In the modern set up, internet has become one of the basic utilities alongside water and electricity. With the prevalence and penetration of smartphones and other connected devices, so has mobile internet technology. 2G, 3G and now 4G are terms that have been floating around. They describe the Generation of wireless network colocation connectivity. So 3G or 4G, which one mode should you be on? What are the pros and cons of each?
Also read: What is 4G LTE?
In the most basic of definitions, 3G and 4G represent the third and fourth generations of mobile broadband internet. With each advancement in mobile internet connectivity, a substantial increment in internet speeds is expected. Ideally therefore, provided that you are on the same carrier, a 4G connection should be faster than a 3G one.
So 4G is the newer of the two technologies, so I should be connected to 4G on my phone, right? Well, there are always two sides of the story so let us look explore.
Of course, the biggest advantage of 4G over any other previous gen infrastructure is the upgrades in speeds. Wider coverage and better indoors reception on the 700MHz band is also a plus to the newer platform.
Issues facing 4G
- It should be noted that with each new generation of wireless broadband, mobile carriers are required to mane upgrades on their towers. The roll out for this can take time. As a result, you might not be able to access a consistent 4G connection even though your carrier and your phone both support the new infrastructure. You will have better luck on the more robust and prevalent 3G that has had the better part of a decade to get rolled out and expanded. Also worth noting is that, newer generations of phones are designed to be backwards compatible with the previous generations. This means your 4G phone will definately work on your carrier’s 3G network.
- 4G devices often need multiple antennae to achieve the greater speeds that the platform is capable of. Basic physics dictates that two antennae will have negative impact on the longevity of your battery life. 4G devices are therefore known for poor battery life compared to 3G phones. While this still holds true for older gen 4G devices, newer chipsets from the likes of Snapdragon and Mediatek have designed more efficient chips. While the basic laws of physics still apply, this means you might see significant improvement on your battery life if you stick to the older gen technology.
Which is better? 3G or 4G?
In essence, this is a choice you may not have to make. If you don’t own a 4G enabled handset, you are stuck with 3G. If you own a compatible 4G device, you will automatically be switched back and forth between 3G and 4G depending on network strength.
However, 4G is clearly the option to go for. It is much newer so a lot more future proof. If you have a compatible 4G device and you don’t mind the quicker battery drains, you should totally be on 4G. You should be careful though, 4G is much much faster than 3G and therefore you’ll be running out of data bundles or hitting your data caps faster.