2G to 3G – generation of telecom

Second generation or 2G of telecom emerged a decade after (1990) its predecessor 1G (1980). Although the history of telecom evolution truely beings with internet and further engineered with PSTN, analog voice and switches we shall omit them discussing here as they are truly legacy now.  You can read more about Legacy telecom here-

We have seen the evolution of teelcom access networks through generations happening pretty quickly recently. While earlier it was a decade that led to the jump between generations, the recent jumps from 3G to 4G to 5G happening fairly quickly.  In this article let us dive into what enhancements went into 2G and its successor 3G, since

Where 2G is referred to as the GSM era , 2.5 G as the GPRS with GSM era. The following two diagram denote the service operators architecture nodes in both these times .

2G / GSM era

As compared to its predecessor 1G which used FDMA ( Frequency Division Multiplexing ) for channelization , 2G used used TDMA and CDMA for dividing the channels .

Note that in pure 2G there was only circuit switched communication services .

gsm

2.5G or GPRS era

The advent of 2.5 G, in later part of 1990s, bought packet switching for data access along with existing circuit switching for voice network. While 1G and pure2G relied solely on circuit switching, now 2.5 G used both circuit switched and packet switching. The speed provided by General Packet Radio Service ( GPRS ) was ~= 50 Kbps.

Digital voice was introduced with multiple access technologies like CDMS ( Core Division Multiple access )

gsm_gprs

2.75G ( EDGE)

EDGE( Enhanced Data Rates for GSM evolution) was deploying on GSM technologies and was also standardised by 3GPP technologies . EDGE delivers higher bit-rates per radio channel, resulting in a threefold increase in capacity and performance compared with an ordinary GSM/GPRS connection with speed upto 1 Mbps.

In terms of transmission techniques, EDGE and its varients used Gaussian minimum-shift keying (GMSK), EDGE uses higher-order PSK/8 phase shift keying (8PSK) for the upper five of its nine modulation and coding schemes.

Note that the processes such as billing etc had begun merging for both the circuit switched and packet switched networks .

3G

Even though 2G evolution was enough to sustain voice abd video calls, the mobile industry became “smarter” and data hungry for faster services ( mobile gaming , video conferencing ,video streaming, social media interactions are some of the usecases ). It became necessary to bring in faster speed while evolving towards and hence was born 3G in early 20000. Some of the tecehnolgies which were branded 3G are

 UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 

Core technology for 3G ,

CDMA2000

3.5G ( HSPA)

Now 3G was further succeeded by 3.5G ( HSPA – High Speed Downlink Packet Access ) with max theoritical 21.6 Mbps.

Eventually 4G ( LTE Long Term Evolution ) overtook the indutry with newer technologies but the impressive array of technologies in transaition between 2G to 3G to 4G was awe inspirinig indeed .


References :

Also Read

4G, Long Term Evolution (LTE), VOLTE and VOWifi

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is a registered trademark owned by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) for the wireless data communications technology and a development of the GSM/UMTS standards.

5G

striking features of 5G –
entirely IP based
ability to connect 100x more devices ( IOT favourable )
speed upto 10 Gbit/s
high peak bit rate
high data volume per unit area
virtually 0 latency hence high response time