PC Doctor May 20, 2019

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Dear PC Doctor:

I’ve been watching TV and hearing about 3G, 4G, and 5G cell phone service. I feel silly, but I do not know what this means. Is it the size or capacity of the phone? Is it how fast it is? Does it matter?

Thank you,


Dear Sal:

I’m glad you asked! Please don’t feel silly! I bet a lot of people don’t know quite what this means.

The “G” stands for “Generation.” Each generation of cell phone technology offers a change in speed and function for phones and other devices.

With 1G, we could make regular telephone (“voice”) calls. 2G was the second generation of wireless technology, and allowed for texting. In the late 1990s came 3G, which allowed for smart phones as we know them now: texting, sharing photos, watching video, etc. 3G should be capable of handling around 2 Megabits per second. 3G first became available to the general public in the early 2000s. 4G is supposed to have a speed of at least 100 Megabits and up to 1 Gigabit per second. When 4G first came out (around 2008), it wasn’t widely available. It was possible to buy a device that was capable of using 4G without being able to actually access that kind of service. Now, 4G is the standard. 5G devices are expected to come our way some time in 2020. They are expected to be faster, and use less energy, too.

I hope this helps!
Until next time,
Happy computing!

PC Doctor

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