Evolution to 3G <<Back to articles The Evolution to 3G describes the updating of cellular mobile telecommunications networks around the world

to use new 3G technologies. This process is taking pl ace over the period 1999 to 2010. Japan is the first country having introduced 3 G nationally, and in Japan the transition to 3G is being largely completed durin g 2005/2006. 3G technologies enable network operators to offer users a wider ran ge of more advanced services, while achieving greater network capacity through i mproved spectral efficiency. Operators and UMTS networks As of 2005, the evolution of the 3G networks was on its way for a couple of year s. The main reason for these changes are basically the limited capacity of the e xisting 2G networks. The second generation of networks were built mainly for tel ephone calls and slow data transmission. Due to the rapid changes in technology, these factors do not meet the requirements of today's wireless revolution. The developments of so-called "2.5G" technologies such as i-mode data services, came ra phones, HSCSD and GPRS have been ways of bridging the oncoming change to 3G n etworks, but are not permanent solutions. They are merely stepping stones toward s the new technology. These stepping stones were built to introduce the possibil ities with the future wireless application technology to the end consumers. Thes e procedures are necessary to ensure that the operators and the infrastructure i tself have a healthy ground to operate on. The evolution of networks from the second generation of technologies to the thir d generation technologies could not be done without the help of network operator s. In 2005 there were about 23 networks worldwide that operated on 3G technologi es, the most advanced being KDDI in Japan. Some of these networks were only for test use but some were already in consumer based use. Basically network operators need to find the many answers to three questions bef ore they can start operating in the new field. What are the things to take into consideration during the change? How to manage the change? What is the future ro le for the network operators? Network operators have invested huge amounts of money into existing 2G networks. These networks have been around only for 10-15 years, and the investments made have not all paid off. Network operators need to find out ways of reusing their investments to build the 3G network. Because of the financial situation of the w orld, network operators do not necessarily have new resources to invest in the f uture. They must recycle the old ones first. Another thing network operators need to understand is that their roles are chang ing dramatically. They are becoming not only network providers, but also service providers. Network operators need to differentiate themselves in the markets, a nd one way is to concentrate on the content of the service and products. It is w idely believed that the markets will consist of content oriented service provide rs, since 3G technology allows anyone willing to build software and sell it dire ctly to end consumers. Thus network operators need to adapt to this change too. 2G to 3G Network standardization The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has defined the demands for thir d generation mobile networks with the IMT-2000 standard. An organization called 3GPP has continued that work by defining a mobile system that fulfils the IMT-20 00 standard. This system is called Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (U MTS). The evolution of the system will move forward with so called releases. In each release new features will be introduced. The following features are just ex amples of many others in these new releases.

It is the trigger to 3G services. One advantage of EDGE is that there is no new licence needed as in UMTS. and by new entrants. In North America the system evolution will start from TDMA goi ng to EDGE and from there to UMTS. USIM-based Release 4 Edge radio Multimedia messaging MeXe levels Improved location services Release 5 IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) IPv6. The frequencies will also be re-used and no new antennas are needed. The main issue is that subscribers will have to buy new EDGE terminals. Vodafone KK. From this point it is possible to go to the UMTS system. so the subscriber is online all the time. On the top there is th e services layer. Mexe. there are two 3G standards used: W-CDMA (which is compatible with UMTS ) by NTT DoCoMo. Transition to 3G is being largely completed in Japan du ring 2005/2006. From GPRS. etc. On the bottom is the connectivity layer where any transmission technol ogy can be used and the voice traffic will transfer over ATM/AAL2 or IP/RTP. which will hel p upgrading procedures and allow the capacity of the network to be dynamically a llocated. Also capitalizing on GPRS business experience is very importa nt. and cdma2000 which is very su ccessfully used by KDDI. From GPRS to UMTS . but they could also invest in an EDGE system. unlike GSM. Mobile technologies The first new technology when going from GSM towards UMTS is General Packet Radi o Service (GPRS). From t he operator's point of view. it is important that GPRS investments are re-used w hen going to UMTS.Release '99 Bearer services 64 kbit/s circuit switched 384 kbit/s packet switched Location services Call services: GSM-compatible. In Europe the main path starts from GSM when GPRS is added to a system. operators could go directly to UMTS. In the middle there is the control layer. In Japan. IP transport in UTRAN Improvements in GERAN. Layered Network Architecture Advantages The UMTS system is based on layered services. The main point is that the n etwork connection is always on. which will give advantages like fast deployment of services an d centralized location. HSDPA Release 6 WLAN integration Multimedia broadcast and multicast Improvements in IMS HSUPA There are several different paths from 2G to 3G.

Integration with UMTS would not be so difficult to do. UMTS Terminals .and has not been the case in Japan a nd South Korea. the following network elements are reused: MSC AUC HLR VLR EIR (Mobile switching centre) (vendor dependent) (Authentication centre) (Home location register) (Visitor location register) (Equipment identity register) From GPRS network. we n eed to check whether the capacity given by UMTS is enough or do we need more cap acity.The future The future of UMTS terminals sees a change coming. In a GSM system th e MSC handles all the circuit switched operations like connecting A. 3G Terminals 3G handsets are far more advanced and have much more functionality than conventi onal 2G handsets. email clients and more.and B-subsc riber through the network. the following network elements can NOT be reused. MSC and SGSN will act as "brains" of the system and they will control MGW operations.The key point when going to UMTS is the use of the existing mobile network. BSC (base station controller) BTS (base transceiver station) The UMTS network introduces new network elements that give functionality as give n in the 3GPP specifications: Node-B (base station) RNC (Radio Network Controller) MGW (Media Gateway) The functionality of MSC and SGSN changes when going to UMTS. however they can remain in the network and be used in dual network operation whe re 2G and 3G networks co-exist. 3G hands ets are far more advanced and have much more functionality than conventional 2G . circuit and packet switched networks. The UMTS terminals have been very closely linked with GSM phones in Europe. UMTS. To increase capacity WLAN could be one solution that would be cost-effici ent. we can see the demands for the network after UM TS. the following network elements will be reused: SGSN (Serving GPRS Support Node) (vendor dependent) GGSN (Gateway GPRS Support Node) From GSM radio network. contactless smartcards for payment functions (wallet phones). music players. Future network When UMTS networks are in commercial use and the services have found users. Thi s factor is now slowly starting to change . web browsers. where 3G introduction is several years ahead of Europe. T he name of the nodes will change into MSC-server and GSN-server. Note. video play ers. while network migration and new 3G terminals bec ome available for use in the network. So far the UMTS technology in Europe has primarily been used in very similar terminals as the GSM technology. SGSN handles all the packet switched operations and t ransfers all the data in the network. From GSM core network side. Before that it is hard to do any presumption how the network should evolve. 3G handsets usually include cameras. In UMTS the MGW (Media gateway) will take care of all data transfer in both. This shows that UMTS system is based on layered service s and future applications can be supported without too much impact to the underl ying radio access network. When so called "hot services" will be found in UMTS.

video players. 3G handsets usually include cameras. web browsers. . email c lients and more options.handsets. con tactless smartcards for payment functions (wallet phones). music players.

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