3G is the short form used for third-generation technology. There are few technologies in the history of mankind where there has been so much hype, followed by so much dissapointment, but it looks like the 3G providers have finally got their act together in 2008, and have started delivering the 3G mobile broadband services that we have all been waiting for.
According to wikipedia definition:
3G is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology, superseding 2G. It is based on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) family of standards under the International Mobile Telecommunications programme, IMT-2000. 3G technologies enable network operators to offer users a wider range of more advanced services while achieving greater network capacity through improved spectral efficiency. Services include wide-area wireless voice telephony, video calls, and broadband wireless data, all in a mobile environment. Additional features also include HSPA data transmission capabilities able to deliver speeds up to 14.4Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8Mbit/s on the uplink.
The first country to start 3G service on a great scale was Japan where by 2005 nearly 40% of consumers used 3G network only. With 2G technology becoming outdated in Japan,almost all the 2G networks have now been shifted to 3G networks.
3G gives the ability to transfer both voice as well as non-voice based Data at a much faster level. While marketing 3G services, video telephony is famously referred as a killer application. 3G networks have not been upgraded from 2G networks and do not function on the same frequency spectrum. For 3G services new networks need to be fitted and new frequencies are allocated to the mobile operators.
When you sign up for a mobile broadband deal, you will usually be provided with a USB 'dongle' and a sim card. You will need to insert the SIM card into the dongle and then, when you plug it into your laptop it should self-install. The good thing about the USB dongle solution is that you can install it in a number of machines, so you could take it with you to a meeting and then give it to your partner when they are heading out to a meeting with their own laptop.