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 Different Network Signals

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M H E L
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PostSubject: Different Network Signals   Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:09 am

GSM

Global System for Mobile Communication.

GSM is the dominant 2G digital mobile phone standard for most of the world. It determines the way in which mobile phones communicate with the land-based network of towers.

GSM is one of two major mobile phone technologies in the U.S. The other is CDMA. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. Sprint and Verizon use CDMA. GSM is more prevalent in most other parts of the world, and especially in Europe.

Although GSM and CDMA provide similar basic features and services to end-users, (such as voice calling, text messaging, and data services,) they operate very differently at many technical levels. This makes GSM phones completely incompatible with CDMA networks, and vice-versa.

The most visible feature of GSM are SIM cards. SIM cards are removable, thumbnail-sized smart cards which identify the user on the network, and can also store information such as phone book entries. SIM cards allows users to switch phones by simply moving their SIM card from one phone to the other.



GPRS

General Packet Radio Service.

A packet-switched technology that enables data communications.

GPRS is used for various data applications on phones, including wireless Internet (WAP), MMS, and software that connects to the Internet. Basically, any network connection that is not voice or text messaging uses a data connection like GPRS.

GPRS offers a tenfold increase in data speed over previous (circuit-switched) technologies, up to 115kbit/s (in theory). Typical real-world speeds are around 30-40 Kbps.

Newer technologies like EDGE and 3G are much faster.

See: EDGE

Using a packet switching, subscribers are always connected and always on-line, so services will be easy and quick to access.

GPRS is considered a "2.5G" technology, meaning it is more advanced than standard 2G digital technology, but does not meet the requirements of a full-feldged 3G technology.

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PostSubject: Re: Different Network Signals   Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:13 am

EDGE

Enhanced Data for Global Evolution.

An upgrade for GSM/GPRS networks that triples data rates (speed) over standard GPRS.

See: GPRS

EDGE is used automatically when both the phone and network support it. EDGE phones will automatically revert to the slower GPRS standard when EDGE service is not available.

Although many EDGE phones and devices are theoretically capable of up to 236 Kbps, most EDGE networks are only configured to allow up to 135 Kbps, to conserve spectrum resources. Real-world data rates are usually lower than the maximum.

Because it is based on existing GSM and GPRS technology, EDGE is a smooth upgrade for GSM network operators.

Although EDGE works at a low level within the GSM standard that includes voice, the main benefit is to increase GPRS data rates. GPRS operating over EDGE is called EGPRS.

Although EDGE is faster than GPRS, it is not as fast as 3G technologies such as HSDPA and EVDO.



WCDMA

(Wideband Code Division Multiple Access)

Wideband CDMA is a third-generation (3G) wireless standard which utilizes one 5 MHz channel for both voice and data, initially offering data speeds up to 384 Kbps. WCDMA is the 3G technology used in the US by AT&T and T-Mobile.

See: 3G

There are several newer technologies that offer much faster data speeds, such as HSDPA, HSUPA, and HSPA. These do not replace WCDMA, but rather build on and enhance WCDMA. Therefore any phone with HSDPA also includes WCDMA by definition.

See: HSDPA

WCDMA is also referred to as UMTS - the two terms are effectively interchangeable.

See: UMTS

WCDMA is the 3G standard that most GSM carriers are moving to. Parts of the WCDMA standard are based on GSM technology. WCDMA networks are designed to integrate with GSM networks at certain levels. Most WCDMA phones include GSM as well, for backward compatibility.

WCDMA borrows certain technology ideas from CDMA, as the name implies, but is in fact very different and incompatible with phones and networks using "CDMA" technology.

In Europe and Asia, WCDMA is being deployed in the all-new 2100 MHz frequency band. In North America, WCDMA is being deployed in the existing 1900 MHz (PCS) and 850 MHz (cellular) bands, as well as the newer 1700 MHz (AWS) band.

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PostSubject: Re: Different Network Signals   Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:17 am

3G

3G Stands for 3rd-generation. Analog cellular phones were the first generation. Digital phones marked the second generation (2G).

3G is loosely defined, but generally includes high data speeds, always-on data access, and greater voice capacity.

The high data speeds are possibly the most prominent feature, and certainly the most hyped. They enable such advanced features as live, streaming video.

There are several different 3G technology standards. The most prevalent worldwide is UMTS, which is based on WCDMA. (The terms WCDMA and UMTS are often used interchangeably.) UMTS is the 3G technology of choice for most carriers that used GSM as their 2G technology.

See: WCDMA

The other major standard is cdma2000, which is an evolution of CDMA 2G technology. There are several types of cdma2000, each offering different data rates and levels of compatibility with 2G CDMA. EV-DO Rev A is the most common today.



HSDPA

High-Speed Downlink Packet Access

An upgrade for WCDMA / UMTS networks. It doubles network capacity and increases download data speeds five-fold or more.

Initial deployments and devices were limited to a speed of 1.8 Mbit/s. Subsequent network upgrades and new end-user devices boosted the rate to 3.6 Mbit/s, followed by 7.2 Mbit/s.

A related technology called HSUPA provides a similar speed boost for data in the uplink (upload) direction. Together, HSDPA and HSUPA are somtimes referred to as HSPA.


HSDPA is standardized by the 3GPP in UMTS Release 5.

In terms of data speed and general technology evolution, the closest equivalent to HSDPA for CDMA networks would be EVDO Rel. 0.

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Last edited by M H E L on Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Different Network Signals   Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:18 am

UMTS

Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.

A third generation (3G) mobile communications technology that promises data transmission speeds of up to 2 megabits per second (Mbps), although actual speeds may be significantly lower at first, due to network capacity restrictions.

UMTS uses WCDMA technology, and the two terms are often used interchangeably with each other.

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