Differences between 2G and LTE and current availability rates

Date: 15/05/23 | In: Articles, Sewer Network Monitoring

What are the differences between 2G and LTE and current availability rates?

There are several key differences between 2G and LTE but there is also a key similarity: both use low end frequencies from 800Mhz up to (and including) 2.6Ghz. This is a factor that is imperative for effective and efficient wastewater monitoring.

Let’s compare, in detail, these two standards that we have employed for decades to deliver smart network monitoring for water companies here in the UK and abroad.

2G versus LTE

2G, or second-generation cellular network, is a group of technology standards that are used in cellular networks to transmit voice, data and signalling data between mobile phones and cell sites. 2G was specifically adapted to provide ‘small data’ services such as SMS (Short Message Service – text messages) and MMS (Multimedia Message Service – image messages) and was first launched in 1991.

LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, is often referred to as 4G LTE and was launched in 2009. This fourth-generation wireless standard is faster than 3G but LTE is technically slower, so it’s also commonly known as 3.5G. Here at Detectronic, we call it a ‘halfway house’ standard and it’s one we use a lot, alongside its predecessor 2G.

Both 2G and LTE do not require a large amount of bandwidth as they are designed to merely send voice and text messages. Classed as low frequency, the radio waves from each standard can penetrate much further than their 4, 5 and 6G peers since they only have to pick up simple data. This makes them truly ideal for monitoring purposes.

What’s the current availability?

Unfortunately, we have zero control over what telecoms providers do and what network availability they offer in each geographic area. We focus on what is within our control and that is the fact that we only need the ability to send a simple text message to implement effective monitoring. In some areas, we can install an external antenna to improve signal reception but that’s not possible everywhere. For the perfect monitoring solution, we need telecoms providers to release more lower frequencies so we can create a daisy chain effect and establish a sweet spot for signal and data transfer.

The availability of both 2G and LTE is not a given so we must work with what is available and use it to provide the very best solution we possibly can.

What does the future hold for 2G and LTE?

The UK government and all major mobile operators have agreed to phase out 2G and 3G by 2033. This will supposedly free up radio spectrum bands to further improve network coverage and mobile broadband speeds of modern 4G and 5G-based mobile networks. Whilst speed is not an issue when it comes to smart network monitoring, coverage is so this may indeed benefit the water industry in the long-term.

On the other hand, there are several industry professionals and organisations that feel that LTE is set to become increasingly reliable and will also be able to provide a comparable speed with its 5G peers.

Either way, for the foreseeable future, we will continue to employ 2G and LTE as they are both highly capable of transmitting the data our customers need, when they need it.

For more information on using 2G and LTE for smart network monitoring, please contact the Detectronic team on 01282 449124 or email: sales@detectronic.org