2G is the 2nd generation of mobile phone communications network. The name is given to original GSM, CDMA, and TDMA networks. It uses the spectrum more efficiently than analog (1G) systems and offers digital encryption of conversations. 2G networks introduced data services for mobiles starting with SMS.
3G is the 3rd generation of mobile phone communications network. It includes high data speeds, always-on data access, and greater voice capacity. The high data speeds are the most remarkable feature of the 3G. They enable such advanced features as live, streaming video. 3G networks includes UMTS, which is based on WCDMA (the terms WCDMA and UMTS are often used interchangeably).
4G is the 4th generation of mobile phone communications network. It is a successor of the 3G and provides ultra-broadband internet access for mobile devices. The top-performing 4G, LTE networks can deliver peak download speeds of 300Mbit/s. The high data transfer rates make 4G networks suitable for use in USB wireless modems for laptops and even home internet access. A typical 4G network has a 45ms latency.
5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone communications standards. It is a successor to 4G and promises to be faster than previous generations while opening up new uses cases for mobile data. The top-performing 4G, LTE networks can deliver peak download speeds of 300Mbit/s. In comparison, 5G estimates range from 1Gb/s – 10Gb/s.
5G benefits from a much lower latency, resulting in very little delay. This low latency will be critical for applications such as self-driving cars.
See also: GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)