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Definition: 3G Cellular Wireless Internet Access

3G Cellular Wireless Internet Access is third-generation technology in the context of mobile cellular phone standards. The services associated with 3G include wide-area wireless voice telephony and broadband wireless data, all in a mobile environment. In marketing 3G services, video telephone has often been suggested as the killer application for 3G.

3G wireless Internet access utilizes EDGE, EVDO and HSDPA protocols to transport wireless data to and from smart cell phones and other wireless access devices including pagers and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

3G Wireless Internet Access Table of Contents

Mobile 3G Wireless Internet Access

Now, Wireless Broadband technologies include new services from companies such as Verizon, Sprint, and Cingular, which allow a more mobile version of this broadband access. Consumers can purchase a PC-card, laptop-card, or USB equipment to connect their PC or laptop to the internet via cell-phone towers. This type of connection would be stable in any area that could also receive a strong cell-phone connection.

Roll-out of 3G networks was delayed in some countries by the enormous costs of additional spectrum licensing fees. In many parts of the world 3G networks do not use the same radio frequencies as 2G, requiring mobile operators to build entirely new networks and license entirely new frequencies; a notable exception is the United States where carriers operate 3G service in the same frequencies as other services. The license fees in some European countries were particularly high, bolstered by initial excitement over 3G's potential. Other delays were as a result of the expenses related to upgrading equipment for the new systems.

The first country that introduced 3G on a large commercial scale was Japan. In 2005, about 40% of subscribers used 3G networks only, with 2G being on the way out. It was expected that the transition from 2G to 3G would be largely completed during 2006, and upgrades to the next 3.5G stage with 3 Mbit/s data rates were under way.

The successful 3G introduction in Japan showed that video telephony was not the killer application for 3G networks after all. The real-life usage of video telephony on 3G networks was found to be a small fraction of all services.

3G networks are not IEEE 802.11 networks. IEEE 802.11 networks are short range, higher-bandwidth (primarily) data networks, while 3G networks are wide area cellular telephone networks which evolved to incorporate high-speed internet access and video telephony.

Different Types of 3G Wireless Internet Access

  • Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) - EDGE was designed by 3G carriers to carry wireless data over cell phone connections, which were designed for low bandwidth voice applications. As a result, the maximum speed is limited to only 236.8 kbit/s for 4 timeslots (theoretical maximum is 473.6 kbit/s for 8 timeslots) in packet mode and will therefore meet the International Telecommunications Union's requirement for a 3G network. By Wi-Fi standards, EDGE is very slow and offers only a marginal connection at best.
  • Evolution-Data Optimized for CDMA - EVDO was also designed by 3G that operated CDMA networks. The initial version was called EV-DO, Rev. 0, but quickly upgraded to EV-DO Rev. A. Sprint and Verizon Wireless are deploying EVDO technology in the United States and by Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility in Canada. EVDO was yet another attempt to develop a faster wireless data transport system that could compete with Wi-Fi. In addition to the increase in the maximum burst downlink rate from Rev. 0's 2.45 Mbit/s to 3.1 Mbit/s, Rev. A offered a significant improvement in the maximum uplink data rate, from 153 kbit/s to a maximum uplink burst rate of 1.8 Mbit/s. Still slow compared to Wi-Fi, but EVDO can provide acceptable wireless Internet connections if nothing else is available.
  • High-Speed Downlink Packet Accesss for UMTS - HSDPA was designed by 3G carriers that operated UMTS networks. High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), sometimes referred to as High-Speed Downlink Protocol Access, is a 3G mobile telephony protocol in the HSPA family, which provides a roadmap for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)-based networks to increase their data transfer speeds and capacity. Current HSDPA deployments now support up to 7.2 Mbps and represents the fastest 3G wireless Internet access protocol.
  • Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) - WiMAX is a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to wired broadband like cable and DSL. WiMAX provides fixed , nomadic, portable and, soon, mobile wireless broadband connectivity without the need for direct line-of-sight with a base station. In a typical cell radius deployment of three to ten kilometers, WiMAX Forum Certified systems can be expected to deliver capacity of up to 40 Mbps per channel, for fixed and portable access applications. This is enough bandwidth to simultaneously support hundreds of businesses with T-1 speed connectivity and thousands of residences with DSL speed connectivity. Mobile network deployments are expected to provide up to 15 Mbps of capacity within a typical cell radius deployment of up to three kilometers. WiMAX technology will be incorporated into the majority of notebook computers and PDAs by the end of 2007, allowing for urban areas and cities to become "WiMAX Metro Zones" for portable outdoor broadband wireless Internet access.

Different Slices of 3G Wireless Internet Access Spectrum

3G Wireless Internet Access Service Providers

3G Wireless Internet Access Vendors

Today's News Stories on 3G Wireless Products/Services, 3G Wireless Network Deployments and 3G Wireless Industry Research:

More 3G Wireless Internet Access News Stories:

3G Wireless Internet News

CDMA Wireless Internet News

EDGE Wireless Internet News

EVDO Wireless Internet News

GPRS Wireless Internet News

HSPA Wireless Internet News

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