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1.6 Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)

The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is commonly referred to as a third-generation system. It is targeted to be deployed in 2002. UMTS employs an ATM-based switching network architecture and aims to provide services for both mobile and fixed subscribers by common call-processing procedures. The UMTS architecture is split into core (switching) networks, control (service) networks, and access networks. The core network is responsible for performing switching and transmission functions. The control network supports roaming through the presence of mobility management functions. Finally, the radio access network provides channel access to mobile users and performs radio resource management and signalling. UMTS will include both terrestrial and global satellite components.

The UMTS network comprises: (a) the mobile terminal, (b) the base transceiver station (BTS), (c) the cell site switch (CSS), (d) mobile service control points (MSCP), and (e) the UMTS mobility service (UMS). UMTS employs a hierarchical cell structure, with macrocells overlaying microcells and picocells. Highly mobile traffic is operated on the macrocells to reduce the number of handoffs required. UMTS aims to support roaming across different networks.

The UMTS Radio Access System (UTRA) will provide at least 144 kbps for full-mobility applications, 384 kbps for limited-mobility applications, and 2.048 Mbps for low-mobility applications. UMTS terminals will be multiband and multimode so that they can work with different standards.

UMTS is also designed to offer data rate on-demand. The network will react to a user's needs, based on his/her profile and current resource availability in the network. UMTS supports the virtual home environment (VHE) concept, where a personal mobile user will continue to experience a consistent set of services even if he/she roams from his/her home network to other UMTS operators. VHE supports a consistent working environment regardless of a user's location or mode of access. UMTS will also support adaptation of requirements due to different data rate availability under different environments, so that users can continue to use their communication services.

To support universal roaming and global coverage, UMTS will include both terrestrial and satellite systems. It will enable roaming with other networks, such as GSM. UMTS will provide a flexible broadband access technology that supports both IP and non-IP traffic in a variety of modes, such as packet, circuit-switched, and virtual circuit.

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