Difference Between 3G and 4G Network Technology

3G vs 4G Network Technology | LTE and WiMAX | 3G vs 4G Speed, Frequencies and Features Compared | Battery Life more in 3G


3G and 4G are wireless communication technology classifications by certain standards and benchmarks. In the evolution of the mobile telephony the standards made for 3G and 4G network has revolutionized the next generation mobile capabilities of the subscribers. Both the standards are aimed at providing high data rates which is the paramount factor for various upcoming applications and user needs like multimedia, streaming, conferencing etc. But indeed there exists many differences between the two standards and the technologies used for each specification and handsets being used.Thus they deliver highspeed wireless connectivity, they sometimes reffered as wireless broadband technologies. It is significant that 3GPP has played a main role in the evolution of generations in the mobile networks and it is a collaboration of telecom associations from various countries and regions of the world aiming at providing a globally applicable 3G standards based on GSM systems.

3G Wireless Communication Technology

This is the third generation of the mobile networks which is aiming at high data rates for applications like video calling, streaming video and audio, video conferencing and multimedia applications etc in a mobile environment. There are two collaborations exists namely 3GPP and 3GPP2 the latter is the one making standards for 3G based on CDMA technology. According to ITU (International Telecommunications Union) the following requirements has to be met by any network to be called as a 3G network as proposed by 3GPP.

- Data transfer rates (down link) of 144Kbps minimum for moving handsets and 384Kbps for pedestrian traffic.

- 2Mbps in indoor conditions for downlink.

- On demand bandwidth and 2Mbps broadband internet access are also specified by the 3GPP.

The main multiple access technique being used by 3G networks is CDMA variations. For existing CDMA networks for GSM will proceed to use WCDMA (Wide band CDMA) which used 5 MHz channel band width capable of providing 2Mbps data rates. Also the other CDMA technologies like CDMA2000, CDMA2000 1x EV-DO are used in various places over the world for 3G networks.

4G Wireless Communication Technology

This is the next generation of mobile networks as being specified by the ITU and the predecessor of 3G networks. Currently there are two promising technologies being considered while talking about moving in to 4G due to its high data rates like 100Mbps in high mobile environments and 1Gbps in stationary environments. WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and LTE (long Term Evolution) are the technologies being considered.

Following specifications need to be met by any network to be considered as 4G:

- 100Mbps data rate in high mobile environments and 1Gbps in stationary environments

- Network operate on IP packets (All IP network)

- Dynamic channel allocation with channel bandwidth being varying from 5MHz to 20 MHz as required by the application

- Soft hand over capability.

Difference between 3G and 4G Network Technologies

1. Downlink data rates for 3G in around 2Mbps in stationary mode whilst 4G specifications it should be 1 Gbps and in highly mobile environment 3G downlink speed should be around 384Kbps and 100 Mbps in 4G networks.

2. Multiple access technique to be used by 3G is CDMA and its variations and in 4G both the technologies (LTE and WiMAX) using OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) in downlink.

3. In the uplink LTE uses SC – FDMA (Single Carrier FDMA) and WiMAX continue to use OFDMA whilst 3G networks use CDMA variations.