Mobile Communications and Mobile Data Technologies

Publication Overview

This report introduces managers, investors and technical specialists to mobile cellular communications technologies for voice and data.

Key points include:-

  • We provide detailed, independent, descriptions and analysis of the major 2G, 2.5G, 2.75G and 3G technologies, including GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA, CDMA2000 and EV-DO.
  • We also discuss SIMs, the IP Media Subsystem (IMS), VoIP, Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC), mobile device operating systems, femtocell ‘home-base-stations’, Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) and the emerging 4G technologies known as UMTS Long Term Evolution (LTE) and CDMA2000 Ultra Mobile Broadband (UWB).
  • The prospects of UMTS developing not just to dominate its direct competitor CDMA2000, but to prevail over mobile and perhaps fixed WiMAX is also covered.

Executive Summary

This report is a technical introduction, for people without an engineering background, to digital cellular mobile technologies. These are the basis of huge and growing industries for voice and increasingly data communications, with cellular handsets becoming the most widely used electronic product in history.

We begin with an introduction to the 1G and early digital technologies AMPS, IS-136 TDMA and IS-95 CDMA. We discuss GSM and its high speed data enhancements, including HSCSD GPRS and EDGE. We discuss the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) 3G technologies. These are based on the GSM network architecture and together with GSM are the most widely used technologies on a global basis.

We also discuss the Japanese FOMA WCDMA system, which was the basis for UMTS WCDMA, and CDMA2000 and its high speed data enhancement EV-DO (Evolution Data Only) which are the dominant 3G technologies in North America and many other non-European countries. We provide tutorials on convolutional coding and the spreading and scrambling processes which are at the heart of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) spread-spectrum techniques.

We discuss services which operate similarly or identically over all 2.5G and 3G networks, including SMS text messaging, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). We discuss the IP Media Subsystem (IMS) – a centrally managed network architecture which is the basis for providing a number of services including instant messaging with presence, Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC), VoIP and location based services, irrespective of the underlying 2.5G or 3G network technology.

Base-stations and their backhaul network are the most expensive part of cellular systems. We discuss the various approaches to base-stations, including the conventional large, tower-based ‘macro-node’, and alternatives for smaller areas and enclosed spaces, including ‘micro-nodes’ and ‘pico-nodes’. We conclude this discussion with a detailed evaluation of the emerging ‘femtocell’ technology: the ability to place a small base-station in a home or office, using the owner’s ADSL or HFC cable modem service for backhaul. This is based on the new Generic Access Network (GAN) standards, which arose initially from the desire to achieve Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) via unlicensed frequencies, with Bluetooth and WiFi approaches.

We discuss the long-term development of the two major 3G technologies into 4G mobile systems, with similar OFDM-based modulation schemes and performance to fixed and mobile WiMAX. We consider the challenge the 4G development of UMTS poses to CDMA2000’s 4G Ultra Mobile Broadband and to the widespread adoption of WiMAX.

Broadcasting or multicasting to handheld devices can be achieved with a unidirectional system with separate frequencies such as Eureka 147 Terrestrial Digital Mobile Broadcasting (T-DMB), DVB-H or Qualcomm’s FLO (Forward Link Only). Alternatively, it can be achieved with data packets within the cellular technology, perhaps with OFDM modulation to increase data density, as is possible with EV-DO. We discuss these and other approaches to this important addition to mobile technology.

We also discuss the major audio visual coding technologies, otherwise known as data compression, for sound, video and multimedia material. An increasing number of these technologies are utilised in 3G services and in mobile broadcasting.

Cellular mobile technology is a complex and rapidly developing field. This report is intended to give non-specialists a comprehensive technical introduction to current and emerging mobile cellular technologies. This report is intended to enable readers to understand current usage and foresee likely developments relevant to their own domains, such as telecommunications regulation, investment and management.

Table of Contents

  • 1. 2G Mobile Systems
    • 1.1 Introduction, History and Terminology
      • 1.1.1 Mobile cellular defined
      • 1.1.2 1G to 4G and beyond
      • 1.1.3 1G history
      • 1.1.4 Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS)
      • 1.1.5 Terminology and early 2G systems
    • 1.2 IS-136 TDMA
      • 1.2.1 800MHz and 1.9GHz
      • 1.2.2 Traffic channels for voice and control
      • 1.2.3 Digital Control Channels (DCCH)
      • 1.2.4 IS-136 future
    • 1.3 IS-95, CDMA
      • 1.3.1 Spread spectrum to share radio resources
      • 1.3.2 Forward Error Correction (FEC)
      • 1.3.3 Compatibility with AMPS
      • 1.3.4 Simultaneous transmission and reception
      • 1.3.5 CDMA IS-95A/B features
    • 1.4 GSM
      • 1.4.1 Frequencies
      • 1.4.2 Gaussian-filtered Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK) modulation
      • 1.4.3 Time and Frequency Division Multiplexing (TDMA and FDMA)
      • 1.4.4 Hearing aid compatibility
      • 1.4.5 Timing and power control
      • 1.4.6 Distance limits
      • 1.4.7 Voice compression
      • 1.4.8 Modulation and interleaving
      • 1.4.9 Frequency hopping
  • 2. 2G – Mobile Data Systems
    • 2.1 GSM SIMs
      • 2.1.1 Encryption and SIMs
      • 2.1.2 Emissions and safety
      • 2.1.3 GSM standards development
    • 2.2 GSM, GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA system architecture
      • 2.2.1 GSM voice only
      • 2.2.2 GSM EDGE Radio Access Network (GERAN)
      • 2.2.3 UMTS Radio Access Network (UTRAN)
    • 2.3 SMS text messaging
      • 2.3.1 In-band messaging
      • 2.3.2 Message length limitations
      • 2.3.3 Addressing and interoperability
      • 2.3.4 Spam prevention
      • 2.3.5 SMS as a basis for other services
    • 2.4 Enhancements to GSM
      • 2.4.1 CAMEL
      • 2.4.2 CSD and HSCSD
  • 3. 2.5G - MMS, WAP, GPRS, SAIC & EDGE
    • 3.1 MMS Messaging and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 3.1.1 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 3.1.2 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 3.1.3 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
    • 3.2 Single Antenna Interference Cancellation (SAIC)
      • 3.2.1 Joint Demodulation (JD)
      • 3.2.2 Synchronising base-stations
      • 3.2.3 Overall benefits of SAIC
    • 3.3 Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 3.3.1 Enhancement to GSM
      • 3.3.2 Path to 3G
      • 3.3.3 Upgrade from IS-136
      • 3.3.4 EDGE Compact and Classic
      • 3.3.5 New modulation schemes
      • 3.3.6 Reframing Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) and reframing
      • 3.3.7 Incremental reception
      • 3.3.8 Quality of Service (QoS)
  • 4. 3G Systems
    • 4.1 3G Technologies, spreading and scrambling
      • 4.1.1 3G background
      • 4.1.2 3G technologies
      • 4.1.3 Spreading and scrambling
    • 4.2 3G UMTS, WCDMA and LTE
      • 4.2.1 UMTS WCDMA
      • 4.2.2 High Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
      • 4.2.3 New SIM functions
      • 4.2.4 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE)
      • 4.2.5 Systems Architecture Evolution (SAE)
      • 4.2.6 UMTS vs CDMA2000 and WiMAX
    • 4.3 3G CDMA2000, EV-DO, UMB & IMS
      • 4.3.1 CDMA2000
      • 4.3.2 4G Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB)
      • 4.3.3 Open Mobile Alliance (OMA)
      • 4.3.4 IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
      • 4.3.5 Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC)
      • 4.3.6 Mobile operating systems
  • 5. FMC, UMA, GAN and Femtocells
    • 5.1 Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC), UMA and GAN
      • 5.1.1 Overview of UMA and GAN
      • 5.1.2 Choice of local wireless technology
    • 5.2 UMA/GAN standards
      • 5.2.1 IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and Session Initiated Protocol (SIP)
      • 5.2.2 3GPP’s GAN standard
    • 5.3 Alternative base-station strategies
      • 5.3.1 Macro-nodes
      • 5.3.2 Micro-nodes
      • 5.3.3 Pico-nodes
      • 5.3.4 Distributed antenna systems
      • 5.3.5 Repeaters
      • 5.3.6 Base-station synchronisation
      • 5.3.7 Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) duplexers
    • 5.4 Femtocells - home base-stations
      • 5.4.1’s CPU array chips
      • 5.4.2 UMA/GAN for femto nodes
  • 6. Digital Broadcasting – Mobile TV
    • 6.1 Broadcasting to handheld devices
      • 6.1.1 3G Networks unsuitable
      • 6.1.2 Mobile broadcasting requirements
      • 6.1.3 Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H)
      • 6.1.4 Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (T-DMB)
      • 6.1.5 MobaHo (MBSAT) CDM direct broadcast satellite
      • 6.1.6 South Korean S-DMB
      • 6.1.7 MediaFLO
      • 6.1.8 Mobile WiMAX 802.16e
    • 6.2 Comparing the major technologies
      • 6.2.1 T-DMB vs DVB-H and MediaFLO
      • 6.2.2 Frequency diversity
      • 6.2.3 Frequency domain power reduction
      • 6.2.4 Time domain power reduction
      • 6.2.5 Time Diversity vs Tune-in Time
      • 6.2.6 Channels per Megahertz
  • 7. Audio Visual Coding – MPEG
    • 7.1 MPEG 1 and MP3
      • 7.1.1 Introduction
      • 7.1.2 Data compression and ‘coding’
      • 7.1.3 MPEG-1
      • 7.1.4 MPEG-1 Audio Layers I and II
      • 7.1.5 MPEG-I Audio Layer III (MP3)
      • 7.1.6 Other lossy audio compression standards
    • 7.2 MPEG 2 AAC and Video
      • 7.2.1 Introduction
      • 7.2.2 MPEG-2 Transport Stream
      • 7.2.3 MPEG-2 audio compression
      • 7.2.4 MPEG-2/4 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)
      • 7.2.5 MPEG-4 Parametric Audio Coding – HILN
      • 7.2.6 MPEG-2 video compression
    • 7.3 MPEG 4 Video and VRML
      • 7.3.1 Introduction
      • 7.3.2 MPEG-4 Video and multimedia compression
      • 7.3.3 Advanced Video Coding – H.264/AVC
      • 7.3.4 Interactive and VRML elements
      • 7.3.5 MPEG-7 metadata
      • 7.3.6 MPEG-21 Digital Rights Management
  • 8. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Exhibit 1 – GSM radio frequencies
  • Exhibit 2 – Maximum receiver velocities for DVB-H
  • Exhibit 3 – H.264/AVC Levels

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Annual Publication Profile


Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)

Number of pages 164

Status Archived

Last updated 19 Jan 2009
Update History

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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