What exactly is 3G?

It’s definitely interesting when I see this question come up. “What is 3G?
Surprisingly, if you read most of the commentary, not only do mainstream media not get what 3G actually stands for, but a lot of the general populace isn’t acquainted with telecom terminology (nor should they be). Strangely enough, this has actually been marketed but hasn’t been conveyed very well.
3G itself is actually third generation, but not with the iPhone, of which many believe. It actually has to do with the network infrastructure. 3G networks are under a certain standard that require high speed internet and the ability to do video telephony. This allows you to do extra services that previously you could not do on a 2G network. Each technology layer is obviously overlayed on top of the older one, so most users don’t realize that the features they want actually drop in under one of these technology realms.
For example? HSDPA is 3G. So is EVDO (rev0. and revA). 2G is mainly any digital standard, from CDMA, to GSM to iDEN. So from a big picture perspective, you can see that there carriers will offer more and more with each new generation of technology. The technologies that just increase speed, but not services do not count as actual generation changes (such as WiMAX which is pre-4G).
Fun stuff eh? Things I get to deal with every day in the telecommunications industry.
Photo Credit: (SANOKAME)