First of all, the title should NOT be confused with the Bee Gees, a popular disco group from before I was born (HA!). ANYWAY, this article is the first of a three part series that I like to call Jabloggy’s Wireless Series (catchy, huh?). This and the two articles to follow will cover some raw basics regarding three of the most popular wireless technologies in use today: 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
3G, or 3rd Generation, refers to a set of standards that today’s mobile devices use to communicate. 3G allows for wireless data to move faster between cell phone towers and the mobile devices that are talking to them. 3G is also the first set of standards that allows for us as cell phone users to talk and use data services at the same time. Standards before 3G (more specifically 2G and 2.5G) didn’t allow this to work.
Before 3G existed, cell phones were pretty “dumbed down”. Thanks to 3G, our cell phones have become a lot smarter than they used to be. 3G allows for services such as:
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Tele-medicine (such as a doctor accessing and reviewing medical records via an iPad app)
Location-based services (services that can find you or places around you without the use of GPS satellites)
But before this starts to sound TOO exciting, you should know this. Even though 3G allows for these services, not all are in use or widely accepted yet. For example, Video conferencing, which could also refer to video telephone calls, is something that is generally not available yet due to its intense demand for wireless resources. It’s reasons like this that helped determine that the new iPhone 4 would only be able to use a Wi-Fi connection to make video calls instead of the 3G cellular network. At this point in time, most cell network infrastructures are still trying to catch up due to voice and data demands from subscribers and other consumers.
For a more in-depth explanation on 3G (including a lot of numbers & additional techie mumbo-jumbo), check out the definition for 3G on Wikipedia
Still confused about this topic? Leave your question in the comments below and let us know!