Ask Nishanth: What is Meant by “3G”?
You often hear the term 3G used. Thanks to Apple, most people immediately start thinking iPhone 3G with twice as fast internet. But 3G extends past Apple’s reality distortion and is a common technology among many mobile devices including cell phones, data cards, and even laptops. Some of devices that support this are the iPhone 3G, most new phones from HTC (e.g. Touch Diamond and Pro, etc), and data cards for laptops. But what exactly is it?
3G simply means third generation. It’s used to describe the speed of wireless technology for voice and data uplink and downlink to cell towers. The predecessor was 2.5/2.75G which included GPRS and EDGE for GSM networks and EV-DO for CDMA networks. 3G networks boast higher downlink and uplink speeds over their predecessors. Where an EDGE enabled network could download at most 236.8 kbps, 3G networks can download at speeds of 3.6 Mbps, and with an extension of 3G networks with the addition of HSDPA, speeds of 7.2 Mbps can be reached (3.5G). Though 3G technology has been out in Europe and Asia for many years now, it’s just now becoming pervasive in the US with Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T with widely deployed 3G networks. T-Mobile is just getting started.