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This document is designed to give a very brief explanation of how today's mobile phone networks work. It explains what is meant by radio communication, and describes how mobile phone networks, using the cellular radio concept, operate. It also gives details of the technologies currently used by mobile phone networks in the UK. The Office Of Communications (Ofcom) also produces a document 'Mobile Phones: Jargon Explained' and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that will be helpful if you require more information on this subject.
Mobile phones may be a relatively new technology, but radio has been used as a means of communication for over a hundred years. Marconi made the very first radio transmission in 1895. Within thirty years radio was being used on a daily basis for broadcasting and for two-way radio communication by the military and the police. Today, a little over a hundred years since Marconi's first transmission, 60% of the UK population - around 40 million people - enjoy the benefits of mobile phone use. What is a radio wave? Mobile phones and their base stations transmit and receive signals using electromagnetic waves (also referred to as electromagnetic fields, or radio waves). Electromagnetic waves are emitted by many natural and man-made sources and play a very important part in our lives. We are warmed by the electromagnetic emissions of the sun and we see using the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes detect as visible light. All electromagnetic radiation consists of oscillating electric and magnetic fields and the frequency, which is the number of times per second at which the wave oscillates, determines their properties and the use that can be made of them. Frequencies are measured in hertz or Hz, where 1 Hz is one oscillation per second, 1 kHz a thousand, 1 MHz is a million, and 1 GHz, is a thousand million. Frequencies between 30 kHz and 300 GHz are widely used for telecommunication, including broadcast radio and television, and comprise the radio frequency band. In the UK, AM radio uses frequencies between about 180 kHz and 1.6 MHz, FM radio ranges from 88 to 108 MHz, and TV ranges from 470 to 854 MHz. Cellular mobile services operate within the frequency ranges 872-960 MHz, 1710-1875 MHz and 1920 - 2170 MHz. Waves at higher frequencies but within the RF region, up to 60 GHz, are referred to as microwaves and have a wide variety of uses. These include radar, telecommunication links, satellite communications, weather observation and medical diathermy.
it can be switched on and off and this was the technique used in the earliest radio transmissions which used Morse code. and each suitable for different applications.org.ofcom. or the digital techniques used by mobile phones. The radio frequency carrier wave of any system is produced by the transmitter as a sine wave. All work by varying some property of the carrier wave in a way by which the information to be communicated can be conveyed or carried by the radio frequency carrier wave. which give details of the types of services operating in any particular band. A sine wave conveys very little information since it simply repeats over and over. the electrical signal from a microphone produced by speech or music is used to vary the amplitude of the carrier wave. However. so that at any instant the size or amplitude of the RF carrier wave is made proportional to the size of the electrical modulating signal. a process known as modulation.uk. Figure 1: Amplitude Modulation There are many different types of modulation technique. How radio communication works A radio frequency wave used for radio communication is referred to as a carrier wave. this information has to be added to the carrier wave in some way. If the radio wave is to convey more information. such as speech or computer data etc. for AM (amplitude modulation) transmission. . These can be obtained from our website at www.. Figure 1 below demonstrates this concept. You might be familiar with the frequency modulation (FM) used for radio broadcasting. The modulation process involves some feature of the carrier wave being varied in accordance with the information transmitted. each with different characteristics. For example.Ofcom produces a set of Radio Frequency Allocation Information Sheets.
Base stations are typically spaced about 0. fax. radio signals are blocked by trees. the frequency band in which the network operates (in general. Without sufficient base stations in the right locations.e. Third. The cells overlap at the edges to ensure the mobile phone users always remain within range of the base station. Second. Base stations are connected to one another by central switching centres. Figure 2: 'Cellular' Radio . the smaller the cell). Diagram 2 below shows the cell structure of a mobile phone network . 'Cellular' Radio Each base station provides radio coverage to a geographical area known as a cell. dish) at the base station and another at a terminal connected to the main telephone network. Radio frequency signals are transmitted from the phone to the nearest base station and incoming signals (carrying the speech from the person to whom the phone user is listening) are sent from the base station to the phone at a slightly different frequency. each with a base station at its centre.5 km in towns and 2-5 km apart in the countryside. Once the signal reaches a base station it can be transmitted to the main telephone network. First.2-0. the higher the radio frequency.g. computer data.Mobile Phone Networks Base Station and handsets A mobile phone sends and receives information (voice messages. The size of each cell depends on three factors. etc) by radio communication. An ideal network may be envisaged as consisting of a mesh of hexagonal cells. number of calls) needed in any given area. If a person with a mobile phone starts to moves out of one cell and into another. which track calls and transfer them as the caller moves from one cell to the next. mobile phones will not work. hills and buildings. the capacity (i. the local terrain. the controlling network hands over communications to the adjacent base station. Base stations link mobile phones to the rest of the mobile and fixed phone network. either by telephone cables or by higher frequency radio links between an antenna (e.
emergency communication. For these reasons an extensive network of base stations is needed to ensure coverage throughout the UK. operators have to build additional base stations and thus reduce cell size. the decline of signal strength with distance places a practical limit on coverage of around 10 km. and mobile phones require a certain minimum signal strength to ensure adequate reception. with the frequencies allocated to a particular cell within a cluster not being re-used until the corresponding cell in adjacent clusters. It is for this reason that one large base station cannot serve a whole town. radio and TV broadcasting. The current generation of GSM base stations cannot communicate over distances greater than 35 km because the delay in receiving radio signals becomes too great. Consequently the amount made available to each mobile phone operator is limited and this means base stations can only carry a limited number of calls at any one time. However. To increase the capacity of their networks.Why are so many base stations required? Transmitted signal strength falls off rapidly with distance from base stations. navigation aids etc). To accommodate the steadily increasing volume of users. This is achieved by re-using any given radio frequency many times in a network and carefully controlling base station power so that signals arising in different parts of the network do not interfere with each other. Why can't one base station serve my town? Radio spectrum is a precious natural resource with many different demands upon it (for example. Figure 3: Frequency Re-use . This gives a repeating pattern of cells and clusters which can be expanded to provide national coverage. This concept of frequency re-use is illustrated in figure 3. The cells are grouped into clusters. network operators have to use the limited number of radio frequencies licensed to them to support the maximum number of mobile phone users.
It enables mobile phones to be used across national boundaries. The international. in practice they are irregular due to site availability and topography. A little detail on these two technologies is given below: Global system for Mobile Communications or Groupe Speciale Mobile. Ofcom publishes details of the technical requirements for GSM technology opeOfcomting in the UK in the form of UK Interface Requirement [IR2014] Universal Mobile Telecommunication System The next generation of mobile phone technology.using two different technologies. pan-European operating standard for the current generation of digital cellular mobile communications. In the UK this technology operates in UMTS 2 GHz region.2 GHz .Types of Mobile PhoneTechnology Cellular radio networks operate in one of three bands in the UK. 900 MHz. making up a 'honeycomb' structure. expected to result in widespread use of video phones and access to multimedia information. In the UK this technology operates in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands. GSM and UMTS. 1800 MHz and 2. Ofcom publishes details of the technical requirements for UMTS technology operating in the UK in the form of UK Interface Requirement [IR2019] 1 GSM While cells are generally thought of as regular hexagons. .
This tutorial concentrates on the most common form of SDH. and is assumed to be aware of the context for the growth of broadband traffic. The reader is assumed to be comfortable with the basic concepts of a public telecommunications network. have helped revolutionize the performance and cost of telecommunications networks based on optical fibers. Overview This tutorial discusses synchronous transmission standards in world public telecommunications networks. This tutorial refers to SONET where appropriate. No specific prior knowledge is assumed a ntroduction: Emergence of SDH Since their emergence from standards bodies around 1990. a more detailed discussion is available in the International Engineering Consortium's (IEC's) SONET WebProForum tutorial. SONET was defined by the American National Standards Institution (ANSI) and is used in North America. and advantages. The Japanese version of SDH differs only in details that are touched on here but are not significant for the purposes of this tutorial. that defined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) for Europe but now used everywhere outside of North America and Japan. and management by operations systems of much greater power than previously seen in transmission networks. SONET. SDH has provided transmission networks with a vendor-independent and sophisticated signal structure that has a rich feature set. the deployment of new equipment in new network topologies. features. applications. SDH and its variant. This has resulted in new network applications. with its separate functions of transmission and switching. . as well as their impact on network design and synchronous signal structure. It will cover their origins.Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) Definition and Overview Definition Synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) and synchronous optical network (SONET) refer to a group of fiber-optic transmission rates that can transport digital signals with different capacities.
These features were based on high-order multiplexing through a hierarchy of increasing bit rates up to 140 Mbps or 565 Mbps in Europe and had been defined in the late 1960s and early 1970s along with the introduction of digital transmission over coaxial cables. The development of optical fiber transmission and large-scale integrated circuits made more complex standards possible. better performance monitoring facilities.scribd.com/doc/19259342/Synchronous-Digital-Hierarchy .As digital networks increased in complexity in the early 1980s. and gre http://www. There were demands for improved and increasingly sophisticated services that required large bandwidth. referred to as plesiochronous. The multiplexing technique allowed for the combining of slightly nonsynchronous rates. Their features were constrained by the high costs of transmission bandwidth and digital devices. demand from network operators and their customers grew for features that could not be readily provided within the existing transmission standards. which lead to the term plesiochronous digital hierarchy (PDH).
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