3G VS 4G: 10 Important Difference Between 3G and 4G

Difference between 3G and 4G
What is the difference between 3G and 4G?

While we’d like to believe that 5G has already been invented and just hasn’t been rolled out yet, the truth is that 3G and 4G networks aren’t going away any time soon. Here’s a quick explanation of the differences between them.

3G and 4G networks are the third and fourth generations of mobile technology, respectively. In this case, a greater number indicates a newer and superior version of a technology. The fourth-generation network offers much higher speeds and capacities that allow more users to connect at faster data rates than third-generation networks.

What is 3G?

International Telecommunications Union has defined third generation(3G) of mobile telephony standards called International Mobile Telecommunications 2000(IMT-2000). The ITU standard will be able to facilitate growth, increase bandwidth and support more diverse applications.

In addition to voice, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technologies can deliver circuit-switched data across mobile phone networks at speeds up to 14.4 kilobits per second (Kbps). To support mobile multimedia applications, however, 3G standards must deliver packet-switched data with greater spectral efficiency and higher speed up to 3.1Mbps.

What is 4g?

4G networks are based on an ITU standard called International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced (IMT-Advanced), which specifies peak download speeds of 100 Mbps in a car and 1 Gbps while walking. They also offer improved upload speeds of 50 Mbps. That’s many times faster than 3G speeds!

4G can support a greater number of users than the preceding generation of mobile communications technology, 3G, and is offered by every major UK operator, including O2, EE, and Vodafone. Although 5G is expected to start its rollout in 2020, 4G is currently the most advanced mobile communications system available.

Speed (3G VS 4G)

4G provides download speeds of up to 1 Gbps, whereas 3G offers a maximum speed of 21 Mbps. 4G can help you download larger files faster than 3G, such as movies and HD Netflix streams.

3G speeds depend on the factors of location, network traffic, and signal strength, while 4G depends on your phone’s technology and location. As you travel through Sydney, the most important thing to remember is that 4G networks use “carrier aggregation ” to connect more than one cellular frequency at a time, increasing your speed up to 450 Mbps.

Capacity (3G VS 4G)

Mobile technology has gone through many generations. Each one works on a different frequency range to provide better service than the previous generation. In 3G networks, 60 to 100 people can share the same signal to get fast, reliable service, whereas 4G networks allow up to 300-400 people to share that same signal.

The frequency range of third-generation mobile technology is from 1.8 GHz to 2.5 GHz, and that of fourth-generation is from 2 GHz to 8 GHz. As the newer generations are allocated more frequencies, they can serve more devices and provide greater speed.

Latency (3G VS 4G)

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Photo by Chitokan from Pexels

Latency is the time it takes for a packet of data to reach its destination. Lower latency means faster network performance; higher latency means slower performance. Latency is higher in 3G networks than in 4G networks. Lower latency provides faster, richer communication experiences for immersive applications, like multiplayer gaming and rich multimedia communication.

Verizon’s 4G network has been said to have a latency of about 58.4 milliseconds, and its 3G network, 137 milliseconds. As we know, there are fewer latency concerns with voice communication over 3G than there are with 4G, which is an architecture designed for data communication.

Switching Techniques (3G VS 4G)

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3G technology uses a combination of circuit switching (voice) and packet switching (data service), whereas 4G technology uses packet switching (data service) and voice over IP using VoLTE protocol. Circuit switching, which was historically used for voice communications, is a more efficient way to transmit data since the network will dedicate resources to the communication for the entire duration of the connection. Packet switching, on the other hand, allocates resources as needed. This means that a mobile device can communicate quickly with 4G wireless network.

The circuit switching method works very well in keeping the QoS of voice calls, but it cannot accommodate multiple active calls at once.

Difference Between 3G And 4G: 3G vs 4G

3GBasis For Comparison4G
3G stands for 3rd generation of mobile technology.Meaning4G stands for 4th generation of mobile technology.
5 MbpsPeak upload rate
500 Mbps
21 MbpsPeak download rate1 Gbps
Circuit switching and Packet Switching Switching TechniquePacket switching and message switching
100 millisecondsLatency30 – 50 milliseconds
It is a network architecture based on wide-area cells.Network ArchitectureWireless LAN and wide-area networking are combined.
1.8 to 2.5 GHzFrequency Band2 to 8 GHz
IMT 2000
3.5G HSDPA
3.75G HSUPA
StandardsSingle Unified Standard Wimax and LTE.
It is lenient horizontally.HandoffIt is lenient horizontally as well as vertically.
3G uses turbo codes for error correction.Forward Error Correction4G uses concatenated codes for error correction.
60 to 100 people can share the same signal.CapacityIt can handle 300 to 400 people.
CDMA2000, UMTS,EDGE etc.Services and ApplicationDigital Broadband Packet Data Wimax 2 and LTE- Advance.
800 MHz to 2100 MHzFrequency of operation700 MHz to 2600 MHz.
Power utilization is high.Power efficiencyReasonable power consumption.
FairSpectrum efficiencyHigher than third generation.

What is the difference between 3G and 4G phones?

3G stands for “third generation.” A 3G phone is one that can access the internet anywhere you have coverage. It’s designed to work on GSM networks like AT&T or T-Mobile.

4G stands for “fourth generation.” A 4G phone is even faster than a 3G phone, able to download data at much higher speeds.

3G and 4G phones are both cellphones, but they operate on different technology. Basically, any phone that can access the internet can be called a smartphone. 3G phones can run applications such as Skype, and 4G phones have even faster connections than 3Gs. Both 3G and 4G phones more or less look the same, with a touch screen and a camera.

4G phones also have better sensors for higher quality pictures and video coverage.

In general, 4G phones have better processing power than 3G phones, but unless you’re an avid gamer or a heavy user, it will not make much of a difference.

A phone needs to have a compatible chipset and a compatible operating system to use 4G networks. Many smartphones come with the ability to use 4G networks built into them.

Some 4G phones are more expensive than others, however, there are many affordable options available as well.

Difference between 4g and 3g sim cards

A SIM card or subscriber identity module is a small memory card that has an integrated circuit. It is used to store your mobile phone number, personal information, text messages, contacts and other data.

Most people don’t think twice before replacing the old SIM card with a new one. While it is important to buy a SIM card that offers better network service, you should also know that all SIM cards are not compatible with each device.

The only difference between 4G and 3G SIM card is that 4G SIM card gives access to 4G mobile network while 3G SIM card allows access to 3G mobile network. Newer mobile phones have 4G connectivity, thus they require a 4G SIM card. However, if your device doesn’t support 4G network, then you can only use 3G or 2G SIM cards.

To know the type of SIM card required by your mobile phone, check your phone’s user manual or product listing.

3G vs. 4G: Which Consumes More Battery?

It can be tricky to address this question — there’s a lot to consider.

  • The global standard for mobile phones, GSM, uses 900/1800MHz and 3G uses (generally) 2.1GHz. Long term evolution (LTE) was planned to use 2.6GHz but the most common band is 1800MHz. The lower the frequency, the better the coverage; this means lower power consumption in handsets.
  • When you have a strong 3G connection compared to a weak 4G one, your 3G will outperform your 4G and vice-versa in terms of battery life.
  • 4G networks generally provide faster data rates, which in turn enables some devices to use more data and thus drain the battery sooner.
  • Battery drainage can occur from running apps, or from certain apps updating in the background.
  • When you live between cell edges or where a coverage of 3G/4G ends, your phone will automatically search for a 3G/4G network and might drain your battery quickly.

Which is better 3G or 4G?

The vast majority of people in the U.S. are currently on 4G networks, and there are very few devices still connected to 3G networks. If you happen to be one of those people, though, you might be wondering what the difference is between them. How much better is 4G than 3G?

The answer depends on what you’re doing with your phone. If all you’re using it for is texting and calling, then it probably doesn’t matter that much. For anything else, though, the difference can be pretty dramatic.

In terms of data throughput, cell edge bit rate, cost, mobility, and power consumption for mobile devices, fourth generation technologies outperform third generation technologies. However, there are certain concerns with 4G compatibility.

4G is much faster than 3G.

If you have a 4G device and a 4G plan, you’ll get a faster connection than with a 3G service. That means that websites will load quicker, you can download files more quickly, and streaming will be much faster (and higher-quality). These numbers are approximate based on average results across all mobile providers in the United States:

3G speed: 5 Mbps(Upload) and 21 Mbps(Download)

4G speed: 500 Mbps(Upload) and 1 Gbps(Download)

Anyway after discussing the difference between 3G and 4G, we will strongly advise you to switch to fourth generation plans because they are the future!


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