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Second generation 2G cellular telecom networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa Oyj) in 1991. Three primary benefits of 2G networks over their predecessors were that phone conversations were digitally encrypted; 2G systems were significantly more efficient on the spectrum allowing for far greater mobile phone penetration levels; and 2G introduced data services for mobile, starting with SMS text messages. After 2G was launched, the previous mobile telephone systems were retrospectively dubbed 1G. While radio signals on 1G networks are analog, and on 2G networks are digital, both systems use digital signaling to connect the radio towers (which listen to the handsets) to the rest of the telephone system.
2G technologies can be divided into TDMA-based and CDMA-based standards depending on the type of multiplexing used. The main 2G standards are:
• • •
GSM (TDMA-based), originally from Europe but used in almost all countries on all six inhabited continents (Time Division Multiple Access). Today accounts for over 80% of all subscribers around the world. Over 60 GSM operators are also using CDMA2000 in the 450 MHz frequency band (CDMA450). IS-95 aka cdmaOne (CDMA-based, commonly referred as simply CDMA in the US), used in the Americas and parts of Asia. Today accounts for about 17% of all subscribers globally. Over a dozen CDMA operators have migrated to GSM including operators in Mexico, India, Australia and South Korea. PDC (TDMA-based), used exclusively in Japan iDEN (TDMA-based), proprietary network used by Nextel in the United States and Telus Mobility in Canada IS-136 aka D-AMPS (TDMA-based, commonly referred as simply 'TDMA' in the US), was once prevalent in the Americas but most have migrated to GSM.
2G services are frequently referred as Personal Communications Service, or PCS, in the United States. 2.5G services enable high-speed data transfer over upgraded existing 2G networks. Beyond 2G, there's 3G, with higher data speeds, and even evolutions beyond 3G, such as 4G.
 Capacities, advantages, and disadvantages
Using digital signals between the handsets and the towers increases system capacity in two key ways:
 Disadvantages The downsides of 2G systems. generally holding a call longer and allowing at least a few words to get through. analog will experience static. The digital systems were designed to emit less radio power from the handsets. This meant that cells could be smaller.• • Digital voice data can be compressed and multiplexed much more effectively than analog voice encodings through the use of various codecs.  Advantages • • • • The lower power emissions helped address health concerns. Under slightly worse conditions. A key digital advantage not often mentioned is that digital cellular calls are much harder to eavesdrop on by use of radio scanners. but you will hear it more clearly. Enhanced privacy. digital a jagged steppy one. which have no protection against eavesdropping. 2G phones are immensely more private than 1G phones. digital will start to completely fail. Under good conditions. while digital has occasional dropouts. by dropping calls or being unintelligible. You'll hear less of the tonality of someone's voice talking on a digital cellphone. the lossy compression used by the codecs takes a toll. allowing more calls to be packed into the same amount of radio bandwidth. As conditions worsen. digital will sound better. while analog slowly gets worse. the weaker digital signal may not be sufficient to reach a cell tower. Analog has a smooth decay curve.  Evolution 2G networks were built mainly for voice services and slow data transmission. Going all-digital allowed for the introduction of digital data services. This tends to be a particular problem on 2G systems deployed on higher frequencies. Greatly reduced fraud. are: • • • In less populous areas. the range of sound that they convey is reduced. such as SMS and email. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. so more cells could be placed in the same amount of space. though. not often well publicized. . National regulations differ greatly among countries which dictate where 2G can be deployed. This was also made possible by cell towers and related equipment getting less expensive. but is mostly not a problem on 2G systems deployed on lower frequencies. While the security algorithms used have proved not to be as secure as initially advertised. While digital calls tend to be free of static and background noise. With analog systems it was possible to have two or more "cloned" handsets that had the same phone number.
delivering an average user data throughput of 80-100 kbps in commercial networks. but are considered by the general public to be 2. EDGE is standardized by 3GPP as part of the GSM family. independent of whether the user actually is utilizing the capacity or is in an idle state.5G services (or 2. The term "second and a half generation" is used to describe 2G-systems that have implemented a packet switched domain in addition to the circuit switched domain. SMS & MMS services.  2. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE). It can be used for services such as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) access.75G which sounds even more sophisticated) because they are several times slower than present-day 3G services. .75G (EDGE) GPRS networks evolved to EDGE networks with the introduction of 8PSK encoding. It can also be used for WAP. It does not necessarily provide faster services because bundling of timeslots is used for circuit switched data services (HSCSD) as well. CDMA2000 networks similarly evolved through the introduction of 1xRTT. So the cellular services combined with enhanced data transmission capabilities became known as '2.' GPRS could provide data rates from 56 kbit/s up to 115 kbit/s. as an extension on top of standard GSM. as well as Internet access.5G is a stepping stone between 2G and 3G cellular wireless technologies.  2. EDGE was deployed on GSM networks beginning in 2003--initially by Cingular (now AT&T) in the United States. or IMT Single Carrier (IMT-SC) is a backward-compatible digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates.8 kbit/s) by switching to more sophisticated methods of coding (8PSK). Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS). and it is an upgrade that provides a potential three-fold increase in capacity of GSM/GPRS networks. The first major step in the evolution of GSM networks to 3G occurred with the introduction of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS).5G.6 kbps.5G (GPRS) 2.Some protocols. while data communication via traditional circuit switching is billed per minute of connection time. are defined as "3G" services (because they are defined in IMT-2000 specification documents). and for Internet communication services such as email and World Wide Web access. such as EDGE for GSM and 1x-RTT for CDMA2000. within existing GSM timeslots. The specification achieves higher data-rates (up to 236. GPRS data transfer is typically charged per megabyte of traffic transferred. 1xRTT supports bi-directional (up and downlink) peak data rates up to 153.
think of radio stations: Each station sends its signal at a different frequency within the available band. The first word tells you what the access method is. you can get a good sense of how they work just by breaking down the title of each one. FDMA is used mainly for analog transmission. division. The last part of each name is multiple access. . FDMA is not considered to be an efficient method for digital transmission. FDMA FDMA separates the spectrum into distinct voice channels by splitting it into uniform chunks of bandwidth. The second word. While it is certainly capable of carrying digital information. TDMA assigns each call a certain portion of time on a designated frequency. To better understand FDMA. • • • FDMA puts each call on a separate frequency.Cell Phone Network Technologies: 2G There are three common technologies used by 2G cell-phone networks for transmitting information (we'll discuss 3G technologies in the 3G section): • • • Frequency division multiple access (FDMA) Time division multiple access (TDMA) Code division multiple access (CDMA) Although these technologies sound very intimidating. CDMA gives a unique code to each call and spreads it over the available frequencies. lets you know that it splits calls based on that access method. This simply means that more than one user can utilize each cell.
each phone uses a different frequency. Therefore. TDMA TDMA is the access method used by the Electronics Industry Alliance and the Telecommunications Industry Association for Interim Standard 54 (IS-54) and Interim Standard 136 (IS-136). Using TDMA. Narrow band means "channels" in the traditional sense. This is possible because voice data that has been converted to digital information is compressed so that it takes up significantly less transmission space. TDMA has three times the capacity of an analog system using the same number of channels. a narrow band that is 30 kHz wide and 6. . Each conversation gets the radio for one-third of the time.In FDMA.7 milliseconds long is split time-wise into three time slots. TDMA systems operate in either the 800-MHz (IS-54) or 1900MHz (IS-136) frequency bands.
To connect to the specific service providers in these different countries. GSM systems use encryption to make phone calls more secure. like Windows and Linux both working on an Intel Pentium III. It is used in digital cellular and PCS-based systems. GSM implements TDMA in a somewhat different and incompatible way from IS-136. GSM TDMA is also used as the access technology for Global System for Mobile communications (GSM). Unfortunately.9-GHz) band in the United States. cell-phone users can buy one phone that will work anywhere where the standard is supported. GSM operates in the 900-MHz and 1800-MHz bands in Europe and Asia and in the 850-MHz and 1900-MHz (sometimes referred to as 1. However. They store all the connection data and identification numbers you need to access a particular wireless service provider. GSM is also the basis for Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (IDEN). If you live in the United States and need to . Think of GSM and IS-136 as two different operating systems that work on the same processor. Australia and much of Asia and Africa. In covered areas. GSM is the international standard in Europe. the 850MHz/1900-MHz GSM phones used in the United States are not compatible with the international system. a popular system introduced by Motorola and used by Nextel. GSM users simply switch subscriber identification module (SIM) cards.TDMA splits a frequency into time slots. SIM cards are small removable disks that slip in and out of GSM cell phones.
with each assigned a unique sequence code. CDMA technology is the basis for Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) and operates in both the 800-MHz and 1900-MHz frequency bands. CDMA CDMA takes an entirely different approach from TDMA. Motorola and Ericsson GSM phones. Multiple calls are overlaid on each other on the channel.com. Each user's signal is spread over the entire bandwidth by a unique spreading code. In CDMA. All of the users transmit in the same wide-band chunk of spectrum. . an online electronics firm based in California. it references the GPS system for this information. which simply means that data is sent in small pieces over a number of the discrete frequencies available for use at any time in the specified range. Between eight and 10 separate calls can be carried in the same channel space as one analog AMPS call. CDMA is a form of spread spectrum. You can pick up prepaid SIM cards for a wide range of countries at Telestial. however. They don't sell international SIM cards. CDMA. that same unique code is used to recover the signal. Because CDMA systems need to put an accurate time-stamp on each piece of a signal. after digitizing data. You can get 900MHz/1800MHz GSM phones from Planet Omni.have cell-phone access when you're overseas. you can either buy a tri-band or quad-band GSM phone and use it both at home and when traveling or just buy a GSM 900MHz/1800MHz cell phone for traveling. They offer a wide selection of Nokia. each phone's data has a unique code. At the receiver. spreads it out over the entire available bandwidth.
made use of analog radio signals. 2G uses digital radio signals. and Personal Digital Cellular (PDC). Its lower power emissions also made 2G handsets safer for consumers to use. since they emitted less radio power. used in North and South America. 2G also offered additional services such as SMS and e-mail. used worldwide. and high-power TDMA signals can cause overloading and jamming of CDMA receivers. Based on what type of multiplexing (the process of combining multiple digital data streams into one signal) is employed. IS-95. TDMA and CDMA are transparent to each other. It was developed by Qualcomm. Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (IDEN).Ideally. high-power CDMA signals raise the noise floor for TDMA receivers. What is 2G Technology 2G refers to second generation wireless telecommunication technology. Since it transmitted data through digital signals. is CDMA-based. Another advantage of 2G over 1G is that the battery life of a 2G handset lasts longer. 2G makes use of a CODEC (compression-decompression algorithm) to compress and multiplex digital voice data. Through this technology. While its predecessor. again due to the lower-powered radio signals. developed by Motorola and used in the United States and Canada. TDMA-based 2G standards include the following: Global System for Mobile communications (GSM). . on the other hand. Click here to learn about network protocols for Smartphones. In practice. a 2G network can pack more calls per amount of bandwidth as a 1G network. 1G. 2G technologies may be categorized by whether they are based on time division multiple access (TDMA) or code division multiple access (CDMA). used in Japan. Now let's look at the distinction between multiple-band and multiple-mode technologies. and is alternately known as TIA-EIA-95 or cdmaOne. Interim Standard 136 (IS-136) or Digital Advanced Mobile Phone System (D-AMPS). 2G cellphone units were generally smaller than 1G units. 2G is a cell phone network protocol.
PDC. As conditions worsen. CDMA allocates each user a special code to communicate over a multiplex physical channel. 2G. If a 2G handset made a call far away from a cell tower. the digital signal may not be enough to reach it. Second generation was launched in Finland in the year 1991. GSM has its origin from the Group special Mobile. 2G Technologies (Second Generation Technologies) Second generation technologies are either time division multiple access (TDMA) or code division multiple access (CDMA). does have its disadvantages as well. improved sound quality by reducing dynamic and lowering the noise floor. What is 2G Technology. angular curve. in Europe.Error checking. Digital voice encoding also made the calls less susceptible to unwanted eavesdropping from third parties. While a call made from a 1G handset had generally poor quality than that of a 2G handset. a feature allowed by digital voice encoding. 2G's digital signals are very reliant on location and proximity.CDMA technology is IS-95. How 2G works. This is due to the analog signal having a smooth curve compared to the digital signal. but a call made from a 2G handset would fail completely. This digital encryption allows for the transfer of data in such a way that only the intended receiver can receive and read it. 2G technology is more efficient. which had a jagged. however. Different TDMA technologies are GSM. iDEN. the quality of a call made from a 1G handset would gradually worsen. In comparison to 1G's analog signals. picture messages and MMS (multi media messages). due to the use of radio scanners. GSM . TDMA allows for the division of signal into time slots. Second Generation Technology Second generation telephone technology is based on GSM or in other words global system for mobile communication. it survived longer distances. 2G technologies enabled the various mobile phone networks to provide the services such as text messages. Uses of 2G technology (Second Generation technology) 2G network allows for much greater penetration intensity. 2G technology holds sufficient security for both the sender and the receiver. All text messages are digitally encrypted. iS-136.
Although this technology originates from the Europe. Docomo launched its first digital service of PDC in 1993.i DEN allows three or six user per mobile channel. SMS is a cheap and easy way to send a message to anyone. It enabled the mobile users to make use of complex trunked radio and mobile phones. so it helps mobile batteries to last long. which can be used by international users anytime without having to know the local emergency numbers. GSM technology was the first one to help establish international roaming. The use of digital data service assists mobile network operators to introduce short message service over the cellular phones. other than the voice call or conference. However now it is in the declining phase. This technology is facing a strong competition by GSM technologies. It is also known as digital AMPS. Digital coding improves the voice clarity and reduces noise in the line. PDC or personal digital cellular technology was developed in Japan. PDC uses 25 KHz frequency. This technology is beneficial to both the network operators and the ultimate users at the same time. Digital signals are considered environment friendly. D-AMPS were widely popular in America and Canada. Benefits of 2G technology (Second Generation) Digital signals require consume less battery power. as a major mobile technology. Interim standard 95 is a first and the foremost CDMA cellular technology. It makes use of the CDMA to transfer the voice signals and data signals from cellular phones to cell sites (cell sites is cellular network). Digital encryption has provided secrecy and safety to the data and voice calls. and is exclusively used in JAPAN as well. iDEN has a frequency of about 25Khz. . This enabled the mobile subscribers to use their mobile phone connections in many different countries of the world’s is based on digital signals .unlike 1G technologies which were used to transfer analogue signals.integrated digital enhanced network (iDEN) was developed by MOTOROLA. The use of 2G technology requires strong digital signals to help mobile phones work. GSM has enabled the users to make use of the short message services (SMS) to any mobile network at any time. Another use of this technology is the availability of international emergency numbers.iS-136 is a second generation cellular phone system. Now the network carriers have adopted GSM and other CDMA 2000 technologies at large.(Global system for mobile communication) is the most admired standard of all the mobile technologies. It is most famous by its brand name known as cdmaOne. digital signals would be weak. but now it is used in more than 212 countries in the world. If there is no network coverage in any specific area.
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