The internet and its associated technologies have come an impressively long way over the past few decades. From the time of yuppies and their brick mobile phones back in the 80s, to now, when our phones do absolutely everything and many of us couldn’t imagine leaving home without them.
We’ll skip the history of the internet (we all know that anyway), and go straight to the beginnings of mobile internet and its most important technology – the mobile phone.
The first generation of mobile technology, or 1G, grew throughout the 70s and 80s, allowing those with mobile phones to utilise multiple cell towers to make calls, using existing analog technology. It’s worth bearing in mind that although the phones were “mobile”, you still needed a strong arm to carry one.
The second generation, or 2G, ushered in a digital age and slightly more compact mobile devices. As demand grew for the new technology, more and more cell towers were built. Technical improvements meant phones were smaller, and could do more than just make calls. The era of the text message began.
By the late 90s, having a mobile had become fairly commonplace, with relatively cheap phones and an abundance of prepaid and post-paid plans easily available. Users could also use 2G technology to download ringtones.
This download feature was developed further with the introduction of 3G in the early 2000s. This third generation of mobile technology revolutionised the market – and changed the way many of us live today.
Using 3G, phones could be used to browse the internet, listen to the radio, watch TV, stream video, upload and download information (as long as the networks were up to speed). Thus, the smartphone was born, when phones became personal organisers, GPS systems, and the ultimate communication device.
As with any type of technology, evolution didn’t just stop there. We live in a fast-paced world, and we want a phone – and a network – that can keep up.
4G was introduced in Australia in mid-2011, giving users connection speeds 10 times faster than its 3G predecessor. Telstra and Optus now provide 4G coverage to every Australian capital and more than one hundred regional centres, with promises to expand over the coming years.
4G means phones can connect even faster, streaming HD video without breaking a sweat, downloading movies in a matter of minutes, and giving users super-fast browsing speeds. All this, and the network doesn’t have to worry about getting clogged up with voice calls, as 3G does.
This fourth generation of mobile technology brings its awesomeness not just to smartphones, but to 4G capable tablets and to laptops with 4G dongles as well. It means users can connect to super-fast internet on a variety of mobile devices, wherever they are (as long as they’re in a 4G coverage area).
However, 4G is not fully developed as yet. The networks need to be expanded, users need to be able to roam internationally, and speeds need to be increased for it to become “true” 4G. Give it time, and we’ll get there. In the mean time, we can just enjoy what we’ve got!
Vividwireless is a leading provider of telecommunications in Australia. So what is 4G? Click the link to find out.