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Top of a cellular radio tower
Structure of a 2G cellular network A cellular network is a radio network made up of a number of radio cells (or just cells) each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver known as a cell site or base station. These cells cover different land areas to provide radio coverage over a wider area than the area of one cell, so that a variable number of portable transceivers can be used in any one cell and moved through more than one cell during transmission. Cellular networks offer a number of advantages over alternative solutions:
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increased capacity reduced power usage larger coverage area reduced interference from other signals
is used in combination with either FDMA or CDMA in a number of systems to give multiple channels within the coverage area of a single cell. however. When they did not get a signal from the transmitter. the taxi driver manually tuned to a frequency of a chosen cell to obtain a strong signal and to avoid interference from signals from other cells. they would
. Time division multiple access. the distributed transceivers can select one cell and listen to it. In a simple taxi system.An example of a simple non-telephone cellular system is an old taxi driver's radio system where the taxi company has several transmitters based around a city that can communicate directly with each taxi. (December 2008)
To distinguish signals from several different transmitters. See the talk page for details. the transmitting and receiving frequencies used in each cell are different than the frequencies used in each neighbouring cell.
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1 General characteristics 2 Broadcast messages and paging 3 Frequency reuse 4 Movement from cell to cell and handover 5 Frequency choice o 5. Other available methods of multiplexing such as polarization division multiple access (PDMA) and time division multiple access (TDMA) cannot be used to separate signals from one cell to the next since the effects of both vary with position and this would make signal separation practically impossible. With FDMA. The principle of CDMA is more complex. each radio had a manually operated channel selector knob to tune to different frequencies. In the simple case of the taxi company. As the drivers moved around.
Please assist in recruiting an expert or improve this article yourself.1 Coverage comparison 6 Mobile phone networks 7 See also 8 References
 General characteristics
This article requires authentication or verification by an expert. they would change from channel to channel. but achieves the same result. The drivers know which frequency covers approximately what area. frequency division multiple access (FDMA) and code division multiple access (CDMA) were developed.
for example in mobile telephony systems. 9 and 12 depending on notation). 6/4 (Motorola NAMPS). in CDMA systems for sending SMS messages. N is typically 3. and 3/4 (GSM).
 Frequency reuse
Example of frequency reuse factor or pattern 1/4 The increased capacity in a cellular network. commonly.
 Broadcast messages and paging
Practically every cellular system has some kind of broadcast mechanism. when invited by the base station operator (in a sense TDMA). Paging messages can be used for information transfer. comes from the fact that the same radio frequency can be reused in a different area for a completely different transmission. This happens in pagers. the most important use of broadcast information is to set up channels for one to one communication between the mobile transreceiver and the base station. This means that. 1/7. 1/4.
. or Routing Area if a data packet session is involved). Common values for the frequency reuse factor are 1/3.try other channels until they found one that worked. 7. This is called paging. The taxi drivers only speak one at a time. only one transmission can be used on any given frequency. 1/9 and 1/12 (or 3. Unfortunately. Paging takes place by sending the broadcast message to all of those cells. This can be used directly for distributing information to multiple mobiles. in a standard FDMA system. each with different direction. but normally we know a limited number of cells where the phone is located (this group of cells is called a Location Area in the GSM or UMTS system. there must be at least a one cell gap between cells which reuse the same frequency. and in the UMTS system where it allows for low downlink latency in packet-based connections. The details of the process of paging vary somewhat from network to network. If there is a single plain transmitter. 4. there is inevitably some level of interference from the signal from the other cells which use the same frequency. It is 1/K (or K according to some books) where K is the number of cells which cannot use the same frequencies for transmission. Some current and historical reuse patterns are 3/7 (North American AMPS). In case of N sector antennas on the same base station site. compared with a network with a single transmitter. A reuse pattern of N/K denotes a further division in frequency among N sector antennas per site. The frequency reuse factor is the rate at which the same frequency can be used in the network. the base station site can serve N different sectors.
but this is compensated for by the ability to use a frequency reuse factor of 1. the same frequency can be used. each cell can only utilize a number of frequency channels corresponding to a bandwidth of B/K. and each sector can use a bandwidth of B/NK. that does not mean the CDMA cell has only one sector.144. but certainly in other nearby cities.If the total available bandwidth is B. Each tower has three sets of directional antennas
. In a big city. and the different base stations and users are separated by codes rather than frequencies. Depending on the size of the city. See US Patent 4. In other words. on the other hand. but rather that the entire cell bandwidth is also available to each sector individually. for example using a reuse pattern of 1/1. frequency-reuse could certainly be in use.
Cellular telephone frequency reuse pattern. While N is shown as 1 in this example. cellular telephone towers are now located at the corners of the hexagons where three cells converge. adjacent base station sites use the same frequencies.411 Although the original 2-way-radio cell towers were at the centers of the cells and were omni-directional. Code division multiple access-based systems use a wider frequency band to achieve the same rate of transmission as FDMA. a taxi system may not have any frequency-reuse in its own city.
if there is an ongoing continuous communication and we don't want to interrupt it. the operator keeps repeating the request. then great care must be taken to avoid interruption. If nobody responds. meaning there is no break in communication. so an early stage of such a handover (handoff) is to reserve a new channel for the mobile station on the new base station which will serve it. In this case there must be clear coordination between the base station and the mobile station.g. handovers won't really be implemented. in all GSM handovers and W-CDMA inter-frequency handovers the mobile station will measure the channel it is meant to start using before moving over. it is possible for the mobile station to spontaneously move from one cell to another and then notify the network if needed. the others will respond instead. This means that there is almost always a brief break in the communication whilst searching for the new channel followed by the risk of an unexpected return to the old channel. The mobile then moves from the channel on its current base station to the new channel and from that point on communication takes place. In this case other techniques have to be used such as pilot beacons in IS-95.
 Movement from cell to cell and handover
This article should be divided into sections by topic. If there is no ongoing communication or the communication can be interrupted. each receiving/transmitting into a different cell at different frequencies. This provides a minimum of three channels for each cell. to make it more accessible. The numbers in the illustration are channel numbers. a request for drivers in a particular area). For example. In the case of the primitive taxi system that we are studying. Once the channel is confirmed okay. The exact details of the mobile system's move from one base station to the other varies considerably from system to system. In IS-95 interfrequency handovers and older analog systems such as NMT it will typically be impossible to measure the target channel directly whilst communicating. The use of multiple cells means that. For example. both channels will actually be in use at the same time (this is called a soft handover or soft handoff). Please help by adding section headings in accordance with Wikipedia's style guidelines. if the distributed transceivers are mobile and moving from place to place.and at least three different channels. the network will command the mobile station to move to the new channel and at the same time start bidirectional communication there. Typically such systems use some kind of multiple access independently in each cell. If a specific communication gets interrupted due to a loss of a signal then the taxi driver asks the controller to repeat the message. If one single taxi driver misses a particular broadcast message (e. In CDMA2000 and W-CDMA same-frequency handovers. The taxi driver just moves from one frequency to another as needed. they also have to change from cell to cell. which repeat every 3 cells. The mechanism for this differs depending on the type of network and the circumstances of the change.
. Large cells can be subdivided into smaller cells for high volume areas.
GSM 1800 (1. generally use low frequencies and high sited transmitters.1 GHz is quite similar in coverage to GSM 1800. in others it can be calculated by working out the point of strongest coverage. become possible. One can see examples of cell coverage by studying some of the coverage maps provided by real operators on their web sites. at 2.8 GHz) starts to be limited by structural walls. Frequency choice
The effect of frequency on cell coverage means that different frequencies serve better for different uses. one floor of a building. This is true especially in CDMA based systems. Cell service area may also vary due to interference from transmitting systems. UMTS. the signal becomes corrupted and eventually unusable. As the interference (noise) rises above the received power from the transmitter. In CDMA-based systems. GSM 900 (900 MHz) is a suitable solution for light urban coverage. 5 GHz can easily penetrate windows and goes through thin walls so corporate WLAN systems often give coverage to areas well beyond that which is intended. coverage area doesn't change with number of users. At 5 GHz. serve very well for countryside coverage. This gives a very wide area coverage in a roughly circular area surrounding each mast. Since only one user can talk at any given time. and the same frequency can be used for cells which are practically neighbours. The reduced signal to noise ratio at the edge of the cell is heard by the user as crackling and hissing on the radio. but it is a decided advantage when it comes to capacity. Low frequencies. and the power of the transmitter cannot be increased any more. Moving beyond these ranges. in certain cases they may mark the site of the transmitter. cell breathing. Old fashioned taxi radio systems. As the receiver moves away from the transmitter. probably based where the local radio station has its mast. Infra-red links have been considered for cellular network usage. both within and around that cell. the effect of interference from other mobile transmitters in the same cell on coverage area is very marked and has a special name. but as of 2004 they remain restricted to limited point-to-point applications.
 Coverage comparison
Following table shows the dependency of frequency on coverage area of one cell of a CDMA2000 network:
.11a Wireless LANs already have very limited ability to penetrate walls and may be limited to a single room in some buildings. the power transmitted is reduced.g. such as 450 MHz NMT. This is a disadvantage when it comes to coverage. Pico cells. The receiver requires a certain signal-to-noise ratio. network capacity generally increases (more bandwidth is available) but the coverage becomes limited to line of sight. 802. covering e. such as the one we have been studying. At the same time.
9 14. which connect to a public telephone network or to another switch of the cellular company. unlike with traditional cellular technology. while in rural areas. With CDMA. Large geographic areas (representing the coverage range of a service provider) may be split into smaller cells to avoid line-of-sight signal loss and the large number of active phones in an area. A mobile phone is a portable telephone which receives or makes calls through a cell site (base station).3 12. When the handset responds through the new cell site. there is no one defined point where the phone switches to the new cell.0
Cell area (km2) Relative Cell Count
450 950 1800 2100
7521 2269 618 449
.9 26. the range is approximately 5 miles. the switch automatically commands the handset and a cell site with a stronger signal (reported by each handset) to switch to a new radio channel (frequency). shared resource. The signals are separated by using a pseudonoise code (PN code) specific to each phone.2
 Mobile phone networks
The most common example of a cellular network is a mobile phone (cell phone) network.Frequency (MHz)
Cell radius (km) 48. This is known as "soft handoff" because. each cell site has a range of up to approximately ½ mile. multiple CDMA handsets share a specific radio channel. Many times in clear open areas. Radio waves are used to transfer signals to and from the cell phone.0 12. the exchange switches the connection to the new cell site. the handset sets up radio links with multiple cell sites (or sectors of the same site) simultaneously.2 16. or transmitting tower. In cities. As the phone user moves from one cell area to another cell. All of the cell sites are connected to cellular telephone exchanges "switches". a user may receive signals from a cellsite 25 miles away. Cell-sites and handsets change frequency under computer control and use low power transmitters so that a limited number of radio frequencies can be simultaneously used by many callers with less interference. As the user moves from one cell to another. Modern mobile phone networks use cells because radio frequencies are a limited.
GSM radio network Camera Phone Cell site Cellular frequencies o GSM frequency bands o UMTS frequency bands Cellular repeater Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) Comparison of mobile phone standards CDMA2000 DECT Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) EV-DO GSM HIPERLAN History of mobile phones iDEN IS-95 IS-136 Mobile phone Multiple-input multiple-output communications (MIMO) Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT)
. including GSM. and Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN). (January 2008)
 See also
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Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) Base Station Subsystem . including: Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). and AMPS (analog). There are a number of different digital cellular technologies. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. satellite phones are mobile phones that do not communicate directly with a ground-based cellular tower. Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE). General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources (ideally. Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO).Since almost all mobile phones use cellular technology. using inline citations). However. CDMA. Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT). Digital AMPS (IS-136/TDMA). 3GSM. but may do so indirectly by way of a satellite. the term "cell phone" is used interchangeably with "mobile phone". This article does not cite any references or sources. Old systems predating the cellular principle may still be in use in places. The most notable real hold-out is used by many amateur radio operators who maintain phone patches in their clubs' VHF repeaters.
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Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) Radio resource management (RRM) Signal strength Spectral efficiency comparison table Systems engineering TETRA UMTS WCDMA Wireless LAN (WLAN) OpenBTS Cellular traffic Cellular router Wireless modem