Mobile and wireless protocols

Don't get tangled up in mobile and wireless protocols. This Mobile and Wireless Protocols Guide explains the various mobile protocols and offers tips and advice for selecting and using them in your organization.

This guide helps mobile managers better understand mobile and wireless protocols and focuses on the protocols used for mobile technologies and in mobile devices. Mobile protocols are constantly evolving and this Mobile and Wireless Protocols Guide explains the various mobile protocols and offers tips and advice for selecting and using them in your organization.

3G
3G refers to the third generation of developments in wireless technology, especially mobile communications. The third generation, as its name suggests, follows the first generation (1G) and second generation (2G) in wireless communications. While 3G is generally considered applicable mainly to mobile wireless, it is also relevant to fixed wireless and portable wireless. A 3G system should be operational from any location on, or over, the earth's surface, including use in homes, businesses, government offices, medical establishments, the military, personal and commercial land vehicles, private and commercial watercraft and marine craft, private and commercial aircraft (except where passenger use restrictions apply), portable (pedestrians, hikers, cyclists, campers), and space stations and spacecraft.

More resources for using 3G:

4G
4G is the short term for fourth-generation wireless, the stage of broadband mobile communications that will supercede the third generation (3G). While neither standards bodies nor carriers have concretely defined or agreed upon what exactly 4G will be, it is expected that end-to-end IP and high-quality streaming video will be among 4G's distinguishing features. Fourth generation networks are likely to use a combination of WiMAX and Wi-Fi.

More 4G resources:

Do you ever wonder whether mobile operators deliberately try to make their technology sound confusing? After all, why would anyone name a technology EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) or HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access)? At least mobile WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) sounds like Wi-Fi -- but, alas, mobile WiMAX service is not yet available. And if the names weren't confusing enough, the technology continues to evolve with new, equally arcane names such as EV-DO Rev A and High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA). Click here for your checklist of considerations

CDMA
Code-division multiple access is a form of multiplexing, which allows numerous signals to occupy a single transmission channel, optimizing the use of available bandwidth. CDMA employs analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) in combination with spread spectrum technology. The technology is used in ultra-high-frequency (UHF) cellular telephone systems in the 800 MHz and 1.9 GHz bands. IS-95 uses CDMA.

More CDMA resources:

CDMA2000
CDMA2000 is a CDMA version of the IMT-2000 standard developed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). CDMA2000 supports mobile data communications at speeds ranging from 144 Kbps to 2 Mbps.  

EV-DO
Evolution data maximized (CMDA2000 1x EVDO) is based on CDMA2000. EVDO supports mobile data communications at speeds ranging from 400 Kbps to 2 Mbps.

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FDMA
Frequency division multiple access is the division of the frequency band allocated for wireless cellular telephone communication into 30 channels, each of which can carry a voice conversation or, with digital service, carry digital data. FDMA is a basic technology in the analog advanced mobile phone service (AMPS), the most widely-installed cellular phone system installed in North America. With FDMA, each channel can be assigned to only one user at a time.  

GAN
The generic access network, formerly known as unlicensed mobile access (UMA), is a mobile telephony system designed to allow seamless roaming and transfer between LANs and WANs using a dual-mode phone. The system is based upon use of unlicensed spectrum with technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GSM and GPRS. GAN enables carriers to deliver voice, data and SIP applications to phones on multiple networks.

More dual-mode resources:

GPRS
General packet radio services is a packet-based wireless communication service based on GSM networks and complements existing services like circuit-switched cellular phone connections and SMS. GPRS provides data rates from up to 114 Kbps.  

GSM
Global system for mobile is a digital mobile telephone system that is widely used in Europe and other parts of the world. GSM uses a variation of TDMA and is the most widely used of the three digital wireless telephone technologies (TDMA, GSM, and CDMA). GSM digitizes and compresses data, then sends it down a channel with two other streams of user data, each in its own time slot. It operates at either the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz frequency band.

More GSM resources:

HCSD
The high-speed circuit-switched data protocol updates CSD, providing data rates up to 64 Kbps.  

HSDPA
High-speed downlink packet access is the next phase of UMTS, with data transmission speeds up to 10 Mbps, based upon the WCDMA protocol.

iDEN
Integrated digital enhanced network is a wireless technology from Motorola that combines the capabilities of a digital cellular telephone, two-way radio, alphanumeric pager, and a data/fax modem in a single network. iDEN operates in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, and 1.5 GHz bands and is based on TDMA and GSM architecture.

Mobitex
Mobitex is a wireless network architecture that specifies a framework for the fixed equipment necessary to support all the wireless terminals in a packet-switched, radio-based communication system. Mobitex operates at 80, 400, or 900 MHz. Mobitex also may refer to Mobitex Technology AB, a provider of wireless communications spun off from Ericcson.

NMT
Nordic mobile telephone is a standard based upon analog technology that operates within the 450 and 900 MHz bands.

PCS
Personal communications services refers to wireless phone networks that are similar to cellular telephone networks but emphasize personal service and extended mobility. Several technologies are used for PCS, including TDMA, CDMA, and GSM. PCS operates in the1850 to 1990 MHz bands.

PDC
Personal digital cellular is a Japanese standard that uses TDMA. The technology is used in the 800 MHz and 1.5 GHz bands.

PHS
Personal handyphone system refers to the network developed by NTT DoCoMo that provides devices that function both as a cordless phones in the home and as mobile phones elsewhere. PHS also handles voice, fax, and video signals at data rates up to 64 Kbps.

TACS
Total access communications system is similar to AMPS. TACS operates in the 900 MHz frequency range.

TDMA
Time division multiple access is a technology used in digital cellular telephone communications and radio networks that divides each cellular channel into three time slots in order to increase the amount of data that can be carried. TDMA is used by D-AMPS, GSM, and PDC. The United States standard for TDMA for both the cellular (850 MHz) and PCS (1.9 GHz) spectrums. TDMA is also used for digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT).

TD-SCDMA
Time division synchronous code division multiple access is a mobile telephone standard that combines TDMA with an adaptive, synchronous-mode CDMA component. TD-SCDMA combines support for both circuit-switched data, such as speech or video, and also packet-switched data from the Internet, with data transmission at speeds up to 2 Mbps.

UMTS
Universal mobile telecommunications service describes broadband , packet-based transmission of multimedia content at data rates up to 2 Mbps to mobile device users globally. Based on the GSM standard, UMTS is endorsed by major standards bodies and manufacturers and is the planned standard for mobile users around the world.

More UMTS resources:

WCDMA
Wideband code-division multiple access is an ITU standard derived from CDMA, officially known as IMT-2000 direct spread. WCDMA supports mobile voice, images, data, and video communications at up to 2 Mbps (local area access) or 384 Kbps (wide area access). A 5 MHz wide carrier is used, compared with 200 KHz-wide carrier for narrowband CDMA.  

WiDEN
The wideband integrated dispatch enhanced network is an upgrade to iDEN, with increased data rates up to 100 Kbps. WiDEN four combined channels at the 25 MHz band.

WiMAX
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless industry coalition whose members organized to advance IEEE 802.16 standards for broadband wireless access (BWA) networks. WiMAX 802.16 technology is expected to enable multimedia applications with wireless connections. WiMax also has a range of up to 30 miles, presenting provider networks with a viable wireless last mile solution.

More WiMAX resources:


 

This was first published in October 2003

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