Third Generation (3G) Mobile Communication - An Overview
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3G Introduction

The Third Generation (3G) will be digital mobile multimedia offering broadband mobile communications with voice, video, graphics, audio and other information.

The mobile communications industry has evolved in three stages, and correspondingly three generations of mobile phones have emerged thus far. Each one has provided more flexibility and usability than the previous ones.

  • (1G) Analog: Analog phones helped to make voice calls inside one's country without roaming facilities.
  • (2G) Digital mobile phone systems added fax, data and messaging capabilities as well as voice telephone service in many countries offering worldwide roaming.
  • (3G) Multimedia services add high speed data transfer to mobile devices, allowing new video, audio and other applications (including Internet services) through mobile phones.

During the first and second generations, different regions of the world pursued different mobile phone standards, such as NMT and TACS for analog and GSM for digital, North America pursued AMPS for analog and a mix of TDMA, CDMA and GSM for digital.

3G, based on CDMA technology, will bring these incompatible standards together.

3G Features

1.   With 3G, the information is split into separate but related packets before being transmitted and reassembled at the receiving end. Packet switched data formats are much more common than their circuit switched counterparts.

2.   The World Wide Web (WWW) is becoming the primary communications interface. People access the Internet for entertainment, services, and information collection, the intranet for accessing enterprise information and connecting with colleagues and the extranet for accessing customers and suppliers. These are all derivatives of the World Wide Web aimed at connecting different communities of interest. Information and other resources are being stored in remote Web servers, which serves the various needs of human beings through Web browsers at their ends.

3.  Speeds of up to 2 Megabits per second (Mbps) are achievable with 3G. The data transmission rates will depend upon the environment, the call is being made in, however, only indoors and in stationary environments that these types of data rates will be available. For high mobility, data rates of 144 kbps are expected to be available.

3G  Applications

3G facilitates several new applications that have not previously been readily available over mobile networks due to the limitations in data transmission speeds. These applications range from Web Browsing to file transfer to Home Automation (the ability to remotely access and control in-house appliances and machines). Because of the bandwidth increase, these applications will be even more easily available with 3G than they were previously with interim technologies.

3G Services Access

To use 3G, users specifically need:

  • A 3G Mobile Phone
  • A subscription to a mobile telephone network that supports 3G,
  • Use of 3G must be enabled for that user. Automatic access to the 3G may be allowed by some mobile network operators, others will charge a monthly subscription and require a specific opt-in to use the service as they do with other non-voice mobile services,
  • Knowledge of how to send and/ or receive 3G information using their specific model of mobile phone, including software and hardware configuration (this creates a customer service requirement),
  • A destination to send or receive information through 3G. From day one, 3G users can access any web page or other Internet applications - providing an immediate critical mass of users.

The telecommunications world is changing as the trends of media convergence, industry consolidation, Internet and IP technologies and mobile communications collide into one. Significant change will be bought about by this rapid evolution in technology with the arrival of mobile Internet technology.