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Networks of the Future (3G)

The path through GPRS/EDGE and packet data services has brought us, at long last, to third-generation (3G) wireless technologies. The two primary 3G technologies settled on by the industry are cdma2000 and wideband CDMA (or W-CDMA). (Had enough acronyms yet?!?) The upgrade path of cdma2000 from the current version of CDMA is relatively straightforward, given that 3G is based on CDMA (whereas 2G was based on TDMA). W-CDMA represents the end result of the GSM/TDMA upgrade path and will be used throughout much of North America, Europe, and Africa. 3G is also commonly referred to as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) in Europe and elsewhere. Visit http://www.umts-forum.org for additional details.

3G bandwidths are defined by the ITU as follows:

  • 144 Kbps in high-mobility environments (defined as an environment in which a user is traveling in excess of 120 kph)

  • 384 Kbps in moderate-mobility environments (defined as less than 120 kph in an outdoor environment)

  • 2 Mbps for fixed or very low–mobility environments (defined as less than 10 kph)

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