It took decades for wireless technologies to grow from just a simple concept to a revolutionary innovative technology integrated in devices from computers and handsets to microwave ovens. Michael Faraday may not have had a clue that his discovery of the principle of electromagnetic induction would also induce a domino effect which ultimately resulted in the development of wireless technologies that we use now.
Starting from radios wireless technologies basically grew out of proportion presently reaching the discovery of 4G connectivity. Human being’ constant desire to develop a much more efficient technology seems to have triggered the advancement of wireless technologies. At present WiFi Hotspots are found almost everywhere in urban buildings offering internet access to devices connected over Wireless LAN. Indoor access points let users connect to wired networks and are widely used in coffee shops and other public places.
The interesting past of wireless technologies
Faraday’s electromagnetic induction principles and Marconi’s discovery of wireless signal transmission brought forth a new idea of wireless communication. Funded by the US military in the World war era scientists eventually developed a short distance communication device for using in the battlefield which later went on to be a household device named Radio. However when electronic device manufacturers started funding creative and innovative ideas the radio found its successor in the form of wireless phones. The gigahertz radio frequencies then enabled point to multipoint or PMTP communication. This started the rapid evolution of wireless technologies.
Presently wireless internet service provider or WISP equipments are abundant supporting operation over licensed band of frequencies in UHF band. Wisp equipments can operate over 900 MHz to up to 5 GHz frequencies. Now customers can use CPEs or Customer Premises equipments such as wireless telephones WiFi routers set top boxes etc to distribute service providers’ services around the house via Wireless LAN.
Evolving from 1G to 4G
The technology implemented in cellular phones came to be known as the first generation wireless communication technology known as 1G. The wireless technology transmitted Analog signals at up to 2.4 Kbps and made it possible for users to make calls to other phones in the same country. It supported frequencies of upto 800 MHz. Data services were almost nonexistent in 1G.
Owing to the demand for better sound quality the 2G technology was developed. Even though this form wireless technology provided the same data rates of 1G the sound quality improved as it used Digital Circuit Switched technology. The D AMPS technology in 2G covered USA while the TDMA based Global System for Mobile communication GSM covered Europe when the technology was first introduced.
This paved the way for an interim evolution of 2G known as 2.5G with carrier frequencies of 200 kHz. The technology made its way to Asia in addition to Europe and USA. The services that came with the wireless technology included those offered by 2G such as Short messaging service Call forwarding caller ID and seamless roaming. The 2.5G technology made roaming calls possible letting subscribers make calls from different national boundaries provided the service provider allowed it. Base stations installed at fixed locations made this communication possible. GPRS and EDGE were the result of 2.5G.
Reaching a targeted rate of 2 Mbps data transfer the 3G technology arrived with global wireless frequencies enabling more phone calls per mobile and high speed data transfers for convenient video conferencing and streaming. 3G was first commercially launched in Japan by NTT DoCoMo in 2001featuring technologies like WCDMA CDMA2000 and UMTS. The carrier frequency went up to 5 MHz depending on the frequencies supported by different countries.
Just like 2.5G 3G also had an interim step up in the form of 3.5G more popularly known as Pre 4G. Although it didn’t get officially recognized as a standard by the ITU 3.5G was considered a first step to the next cellular technology generation then known as IMT Advanced which brought forth technologies like LTE and HSPA+.
The fastest cellular technology at present named as 4G uses Digital Broadband signals supporting data rates of up to 40 Mbps. The features included increased access and portability worldwide roaming and enhanced multimedia. Multichannel hi fi TV broadcasts and super fast HD video streaming are added advantages. It’s currently under development to support a wider range of frequencies. Based on all IP packet switched networks the 4G technology supports a scalable channel bandwidth ranging from 5 20 MHz.
The 4G system spectral efficiency has gone up to 3 bits Hz cell in the downlink and 2.25 bit Hz cell for using indoors. It provides the first opportunity for broadband access from remote locations. The growing divergence between telecom operators and vendors and the increased cost are supposedly the only weaknesses of this technology. The advent of 4G is presumed to squeeze the market competition in the mobile industry. FCC is currently seeking more unlicensed band of frequencies in the 5 GHz band to support gigabit range speeds for WiFi.
Other wireless technologies
The new 802.11 n is the latest wireless technology succeeding 802.11 b g a and can transmit multiple data streams through multiple antennas. Apart from cellular technologies from 1G to 4G one renowned and widely used wireless technology is the Bluetooth designed for sharing data at short distances. The Near Field Communication or NFC is another new technology that allows devices to establish radio communication with each other by just touching them together.
NFC is simple to set up and is basically used to boot more capable wireless connections at low speeds and to enable Bluetooth communication and file transfer faster. It can be used to share contacts photos videos and other files in a social networking platform and also gives easy access to multiplayer mobile games.
With the advent of innovative wireless technologies like LTE and NFC and many others the applications and use of wireless technology constantly expand exceeding expectations. This justifies the need for technological improvements that follow international standards. Owing to the enormous increase in demands for better connectivity and high bandwidth data usage on mobile devices further advancement of wireless technology is inevitable.
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