What Is 3G Wireless?
3G Wireless stands for “Third Generation” Wireless technology. 3G is a major upgrade from 2G technology–increased high-speed transmission, greater multimedia access, and global roaming features are just three of the improvements to wireless technology made possible by 3G.
3G Wireless is found on mobile phones and other small devices. It is used to connect the phone to the Internet or other IP-based networks to download and upload data to the Web, view websites, and to make voice and video calls.
How is 3G Wireless Better?
The five biggest changes that 3G brings to wireless are:
- improved audio and video streaming
- support for video-conferencing
- much greater data speed
- IPTV support (this is basically Internet-based television)
- faster web browsing
How Fast is 3G Wireless?
3G wireless networks boast a transfer rate of between 128 and 144 kbps for devices that are on the move. Since 3G technology is almost exclusively used in phones, the transfer rate at speed is an important measure of 3G Wireless’ service. For slower moving devices, the transfer rate is 384 kbps–this is the transfer speed you can expect if you’re walking while using 3G Wireless. The best transfer rates for 3G Wireless devices come when the device is in a fixed position. Then the rate goes well above 2 Mbps.
History of 3G Wireless
The first generation of wireless, known as 1G, started in the early 80’s with rudimentary cellular networks. The second generation of wireless, called 2G, came out about ten years later when some cellular operators adopted one wireless standard and some adopted another.
The third generation of wireless, 3G Wireless, came to be in order to increase bandwidth, support different wireless applications, and to grow the industry. With 3G Wireless, voice and data applications can run concurrently at speeds up to 14.4 Kbps. How did 3G do this?
In order to run multiple different mobile applications at once, 3G had to use what are called “packets” more efficiently and at greater speeds than had been achieved before.
What Stuff Do I Need to Use 3G Wireless?
The main thing you need to use 3G Wireless is a device that is compatible with 3G. If you’ve looked for a new phone or device lately, you’ve probably heard a ton about “3G phones”–the name comes from the fact that this particular phone is capable of running 3G Wireless. Sometimes the name 3G is right there on the phone, as is the case with the iPhone 3G. An easy way to pick a 3G phone out of a lineup is the presence of two cameras–3G allows for video calls, and a camera facing the phone’s user is required for good video phone function. If you see a phone with a camera on both sides, you can bet it is a 3G device.
3G Wireless is not like Wi-Fi, which is available for free at many different places around town. To get on 3G networks, you need to sign up for a 3G service plan to connect to 3G networks. This service plan is also called a “data plan” and is a crucial part of using 3G Wireless.
How Does My Phone Connect to 3G Wireless?
A 3G phone connects to its network through either a SIM card or a 3G data card. If you’re using a cell phone to connect via 3G Wireless, you’re running on a SIM card. Your SIM card should have been provided to you when you purchased the service plan or the phone. Your SIM card allows you to connect to the Internet whenever you are inside a 3G network. The good news is that if you’re not in a 3G network, you can still use 2G and 2.5G function through your service provider. You won’t be able to video chat outside of your 3G network, but you’ll still have wireless capabilities.
How Much Does 3G Wireless Cost?
Because of the complexity of 3G Wireless, using 3G is a bit expensive. If you absolutely need the best wireless connection when you’re on the go, you don’t really have a choice–it’s 3G or nothing. But you’re going to pay for the privilege. Different data plan providers have different costs and service plans, but in general you’re going to be paying for the data you transfer rather than “minutes”. 3G technology is itself “packet-based”, meaning it is easy to track how many packets you’ve sent back and forth through the Internet.
Generally, most data plans charge a flat rate for up to one gigabyte of data transferred, and then a specific rate for each additional megabyte transferred.
Wireless technology is the best way for cell phones to make free voice calls around the world using the Internet. It is also a big step up over 2.5G in terms of video and Internet capability. When you need the best possible wireless connection on-the-go, look for 3G Wireless technology.
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