What are Mobile Networks, How Do They Work and What Types Are There? 

Today we're not only going to look at what mobile networks are. But also how they work and what types exist. Join me in this extensive article where we talk in detail about each of these points, which you can extend by learning about the main differences between 4G and 5G networks.

What are mobile networks?
In a nutshell, it is a communication system between the central station and the devices that connect to it. In this case it would be between the mobile device and the telecommunications company.

To summarise a little, it is about connecting elements such as communication towers or antennas and mobile devices. The networks work over a geographical area which are generally installed in grids.

In this way and depending on the number of people estimated to use the service. An infrastructure of communication towers is installed so that the user can use their device and the information they send is received by another person.

How does a mobile data network work?
Communication between mobile devices works by sending and receiving low-power radio signals, a process that is explained by how wireless network technology works. These signals travel to different points in close proximity, they can "hop" from antenna to antenna until they reach their intended recipient.

When we make a phone call, what happens is that our mobile phone starts searching for coverage. If coverage is available, a connection is created between our mobile phone and the nearest tower or telephone station to establish the call.

This not only works this way for calls. It also works for SMS and internet.

Types of mobile networks that exist
2G or GSM
Many of you probably remember using 2G connections on your mobile devices. This connection is the first fully digital connection for mobile phones. For small things like sending WhatsApp, communicating via voice, etc. It didn't work badly at all.

However, when we tried to browse or work with a larger data stream, it obviously became too slow as this kind of network is limited to 900 bits per second.

We are talking about the 2.5G network which was created to try to solve the serious problem of sending unswitched data. In terms of speed, the change was remarkable since we are talking about 56000 bits. It could even reach 144000 bits per second.

This is the 2.75G network that practically went by without much fanfare, to say the least. Evidently the speed was increased in every way, especially when we were near an antenna.

Popularly known as 3G, the change that this network signified was notorious. The data connection was up to 384000 bits per second. This allowed for smoother internet browsing and also for tasks such as video calls.

The way it works is basically to give priority to devices that are close to the antenna while devices that are further away are left in the background. You probably heard many times that in order to save battery life it was better to keep the 2G connection, rather than 3G.

It certainly required more power to use 3G, and this was reflected in battery consumption.

4G (LTE)
The fourth generation is really fast. It works with Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing and solves everything that 3G coverage could not. It remains constant no matter how much coverage there is, which gives it impressive stability.

With a 4G connection, surfing sometimes becomes much faster than with a Wi-Fi connection. Again, though, it requires more power to operate.

5G (IMT-2020)
5G promises to be a real speed craze as we are talking about a trivial 100 Mbps capacity. It is even expected to reach 10 Gbps if certain conditions are met.

If you want to learn more about it, you can check out our guide to what 5G is and how it works, so you can really understand what the new 5G network is all about.


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