We’re going to get all techy this week again and try to answer some of the most popular questions we get from customers, today we’re talking about the types of Rugged PDA 3G, what it is, what all the acronyms are and hopefully help clear the technology up for people who are struggling to know their HSUPA’s from their HSDPA’s!

What is 3G

3G is the 2nd phase of mobile WAN (Wide Area Network) technologies, GPRS being the first.  It brought with it a move from a “general packet” kind of technology to a more IP style (but not quite) type of technology.  It is still regarded as an occassionally connected network architecture, unlike your classic WiFi and IP/Broadband technology.

OK that was a bit technical for me, what are the main differences between GPRS and 3G?

It’s faster, more secure, generally has better connectivity due to better technology.

No really what are the real life differences?

It’s only useful in the cities which have 3G coverage, the mobile network operators don;t run 3G up to anything like decent speeds, how else does that 500MB per month last!  And it can often not quite degrade back to GPRS when you;re in a GPRS only covered area.

Are there any downsides to 3G?

What are the different types of 3G?

As well as being the general name for the technology, the “3G” naming convention was adopted to version the incremental improvements made over the years so:

  • 3G = 3G
  • HSDPA = 3.5G
  • HSUPA = 3.75G
  • HSPA+ = 3.9G

These generally use improved technology on the chips in the Rugged PDA and they are designed to  give faster speeds but in real terms you’ll never notice unless on your own APN and network as everything is throttled by the networks anyway.

Is 3G compatible with GPRS?

Yes absolutely, all 3G enabled RUgged PDA’s will degrade fully back to GPRS (2G) and Edge (2.5G).  THey have to as most of the UK is still not 3G.

I’ll wait for a 4G Rugged PDA, when are these out?

4G is totally different technology to 3G so your 3G phone will not probably be compatible with this when it is rolled out.  Trials are still underway in London, it is probably 12-18 months away from launch and it has to also be rolled out across the UK before it’s useful anyway.  Unless Rugged PDA’s come with a dual 3G/4G chip then there’s no point buying one just yet.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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