Wondrous wireless connects gazillions of great gadgets to each other and to the Internet ether. But how much do you really know about wireless's inner workings?
Well, the really slow part is also true. But 1G networks were based on analog signals instead of the 0's and 1's that make up digital communications.
It wasn't yet rolled out to customers, but it was still up and running in Japan in 1998.
This is a 3G technology, although it's often upgraded to much faster speeds and branded as 4G.
They carried data of all types, including text messages. This is where your fingertip fatigue problems began.
It's all-IP (Internet protocol), all the time, meaning it transfers data in packets that zoom through the Internet. Most 4G networks still overlap with older technologies and aren't all-IP.
Air interfaces, such as HSPA, WiMAX, LTE and others, are all communications protocols for sending and receiving digital data.
3G enabled mobile Internet, but 4G delivers speeds that are sometimes as fast or faster than a home Internet connection.
Actually, 1.5 Mbps is pushing it in some areas, but upgraded networks (especially in metro locations) can deliver faster speeds.
Wireless companies embraced the 3G standard set by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union); they did not do the same with the 4G specifications.
LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, so it's made to upgrade easily and outlast older infrastructures.
At more than 10 Mbps (on the low end), these networks are at least 10 times faster than their 3G forebearers.
Some companies throttle (or cut speeds to) users who download incessantly, and they'll use tiered plans to make them pay more, too.
For cellular communication, lower frequencies work best. They penetrate objects instead of bouncing off of them, like higher frequencies.
4G isn't all that different from 3G in this respect. It's the routers and out-of-sight hardware that make 4G better and faster.
And 100 Mbps was for moving devices; 1Gbps was the standard for stationary objects. Alas, 4G standards never really took hold within the industry.
TeliaSonera fired up its 4G network in Sweden on Dec. 14, 2009.
Operators and carriers pay through the nose for spectrum, which is a range of frequencies a company needs to deliver their wireless services.
Delays, also called latencies, are no good in wireless, causing hiccups of all kinds. 4G networks have very low latency of around 25 milliseconds.
Your home's little WiFi router has never been so jealous. At 30 miles, WiMAX has a very long range.
The 5G designation will likely be as confusing as 4G, but LTE Advanced should spread, making LTE look slow by comparison.