Network Standards (2G, 3G, 4G\LTE) Explained

In this article, I give you some explanation of basic terms of Network Standards (2G, 3G, 4G\LTE). We live in the information age, an age where the basic and one of the most important resources is information.
Access to them, their processing, and further forwarding are possible today through a multitude of devices that communicate with each other through various local, regional, and global networks – the Internet and thus facilitate communication and exchange of information to their users.

In order to make that communication as simple as possible, today we know many network standards for telecommunications and the basis is the current 3 generations (2G, 3G, 4G) which are the most used, most widespread and most important for most users, both in Serbia and in the world.

We will briefly introduce each of them and some of their most important sub-standards (advanced versions) that are most commonly used on mobile phones/tablets/USB modems today.

2G (GSM, GPRS, EDGE) – second generation

GSM – (Global System for Mobile Communications) this system is the oldest of the listed and is a standard that allows the transmission of voice and data, services such as SMS and roaming. It is considered a second-generation network because it was developed as a replacement for the first generation of analog (1G) networks. Later, 2 more improved versions (GPRS and EDGE) of networks/services emerged from it.

GPRS – (General Packet Radio Service), is a packet service designed to help the GSM network where higher bandwidth is needed and is also the first standard that enabled at that time (before 2004) mobile devices and their users to start using some of the benefits and services of the Internet more seriously. The maximum bandwidth of this standard is about 9.6 Kbps.

EDGE (2.5G) – (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) also represents an improved GSM network and enables significantly higher bandwidth and faster data transfer than the previous 2 standards. It has been in use since 2004 and the real data transfer speed in it is 100 Kbps in the downlink (downloading content to the device) and about 40 Kbps in the uplink (sending content from the device). When your device catches this type of network, the most common indicator (depending on the model) is the “E” mark next to the signal strength indicator.

3G (UMTS, HSPA +) – third generation

UMTS – (Universal Mobile Telecommunication Systems) is the official European standard within the third generation of networks (3G), which along with 2G standards is the most widespread public mobile telephony system on the planet. This technology, which came to life in 2007, in addition to the voice and SMS messaging services themselves, is starting to offer users services such as video calling and even faster data transfer when using the Internet content browsing service. When your device catches this type of network, the most common indicator (depending on the model) is “3G” next to the signal strength indicator.

HSDPA / HSDPA + – (High-Speed ​​Downlink Packet Access / Evolved High-Speed ​​Packet Access) is an even more advanced standard than UMTS and the last step towards 4G networks. In Serbia, it is currently the one that allows users of all mobile operators the highest speed and user flows that theoretically amount to 42 Mbps in a downlink (downloading content to the device) and about 6 Mbps in an uplink (sending content from the device) while real speeds range around 10-15 Mbps in the downlink or 1-3 Mbps in the uplink. When your device catches this type of network, the most common indicator (depending on the model) is the “H” mark (for HSDPA, or “H +” for the advanced HSDPA + version), next to the signal strength indicator.

4G \ LTE – fourth generation

LTE (Long Term Evolution) – is the name for the latest, latest commercial telecommunications technology that is considered the fourth generation in a row. This standard improves all aspects of the previous ones, such as quality, coverage, and reliability, as well as the data transfer speeds they theoretically amount to (depending on the subversion of the LTE standard itself) from 100 Mbps in downlink and 50 Mbps in uplink and above (newer versions offer even higher speeds).

What is important for users is that all three mobile operators are in the testing phase of this standard and that in the next period (not officially announced) they plan to release it for commercial use. It is not yet known exactly the version of LTE that will be offered, so the expected speeds are not known, but it is clear that they will be a big improvement for all previous users, who have 4G phones, and which were limited to some of the 3G standards. When your device catches/catches this type of network, the most common indicator (depending on the model) is “LTE”, “L” or “4G”, next to the signal strength indicator.

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