Name That G: The Ultimate Wireless Networking Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
2 min
Name That G: The Ultimate Wireless Networking Quiz
Image: Bernhard Lang/Stone/Getty Images

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?
digital
analog
really slow
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
United States
Japan
Sweden
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
2G
3G
4G
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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 were digital systems that carried data.
They were still based on archaic telecommunications systems.
They also let you send greeting cards.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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 an all-IP network.
It's always faster than 3G.
It transfers data in multiples of four.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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 interface
air standard
air guitar
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
4G
3G
2G
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
about 1.5 Mbps
about 4 Mbps
about 10 Mbps
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
4G
3G
5G
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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 is made to be easily upgradeable.
LTE will last longer and save on infrastructure costs.
both of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
about 5 times faster
about 10 times faster
about 100 times faster
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
throttle users who consume the most data
offer tiered pricing plans
both of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
higher frequencies
lower frequencies
extreme frequencies
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
They emit much more powerful radio signals.
They use much higher frequencies.
Both are often about the same as 3G.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
10 Mbps
20 Mbps
100 Mbps
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
France
Sweden
United States
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
lack of availability of tower sites
lack of availability of spectrum
lack of availability of electricity
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
increased power
reduced latency
rocket fuel
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
about 3 miles (5 kilometers)
about 13 miles (21 kilometers)
about 30 miles (48 kilometers)
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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?
LTE Advanced
5G
LTE Super
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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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You Got:
/20
Bernhard Lang/Stone/Getty Images