Home     |     Hot Topics     |     Current Topics     |     News     |     Press Releases

· How to Search   · Tips


 Solutions Catalog
 Products & Services
 The Market
 Application Mall
 Business Cases
 Solution Components
 Application Development
 System Design
 Resources & Links
 Professional Services
 Conferences & Events
 Reports & Presentations
 Templates & Aids
 Community Forum

Hot Topics In The Mobile Computing Industry

3rd Generation Wireless Networks 

A new breed of wireless networks with higher speed and capacity than 2G that are being planned, designed and deployed in different countries now (2002).  These networks 

  • are in higher frequency band (2 GHz and beyond) with larger bandwidth (around 5 MHZ) than 2G
  • will provide higher speeds up to 2 Mbps in a fixed or stationary wireless environment and at 384 Kbps in a mobile environment.
  • hope to converge towards one international standard for 3G. This is unlikely to be fulfilled soon because of vendors' self interests, existing infrastructure dependencies and migration steps like 2.5G GSM/GPRS, 1xRTT CDMA, Edge, etc. before a common UMTS network becomes pervasive 

Topics Related to 3G Evolution: 

EDGE Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution
Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) is a radio based high-speed mobile data standard. It allows data transmission speeds of 384 kbps to be achieved when all eight timeslots are used..

EDGE was initially developed (by Ericsson) for mobile network operators who fail to win Universal Mobile Telephone System (UMTS) spectrum. EDGE gives GSM operators the opportunity to offer data services at speeds that are near to those available on UMTS networks.

EDGE can also provide an evolutionary migration path from GPRS to UMTS by implementing now the changes in modulation that will be necessary for implementing UMTS later. The idea behind EDGE is to get higher data rates on the current 200 kHz GSM radio carrier by changing the type of modulation used, whilst still working with current circuit (and packet) switches.

  • TDMA Edge - North American version of European GSM Edge initiative - an interim step for TDMA IS-136 networks before 3G - same principles of band but on a different band, different  network infrastructure and different modulation technique
  • cdma 2000 - North America's other offering in answer to Europe's 3G UMTS standard - a rather simplistic explanation. cdma2000 is a 3G technology that increases data transmission rates in CDMA systems. cdma2000 has been renamed the 1x Multi-Carrier mode (1x MC), which provides a 307 Kbps data rate in the ITU's 3G specification. The ITU 3G specification also includes a 3x Multi-Carrier mode (3xMC) at 2 Mbps as well as W-CDMA, the 3G path intended for GSM carriers in Europe and Japan to upgrade to 3G CDMA (Source - TechWeb definition)
  • GPRS - General Packet Radio Service - another interim step towards 3rd Generation
  • HSCSD - High Speed Circuit Switched Data - an interim step that gives 38.4 Kbps wireless speed 
  • UMTS - Universal Mobile Telephone System - 3G GSM standard primarily in Europe - UMTS is the standard for delivering 3G services being developed under the auspices of ETSI. It builds on  GSM standard for increasing the speed and capacity by increasing the carrier bandwidth in a slightly different band. With Europe already committed on long term basis and North America reluctantly and grudgingly moving forward along with competitive standards. It offers the prospect of a truly global wireless standard for personal multimedia communications.
  • WCDMA - Wide CDMA - See Ericsson's explanation

Evolution From 2G to 3G
Following scenarios are most likely:

  • Current 2G GSM networks ---->Wideband CDMA (W-CDMA) for 3G
  • Current TDMA networks (e.g. AT&T's TDMA network)  -----> W-CDMA
  • IS-95 (Non-Wideband CDMA) ----> cdma2000

Pressures from the market and user organization will lead to interoperation between W-CDMA and cdma2000 networks. However vendors and network carriers will posture and shout for the superiority of their respective technologies. Ideally we should have one standard and one network technology that is superior but that is asking for an ideal business world. We urge user organizations to exert their natural right to force carriers to build one logical 3G network with roaming and interoperability even if this network consists of multiple physical networks.

Status Of 3G Network Plans in North America (January 2002) -

Go here. 

3G GSM Trials by Microcell - a wireless network service provider in Canada is piloting a 3G network in Montreal now (1999-2000).  Go to MobileInfo.Com's interview with Microcell Network Planning executives on the status and findings from this trial.

MobileInfo.com Advisory: We would like to make following comments on 3G networks:

  1. 3G networks, when fully implemented (2 to 5 years), will move mobile computing to a new level of performance and capacity. Meanwhile, wireless applications should be implemented carefully. Choose your communications middleware vendor who will allow you to migrate to future networks without application-level changes. Continue to invest in optimizing your wireless network traffic. approximately 25-38 Kbps with GPRS or faster speed with 1xRTT CDMA alternative is more than adequate speed for well-designed transaction-based applications. These interim 2.5G networks can be, in fact, good enough for many optimized multi-media applications where use of graphics is to enhance the current wireless data application user interface. Rich multi-media applications will be affordable in terms of capacity and price only in future. 
  2. For a reliable production-level national footprint, 3G networks will take longer than industry forecasts. There is significant market development work, business case work for huge investments required and finally engineering work for implementing networks. Each step takes time. First you will see GPRS or Edge in GSM sector. CDMA 1xRTT (Qualcomm technology) that provides higher spectral efficiency is being implemented by a number of carriers in USA and Europe. By 2003-2005 timeframe, you will see 3G coverage only in high-population areas.
  3. There is still lack of uniform standards and differences in technologies being employed especially in North America. User organizations should plan for using the capacity of future wireless networks only after detailed analysis of service provider’s network implementation plans, planned coverage and agreements with other network operators to provide national coverage under one umbrella. Perhaps hybrid network strategy is your best bet. No single network technology or operator will meet all your wireless network needs.
  4. North America will continue to have multiple technologies and standards – Europe will stay ahead for the next four years. 3G standards will be adopted earlier in Europe and Japan before North America.
  5. Wireless multi-media applications must be carefully analyzed from business case point of view. Only selected few applications will become affordable on projected cost structure. However widespread use of wireless multi-media as a general-purpose business application will stay as a target opportunity for the next 6-8 years.
  6. We also feel that based on queuing theory projections of similar telecommunications systems, effective data rate will drop significantly below 350 Kbps forecasts with large number of users per cell. Nonetheless, 3G will bring a quantum improvement from where we are.
  7. If you are a wireless network provider, do plan for these networks quickly. They are going to happen as fast as network service providers can roll them out. If you do not do it, your competitor will do it.
  8. If you are a network service provider, price these wireless data services (2.5 G and 3G) low and breakeven period longer. You should be in it for the long haul. Please keep in mind what happened to Iridium.
  9. If you are in an end user organization, develop your applications carefully - optimize data stream, user interface, transaction flow, minimize multi-media, allow for wireless network interruptions, disconnected mode,  and persistent transaction recovery. Put your best design team on wireless application - it is not a piece of cake as some would have you believe.

More Resources on 3G Related Topics

Related Resources:
>  Hot Topics Index
>  Current Topics 
>  Technological Advances
>  Glossary 


Home     |     Hot Topics     |     Current Topics     |     News     |     Press Releases

Copyright © 1999 - 2001.  All Rights Reserved. 
Reproduction of any material from the MobileInfo.com website or its newsletters without written permission is strictly prohibited.