Highlighting the Differences between GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSPA+ and 4G LTE

differences between gprs

This article will tell you all you need to know about the differences between GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSPA+ and 4G LTE; GPRS vs EDGE vs 3G vs HSDPA vs HSPA+ vs 4G LTE. While trying to connect your mobile phone to an internet network, you may have come across at least two of these network signals. You may also have noticed that if the internet connection on your phone is strong, you normally see any of the symbols — H, H+ or 4G — displayed usually at the top right corner on your screen. Conversely, whenever the connection is weak, the symbol changes to E. Are you wondering about the meaning of these symbols? This article will clarify any grey area you may have as regards the differences between GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSPA+ and 4G LTE.

Before we discuss the flesh of this write-up, bear in mind that 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and others refer to various generations of wireless communication technology with a distinct range of speeds. At the end of this article, you will be able to know how these 6 network signals can be grouped under the different generations of wireless technology. Having said that, let’s look at each of the above-mentioned network signals and generations of wireless technology in a detailed manner.

Differences Between GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSPA+ and 4G LTE

GPRS

This is an acronym that stands for General Packet Radio Service. It is a wireless communication service that is packet based since data are split into packets prior to their transmission to the network. GPRS is a 2-G or second Generation technology network supporting the download speed, which is up to 114 kilobits per second (kbps).

differences between gprs

2G network offers some primary advantages over the former generations of networks. First, 2G is digital unlike 1G which is analog. Second, it rolled out data services for mobile phones, which began with Short Message Service or SMS. It also supports Multimedia Message Service or MMS. However, it has one major shortcoming: Data are not transferable while a voice call is ongoing.

EDGE

Also known as Enhanced Data GSM Evolution, this communication service has a download speed that is up 384 kilobits per second; this is higher than that of GPRS. Both networks are second generation (2G) technology. EDGE (represented with E on mobile phones) is mostly referred to as a 2.5G network owing to the fact that it possesses some 3G network features; though it does not satisfy the necessary specification.

differences between gprs

3G

3rd Generation technology network or 3G offers a remarkable download speed that is up to 3.1 megabits per second (Mbps). Apart from its download rate that is a lot higher than those of EGDE and GPRS, it also introduced features such as video calling as well as seam-less video streaming. 3rd generation networks were launched in 1998 with releases like 3.5G as well as 3.7G, which are related to the frequency bands of 3G, introduced later.

HSDPA

High-Speed Down-link Packet Access, HSDPA, is a 3rd Generation network, though it’s an enhanced form of the network. Its speeds for download and upload are higher than that of 3G, with the speed peaking as high as 14 megabits per second. This network (represented with H on mobile phones) has also been grouped under 3.5G. 3.5G represents a class of various mobile phone and data technologies that are created for the provision of improved 3G performance.

HSPA+

Known as Evolved High-Speed Packet Access, this network represents an evolution of HSPA. HSPA+ (represented with H+ on mobile phones) is a 4th Generation (4G) technology offering a download speed of 168 megabits per second.

differences between gprs

Bear in mind that HSDPA as well as HSUPA both belong to the HSPA class. HSUPA is an acronym for High-Speed Up-link Packet Access.

4G LTE

4th Generation Long-Term Evolution supports video streaming in high definition (HD). With a download rate that is up to 299.6 megabits per second, it offers a better package than all the networks that have been previously mentioned. Other advanced features in this network includes 3D TV, video conferencing, cloud computing, gaming services, improved mobile web feature, etc.

differences between gprs

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Conclusion – GPRS vs EDGE vs 3G vs HSDPA vs HSPA+ vs 4G LTE

The major differences between GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSPA+ and 4G LTE are that each of them has a distinct download speed, unique frequency bands as well as transmission technology that is non-backward compatible. GPRS has the lowest download rate (up to 114 kilobits per second) in this group followed by EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSPA+ and 4G LTE (299.6 megabits per second), in that order.

Posted by Deji

Deji is a freelance writer and Physics graduate from the University of Ibadan. Passionate and meticulous, he is a keen follower of developments around the world on a number of issues ranging from science, tech, history, politics, among others. Deji loves playing football and meeting people. Please, follow on Twitter and Facebook

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