Difference between 3G and 4G Technology

Wireless Technology

In this continuously changing age of personal computers, smartphones, and Web applications, wireless applications have become a familiar landscape for networking. Both professionally and socially in this continuously changing environment it is a “fact that electronic information systems affect every aspect of our lives” (1). The fact that software is being developed so fast, keeping up create big problem for organizations, having to monitor security within new a constantly changing industrial. Trying to satisfy needs of “people now want to be connected on the go and wherever they happen to be” (2).

The flexibility offered through wireless technology has become an essential part of networking structure, “Mobile communication is needed” (2).

3G and 4G Technology

Mobile technology has progressed from an “analog voice communication [system] using frequency modulation” of the first generation, used in the 1980s (1). This generation grew fast and to decrease overcrowding, “addressed by the second generation, which uses digital techniques” for frequency access and processing features (1). Third generation (3G), has built on many second-generation wireless structures and fourth generation (4G) structures are improvements on existing 3G technology.

Where, faster interactive support for audiovisual aid is needed and focus is on “universal personal telecommunications and universal communications access” (1). Stallings, refer to “The ITUs International Mobile Telecommunications for the year 2000 (IMT-2000) initiative defined the ITUs view of third-generation capabilities” (1). In its standards were set that created a completive atmosphere between 3G providers to “meet or exceed the minimum capabilities outlined by the ITU in 2000” (1). Wireless protocols have made smartphones and mobile tablets like the iPad a top seller because mostly of their ability to access the Internet.

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Analyze changes in 4G Technology

Cellular voice services were not available for 3G networks but their ability to access the Internet made businesses a fan of 3G and tablets. Standards for 4G networks were also established by the ITU. According to the ITU, an IMT-Advanced (or 4G) cellular system must fulfill a number of minimum requirements” (1) such as:

  1. Being built “on an all-IP packet-switched network” (1).
  2. Supporting data rates for mobile and local wireless access and
  3. Have the ability to share resources to promote synchronized uses by multiple users (1).

The two cellular systems achieving ITU standards required by 4G networks are, “the Mobile WiMAX standard and the long-term evolution (LTE) standard” (1). Incorporated from South Korea and implemented first in the United States in 2008, WiMAXs found a home at Sprint Nextel, LTE found a home at MetroPCS in 2010 and shared the market with other providers. Unlike earlier generations, supporting “traditional circuit-switched telephony” services are not a function of a 4G network, 4G only supports IP telephony (1). Still 4G users can connect to 3G networks using “cable/fiber circuit-switched connections between the switching offices” (1).

Pros and Cons

3G networks offer a larger bandwidth and transmission volume for “on the go [applications] which allows mobile device users to access all of the Internet and multimedia applications that you usually access on a desktop PC connected to your home network” (3). Although 3G networks drop a percentage of bandwidth in certain areas when attempting to access services on your mobile devices when on the move, 3G remains faster than what previous generations had offered (3).

Continuing with traditions, 4G networks, and in most areas matched speeds of previous generations, with increased bandwidth and data transmission speed. “Users of the 4G network get the advantage of superior, uninterrupted connectivity, especially for advanced tasks such as video chats and conferences” (4). Where record numbers of users are, streaming “music, videos, and movies at a much faster rate than ever before” (4).

To address limits ahead of cellular and wireless network service areas to mobile devices (1). Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) developed settings for allowing users access to telephony and information services, like the Internet and Web (1). “WAP is designed to work with all wireless technologies (e.g. GSM, CDMA, and TDMA)” (1).

3G 4G

  • Frequency Band 1.8 – 2.5 GHz 2 – 8 GHz
  • Bandwidth 5-20 MHz 5-20 MHz
  • Data rate Up to 2Mbps (384 kbps WAN) Up to 20 Mbps or more
  • Access Wideband CDMA Multi-carrier CDMA or OFDM(TDMA) FEC Turbo-codes Concatenated codes
  • Switching Circuit/Packet Packet
  • Mobile top speeds 200 kmph 200 kmph
  • The above table 1, shows comparisons between some key parameters of 3G Vs possible 4G systems (5).
  • Wireless Application protocol

WAP is compatible with Internet standards along with current security services. While consolidating in 2002 with Open Mobile Alliance, WAPs evolution is managed by Open Mobile Alliance, addressing limited processors, memory, battery life, and interface limits (1). In figure 17.8 below, a look at the three elements of a WAP model and its flow pattern (1).

The model shows how WAP uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) between the gateway section and original server, shown on the far left in figure 17.8, content is transferred from the content, red rectangle, bottom right corner of figure 17.8. WAP model acts “as a proxy server for the wireless domain” (1) translating data on mobile devices. Encrypting information from the Web to condensed standard format suitable for wireless communication and reverses this process to decode abbreviated forms into standard Web communication (1). The question with resources leads the decision-making process. Do we purchase desktop computers or a combination of desktops and mobile devices? This, question is what application serves the usage best with sustainable qualities. “In order to make the right decision, some analysis for matching business tools to tasks” (1). Stallings states, “Even if the power of a laptop is currently the best solution, improvements in smartphones and tablets can have us struggling to decide which device is best for the next generation of connectivity as the lines between them are no longer well defined” (1). The practices applied depends on what applications are needed to provide safe and efficient transfer of data.


  1. Stallings, W. (2013). CIS 505: Business Data Communications: Custom edition (7th ed.). p. 480-507. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  2. Stallings, W. (2013). CIS 505: Business Data Communications: Custom edition (7th ed.). p. 172-173. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  3. Schriber, Aeyne. 2018. Pros and Cons of 3G Internet Technology. Retrieved from http://internet-access-guide.com/pros-and-cons-of-3g-internet-technology/
  4. Viswanathan, Priya. May 11, 2018. 4G Mobile Networks: The Pros and the Cons. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/4g-mobile-networks-pros-and-the-cons-2373260
  5. “No author”. “No date”. 4G Wireless Standards. Table 3G Vs 4G. Retrieved from https://www3.nd.edu/~mhaenggi/NET/wireless/4G/

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Difference between 3G and 4G Technology. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/difference-between-3g-and-4g-technology/

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