Perhaps more annoying than the FreeCreditReport-dot-com commercials are the constant wireless service providers touting their “we can do this and they cannot” on our 3G/4G network. One thing they do not explain though is exactly what 3G and 4G service actually is.
As you can probably guess, it refers to available bandwidth with the higher number meaning a faster connection is possible. Wikipedia explains what the number actually mean:
3G allows simultaneous use of speech and data services and higher data rates (up to 14.0 Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8 Mbit/s on the uplink with HSPA+)
A 4G cellular system must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbit/s for high mobility such as mobile access and up to approximately 1 Gbit/s for low mobility such as nomadic/local wireless access, according to the ITU requirements.
Note that just because a certain speed is possible, it does not mean you will always get that speed as many factors will influence the speed (signal strength, network congestion, etc.).
So now when you are bombarded with the never ending “our service is better than theirs” commercials, you at least know what the actual services they are advertising are capable of.
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