Network cables, coaxial lines, phone cords… these all sound like inconvenient ancient technology in today’s world. It’s hard to imagine the first iPhone was only released 10 years ago. It is, however, quite easy to see how the phones have grown over the last decade, and how we use them every day has changed as well. But what about how they connect and deliver the services they’re designed to provide? Spoiler alert: That’s changed a lot too in 10 years.
1 little, 2 little 3 little G’s…
If you were one of the first smart phone users, then you remember that they really weren’t that smart. Webpages loaded strangely, or wouldn’t load at all. And often at near dial-up speeds. That’s what 1G and 2G data connections were known for. In fact, due to the poor internet connection of early smart phones, it almost caused the death of them. Without bettering the mobile internet connection, what was the point of an expensive phone that can go online? Then 3G technology was released, and although a little rocky, it provided incredible speed increases, and reliability nationwide. 3G introduced other uses of the data connection too, like Caller ID, GPS navigation, and being able to keep a data connection while also talking on the phone. We still have and use 3G towers today, especially in more rural areas.
WiFi and 4G
In 2011, true 4G services were finally being offered nationwide, and only a handful of devices could utilize their services. Before this time, the only sensible way to connect to the internet with a phone was using your home WiFi. Your home Wifi, is internet that comes over a line, to your home, and then a router shoots out a Wifi Signal to other devices into your home wirelessly. However, with the newest generation of phones and 4G LTE service, in some homes, the phone service is faster, more reliable, and even a better solution for consumers.
WiFi goes Bye-Bye
What does tomorrow hold for internet services? There’s no way to know for sure, but current trends suggest we may be using our phones for a lot more in the near future. Verizon is supposed to be launching commercial grade 5G service in early 2018, and phone manufacturers are already building the technology into their phones, with the latest generation phones having 5G chips inside of them. On top of that, with mobile and cloud computing taking off, having a connection on the go will be just that more vital. Lastly, if you look at how internet is provided, you’ll see two opposites, yet equal forces in the trends. As mobile data becomes faster, more reliable and more available, we’re getting more for a better price. In some cases, even unlimited. And recently, cable internet providers, like Comcast, have started introducing data caps for home internet, which is trimming down on how much you can use the internet in your home, versus out and about. If these trends continue, we will start seeing more home switching to unlimited service plans from Cellular providers, and dropping their cable company for a faster, more convenient connection.