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Types of Cell Phone Protocol

Cellular networks create an line of communication for their subscribers through frequency and protocol. Frequency establishes the link of communication by providing a path for the communication to take place, and protocol dictates the rules that regulate your communication. This means that the speed, power, and strength of the cell network comes from the protocol your wireless carrier operates on. Currently, the 3G service is the dominant protocol-established network, and is used by a whopping 70 percent of the world.  The 3rd generation of wireless networks is based two primary protocols: Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). In this article you will learn the primary features and characteristics of GSM and CDMA, and what it all means for you.

GSM: (Global System for Mobile communications)

GSM is considered the dominant protocol for mobile to network communication, as the majority of cell phone providers operate on GSM.  In Europe, GSM broadcasts on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. However, in the United States, GSM transmits on 850 MHz or 1900 MHz. Of the big four network providers, AT&T and T-Mobile are the only two to utilize this protocol. The latest version of GSM has been named LTE. LTE is AT&T and T-Mobile’s 4G networks, meaning it is the fourth version of GSM. (for product page)  GSM remains the most widely used protocol in the world; approximately 80 percent of all mobile phones operate on the GSM standard. When the GSM was introduced, it was titled “second generation” (2G) standard because GSM allowed for revolutionary applications such as texts messaging and forced the networks to change from an analog network to digital. The GSM protocol is broadcasted over  900 MHz and 1800 MHz in Europe and  850 MHz or 1900 MHz in the United States.  GSM enhanced the previous cell phone network by adding speech coding and error control coding, which affects the management of voice and data traffic.

GSM Features

The signal GSM uses contributes greatly to the performance of the network. The transmitted wave is called is called Gaussian filtered Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK) and offers several advantages for a radio communications system. One of the most important advantages is that this wave can be amplified by a non-linear amplifier,allowing the signal to remain undistorted. This enables your cell phone receptions to be clearer and and more powerful. Additionally, a cell phone does not have to consume as much power because the DC power input from the power rails converts into a radio frequency signal. This means that your cellular device does not have to waste battery power because the phones power  usage for a given output is far less. One major benefit of using GSM is the versatility and global accessibility. Since GSM is the dominates protocol, it allows people to travel and still maintain a connection to a network. This is especially useful when traveling to different regions in the world.

Using A GSM Phone

A mobile phone does not guarantee that a user will be connected to a cell network. In order to connect to the the user’s subscribed network, the phone must communicate with the base station through a signal and the SIM card. Without a SIM card the phone will not be able to communicate with a network. When the mobile phone searches for a signal, GSM technology will dispense a maximum range for its base station, which is about 25 miles. In areas that are highly populated, base stations are stationed within close proximity, providing users constant access a signal.

TDMA Technology

GSM is structured around the Time division multiple access (TDMA) method. The Time division multiple access (TDMA) enables one or more cell phone users to operate on the same frequency channel. This is because on TDMA, the signal is distributed into time slots. Although it would appear that sharing the same frequency channel would cause interference, under a TDMA system, a user only occupies a small portion of the base station channel capacity.  The method is setup so each TDMA frame holds eight time slots, and as such, TDMA enhanced  the efficiency of the network.

Subscriber Identity Module (SIM Card)

The subscriber identity module (or SIM card) is an important part of all mobile phones that use GSM. The SIM card contains specialized information such as your subscription profile and address book. While the SIM card posses important account information, the mobile device is what secures the user into a specific phone.  To prevent others from accessing unwanted information, the mobile phone can set up so it denies other SIM card.

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)

Whereas GSM is universally accepted protocol, CDMA only appears in the United States. Currently, Verizon and Sprint use CDMA. However, Sprint and Verizon plan to change over to GSM (LTE) completely in the near future to provide better 4G service. (For product page) Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is cell phone protocol that enabled advanced cell phone applications such as sending texts, emails, and surfing the web. CDMA operates on a a “spread-spectrum” technique. A “spread-spectrum” technique emits electromagnetic energy in such a manner that a wider bandwidth is produced. The wider bandwidth enables numerous user on multiple cell phones to be “multiplexed” over the same channel, which means that multiple users can share the bandwidth of frequencies. When information is sent over these frequencies using CDMA technology, voice packets and data are separated using code and then broadcasted on a variety of frequencies With CDMA technology, data and voice packets are separated using codes and then transmitted on a wide frequency range. Since more space is often distributed for data with CDMA, this standard became an attractive option for 3G high-speed mobile Internet use. This is because the separation between voice and data allowed for there to be more space to be allocated from higher internet data speeds.

CDMA’s Popularity

With GSM offering better service to its users, why would numerous U.S. carriers choose to build a CDMA based network? The answer is timing. During the time when Verizon and Sprint were making the switch from an analog network to a digital network, CDMA was the newest and fastest protocol available. At the time CDMA offered capacity, better call quality and more potential than the GSM. However, GSM upgraded its protocol, but by that time, it was too late for Verizon and Sprint to switch over. Recently, however, Verizon and Sprint have announced that they plan to move on to a GSM network to better accommodate the demand for a stronger and faster 4G network. The move to a GSM based network would greatly improve both service providers’ current 4G and 4G LTE networks.

What CDMA vs. GSM Means to You:

There are good and bad CDMA and GSM networks. How the network is established is more important than the technology of the device operating on the network. If the CDMA or GSM based network is setup incorrectly, then the user, no matter the device will suffer. One benefit for phones operating on GSM have over CDMA is that it is easier for users on a GSM network to switch phone. The user only has to remove the SIM card and put it into the new mobile phone. On the other hand, CDMA users cannot swap phones so easily. Since, on a CDMA network, the user’s information is stored by the carrier, the user must gain the carrier's permission before switching devices. Another benefit of GSM is that you can make a call and transmit data at the same time because of CDMA’s code transmits voice packets and data separately. This is why you can simultaneously make a call and surf the internet on AT&T’s network, but are limited to either making a call or internet access on Verizon or Sprint. While CDMA and GSM compete head on in terms of higher bandwidth speed (i.e. for surfing the mobile Web), GSM has more complete global coverage due to roaming and international roaming contracts. The CDMA is primarily used in the United Stated and parts of Asia. The main services providers that Use CDMA are Sprint, Virgin Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Although CDMA and GSM may have their kinks, the 3G service revolutionized mobile communication.A 3G network that is based on either GSM or CDM gives mobile users greater access to the internet, emailing, improved texting, and stronger cell reception. When you are unable to take advantage of these benefits, you may feel slighted by your provider. If you lack a strong 3G signal and wish to take improve your 3G service, a cell phone signal booster will enhance your 3G signal, granting you powerful and reliable cell reception. it is important to understand how a 3G network operates when purchasing a cell signal booster, as knowing the frequency and protocol of your network will ensure you have the right cell phone signal booster. Once the cell phone signal booster is installed, you will have full access to your 3G service.