3G refers to the third generation of mobile telephony (that is, cellular) technology. The third generation, as the name suggests, follows two earlier generations. 3G brings in an era of high internet speed and data transfer in mobile devices. It enhances internet speed that enables us to enjoy myriad features like video calling, faster audio and video streaming, quicker downloads, live TV and a superior social networking experience.
3G provides the additional advantages of data transfer. 3G uses superior software called High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), which allows users to send any kind of data, including graphics, audio and video content, many times faster than current 2G networks.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) defined the third generation (3G) of mobile telephony standards IMT-2000 to facilitate growth, increase bandwidth, and support more diverse applications. For example, GSM could deliver not only voice, but also circuit-switched data at speeds up to 14.4 Kbps. But to support mobile multimedia applications, 3G had to deliver packet-switched data with better spectral efficiency, at far greater speeds.
3G technology itself is available in two different forms – WCDMA and HSDPA. While the broader spectrums of 3G benefits are provided by both, they are some subtle differences between them.
W-CDMA or Wideband Code Division Multiple Access is a 3G network interface that allows data connections up to 384 kbps per user (64kbps, 128kbps, 384 kbps) in optimum conditions.
HSDPA or High-Speed Downlink Packet Access on the other hand, is an enhanced 3G interface that enables higher data transfer speeds and capacity. While both are an integral part of 3G technology, the latter provides enhanced speed and capability and is also known as 3.5G.