network connections. 4G LTE is the term given to the path which has to be followed to achieve those predefined standards. Some of the features of 4G LTE are:

  • Support interactive multimedia, voice, video.
  • High speed, high capacity, and low cost per bit (Speeds of up to 20 Mbps or more.)
  • Global and scalable mobile networks.
  • Ad hoc and multi-hop networks.

Comparison Between 3G vs. 4G

 Features Comparison



Frequency Band

1.8 – 2.5 GHz

2 – 8 GHz


5-20 MHz

5-20 MHz

rateUp to 2Mbps

20 Mbps or more


Wideband CDMA

Multi-carrier – CDMA or



Concatenated codes

Peak Download Rate



Data Throughput

Up to 3.1mbps

3to5mbps but potential

estimated at a range of 10

to 300mbps.

Frequency Band

1.8 – 2.5GHz2 – 8GHz

Services and Applications

CDMA 2000, UMTS,


EDGE etc.

Wimax2 and LTE-Advance

Network Architecture

Wide Area Cell



Integration of wireless LAN

and Wide area

Peak Upload Rate50 Mbit/s

50 Mbit/s





Packet switching

5G Networks and Its Functions and Features

5G is a generation presently under advancement, that’s intended to improve 4G. 5G promises dramatically quicker data rates, higher connection thickness, much-reduced latency, among other renovations. Several of the plans for 5G include device-to-device communication, better battery intake, and also enhanced overall cordless coverage. The max rate of 5G is focused on being as quickly as 35.46 Gbps, which mores than 35 times faster than 4G.

Key technologies to look out for: Massive MIMO, Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications etc. Massive MIMO, millimeter-wave, small cells, Li-Fi, all the new technologies from the previous decade could be used to give 10Gb/s to a user, with an unseen low latency, and allow connections for at least 100 billion devices. Different estimations have been made for the date of the commercial introduction of 5G networks. Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance feels that 5G should be rolled out by 2020 to meet business and consumer demands.

Some features of the 5G network:

  • 5G uses the rarely used radio millimeter bands in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range. Testing of 5G range in mm-Wave has produced results approximately 500 meters from the tower. Using small cells, the deployment of 5G with millimeters wave-based carriers can improve the overall coverage area. Combined with Beamforming, small cells can deliver high-speed coverage with low latency.
  • Low latency is one of 5G’s most essential features. 5G uses a scalable orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) framework. 5G benefits significantly from this and can have latency as low as one millisecond with realistic estimates to be around 1 – 10 seconds. 5G is estimated to be 60 to 120 times faster than the average 4G latency.
  • Active antenna 5G encapsulated with 5G massive MIMO is used for providing better connections and enhanced user experience. Big 5G array antennas are deployed to gain additional beamforming information and knock out propagation challenges that are experienced at mm-Wave frequency ranges.
  • Further, 5G networks clubbed with network slicing architecture enables telecom operators to offer on-demand tailored connectivity to their users adhered to Service Level Agreement (SLA). Such customized network capabilities comprise latency, data speed, latency, reliability, quality, services, and security.
  • With speeds of up to 10 Gbps, 5G is readied to be as high as 10 times faster than 4G.

Key differences between 4G and 5G

Among the greatest differences between 4G as well as 5G will be peak capacity and also latency. As an example, the peak capability of the 5G UWB sector is in Gbps contrasted to 4G in Mbps. Additionally, the latency or the time that passes from the moment information is sent from a device up until it is made use of by a receiver, will be considerably lowered on 5G networks, enabling faster upload and also download speeds. Another vital difference between 4G and 5G is the transmission capacity dimension. 5G needs to be able to sustain many more devices of the future, in addition to the network demands of connected cars and various other tools in the Internet of Things.

To comprehend what adjustments in each of the generations, one should recognize two concepts that exist in all of them: latency as well as transmission speed.

To recognize what changes in each of the generations, one must understand two concepts present in all of them: latency and transmission speed.

  • Latency

The first idea to be explained is latency, which is nothing more than the response time between an action and its reaction. The latency and the speed are inversely proportional; that is, the lower the latency, the higher the speed. Latency is significant when using the internet for certain commands, such as IoT.

The IoT is a network of intelligent objects, which receive commands, send data, and perform tasks. For them to work correctly and smoothly, the time between a command and an action (i.e. latency) must be as short as possible. The AV, for example, needs a very low latency so that when detecting an object on the track, it can break before hitting it.

5G networks will be significant for IoT, as their latency remains much lower compared with the 4G. As stated earlier, researchers indicate that the response between data sent and its execution (latency) using 5G will be close to that of a human or even faster, assisting in implementing autonomous objects such as cars, robots, and other things.

  • Transmission speed

Hence, a greater rate suggests that more information can be transmitted and got received. It is the difference in the quantity of information that enables generations of networks to execute different jobs. That is, with the current rate, it is possible to download or enjoy programs via the smart device, as an example, while 3G networks transfer smaller details packets, such as messages. With the anticipated speed of 5G, numerous possibilities will certainly be opened, particularly in the location of the Internet of Things (IoT).

  • 4G vs. 5G Tower

As reviewed in the previous topic, speed and latency are inversely proportional. So, for us to have reduced latency, the speed must be high. Rate is among the main modifications we can notice when we relocate from a 3G network to 4G, for instance. The 3G network runs at 8mbp/s (Megabits per second) transmission speed, the 4G at 28Mbp/s, as well as the 5G promises to be up to 10x faster than 4G connectivity.

Because 4G signals are sparser than 3G and 5G a lot more still, phones use up even more power looking for 4G or 5G function, suggesting your battery life may drain pipes quicker using greater generations. It must additionally consider that you will certainly require a phone that supports 5G in order to be able to accessibility this network. As 5G makes use of extra information you might find that your phone agreement data allowance depletes extremely fast.

Comparison among 2G vs. 3G vs. 4G vs. 5G

As the variety of smartphone users worldwide rises, mobile networks should adapt to manage even more customers and enormous demands for information in order to keep clients pleased with just how quickly they can access internet-based solutions. Every jump in network efficiency or capacity is called a brand-new generation. For instance, 3G is the third generation after 1G as well as 2G.

With 3G, smartphones typically see download rates of as much as around 2Mbps (megabits per second). By comparison, 4G is about 3 to 5Mbps; approximately the rate that numerous personal computers obtain through a cable modem or DSL. 5G’s peak download rate is up to 20,480 Mbps, a substantial leap from any type of generation formerly. With a greater network generation comes higher capacity, suggesting it can sustain a majority of individuals at any provided time. It will certainly likewise permit higher data prices, to make sure that multimedia applications such as video clip calls, or YouTube clips function more efficiently.

With a 3G tower, concerning 60 to 100 people can share the signal as well as obtain a fast, dependable solution. A 4G tower, nonetheless, can serve around 300 or 400 individuals. As network generations develop engineers and also designers load as much electronic information as they can right into each radio signal to maximize the speed and also the efficiency of the network. The difference between these generations is merely a network that improves upon the previous internet experience– not that 4G is twice comparable to 3G connectivity.

4G is a lot more spectrally efficient than 3G, equally as 5G is extra spectrally reliable than 4G. Each generation supplies much more data per hertz than the previous one. 3G operates at regularities up to 2.1 Gigahertz, 4G up to 2.5 Gigahertz and 5G can be approximately 95 Gigahertz. That is why there is a great deal of hype around 5G. The 5th generation wireless network addresses the evolution beyond the mobile web to massive IoT. Therefore, they can connect more objects than ever before, including things like connected vehicles, connected homes, and smart cities. Simultaneously, the speed and reliability of 5G will mean that a new era of e-healthcare becomes possible. 5G networks will certainly additionally make use of small cells’ compared to ‘macrocells’ made use of in 4G networks. Put simply, this indicates they are smaller sized in dimension, call for less power as well as can be set up much quicker.

With any kind of cellphone network, signal originates from the frequencies made use of. Generally, low frequencies are most reliable and also efficient in passing through obstructions like building structures, which is why 3G will commonly work in even more areas than 4G. Higher frequencies are more straight but are also a lot more quickly spread by things. Mobile service providers that wish to offer much more dependable solutions will aim to make use of reduced regularities, nevertheless, those that desire their consumers to have accessibility to faster download and install rates will certainly also aim to offer higher frequencies. As 5G will certainly utilize higher frequencies, which have a more limited range, even more, 5G towers will certainly need to be set up to support the integrity of the network. However, as these are smaller as well as do not call for a tower they can be placed on structures and lampposts, as an example.

Each generation in some way has improved over its predecessor. There is a lot of ground to compare the cell networks over. Following is the comparison between 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G.

Features Comparison 



Introduced Year








mm Wave

Access system







Switching TypesCircuit Switching for Voice


Packet switching for Data

Packed switching except for Air InterfacePacket switching

Packet switching

Internet Services

NarrowbandBroadbandUltra-BroadbandWireless World Wide Web (www)


25 MHz25 MHz100 MHz

30 – 300 GHz

AdvantageSMS, MMS, Internet AccessHigh-Security Internet RoamingHigher Speed, Handoffs, Global Mobility

Extremely High Speed, Lower Latency

Each generation of cellular networks marked the start of new user devices connected to the net. 3G was the very first network to be attached to smart devices, the 4G network has brought us the opportunity of enjoying streaming programs and also 5G will certainly be the network that will certainly connect many things.

Technologies are made use of in different areas, not just on the smart device or tools we discover at our home. The current 4G network is already used in factories and production lines to connect the maker to various others. In agribusiness, it is feasible to use tools in the middle of the field with a web connection. The 5G network will enhance making use of these tools connected per various others as well as will bring a lot more data to boost the outcomes.

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