Definition

Generic Access Network (GAN)

The Generic Access Network (GAN) is an evolving wireless communications system in which mobile phone sets function seamlessly between local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). Using GAN technology, a cell phone subscriber can communicate by voice, data and multimedia through large-scale cellular and small-scale Wi-Fi systems. Ideally, all handoffs between systems occur without interrupting the communications session.

As GAN technology is implemented, cellular telephone subscribers can expect improved coverage, the ability to use a single phone set for all their voice communications and perhaps cheaper rates with a single bill for Internet and voice communications. However, phone set technology for GAN use involves two different modes, both of which must be constantly accessible. This requires that every phone set have two transceivers active at all times, one for conventional cellular service and the other for Wi-Fi. This places an increased current demand on the battery.

The GAN was known as Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) prior to April 2005.

This was last updated in August 2006
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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