Did You Know?
While most countries have not yet managed to make 3G mainstream, South Korea has managed to test its 5G network, courtesy Samsung!
In essence, 3G and 4G are terms used to describe different wireless data features available on mobile phones. The nomenclature of phones started with the 1G phones or the first generation phones, which were the first mobile phones to have been introduced to the public. Then came the 2G or second generation phones, which used digital data transaction methods.
The third generation or 3G mobile phones ushered in faster data transmission speeds, due to which one could use cell phones in more data demanding ways. The latest technology on the horizon is 4G. Since every network brand has been talking of their new 4G plans, it's time we settled the matter about what exactly is the difference between the two.
Current 4G transmission speed is said to be at about 10 times faster than the 3G network, however, many experts opine that the current 4G network can only be called an advanced 3G network. It has also been observed that if the speed of 3G is enhanced in the GSM network, it is equal to the 4G speed on a CDMA network.
Network 3G vs. 4G
With the introduction of 3G, cell phone users were able to use speech and data services simultaneously, at higher data rates. The 4G data rates are expected to be higher than the current ones provided by 3G. Along with the increase in data rate, 4G is expected to give its users gaming, multimedia, and Internet access support.
On the 3G network, both voice communication as well as data communication is possible. Both these structures work parallel to each other.
3G vs. 4G Switching Technology
3G technology uses both packet switching and circuit switching network nodes. In 4G, only packet switching infrastructure is used. If you look at the bandwidth of 3G and 4G, you will notice that there is no difference. Hence, all the calls in a 4G network are inherently IP telephony calls, which is not the case with a 3G network.
Bandwidth 3G vs. 4G
Here, it is the data rate which makes the big difference. Both 3G and 4G have a bandwidth of 5 MHz - 20 MHz. For 4G networks, the data rate has been set at 100 Mbit for moving vehicles, and 1 Gbit for stationary and walking users.
The data rates specified by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for 3G are 3 Mbps for stationary or walking users, and 384 Kbit for a moving vehicle.
Should You Get 4G?
The only way to access 4G networks is through a smartphone that supports 4G coverage. Most top-of-the-line phones today support 4G-LTE. That said, there are a few other issues that you need to figure out before converting from 3G to 4G.
Most networks are yet to implement 4G completely. Therefore, what you need to know is if your carrier not only supports 4G, but also supports the same at your required locations. This includes where you live, where you work, or where you hang out. If that area does not have a good 4G coverage, then it's pointless to get it.
The only incentive is that 4G is still developing, so it will eventually get as good as (probably even better) 3G networks. It's just going to take a good deal of time.
Just ask yourself what you use your current mobile Internet for. Most people do not have a regular and heavy data download/upload requirement. If socializing and minimal gaming is all you're going to do, then there's no point upgrading to 4G.
As of now, the costs for a 4G connection are too high, so unless you can afford it and you really need that speed, don't go for it. Just wait it out till you get a network that is affordable and wide.
Although 4G is going to be an advancement in mobile technology, there are certain areas which are not fixed in this update either. Call drops is one such area which needs to be fixed urgently. Coverage gaps also result in loss of communication.
Since mobile phones have been introduced in the market, people have complained about slow speeds during peak hours. It was hoped that these issues would be fixed with 3G, however, it has not been fixed with 4G either.
Although 4G has been introduced, it has not been implemented in all cities, therefore, if a customer is traveling, he will not be able to use 4G services. Also one may encounter lag when there is data transmission between two different generations of network, namely 3G and 4G.
It is clear that 4G is certainly an advanced technology vis-à-vis 3G, however, the users will have to wait till 4G is also implemented. Implementation of 4G may take longer than expected, as 3G is still not being widely used as it should have been, although measures are being taken for the same.
With the increase in data transmission speeds, there will be more data consumption, which in turn will result in higher data bills. There are many more features of 4G which have not been tested yet and choices about the hardware change with every passing day. Therefore, one will have to be patient, till all the potential benefits of the technology are clear.