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4G vs 3G

Over a million T-Mobile users trimmed their T-Mobile SIM cards to the size of a Micro-SIM card for use in Apple's iPhone 4. T-Mobile does not offer iPhone 4 phones. They don't seem to mind, even as they are aware, that they can't enjoy the full goodies of T-Mobile 3G or 4G data speeds with the iPhone. Let's see what they are depriving themselves of as we look into the differences between 4G and 3G. The three major differences between the two technologies are frequency bands, access, and data rates.

Comparing side by side:
  • 4G has a frequency band of 2 to 8 GHz while the frequency band of 3G is 1.8 to 2.5 GHz
  • In terms of bandwidth, 4G and 3G are on par, sharing a bandwidth range of 5 to 20 MHz
  • Data rate for 4G stands at 20 Mbps or more while that for 3G is 2Mbps
  • 4G uses concatenated codes whereas 3G use Turbo-codes
  • When we talk about switching, 4G uses only packet switching, while 3G uses both circuit and packet
  • Finally, about access, 4G is multicarrier (CDMA or TDMA is also called OFDM) and 3G uses wideband CDMA only

3G Cellular Technology

The 3rd generation mobile technology is simply a generation of standards for mobile telecommunication. As a fulfilment of ITU (International Telecommunication Union) specifications, it has many application services, which include: mobile Internet access, voice telephone, wireless phone, video calls, and mobile TV. Innovation has made it possible for 3G to surpass ITU set standards for peak data rates. The ITU standard for 3G data rates are a minimum of 200kbit/s. Now, we can talk of Mbit/s, especially with 3.5G and 3.7G.

3G standards

  • 3G standards include widespread radio interface (W-CDMA)
  • TD-SCDMA radio interface, which is only available in the People's Republic of China.
  • HSPA and other UMTS latest releases.
  • CDMA2000 system
  • DECT
  • Mobile WiMax
  • Other cellular standard technologies include 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE)
Popular 3G standards include:
  • DECT
  • Mobile Wimax
  • CDMA2000
  • HSPA and HSPA+
  • W-CDMA
  • UMTS
  • Evolved EDGE
  • EDGE
  • EVDO

4G Cellular Technology

4G stands for fourth generation cellular phone standard. It is an extension of 3G. 4G provides an all-IP based mobile broadband solution for mobile devices such as smartphones, modems, tablets, laptops, and so on.

Common 4G technologies include Long-term evolution (LTE), LTE Advanced, mobile WiMax, and WirelessMan-Advanced IEEE 802.16m. 4G improves quality of service. It offers better mobile broadband access, video chat, and it is great for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), mobile TV, digital broadcasting systems, and so much more.

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