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Everything You Need to Know About Your Cellular Network

Here’s a guide to the differences and similarities between 3G, 4G, and the much-anticipated 5G networks, and why you should care.

As technology and cell phones improve, so do cellular networks. The “G” in 3G, 4G, and 5G stands for “generation.” This informs you of the particular cellular network “version” that you have. 4G has largely replaced 3G networks, and 5G will replace 4G once it becomes available. While it might seem like there’s little meaning behind the different networks, they differ greatly in capacity and speed.

3G Networks
This generation offered drastically more than its predecessors. It was able to handle a lot more data at once, and at the faster speed of about 2 mbps (megabits per second). This included the ability to browse web pages, watch videos, hear higher-quality audio, and use a variety of more complicated applications. 3G networks are still available and in use, especially if you have an older phone model that can’t support the latest network generation. You may even notice that your newer phone model will connect to a 3G network while in a more remote area. If you’re used to the speed of 4G, this can be a fairly miserable step back in time.

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4G and 4G LTE
The fastest cellular network currently available is 4G LTE, which is a more advanced version of 4G. LTE is short for “Long Term Evolution.” It offers an increased capacity and more speed than 3G and 4G networks, and can reach a download rate of about 40 mbps and an upload rate of about 15 mbps, depending on your phone carrier. In other words: your web pages will load faster, and you’ll be able to upload photos and videos to Facebook faster than ever. Perhaps even faster than on your current Wi-Fi network, which is pretty incredible.

5G is the Future
If 4G LTE is often faster than your home Wi-Fi network, imagine what 5G will include. A 5G network may eventually serve as a replacement for your home Wi-Fi network. Either way, it will definitely make your home “smarter,” considering all of the devices and appliances that need a wireless connection. Unfortunately, true 5G won’t be available until around 2018 at the earliest, or else by around 2020. But it will be worth the wait for an even faster network that can truly juggle each person’s multitude of devices at once. Not to mention its Ultra HD and 3D video capabilities, and the rumor that you’ll be able to download an HD movie in seconds. The future certainly looks impressive.