The G in 2G, 3G and the others stand for the generation which has come up a long way since their establishment. We are now talking about 5G and the wonders that it might hold. However the most significant changes were marked by the move from 2G to 3G in mobile communication. With the integration of data services on the scale it opens up all sorts of possibilities to venture into. A 2G vs 3G analysis should help in understanding better.
Commercially launched in 1991 by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa Oyj) in Finland, the 2G networks are based on narrow band digital networks. Signals are transmitted in the digital format and this dramatically improves the quality of calls over the earlier first generation systems. This also allowed a reduction in the data complexity for transmission, resulting in international connectivity. The subscriber base was estimated at upwards of 200 million back in 1998 which just kept on increasing.
Global system for mobile communication (GSM) was the introduction of many new technologies including the distribution of land area into cells. This provided an effective method to cover very large areas and handle the ever increasing number of subscribers.
Basically 2G provided digital data and voice transmission. Some common examples would be GSM, D-AMPS, PDC. The data in these were used via analog modems at 9.6Kbps. Over the period of time, these went from 9.6 Kbps (GSM) to 33 Kbps (GPRS) and 200 Kbps or higher in what came to be termed as 2.5G and 2.75G.
And then there was data
Theoretically speaking, 3G boasted of data speeds suitable for individual devices that were attached to the sim cards that worked with them. The speed of data transmission on a 3G network ranges between 3 mbps to 21 mbps. This was made popular largely thanks to the capability of accessing high speed internet over mobile devices. This meant we now had the option to frolick around and still stream, 2 k videos on Youtube. You could now go for video conferencing on the go.
The move from 2G to 3G was focused on improving reliability on data and digital means of communication. With speeds upto 21 mbps, you now could always stay connected to the internet. 3G provided digital data support at high speeds in circuit switched architecture. Implemented technologies include, UMTS / WCDMA, EvDO.