A look at the definition, throughput and technology used for various generations of telecom technology. The comparison between 1g vs 2g vs 3g vs 4g vs 5g helps analyze capabilities of each of the technologies and features that can be supported by each of them.

1g vs 2g vs 3g vs 4 vs 5g comparison

 

Generation (1G,2G,3G,4G,5G)

Definition

Throughput/

Speed

Technology

Time period

Features

1G Analog 14.4 Kbps (peak) AMPS,NMT,TACS 1970 – 1980 During 1G Wireless phones are used for voice only.
2G Digital Narrow band circuit data 9.6/14.4 Kbps TDMA,CDMA 1990 to 2000 2G capabilities are achieved by allowing multiple users on a single channel via multiplexing.During 2G Cellular phones are used for data also along with voice.
2.5G Packet Data 171.2 Kbps(peak)
20-40 Kbps
GPRS 2001-2004 In 2.5G the internet becomes popular and data becomes more relevant.2.5G Multimedia services and streaming starts to show growth.Phones start supporting web browsing though limited and very few phones have that.
3G Digital Broadband Packet Data 3.1 Mbps (peak)
500-700 Kbps
CDMA 2000
(1xRTT, EVDO)
UMTS, EDGE
2004-2005 3G has Multimedia services support along with streaming are more popular.In 3G, Universal access and portability across different device types are made possible. (Telephones, PDA’s, etc.)
3.5G Packet Data 14.4 Mbps (peak)
1-3 Mbps
HSPA 2006 – 2010 3.5G supports higher throughput and speeds to support higher data needs of the consumers.
4G Digital Broadband Packet
All IP
Very high throughput
100-300 Mbps (peak)
3-5 Mbps
100 Mbps (Wi-Fi)
WiMax
LTE
Wi-Fi
Now (Read more on Transitioning to 4G) Speeds for 4G are further increased to keep up with data access demand used by various services.High definition streaming is now supported in 4G. New phones with HD capabilities surface. It gets pretty cool.In 4G, Portability is increased further. World-wide roaming is not a distant dream.
5G Not Yet Probably gigabits Not Yet Soon (probably 2020)

Update: Samsung conducts tests on 5G

Currently there is no 5G technology deployed. When this becomes available it will provide very high speeds to the consumers. It would also provide efficient use of available bandwidth as has been seen through development of each new technology.