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1. GSM History

1. GSM History

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Published by: jalaja_77 on Feb 09, 2010
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1. GSM History
During the early 1980s, analog cellular telephone systems were experiencing rapidgrowth in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, but also inFrance and Germany. Each country developed its own system, which wasincompatible with everyone else's in equipment and operation. This was anundesirable situation, because not only was the mobile equipment limited tooperation within national boundaries, which in a unified Europe were increasinglyunimportant, but there was also a very limited market for each type of equipment,so economies of scale and the subsequent savings could not be realized.The Europeans realized this early on, and in 1982 the Conference of European Postsand Telegraphs (CEPT) formed a study group called the Groupe Spécial Mobile (GSM)to study and develop a pan-European public land mobile system. The proposedsystem had to meet certain criteria:
Good subjective speech quality
Low terminal and service cost
Support for international roaming
Ability to support handheld terminals
Support for range of new services and facilities
Spectral efficiency
ISDN compatibilityPan-European means European-wide. ISDN throughput at 64Kbs was neverenvisioned, indeed, the highest rate a normal GSM network can achieve is 9.6kbs.Europe saw cellular service introduced in 1981, when the Nordic Mobile TelephoneSystem or NMT450 began operating in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway inthe 450 MHz range. It was the first multinational cellular system. In 1985 GreatBritain started using the Total Access Communications System or TACS at 900 MHz.Later, the West German C-Netz, the French Radiocom 2000, and the ItalianRTMI/RTMS helped make up Europe's nine analog incompatible radio telephonesystems. Plans were afoot during the early 1980s, however, to create a singleEuropean wide digital mobile service with advanced features and easy roaming.While North American groups concentrated on building out their robust butincreasingly fraud plagued and featureless analog network, Europe planned for adigital future.Link to my mobile telephone history seriesIn 1989, GSM responsibility was transferred to the European TelecommunicationStandards Institute (ETSI), and phase I of the GSM specifications were published in1990. Commercial service was started in mid-1991, and by 1993 there were 36 GSMnetworks in 22 countries[6].Although standardized in Europe, GSM is not only aEuropean standard. Over 200 GSM networks (including DCS1800 and PCS1900) areoperational in 110 countries around the world. In the beginning of 1994, there were1.3 million subscribers worldwide[18],which had grown to more than 55 million byOctober 1997. With North America making a delayed entry into the GSM field with aderivative of GSM called PCS1900, GSM systems exist on every continent, and theacronym GSM now aptly stands for Global System for Mobile communications.According to theGSM Association as of 2002, here are the current GSM statistics:
 
No. of Countries/Areas with GSM System (October 2001) - 172 
GSM Total Subscribers - 590.3 million (to end of September 2001) 
World Subscriber Growth - 800.4 million (to end of July 2001) 
SMS messages sent per month - 23 Billion (to end of September 2001) 
SMS forecast to end December 2001 - 30 Billion per month 
GSM accounts for 70.7% of the World's digital market and 64.6% of theWorld's wireless market http://www.gsmworld.com/membership/mem_stats.html (external link, now dead.)The developers of GSM chose an unproven (at the time) digital system, as opposedto the then-standard analog cellular systems like AMPS in the United States andTACS in the United Kingdom. They had faith that advancements in compressionalgorithms and digital signal processors would allow the fulfillment of the originalcriteria and the continual improvement of the system in terms of quality and cost.The over 8000 pages of GSM recommendations try to allow flexibility andcompetitive innovation among suppliers, but provide enough standardization toguarantee proper interworking between the components of the system. This is doneby providing functional and interface descriptions for each of the functional entitiesdefined in the system.The United States suffered no variety of incompatible systems as in the differentcountries of Europe. Roaming from one city or state to another wasn't difficult . Yourmobile usually worked as long as there was coverage. Little desire existed to designan all digital system when the present one was working well and proving popular. Toillustrate that point, the American cellular phone industry grew from less than204,000 subscribers in 1985 to 1,600,000 in 1988. And with each analog basedphone sold, chances dimmed for an all digital future. To keep those phones working(and producing money for the carriers) any technological system advance wouldhave to accommodate them.GSM was an all digital system that started new from the beginning. It did not have toaccommodate older analog mobile telephones or their limitations. American digitalcellular, first called IS-54 and then IS-136, still accepts the earliest analog phones.American cellular networks evolved slowly, dragging a legacy of underperformingequipment with it. Advanced fraud prevention, for example, was designed in later forAMPS, whereas GSM had such measures built in from the start. GSM was arevolutionary system because it was fully digital from the beginning.
2. Services provided by GSM
From the beginning, the planners of GSM wanted ISDN compatibility in terms of theservices offered and the control signalling used. However, radio transmissionlimitations, in terms of bandwidth and cost, do not allow the standard ISDN B-channel bit rate of 64 kbps to be practically achieved.Isn't this a shame? What many wireless customers need most is a high speed dataconnection and this is what GSM provides least. Only 9.6kbs if everything worksright. It is possible the GSM designers in the early 1980s never envisioned the needfor such bandwidth. It may be true, too, that in most countries the radio spectrumneeded to give every caller a 64kbs channel was never available. The add on
 
technologyEDGE (external link)promises higher data speed rates in the near tomid-term for GSM. Highest data rates will come in the long term when GSM changesinto a radio service based on wide band code division multiple access, and not TDMA.Using theITU-T definitions (external link), telecommunication services can bedivided into bearer services, teleservices, and supplementary services. The mostbasic teleservice supported by GSM is telephony. As with all other communications,speech is digitally encoded and transmitted through the GSM network as a digitalstream. There is also an emergency service, where the nearest emergency-serviceprovider is notified by dialing three digits (similar to 911).
Bearer services: Typically data transmission instead of voice. Fax and SMSare examples. 
Teleservices: Voice oriented traffic. 
Supplementary services: Call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting and the like. A variety of data services is offered. GSM users can send and receive data, at ratesup to 9600 bps, to users on POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), ISDN, PacketSwitched Public Data Networks, and Circuit Switched Public Data Networks using avariety of access methods and protocols, such as X.25 or X.32. Since GSM is a digitalnetwork, a modem is not required between the user and GSM network, although anaudio modem is required inside the GSM network to interwork with POTS.GSM is an all digital network but many machines are still analog, as is most of thelocal loop.Thus, we need a modem, even though we are dealing with digital.A FAX machine's digital signal processor converts an analog image into aninstantaneous digital representation; a series of bits, all 0s and 1s. A modulator thenturns these bits into audio tones representing the digital values. An analog FAXmachine at the other end converts the tones received back into digital bits and theninto an image.This tedious process was required initially because local loops were and are primarilyanalog. In addition, digital services such asT1, fractional T1, or ISDN, whereavailable, was and is extremely expensive. All digital equipment, such as Group 4Fax machines, are far higher priced than their analog counterparts. The local loopwill remain primarily analog for some time. 

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