Air Interface: The operating system of a wireless network. Technologies include AMPS, TDMA, CDMA, GSM, LTE, iDEN and WiMAX.
AMPS: Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) is the original analog “cellular” service transmission standard first deployed in the United States, still used as a default standard for cellular systems in the U.S., and in some regions around the world.
Analog: The traditional method of adapting radio signals so they can carry information. AM (Amplitude Modulation) and FM (Frequency Modulation)are the two most common analog systems. Analog has largely been replaced by digital technologies, which are more secure, more efficient and provide better quality.
Antenna: A device for transmitting and receiving radiofrequency (RF) signals. Often camouflaged on existing buildings, trees, water towers or other tall structures, the size and shape of antennas are generally determined by the frequency of the signal they manage.
Base Station: The central radio transmitter/receiver that communicates with mobile telephones within a given range (typically a cell site).
Bluetooth: The name for a technological standard (a communications protocol) that enables mobile devices equipped with a special chip to send and receive information wirelessly. Using Bluetooth, electronic devices such as desktop computers, wireless phones, electronic organizers and printers can communicate over short-ranges using the 2.4 GHz spectrum band.
Bonded copper: Aggregating DSL circuits together to boost throughput.
BREW: Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless is a service application developer’s platform. The BREW platform was introduced by QUALCOMM in2001 to provide developers with the ability to create a wide variety of applications that users can download wirelessly via any BREW-enabled handset. Thanks to common standards, software applications will automatically work on new device models.
Broadband: A transmission facility having a bandwidth (capacity) sufficient to carry multiple voice, video or data channels simultaneously. Broadband is generally equated with the delivery of increased speeds and advanced capabilities, including access to the Internet and related services and facilities “that provide 200 kbps upstream and downstream transmission speeds” (per the FCC’s Fourth Annual Report to Congress on the “Availability of Advanced Telecommunications Capability in the United States,” September 2004).
BTA (Basic Trading Area): A geographic area designed by Rand McNally to reflect business centers, and adopted by the FCC for the licensing of Personal communications Services and some other wireless services. BTAs are composed of several neighboring counties associated by business and commuting patterns. The U.S. is divided into 493 BTAs.
Carrier: Also known as service provider or operator, a carrier is the communications company that provides customers service (including air time) for their wireless phones.
CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access): A technology used to transmit wireless calls by assigning them codes. Calls are spread out over the widest range of available channels. Then codes allow many calls to travel on the same frequency and also guide those calls to the correct receiving phone.
CDMA2000 1XRTT: The first step in the evolution to 3G is cdma2000 1X, which improves packet data transmission capabilities and speeds in the network, and also boosts voice capacity. (Speed of up to 307 kbps.) CDMA2000 1XEV-DO (Evolution Data-Only): CDMA2000 1XEV represents the second step in the evolution of CDMA2000.Commercially launched in 2001, offers data speeds of up to 2.4 Mbps.
CDMA2000 1XEV-DV (Evolution Data-Voice): CDMA2000 1XEV represents the next step in the evolution of CDMA2000.Approved by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a standards body based in Geneva, as a 3G technology to provide data and voice services together, with data rates of up to 3.09 Mbps.
Cell: The basic geographic unit of wireless coverage. Also, shorthand for generic industry term "cellular." A region is divided into smaller" cells," each equipped with a low-powered radio transmitter/receiver. The radio frequencies assigned to one cell can be limited to the boundaries of that cell. As a wireless call moves from one cell to another, a computer at the Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO) monitors the call and at the proper time, transfers the phone call to the new cell and new radio frequency. The handoff is performed so quickly that it’s not noticeable to the callers.
Cell Site: The location where a wireless antenna and network communications equipment is placed in order to provide wireless service in a geographic area.
Cell Splitting: A means of increasing the capacity of a wireless system by subdividing one cell into two or more smaller cells.
Channel/Circuit: A communications pathway that may take the form of a connection established over wireless, wired, or fiber optic facilities.
CSD (Circuit Switched Data): One technological approach used for the exchange of data. A circuit connection is made that is exclusively reserved for the individual’s use. This can be inefficient, as many communications do not require a dedicated communications channel, but only brief connectivity, for the transmission of short messages.
CMRS (Commercial Mobile Radio Service) Provider: An FCC designation for any wireless carrier or license owner whose wireless service is connected to the public switched telephone network and/or is operated for profit. Wireless services that are offered to the public are classified as CMRS, unlike private systems which are classified as “Private Mobile Services.”
Co-Location: Placement of multiple antennas at a common site. Some companies act asbrokers or cell site managers, arranging cell sites and coordinating many carriers' antennas at a single cell site.
Digital: Technological approach that converts signals (including voice) into the binary digits‘0’ and ‘1’. This data is compressed, and then transformed into electronic pulses for a wired network, optical light waves for fiberoptic networks or radio waves for wireless networks. Digital wireless technology has largely superceded analog technology, because digital delivers more capacity and supports more applications, as well as offers better sound quality, and more secure signals.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): A digital line connecting the subscriber’s terminal to the serving company’s central office, providing multiple communications channels able to carry both voice and data communications simultaneously.
Dual Band: A wireless handset that works on more than one spectrum frequency, e.g., in the 800 MHz frequency and 1900 MHz frequency bands. Dual Mode: A wireless handset that works on both analog and digital networks.
EDGE: Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution is an evolutionary step in the GSM-development path for faster delivery of data, delivered at rates up to 384 Kbps. The standard is based on the GSM technology platform and uses the TDMA approach (see TDMA, below).
ESMR (Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio): A single wireless device that combines a two-way radio, phone, mobile dispatch, radio paging and Mobile data capabilities, and operates on digital networks. Examples of ESMR service providers include Nextel Communications, Nextel Partners, and Southern LINC Wireless, among others.
ESN (Electronic Serial Number): The unique serial identification number programmed into a wireless phone by the manufacturer. Each time a call is placed, the ESN is transmitted to a nearby base station so the wireless carrier can validate the call. The ESN differs from the Mobile Identification Number, which identifies a customer’s wireless phone number. MINs and ESNs are electronically monitored to help prevent fraud. Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO): A wireless radio broadband data standard adopted by CDMA mobile service providers in United States, and other countries. EV-DO is aimed at delivering maximum downlink speeds of 3.1 Mb/s. Federal Regulatory Fee: Annual communications regulatory fees as mandated by Congress. The fees require the FCC to recover the regulatory costs associated with its enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international initiatives.
FDD (Frequency Division Multiplexing): Frequency-division multiplexing is a method in which numerous signals are combined for transmission on a single communications channel. Each signal is assigned a different frequency (subchannel) within the main channel. GPRS (General Packet Radio Service): A packet technology approach that enables high-speed wireless Internet and other GSM-based data communications. It makes very efficient use of available radio spectrum for transmission of data.
GPS (Global Positioning System): A worldwide satellite navigational system, made up of 24 satellites orbiting the earth and their receivers on the earth’s surface. The GPS satellites continuously transmit digital radio signals, with information used in location tracking, navigation and other location or mapping technologies. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications): A technological approach also based on dividing wireless calls into timeslots. GSM is most common in Europe, Australia and much of Asia and Africa. Generally, GSM phones from the United States are not compatible with international GSM networks because the U.S. and many other nations use different frequencies for mobile communications. However, some phones are equipped with a multi-band capability to operate on such other frequencies.
Handoff: The process when a wireless network automatically switches a mobile call to an adjacent cell site. HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Switched Data): In using HSCSD a permanent connection is established between the called and calling parties for the exchange of data. As it is circuit switched, HSCSD is more suited to applications such as videoconferencing and multimedia than 'bursty' type applications such as email, which are more suited to packet switched data.
iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network): A specialized mobile technology that combines two-way radio, telephone, text messaging and data transmission into one digital network. iDEN is designed to give users quick access to information on a single device. Introduced by Motorola and used by AirTel Montana, Nextel Communications, Nextel Partners, and Southern LINC Wireless, among others.
Interconnection: Connecting one wireless network to another, such as linking a wireless carrier's network with a local telephone company’s network.
Interoperability: The ability of a network to coordinate and communicate with other networks, such as two systems based on different protocols or technologies. LAN (Local Area Network): Is a small data network covering a limited area, such as a building or group of buildings. Most LANs connect workstations or personal computers. This allows many users to share devices, such as laser printers, as well as data. The LAN also allows easy communication, by facilitating e-mail or supporting chat sessions.
LTE (Long Term Evolution): is often branded "4G", but the first LTE release does not fully comply with the IMT-Advanced requirements. LTE has a theoretical net bit rate capacity of up to 100 Mbit/s in the downlink and 50 Mbit/s in the uplink if a 20 MHz channel is used — and more if multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), i.e. antenna arrays, are used. TD LTE is the current adopted standard.
Megahertz (MHz): Is a unit of frequency equal to one million hertz or cycles per second. Wireless mobile communications within the United States generally occur in the 800 MHz, 900MHz and 1900MHz spectrum frequency bands.
MIN (Mobile Identification Number): The MIN, more commonly known as a wireless phone number, uniquely identifies a wireless device within a wireless carrier's network. The MIN is dialed from other wireless or wireline networks to direct a signal to a specific wireless device. The number differs from the electronic serial number, which is the unit number assigned by a phone manufacturer. MINs and ESNs can be electronically checked to help prevent fraud.
MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area): One of the 306 urban-centered cellular service areas based on the largest urban markets as designated by the U.S. government in 1980. Two “cellular” service operators are licensed in each MSA.
MTA (Major Trading Area): A geographic area designed by Rand McNally to reflect business centers, and adopted by the FCC for the licensing of Personal Communications Services and some other wireless services. MTAs are composed of neighboring basic trading areas (BTAs) associated with major business centers. The U.S. is divided into 51 MTAs, which do not reflect state boundaries.
MTSO (Mobile Telephone Switching Office): The central computer that connects wireless phone calls to the public telephone network. The MTSO controls the series of operations required to complete wireless calls, including verifying calls, billing and antenna handoffs.
MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator): A company that buys network capacity from a network operator in order to offer its own branded mobile subscriptions and value-added services to customers.
NAM (Number Assignment Module): The NAM is the electronic memory bank in the wireless phone that stores its specific telephone number and electronic serial number. Number Pooling: A means by which phone numbers are conserved. Phone numbers are returned by most carriers to a central authority, which then pools them. Carriers then receive numbers in blocks of 1,000, not 10,000 as was originally the case. Smaller blocks of numbers reduce the carriers’ cost and maximize the availability of new numbers to meet public demand.
Number Portability: The ability of a customer to retain their telephone number when changing service providers in a specific area, whether changing from one wireless company to another, one wireline company to another, or between wireless and wireline companies.
OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing): A system for the transmission of digital message elements spread over multiple channels within a frequency band, in order to achieve greater throughput while minimizing interference and signal degradation through the use of multiple antennas.
Packet: A piece of data sent over a packet-switching network, such as the Internet. A packet includes not just the data comprising the message but also address information about its origination and destination.
Packet Data: Information that is reduced into digital pieces or ‘packets’, so it can travel more efficiently across networks, including radio airwaves and wireless networks.
PCS (Personal Communications Services): Defined by the FCC as a broad family of wireless services, commonly viewed as including two-way digital voice, messaging and data services. One set of “PCS” licenses established by the FCC operates in the 1900 MHz band. PDA (Personal Digital Assistant): A portable computing device capable of transmitting data. These devices offer services such as paging, data messaging, e-mail, computing, faxes, date books and other information management capabilities.
PIN (Personal Identification Number): An additional security feature for wireless phones, much like a password. Programming a PIN into the Subscriber Information Module(SIM) on a wireless phone requires the user to enter that access code each time the phone is turned on.
POPs: For wireless, POPs generally refers to the number of people in a specific area where wireless services are available (the population). For traditional ‘landline’ communications, a “Point of Presence” defines the interconnection point between the two networks.
Protocol: A standard set of definitions governing how communications are formatted in order to permit their transmission across networks and between devices. PSD (Packet Switched Data): A technological approach in which the communication “pipe” is shared by several users, thus making it very efficient. The data is sent to a specific address with a short delay. This delay depends on how many users are using the pipe at any one time as well as the level of priority requested for your information. PSD is the technology used for data communication across the Internet and makes more efficient use of the network. Repeater: Devices that receive a radio signal, amplify it and re-transmit it in a new direction. Used in wireless networks to extend the range of base station signals and to expand coverage. Repeaters are typically used in buildings, tunnels or difficult terrain.
Roaming: When traveling outside their carrier's local service area, roaming allows users to continue to make and receive calls when operating in another carrier’s service coverage area.
RSA (Rural Service Area): One of the 428 rural markets across the United States, as designated by the FCC for the delivery of cellular service outside of the initial 306MSAs.
Smart Antenna: A wireless antenna with technology that focuses its signal in a specific direction. Wireless networks use smart antennas to reduce the number of dropped calls, and to improve call quality and channel capacity.
Smart Phone: Wireless phones with advanced data features and often keyboards. What makes the phone "smart" is its ability to manage and transmit data in addition to voice calls.
SMS: Short Messaging Service enables users to send and receive short text messages (usually about 160 characters) on wireless handsets. Sometimes referred to as “text messaging.”
Spectrum Allocation: Process whereby the federal government designates frequencies for specific uses, such as personal communications services and public safety. Allocation is typically accomplished through lengthy FCC proceedings, which attempt to adapt allocations to accommodate changes in spectrum demand and usage.
Spectrum Assignment: Federal government authorization for the use of specific frequencies within a given spectrum allocation, usually in a specific geographic location. Mobile communications assignments are granted to both private users such as businesses, and commercial providers such as wireless and paging operators. Spectrum auctions and/or frequency coordination processes, which consider potential interference to existing users, may apply.
Spread Spectrum: A method of transmitting a radio signal by spreading it over a wide range of frequencies. This reduces interference and can increase the number of simultaneous users on one radio frequency band.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): A protocol permitting communications over and between networks, the TCP/IP protocol is the basis for the Internet communications.
TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access): A technological standard that permits the transmission of information by dividing calls into time slots, each one lasting only a fraction of a second. Each call is assigned a specific portion of time on a designated channel. By dividing each call into timed ‘packets,’ a single channel can carry many calls at once. Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS): A telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. Third-Generation (3G): A general term that refers to technologies which offer increased capacity and capabilities delivered over digital wireless networks.
Tri-Band Handset: Phones that work on multiple frequencies, typically in the 1900 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz frequencies used in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Tri-Mode Handset: Phones that operate in different modes, such as the CDMA, TDMA, and analog standards.
UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems): This is third generation technology generally based on W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access). UMTS promises a communications speed between384 kbps and up to about 2 Mbps.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): VoIP is not simply capable of delivering voice over IP, but is also designed to accommodate two-way video conferencing and application sharing as well. Based on IP technology, VoIP is used to transfer a wide range of different type traffic.
Voice Recognition: The capability for wireless phones, computers and other devices to be activated and controlled by voice commands.
WAN (Wide Area Network): A general term referring to a large network spanning a country or around the world. The Internet is a WAN. A public mobile communication system such as a cellular or PCS network is a WAN.
WAP (Wireless Application Protocol): Wireless Application Protocol is a set of standards that enables wireless devices, such as phones, pagers and palm devices, to browse content from specially-coded Web pages.
W-CDMA: Wideband Code Division Multiple Access, one of two 3G standards that makes use of a wider spectrum than CDMA and therefore can transmit and receive information faster and more efficiently.
WiFi (Wireless Fidelity): WiFi provides wireless connectivity over unlicensed spectrum (using the IEEE802.11a or 802.11b standards), generally in the 2.4 and 5 GHz radio bands. Wi-Fi offers local area connectivity to WiFi-enabled computers.
Wi-Max: A wireless technology based on the IEEE 802.16 standard providing metropolitan area network connectivity for fixed wireless access at broadband speeds. Wireless Internet: A general term for using wireless services to access the Internet, e-mail and/or the World Wide Web.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN): Using radio frequency (RF) technology, WLANs transmit and receive data wirelessly in a certain area. This allows users in a small zone to transmit data and share resources, such as printers, without physically connecting each computer with cords or wires.
Wireless Private Branch Exchange (PBX): Equipment that allows employees or customers within a building or limited area to use wireless devices in place of traditional landline phones.
WLL (Wireless Local Loop): WLL is a system that connects wireless users to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) using wireless technology and other circuitry to complete the "last mile" between the wireless user and the exchange equipment. Wireless systems can often be installed faster and cheaper than traditional wired systems.
HISTORY OF MOBILE PHONES
FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT....
This history of mobile phones chronicles the development of handheld radio telephone technology from two-way radios in vehicles to handheld cellular items.
In the beginning, two-way radios (known as mobile rigs) were used in vehicles such as taxicabs, police cruisers, ambulances, and the like, but were not mobile phones because they were not normally connected to the telephone network. Users could not dial phone numbers from their mobile radios in their vehicles. A large community of mobile radio users, known as the mobileers, popularized the technology that would eventually give way to the mobile phone. Originally, mobile phones were permanently installed in vehicles, but later versions such as the so-called transportables or "bag phones" were equipped with a cigarette lighter plug so that they could also be carried, and thus could be used as either mobile or as portable two-way radios. During the early 1940s, Motorola developed a backpacked two-way radio, the Walkie-Talkie and later developed a large hand-held two-way radio for the US military. This battery powered "Handie-Talkie" (HT) was about the size of a man's forearm.
In Europe, radio telephony was first used on the first-class passenger trains between Berlin and Hamburg in 1926. At the same time, radio telephony was introduced on passenger airplanes for air traffic security. Later radio telephony was introduced on a large scale in German tanks during the Second World War. After the war German police in the British zone of occupation first used disused tank telephony equipment to run the first radio patrol cars. In all of these cases the service was confined to specialists that were trained to use the equipment. In the early 1950s ships on the Rhine were among the first to use radio telephony with an untrained end customer as a user.
Early Years Top of cellular telephone tower
Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola, made the first US analogue mobile phone call on a larger prototype model in 1973.
In December 1947, Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young, Bell Labs engineers, proposed hexagonal cells for mobile phones. Philip T. Porter, also of Bell Labs, proposed that the cell towers be at the corners of the hexagons rather than the centers and have directional antennas that would transmit/receive in 3 directions (see picture at right) into 3 adjacent hexagon cells.  The technology did not exist then and the frequencies had not yet been allocated. Cellular technology was undeveloped until the 1960s, when Richard H. Frenkiel and Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs developed the electronics.
Recognizable mobile phones with direct dialing have existed at least since the 1950s. In the 1954 movie Sabrina, the businessman Linus Larrabee (played by Humphrey Bogart) makes a call from the phone in the back of his limousine.
The first fully automatic mobile phone system, called MTA (Mobile Telephone system A), was developed by Ericsson and commercially released in Sweden in 1956. This was the first system that didn't require any kind of manual control, but had the disadvantage of a phone weight of 40 kg (90 lb). MTB, an upgraded version with transistors, weighing 9 kg (20 lb), was introduced in 1965 and used DTMF signaling. It had 150 customers in the beginning and 600 when it shut down in 1983.
In 1957, the young radio engineer Leonid Kupriyanovich in Moscow, USSR, made the experimental model of wearable automatic mobile phone ("radiophone"), called him as LK-1, with base station. LK-1 has 3 kg weight, 20-30 km operating distance, and 20-30 hours of battery life ("Nauka i zhizn", 8, 1957, p. 49, "Yuniy technik", 7, 1957, p. 43-44). Leonid Kupriyanovich patented this mobile phone in 1957 (author's certificate № 115494, 1.11.1957). The base station, in accordance with author's description, could serve several customers. In 1958, Kupriyanovich made the new experimental "pocket" model of mobile phone. This phone has 0,5 kg weight. To serve more customers, Kupriyanovich proposed the device, named him as correllator. ("Nauka i zhizn", 10, 1958, p.66, "Technika-molodezhi", 2, 1959, 18-19)
In 1958 USSR also started the developing of "Altay" national civil mobile phone service for cars, based on Soviet MRT-1327 standard. The main developers of Altay system were VNIIS (Voronezh Science Research Institute of Communications)and GSPI (State Specialized Project Institute). In 1963 this service started in Moscow and in 1970 Altay service used in USSR for 30 cities. Last upgraded versions of Altay system still in use in some places of Russia as trunking system.
In 1966, Bulgaria presented the pocket mobile automatic phone RAT-0,5 with base station RATZ-10 (RATC-10) on Interorgtechnika-66 international exhibition. One base station, connected to one telephone wire line, could to serve 6 customers.
In 1967, each mobile phone had to stay within the cell area serviced by one base station throughout the phone call. This did not provide continuity of automatic telephone service to mobile phones moving through several cell areas. In 1970 Amos E. Joel, Jr., another Bell Labs engineer, invented an automatic "call handoff" system to allow mobile phones to move through several cell areas during a single conversation without loss of conversation.
In December 1971, AT&T submitted a proposal for cellular service to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). After years of hearings, the FCC approved the proposal in 1982 for Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) and allocated frequencies in the 824-894 MHz band. Analog AMPS was superseded by Digital AMPS in 1990.
One of the first successful public commercial mobile phone networks was the ARP network in Finland, launched in 1971. Posthumously, ARP is sometimes viewed as a zero generation (0G) cellular network, being slightly above previous proprietary and limited coverage networks.
If you have gotten used to your sleek and compact phone, imagine our grandfathers carrying a huge box which they called as a ‘Cell phone’, which weighed approximately 4 times more as compared to the newer sleek phones. Mobile phones have seen a vast amount of changes in the last few decades, here’s a quick recap of the mobile phones from the birth stages. The first mobile phone well known as 1G (First Generation) phone was launched in 1983 by the Motorola Company. The phones used analog technology and they faced a huge problem in regards to clarity and constant noise interference. The 1G phones were quite heavy and needed to be permanently installed on automobiles due to their size and weight. The main utility that the 1G phones provided were communicating traffic information. This is the era of mobiles where only one to one calling was possible. Then the mobile phones drove into the period of 1990’s and came the era of second generation or 2G handsets which brought in a package of changes in technology. The 2G phone proudly featured the digital technology and welcomed the smaller units and batteries and it meant as per its name Mobile. The phones introduced the calling plus messaging features. While we were busy preparing for the funeral of 2G phones, the 2.5GPhones came in to scene with full fledged talk, messaging and picture messaging features, the phones lost a good amount of weight during their long journey. The 2.5 G features were making a foundation to the path of 3G with calling, text messaging, picture messaging and GPRS packet data facilities. And the current age of 3G phones surprised the world with a huge list of features like video calling, Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile TV, video streaming and endless amount of excellent features. The phones became an ‘All in One’ compact system and molded into a computer phone and eliminated the need of a computer for some of the users. The Mobile phones have traveled right from the old green or blue background screens to the latest color widescreens which can be controlled by a mere touch on the screen. While we are getting ready to welcome the 4G generation of mobiles, the mobile phones have already started displaying mobile TV’S proudly and they even guide one through a road with the GPS maps and real time traffic information. Mobile phones have transformed themselves neatly from a luxury item to a necessity. The phones have even been encrusted with diamonds, precious gems, gold, etc and thus making it a fashion accessory rather than a simple gadget. Mobile phones have not yet stopped with their journey. In today’s date when they have become a necessity, there’s still a long way to travel and there are a vast amount of technological improvements expected in the future.