Cellular networks are the type of wireless WAN technologies. Cellular networks provide services to connect users and remote locations where no other WAN access technologies are available. Millions of users use their smartphones and tablets to email, surf the web, download apps, and watch videos. We can easily connect computers, laptops including routers with the cellular network using cellular technology.
The cellular devices communicate to the nearby cellular tower using radio waves. The devices at the user end use a small antenna while the service provider uses a large antenna installed on the top of the tower to provide a line of sight connectivity to the subscriber devices. The common type of cellular networks is 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE and the latest one is 5G.
2G is the second generation and it is the first digital standard of cellular networks introduced in the 1990s. It is included Global System for Mobile (GSM), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and Enhanced Data Rate for Evaluation (EDGE). It is allowed call and text encryption as well as SMS, picture messaging and MMS. The maximum theoretical data speed of GSM for upstream was 14.4 Kbps and for downstream also 14.4 Kbps. The theoretical data speed of GPRS for upstream was 26.8 Kbps and for downstream was 53.6 Kbps. The theoretical speed of EDGE for upstream is 108.8 Kbps and for downstream is 217.6 Kbps.
3G is the abbreviation for 3rd generation cellular access. With the start of 3G network standard HTML pages including photos and videos are more accessible for remote users. Comparatively, it is faster than 2G standards; which is the protocol used before the introducing of 3G but it is pretty slow compared to a 4G network. 3G networks provide 168.8 Mbps download speed and 23 Mbps upload speed.
LTE is the abbreviation of Long-Term Evolution. The LTE technology considered to be the part of fourth-generation (4G) network technology. It is considered pre-4G and offers more benefits compared to a 3G network. LTE is allowing the maximum download speed of 100 Mbps and upload speed of 50 Mbps but a big change when compared to a 3G network.
4G is the abbreviation for 4th generation cellular access. It is a faster network than the previous 3G network. The 4G services provide 1000 Mega Bits Per Second (Mbps) speed for downstream and 500 Mbps for upstream. 4G is also known as Long-Term Evolution (LTE-A).