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Spanning The Generations

Cell phones.† How did we ever live without them?† Somehow we managed, LOL!† But now that they are here, it seems they are here to stay.† One of the most interesting things about cell phones is that they really arenít phones at all.† Thatís right, they arenít phones, they are actually radios Ė very sophisticated radios! In the beginning, cell phones merely provided mobile voice communications.† Today, these Ďcanít live without themí devices do just about everything but the dishes!† It can be difficult for consumers to keep up with the rapid advances in technology and for the mobile service providers to keep up with usage demand.† Newer, faster, better has given rise to ďgenerationsĒ of cell phone technology.† And while 3G is still just a mere child in human years, sheís already being pushed out by her baby brother, 4G!† Letís take a look back at how we got here. The invention of the cell phone in its earliest version is now known as 0G and dates back as early as 1946.† These mobile phones were typically mounted in a vehicle with the transceiver in the trunk and the dial, display and handset mounted near the driver seat.† At that time there were no mobile telephone networks.† Callers connected to a base station, which then connected them to an operator, which then connected them to the receiver of the call.† That was it for years. In the early 1980s, along came 1G (not so named until after it was replaced by the next generation).† This technology connected to limited networks of stations and used analog telecommunication standards with voice as the main traffic.† The phones were large and were sometimes referred to as cellular radios.† 1G offered little to no security as transmissions could be intercepted by third parties. This technology was outdated much more quickly than its predecessor.† By the late 1990s 2G was here.† 2G ushered in the widespread use of cell phone technology by the general public. †This new technology began with analog systems and evolved to digital systems.† Data, such as SMS text messaging, was now possible, and the data transmissions could be encrypted, thus providing and enhancing security.† These phones were also the first to bring additional features such as cameras to the market.† Networks were still fairly limited, and users were subject to roaming charges if they wandered outside of the service providerís geographical area.† 2G networks are still used in many parts of the world today. As the capabilities of this technology continued to advance, consumersí desire for more and better services advanced as well.† This gave rise to 3G and marked the beginning of the transformation of the technology as phones in this generation could directly connect to the Internet.† Cell phone users could do much more than just talk, send text messages, or snap pictures.† 3G brought functions that previously were performed only by computers including email, instant messaging, and much more.† Another major advancement brought about by 3G was the ability to utilize cell phones as a wireless internet connection for laptop computers. Barely a decade old, the future has arrived, again, and soon everyone will need to have a 4G device or risk being a social outcast!† The publicís desire to transmit large amounts of data, video and audio files wirelessly, and instantly, is driving the technology forward by leaps and bounds.† 4G brings with it faster connections capable of transferring large amounts of data.† Users can download full-length feature films in under 5 minutes.† These devices stream HDTV and radio and provide uninterrupted reception as people remain in motion, moving out of one network and into another.† What does all this mean for the data communication industry?† It means opportunity.† While the devices themselves are wireless, behind the scenes is the backbone of the system and a tremendous need for cabling and data communication equipment to keep up with usage demand.† Is 5G within our sights?