Our mobiles have undergone a spectacular evolution and not only aesthetics or at the level of performance in their cameras, processor or battery. The way we communicate with our smartphone and that makes sense of everything else, is the one that in a few years has achieved something unthinkable, when at the end of the 70s there was talk of 1G, or the first generation of telecommunications networks . Now, we have 5G mobile phones in our hands and there is even talk of its evolution.
Our mobiles have gone from serving only and exclusively to call, to becoming a complete multimedia center in which being connected at all times is essential for the vast majority. Although there are generations that have only known 4G or 5G , the truth is that there is a history behind all evolution and we did not always have the same means or the current conception of using a mobile phone.
The evolution of mobile networks
The “G” that accompanies the numbers, is nothing but the reference to the generation (second generation, third generation …) As we are currently seeing 5G mobile being born , it means that they belong to the fifth generation of telecommunications networks, which like everything else, had a beginning, while its future becomes exciting. The evolution in its data transmission capacity has also been incredible.
- 1G transfer rates from 1 to 2.4 Kbps
- 2G : transfer rates from 14 to 64 Kbps
- 3G transfer speeds of 384 Kbps at 2M
- 4G : transfer speeds from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps
- 5G : transfer rates from 1 to 10 Gbps
Between 1979 and 1980, the first generation or 1G was totally analog , that is, they allowed calls but not a trace of the Internet, which was still far away. Data transfer was limited to telecommunications towers. This technology was “cellular” and hence mobile phones are also called that way. The calls were not very stable with constant interference and big coverage problems.
In the 90s, the second generation 2G began to offer clues of what was coming our way. Digital technology began to take its first steps and data in addition to voice began to be transmitted between mobile devices. In the 90’s it was when text messages arrived as well as roaming, that is, the possibility that our mobile could use a network coverage different from the main one.
In between came the 2.5G generation as a preliminary step to the 3G revolution. It allowed capacity for larger text messages or send multimedia files , something that would be greatly improved with the arrival of 3G.
The arrival of 3G managed to massify the use of mobile phones, also assuming the first arrival of the Internet to mobile phones, not as something anecdotal, but as a real communication and information tool. The quality of calls improved and the first audio, image or video apps began to be launched . 3G also allowed our mobiles to make video calls, which prompted the integration of the front camera for selfies that we all have on our mobile.
4G or fourth generation is the standard we use the most today, while the take-off and deployment of 5G continues. This technology brought with it a higher speed to meet the need for consumption of more content and higher quality . Being able to watch a movie or sport in real time and even television in HD quality is possible thanks to 4G. In addition, technology brought voice and data services such as IP calls.
The latest generation commercially available on our mobiles is 5G. As always, it requires that both the mobile and our telephone operator support the standard. 5G is more than 10 times faster than 4G and will allow communication between millions of IoT devices with very low latency (1ms). As is often the case, technology is born before uses for it are created, so many of the applications that will depend on 5G have yet to be conceived and developed. Mobile operators have yet to deploy more commercial 5G offerings as well, as mobile phones compatible with this technology gradually reduce their price.
6G, the future (2030?)
The 6G will be the sixth generation of wireless telecommunications technology. It will be the successor to the current 5G and is expected to reach speeds of 95Gbps . China is one of the countries that claims to be already investigating the technology, as well as South Korea or Japan. The first commercial 6G offering is expected to arrive in the 2030s.