Name That G: The Ultimate Wireless Networking Quiz

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Wondrous wireless connects gazillions of great gadgets to each other and to the Internet ether. But how much do you really know about wireless's inner workings?

First-generation, or 1G, networks were based on what technology?

Well, the really slow part is also true. But 1G networks were based on analog signals instead of the 0's and 1's that make up digital communications.

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The world's first 3G network was launched where?

It wasn't yet rolled out to customers, but it was still up and running in Japan in 1998.

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To which generation does the air interface called HSPA (high-speed packet access) belong?

This is a 3G technology, although it's often upgraded to much faster speeds and branded as 4G.

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What was the hallmark of 2G wireless networks?

They carried data of all types, including text messages. This is where your fingertip fatigue problems began.

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What's a defining trait of a true 4G network?

It's all-IP (Internet protocol), all the time, meaning it transfers data in packets that zoom through the Internet. Most 4G networks still overlap with older technologies and aren't all-IP.

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In cellular networks, the communications standard linking a base station to a device is called what?

Air interfaces, such as HSPA, WiMAX, LTE and others, are all communications protocols for sending and receiving digital data.

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Which cellular generation is often touted as mobile broadband?

3G enabled mobile Internet, but 4G delivers speeds that are sometimes as fast or faster than a home Internet connection.

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On average, about how fast are download speeds on a 3G network during peak hours?

Actually, 1.5 Mbps is pushing it in some areas, but upgraded networks (especially in metro locations) can deliver faster speeds.

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Which network type has an officially agreed-upon standard?

Wireless companies embraced the 3G standard set by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union); they did not do the same with the 4G specifications.

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What's one reason some companies are investing in 4G LTE?

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, so it's made to upgrade easily and outlast older infrastructures.

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4G networks are about how much faster than 3G networks?

At more than 10 Mbps (on the low end), these networks are at least 10 times faster than their 3G forebearers.

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How will some carriers prevent customers from consuming unlimited data through their high-speed connections?

Some companies throttle (or cut speeds to) users who download incessantly, and they'll use tiered plans to make them pay more, too.

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Which frequencies often work best for cellular communications?

For cellular communication, lower frequencies work best. They penetrate objects instead of bouncing off of them, like higher frequencies.

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How do frequencies and power levels used in 4G compare to 3G?

4G isn't all that different from 3G in this respect. It's the routers and out-of-sight hardware that make 4G better and faster.

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What download speed standard did the International Telecommunication Union originally set for 4G networks?

And 100 Mbps was for moving devices; 1Gbps was the standard for stationary objects. Alas, 4G standards never really took hold within the industry.

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Which country was the first to unveil a 4G network?

TeliaSonera fired up its 4G network in Sweden on Dec. 14, 2009.

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What often slows the deployment of new cellular networks?

Operators and carriers pay through the nose for spectrum, which is a range of frequencies a company needs to deliver their wireless services.

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What's one reason that 4G networks are so much faster than older network technologies?

Delays, also called latencies, are no good in wireless, causing hiccups of all kinds. 4G networks have very low latency of around 25 milliseconds.

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What's the average range of a WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) signal?

Your home's little WiFi router has never been so jealous. At 30 miles, WiMAX has a very long range.

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Once 4G LTE networks are up and running, we'll see carriers transitioning to which faster standards?

The 5G designation will likely be as confusing as 4G, but LTE Advanced should spread, making LTE look slow by comparison.

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