Each new generation of wireless communication technology has brought a sharp increase in data transfer speeds, starting with the second generation of wireless technology that introduced digital signals as a replacement for analog signals. 5G technology offers another leap, with data transfer speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, about 100 times faster than the 4G wireless networks widely used now.

Sources: “The Race to 5G,” CTIA, accessed July 24, 2019, https://tinyurl.com/yxg4s65u; Gary Hilson, “5G Needs More Memory to Compute,” EE Times, April 2, 2019, https://tinyurl.com/y3vxgkvk

Data for the graphic are as follows:

Year of Implementation Cellular Network Speed Data Transfer Speeds (per Second)
1981 1G 2 kilobits
1992 2G Up to 62 kilobits
2001 3G Up to 2 megabits
2010 4G Up to 100 megabits
2020 5G Up to 10 gigabits

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