Networks classified as 3G (3rd generation) operate on the IEEE 802.11 protocols and were primarilydeveloped for the use of data transmission over wireless networks. 3G is the third generation of telecommunications specifications laid down by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
If you get right down to the root, 3G permits network operators a big range of services and technologies to get better services and allow for higher capacities on networks. This is arrived at through spectral efficiency; spectral efficiency defines how a specific bandwidth or frequency is used in the transmission of data in the form of voice, video telephony and general data transmissions like that of the Internet. The IEEE 802.11 networks are first and foremost short range and high bandwidth for data transmission and can also be used for telephone calls and video calls.
3G broadband provides an improved speed of transmission: the average speed has yet to be determined.
Many users will be quoted different speeds according to the service provider’s documentation. As a general rule of thumb, a 3G broadband user in a stationary position will be able to transfer at a minimum of 2 Mbit/s to a maximum of 14.4 Mbit/s. These rates are not the same as the user moves through varying cellular towers and access points via the 3G network. At a walking pace, users can expect to have a maximum transfer of: 384 kbit/s or in a moving car at 128 kbit/s.
3G also add in the use of HSPA for speedy transmissions; HSPA is a combination of two separate mobile telephone protocols. One is for the uplink transfer (HSUPA) and the other for downlink (HSDPA) transfers.
The standard for 3G has fallen into the UMTS or W-CDMA specification and is used in the majority of 3G networks in one way or another. There are five other interfaces for the technologies overseeing the wireless Internet and telephone industries, although many are only used in isolated locations that have not yet upgraded to the 3G network.
The upgrade process is a long arduous one as the pre-3G technologies needed to have a very major overhaul. In a lot of areas and countries, the radio frequencies used for 3G and UMTS are completely different than those used for previous technologies.
Licensing agreements have to be in place on these new radio frequencies which has been a challenge for some companies and countries as the costs can be stratopheric.
While new networks need to be constructed and designed in areas lacking the available technology to build on, 3G broadband has taken a not insignificant portion of the world’s data services. According to Informa (via Morgan Stanley December 2009), the leading three countries for penetration of 3G handsets is Japan at 87%, South Korea 71% and Australia 52%. The USA is positioned 7th with 37%. Global usage as of December 2009 is 11%.