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Switching and Transmission

Packet Switching Types: ATM, Frame Relay, TCP/IP, X.25
Transmission: SONET T-Carrier
Services: [3G] [4G] [Bluetooth] [I-Mode] [WAP] [Wireless and packet switching]

3G Information

3G or 3d generation is an evolution. Present 2G or all digital wireless cellular radio systems will evolve, we are promised, to higher bandwidth systems that provide faster downloads of information. The emphasis on voice will change to a parity with data. These 3G systems will also rely on packet switching, not the circuit switching that most of cellular uses today. Click on this link for a FCC summary on 3G.

I haven't written much about 3G. What little I have is at the I-Mode Page and at the Nokia Page. A little at the Samsung page. Also, check the search engine for my miscellaneous comments on 3G on different pages. Somewhat related information is at the Bluetooth page. I also list a wonderful file from Agilent Technology (external link) at the bottom of this page. Although a 1.5 megabyte (!) download, it's just about the best tutorial I have seen.

Remember, though, 3G has been promised for years with little results. Seth Schiesel of the New York Times, however, said this about 3G on Jan. 23, 2005:

Wireless on brink of major breakout

"As with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, the intermittent sightings of 3G have made it difficult to cull the reality from the hype. Since at least 1997, wireless carriers and manufacturers have generally delivered the same song and dance: a test demonstration here, perhaps a disappointing service there, and promises always capped by the same refrain: 'Next year.'

"Finally, next year is now."

"The services are far from perfect and some of the coverage is spotty, but the nation's major wireless carriers are beginning to offer practical high-speed data services that may redefine just what a phone is capable of."

We'll see. And whatever. If you are really interested, check out these these free .pdf files below from several excellent writers. Each is a lengthy, detailed, advanced treatment.

1st Chapter: Wireless Communications (317K 24pages -- printable)

Note: The title described probably has a new edition, look for Clint Smith's new works.

3G Wireless Networks by Clint Smith and Daniel Collins is deceptively titled; although it covers future 3G systems it also contains the best overview of present first and second generation cellular networks that I have read. Published this year by McGraw Hill Telecom, the book moves in a complete and straightforward manner, first describing basic concepts such as frequency re-use, handovers, network architecture, and radio fundamentals. It then proceeds to cover first and second generation systems and then gives an overview of third generation networks. Once this material is established it goes on to clearly explain the confusing period we are in now: the migration from second to third generation systems. This is an important work, in its 620 pages we have the past, present and future of cellular radio.

CDMA is much discussed as it is the backbone of 3G. Wideband and narrowband are described, with particular emphasis on CDMA 2000 and its coming iterations, CDMA2000-1X (1xRTT), 1xEV-DO, and so on. As with the entire book, Smith and Collins do not give a comprehensive treatment of each technology, you can read books written about each system for that, but rather a look at the entire wireless field and how each network compares and contrasts to each other. More? Much more. A Voice over IP chapter, information necessary to understand as we go from circuit to packet switching. Good, hard to find information on iDEN. Chapters on 3G radio frequency system design, network design, antenna selection, and cell sites.

Written for those in the cellular field, 3G Wireless Networks could also help, with some effort or dedication, telecom or wireless investors, or those just beginning with cellular. I say this because, despite the intermediate level of explanation, there is 1) little math and 2) because the basics of cellular are so well laid out. Price? It was around $60. Recommended.

Excellent writing on the transition period from 2G to 3G and beyond is in this printable .pdf file, a chapter from The Essential Guide to Wireless Communications Applications by Andy Dornan. Many good charts. (494K, 21 pages in .pdf)


"Realizing the Mobile Information Society" by Tero Ojanpera from The Future of Wireless Communications, William Webb, editor (12 pages,194K in .pdf)


"The WCDMA Air Interface" from WCDMA: Towards IP Mobility and Mobile Internet, Tero Ojanpera, Ramjee Prasad, Editors (35 pages, 357K in .pdf)


"Network," from Introduction to 3G Mobile Communications by Juha Korhonen (45 pages, 190K in .pdf)


3GPP & cdma2000 Basics by Agilent Technologies (external link below) (32 pages, 1.5 megs)

Here is what the F.C.C. thinks about 3G; it's a good summary but you can tell 3G will be delayed years beyond what the agency originally thought:

Third Generation ("3G") according to the F.C.C.

Wireless 3G systems will provide access, by means of one or more radio links, to a wide range of telecommunication services supported by the fixed telecommunication networks and to other services that are specific to mobile users. A range of mobile terminal types will be encompassed, linking to terrestrial and/or satellite-based networks, and the terminals may be designed for mobile or fixed use.

Key features of 3G systems are a high degree of commonality of design worldwide, compatibility of services, use of small pocket terminals with worldwide roaming capability, Internet and other multimedia applications, and a wide range of services and terminals. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 initiative ("IMT-2000") third generation mobile ("3G") system services are scheduled to be initiated around the year 2000, subject to market considerations. The following Table describes some of the key service attributes and capabilities expected of 3G systems:

3G System Capabilities

Capability to support circuit and packet data at high bit rates:


  • 144 kilobits/second or higher in high mobility (vehicular) traffic
  • 384 kilobits/second for pedestrian traffic
  • 2 Megabits/second or higher for indoor traffic
Interoperability and roaming

Common billing/user profiles:

  • Sharing of usage/rate information between service providers
  • Standardized call detail recording
  • Standardized user profiles
Capability to determine geographic position of mobiles and report it to both the network and the mobile terminal 

Support of multimedia services/capabilities:

  • Fixed and variable rate bit traffic
  • Bandwidth on demand
  • Asymmetric data rates in the forward and reverse links
  • Multimedia mail store and forward
  • Broadband access up to 2 Megabits/second
Packet Switching Types: ATM, Frame Relay, TCP/IP, X.25
Transmission: SONET T-Carrier
Services: [3G] [4G] [Bluetooth] [I-Mode] [WAP] [Wireless and packet switching] logo West Sacramento, California, USA. A Tom Farley production