Roadmap To 4G Mobile Networks
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Overview: The wide-area wireless industry is divided into three major technology families: GSM, CDMA, and WiMAX. GSM and CDMA span 2G to 4G platforms, while WiMAX spans 3G to 4G platforms.
Though 4G technical requirements do not yet exist, and no specified wireless technology actually meets such requirements, the industry refers to technologies as 4G platforms if they're likely to be able to meet expected 4G requirements, namely extremely high throughput rates of up to 1 Gbps peak in very wide radio channels of up to 100 MHz.
The GSM family is most broadly deployed in the world. At the end of 2007, 3G Americas reported 2.7 billion subscribers, 263 EDGE networks, 193 UMTS networks, 152 HSDPA networks, and 400 UMTS/HSDPA devices. EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) provides data capabilities for GSM networks, whereas HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) supplies enhanced data service for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) networks.
UMTS/HSDPA is a 3G technology.The successor to UMTS is a technology called 3GPP LTE (Third-Generation Partnership Project Long-Term Evolution).The leading GSM/UMTS operators in the U.S. are AT&T (previously Cingular) and T-Mobile. GSM/EDGE provides the broadest coverage, whereas UMTS/HSDPA is available in most major metropolitan areas, and multimode devices can access either network. LTE won't happen until next decade.