article reprint — tellaBS eMerGe SprinG 2007
3G wireless might by synonymous with data, but there’s more to the new standards than than.
By Tim Kridel
From a distance, 3G wireless looks like a revolution. But dig into the
standards and the networks that rely on them, and 3G starts to look
more like an evolution.
Case in point: In 2007, two major standards bodies — the 3G
Partnership Project (3GPP) for the Global System for Mobile
communications/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
(GSM/UMTS) family of technologies and its Code Division Multiple
Access (CDMA) counterpart, the 3GPP2 — say they plan to finalize
new technologies that promise to push data rates as high as 200
Mbps. But the new standards all have a healthy respect for the past,
including keeping forklift upgrades to a minimum and protecting the
wireless killer app: voice. Here’s an overview of what lies ahead.
GSM includes older, well-known technologies such as General
Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data rates for GSM
Evolution (EDGE), and new technologies including EDGE Evolution,
High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA), HSPA+ and Long
Term Evolution (LTE):
EDGE EVOLUTION: EDGE Evolution increases peak download speeds to
about 1.3 Mbps, with 500 Kbps under the initial Type 1 version expected
to make its commercial debut around 2008–2009. EDGE Evolution
also increases spectral efficiency nearly 50% by borrowing techniques
from High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA). However, it still
uses the same 200 KHz channels as GSM, as well as the world’s two
most widely used bands: 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. That design could
make it attractive to carriers that want to launch 3G services in the 2G
spectrum they already own, avoiding the need to purchase new spec-
trum licenses and thereby reducing their overhead costs.
The cost of EDGE Evolution depends partly on the age and upgrade-
ability of each carrier’s infrastructure. Although the 3GPP is still
finalizing some of its features, EDGE E