Wireless standards are confusing — it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about 4G, LTE, WiMax, or others. Here, we’re breaking down the differences between 3G, 4G and 4G LTE, so you can make sense of how they play out in real-world scenarios.
When you’re looking at buying a new phone, you might find that there are way too many acronyms to choose from, between CDMA, GSM, LTE, and WiMax; the list goes on. What does any of it mean? It can be easier to focus simply on the differences in these networks as they apply to you directly. The simplest explanation is that the “G” in 4G stands for generation, because 4G is the fourth generation of mobile data technology, as defined by the radio sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R). LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution” and applies more generally to the idea of improving wireless broadband speeds to meet increasing demand.
What is 3G?
When 3G networks started rolling out, they replaced the 2G system, a network protocol that only allowed the most basic of what we would now call smartphone functionality. Most 2G networks handled phone calls, basic text messaging, and small amounts of data over a protocol called MMS. With the introduction of 3G connectivity, a number of larger data formats became much more accessible, including standard HTML pages, videos, and music. The speeds were still pretty slow, and mostly required pages and data specially formatted for these slower wireless connections. By 2G standards, the new protocol was speedy, but still didn’t come anywhere close to replacing a home broadband connection. Click on next page for continue read article