You can’t compare wireless 3G/4G to TDS’ 10G network

For many, understanding the differences between Internet networks can be confusing. There’s 3G, 4G, and at TDS, 10G. Because the names are similar it seems like you might be comparing apples-to-apples. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In fact, because the “G” means different things in both industries, it’s like comparing apples to oranges (maybe bananas).

“G” stands for gig with TDS
With TDS’ 10G network, the “G” refers to capacity—10 gigabits per second (or 10 billion bits). This does not mean that every TDS customer has a 10G Internet pipe connected to their house though. TDS’ 10G network is the “backbone network” that connects TDS markets to each other, to our data centers, and to the Internet. TDS’ 10G network enables services like TDS TV, managedIP Hosted, and high-speed residential and commercial Internet service.

This 10G network supports a variety of TDS services, but is not necessarily directly correlated with individual customer Internet speed availability. TDS’ network has a variety of branches off the backbone and some have more capacity (offering speeds of 100Mbps and even 300Mbps) and some have less capacity (offering speeds up to 5Mbps). As data needs have grown, TDS’ 10G network has been expanded into more neighborhoods to offer faster speeds.

4g“G” stands for generation with wireless networks
Wireless technology continues evolving to meet the demand for better sound and more data. With each technology generation, another “G” gets added to phone and network names. The first generation (1G) of cell technology was analog, with no signal compression or manipulation of any kind. Second generation (2G) phones and networks moved to digital technology which allowed more information to be transferred. As technology has continued advancing and bandwidth demands keep climbing, third and fourth generation (3G and 4G) devices and wireless networks have become commonplace. These networks expand bandwidth and speed up signals to handle smart phones.

Does “G” equal higher speeds?
It’s true, the higher the G, the faster the speed. Cell phones running on a 2G network can get download speeds of about 144Kbps (kilobits per second, or 1000 bits), or about twice that of a dial-up Internet connection. Cell phones on 3G network can get download speeds of around 3Mbps (megabits per second, or 1000 kilobits). The average 4G phone’s data speed is about 9Mbps.

But, keep in mind, all the cellular broadband speeds mentioned above vary widely. This is because cell phone carriers use different “standards” for compressing signals. The most commonly used standards are CDMA, HSDPA, and EV/DO and each has different strengths and weaknesses. Plus, each wireless provider has different coverage areas. There are also a number of variables that affect the quality of your wireless service: nearby physical structures, your distance from a cell tower, whether you’re connecting from indoors or outdoors, the time of day, and the total number of users connecting to a nearby cell tower at the same time.

Despite the differences between wireless and wired Internet networks, the G’s are here to stay. Experts predict 5G mobile networks will be here in the next 10 years. And, it won’t be long before 100G circuits are used to connect TDS markets.

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.

2 Responses to You can’t compare wireless 3G/4G to TDS’ 10G network

  1. Sinthia Sorkar (@SinthiaSorkar1) December 15, 2013 at 3:45 am #

    Really, I found the following article to know real difference between 3G and 4g. If you also wanna know, then go here:

    http://www.bubblews.com/news/1817699-3g-and-4g-technology-reviews

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  1. Less is more confusing | TDS Business - January 17, 2014

    […] generating has led to a lot of confusion. Especially here in the world of telecommunications. In this post, blogger and Managing Editor of the TDS Residential Blog Missy Kellor, explains the difference […]

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