In 1973, the first mobile phone was made. There has been a drastic growth in the mobile network industry since then.
In 1979, the first generation of mobile networks – or 1G was introduced by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in Tokyo.
The 1G Network
By 1984, NTT had rolled out 1G to cover the whole of Japan.
The US approved the first 1G operations and the Motorola’s DynaTAC became one of the first ‘mobile’ phones to see widespread use.
Other countries such as Canada and the UK rolled out their own 1G networks a few years later.
As good as this development was, there were some setbacks however. These include:
- Poor coverage
- Low sound quality
- No compatibility between systems
- No roaming support between various operators
- Calls weren’t encrypted
These setbacks paved the way for the second generation, appropriately called 2G.
The 2G Network
In 1991, 2G was launched in Finland under the GSM standards. For the first time, calls could be encrypted and digital voice calls were significantly clearer with less static and background crackling.
This invention solved the problems of 1G and even did much more. This made
- Text messaging (SMS) possible
- Picture messaging and multimedia messaging (MMS) possible
- Increased the transfer speed from 9.6KB per second to 500 KB per second.
All these led to the massive acceptance and adoption of the 2G network.
The 3G Network
In 2001, 3G which is the third generation of mobile telecommunications technology was launched by NTT DoCoMo. This was aimed at standardizing the network protocol used by vendors.This meant that users could access data from any location in the world as the ‘data packets’ that drive web connectivity were standardized.
3G made international roaming services possible and increased data transfer capabilities (4 times faster than 2G)
This also led to the rise of video conferencing, video streaming and over IP like Skype. BlackBerry was launched in 2002 and many of the features you enjoyed using the mobile phone was made possible by 3G Connectivity.
The twilight era of 3G saw the launch of the iPhone in 2007, meaning that its network capability was about to be stretched like never before.
The 4G Network
4G was deployed in Stockholm,Sweden and Oslo,Norway in 2009 as the Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G standard. 4G offers fast mobile web access up to 1GIG per second for stationary users, HD videos and HQ video conferencing. Unlike the transitioning from 2G to 3G, transitioning to 4G needs to be configured by the manufacturer of the mobile device to build it to specifically support 4G. This helped device manufacturers scale their profits dramatically by introducing new 4G-ready handsets.
While 4G is the current standard around the globe, some regions are plagued by network patchiness and have low 4G LTE penetration.
And… The 5G Network
The introduction of 5G is known as the (IoT) Internet of Things Era. It is the next generation wireless network technology that will change the way people live and work.
The question is, why 5G when 4G still has low penetration in some areas? Much of the hype around 5G has to do with speed. It has the capacity to handle many more connected devices than the 4G. It will reduce latency and make communication with cloud platforms (Amazon Wb Services and Microsoft Azure) faster and easier.
The IoT is described as the next big digital evolution that would see billions of connected devices seamlessly share data across the globe.
The IoT will see data move out of server centers and into what is known as ‘edge devices’ such as Wi-Fi-enabled appliances like fridges, washing machines, and cars.
How it works
5G signals runs over new radio frequencies that requires updating the radio and other equipments on cell towers. There are 3 different ways of building a 5G network. This is highly dependent on the type of asset the wireless carrier has.
- Low-band network. This has a wider coverage area than 4G but just 20% faster than the 4G.
- High-band Network. This has a super fast speed but the signal doesn’t travel well enough and struggles to travel hard surfaces. Carriers building this type of 5G network must install tons of small sites in small proximity to one another.
- Mid-band Network. This balances the speed and the coverage.
The fasted 5G networks according to wireless industry trade group GSMA are expected to be 10-100 times faster than 4G LTE. Consumers need to have a 5G-enabled devices to be able to connect and get the benefits of 5G network.
What are the concerns of 5G Network?
As good as the innovation is, it will take years for the full adoption of the network. There are also security and health concerns about the network as crucial technologies such as self-driving cars and healthcare systems will be built on top of the network.
Source: CNN Business