megachips per second (Mcps) definition

Megachips per second (Mcps) is a measure of the speed with which encoding elements, called chips (not to be confused with microchips), are generated in Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) signals. This speed is also known as the chipping rate. A speed of 1 Mcps is equivalent to 1,000,000, or 106, chips per second.

Typical chipping rates in third-generation (3G) wireless systems are on the order of several million chips per second. For example, in Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) systems, the standard rate is 3.84 Mcps.

In some applications, the abbreviation Mcps is used in reference to frequencies in megacycles (millions of cycles) per second. Technically, this usage for expressing frequencies is archaic. The proper term is megahertz (MHz).

This was first published in September 2005

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