Evolution of Cellular Communication Network

All interests to humans like communication, different barriers have been seen. That is why, as humans continue facing challenges, they innovate. Next generation platforms have literally revolutionized the way people communicate across the globe ever since they were launched more than forty years ago.

Over time, wireless communication capabilities have been improving as the developers find creative ways to fix any challenges to cellular networks currently in use. As they do this, they introduce a more reliable, flexible and user friendly platform. These different platforms are:

  • 1G
  • 2G
  • 3G
  • 4G and currently
  • 5G

Below is a representation of the three different sizes of sim cards either of which must be used for any communication over a GSM based network to occur.

Standard sim card Mini sim card Micro sim card
  1. First Generation- 1G

This was the very first, actually the pioneer wireless telephony way back in the late 70s and early 80s. It was a technology based on analog radio signal transmission and fairly limited just as it was slow and rigid

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  • Second Generation -2G

As the wireless communication continued getting rapidly popular, more experts and relevant companies devoted their efforts and resources to exploiting this platform through extensive research and development. Consequently, 2G networks succeeded the 1G platform. Having worked with the slow and unreliable 1G network, the developers came up with this new 2G platform as a digital signal carrier. 

Evidently, this second generation digital signal platform was not just faster, but also caused the mobile network coverage to expand to more remote areas where analog signals could not previously reach. As part of the benefits for this 2G cellular network, the developers introduced the short message services (SMS), picture and multimedia messages as well.

As time went by, the innovators discovered that a good number of users would wish to know their current locations together with the maps and directions to certain areas of interest. For this reason, the General Packet Radio Service popularly known as GPRS was introduced as the 2G gradually progressed to 2.5G network.

  • Third Generation -3G

To help address the data transfer speed limits associated with the 2G networks, 3G was introduced.  This immediately improved the data transfer rate to at least 144 Kilobits per second. More modifications were carried out on this 3G networks to allow provide wider broad bands of up to several Megabits per second to both cell phones and laptops. With this modification, this platform would often be referred to as the 3.5G networks.

These higher speeds were compatible with not just wireless voice telephony but also, in fixed wireless and mobile internet access. They also brought to life the mobile TV and video conferencing capabilities. Among other benefits, this 3.5G network also came loaded with High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSPA). When the HSPA was modified further, it became the HSPA+ and the platform became a 3.75G.

  • Fourth Generation ā€“ 4G

Even as technology evolved, human needs also rapidly changed. Their preferences varied and so did the need for advancement on the network capability. The 4G network was then introduced to particularly allow users access to:

  • Video Conferencing
  • Gaming Services
  • Cloud Computing
  • Mobile Web services
  • IP telephony
  • High Definition mobile TV and
  • 3D television

With all these benefits of the 4G platform, a Long Term Evolution (LTE) version of the 4G platform was introduced and modified to include the LTE Advanced Pro and MIMO (The Multiple Input and Multiple Output). This gave birth to the 4.5G networks as a precursor to the 5G networks.

  • Firth Generation ā€“ 5G

As the human needs increase and the desire for more fulfilling technology grows, a 5G network platform was already under development as of end of the year 2019. The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance has already set out to define the bare minimum specifications meeting the 5G network platform among other as;

  • At least 1Gigabit per second of data transfer speed offered concurrently to tens of workers
  • Data rates that is 10 of MBPS/Sec for thousands of users.

As to whether it will be possible to reach the maximum ever generation network platform, the ever increasing and changing human needs will determine that. After all, ever since the first generation cellular network was developed in the 70s, second generation in the 80s while the third and fourth generation respectively in 1998 and 2008 it appears as though a new generation of cellular  standards gets to developed after every ten years.

Consequent to this, it may not be possible for a maximum ever generation network to be development for as long as human needs and competition push innovators to their very creative edge. Technology will thus continue growing to 6G, 7G, 8G and so on and advancing without limits. Predictably, by the year 2068, a 10G generation may as well be in use; who knows?

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