The Essential Guide to Wireless Communications Applications : From Cellular Systems to WAP and M-Commerce

The Essential Guide to Wireless Communications Applications : From Cellular Systems to WAP and M-Commerce

by Andy Dornan
The next-generation wireless and mobile Internet revolution is under way! Now here's a complete guide to next-generation wireless applications and their business impact, written specifically for nontechnical professionals. The Essential Guide to Wireless Communications Applications covers all the latest developments, from the wireless Web to Bluetooth™,


The next-generation wireless and mobile Internet revolution is under way! Now here's a complete guide to next-generation wireless applications and their business impact, written specifically for nontechnical professionals. The Essential Guide to Wireless Communications Applications covers all the latest developments, from the wireless Web to Bluetooth™, WAP to 3G, and beyond. Coverage includes:

Whether you're an investor, decision maker, or consumer, Network magazine editor Andy Dornan delivers all the information you need to identify your best wireless opportunities—and take advantage of them!

    · Covers EVERYTHING you can do with wireless technology!
    · The wireless Web: WAP and beyond
    · Mobile e-commerce: security, payment systems, and more
    · PCS and high-bandwidth 3G cellular
    · Bluetooth™: breakthrough short-range wireless applications
    · For consumers, investors, executives, marketing/PR professionals, and developers

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Wireless: suddenly, it's everywhere. If you want to understand it, really understand it, without getting an engineering degree, check out The Essential Guide to Wireless Communications Applications.

In this book, Network magazine editor Andy Dornan walks you through all the wireless applications and standards that matter, from WAP to high-speed 3G, PCS to Bluetooth and beyond. You'll learn what's real now, what might be real in a year, and what's going to stay hype for a long time to come.

What are all these cell phone "generations"? (2-1/2 G? 4G?) How does wireless data work now, and what's on the horizon? What can the wireless web do -- and what can't it do? What are the most promising M-Commerce applications, and what business and technical issues will have to be resolved before M-Commerce takes off? Will the device of choice be a phone, a Palm, or what? Dornan explains -- concisely, in English.

This is a perfect book for folks who make wireless buying (or investing) decisions, folks who do marketing or PR for wireless and telecom companies -- and for millions of wireless power users who just can't wait to see what's next. (Bill Camarda)

Bill Camarda is a consultant and writer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

A guide to next-generation wireless applications and their business impact, written for nontechnical professionals. Contains chapters on the wireless world, the radio spectrum, cellular networks, PCS standards, third-generation standards, mobile data services, M- commerce, inside a mobile network, short-range wireless networks, future phone/computers, fixed wireless technology, and the Internet in space. Includes a glossary. Dornan is senior editor specializing in wireless technology at magazine. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Pearson Education
Publication date:
Essential Guide Series
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
7.02(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.91(d)

Read an Excerpt

5: Third-Generation Standards

Third-generation (3G) systems are critical to the wireless Internet services often touted as the future of mobile communications. At first, they will offer permanent access to the Web, interactive video, and voice quality that sounds more like a CD player than a cellphone. Many of their future applications are as yet unknown, with industry pundits saying that we will discover them as we go along.

The term 3G has become rather vague, but it was originally quite specifically defined as any standard that provided mobile users with the performance of ISDN or better—at least 144 kbps. Some of the earlier 2 1 /2G standards, such as GPRS and IS-95b, might be able to do this, but only under optimal conditions. Third-generation systems need to provide ISDN speeds for everyone, not just for people equipped with the most expensive terminals and standing next to a base station.

Technologically, the increased capacity is found in part by using extra spectrum and in part by new modulation techniques that squeeze higher data rates from a given waveband. At the very lowest level, this new modulation works by abandoning computing's traditional binary system and replacing it with a system such as octal, which allows every symbol to have eight values instead of only two. They also tend to be based on CDMA rather than TDMA because of its better ability to cope with new users.

The arguments over 3G are a continuation of the earlier battles between PCS systems. Vendors, operators, and regulators all accept that the move towards higher data rates and better services will be evolutionary, as illustrated in Figure 5.1. Standards have to be backward compatible with their predecessors so that phones can maintain a connection while moving between cells based on the old and the new.

Europe has defined a type of CDMA that will work with GSM, which may or may not be compatible with a system already being built by Japan. Elsewhere, cdmaOne supporters are split between several types known collectively as cdma2000, none of which will interwork with the Japanese or European standard. In America, D-AMPS and GSM operators want to stick with TDMA. The result is a "federal standard," more accurately described as a fudge. Global roaming will only be possible with special multimode phones....


Third-generation systems were first planned in 1992, when the ITU realized that mobile communications was playing an increasingly important role. An international study group predicted that mobile phones would rival fixed lines within ten years, a prediction that came true somewhat earlier in some countries. It began work on a project called FPLMTS (Future Public Land Mobile Telecommunications System), aiming to unite the world under a single standard.

The acronym was awkward even compared to other telecom jargon, so the ITU soon adopted the (slightly) friendlier name IMT-2000. IMT stands for International Mobile Telecommunications, and the number 2000 had three meanings. It was supposed to represent:

  • The year 2000, when the ITU hoped the system would become available
  • Data rates of 2000 kbps
  • Frequencies in the 2000 MHz region, which the ITU wanted to make globally available for the new technology
None of these aspirations were fulfilled entirely, but the name has stuck. Though prototypes were built in 1999, the "phones" were the size of a truck, and widespread commercial service is not expected before 2003. The target data rate is achievable, but only under optimal conditions.

Perhaps most important, not every country handed over the ITU's requested frequencies. Europe and many Asian countries did, but the U.S. has made no spectrum at all available for IMT-2000. The technology is still relevant to American operators, who will deploy it in place of their existing networks, but the lack of new bandwidth may entrench the U.S.'s backward position in mobile communications.


With the more general moniker came a more general set of requirements. While FPLMTS just dealt with mobile phones and mobile data, IMT-2000 was supposed to encompass everything in the wireless Universe:
  • IMT-2000 wireless LANs (Local Area Networks) would give users even higher data rates when they were inside their own office or home.

  • IMT-2000 satellites would allow people to access basic voice and low-rate data services from literally anywhere on Earth, even when they moved outside an area covered by the cellular network. These are sometimes called MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) or GMPCS (Global Mobile Personal Communications Service).

  • IMT-2000 fixed wireless networks would bring telecommunications to poorer countries for the first time, providing a cheaper and faster alternative to laying landlines.
The theory was that by basing all types of wireless services on a single radio system, many people would need to carry only one device— they could use their home cordless phone as a mobile, or even to make calls via satellite from the middle of the ocean. The industry would also save money, because components developed for one type of technology could easily be used for another.

Most of this vision had been abandoned by 1999, when vendors built the first prototype IMT-2000 equipment. Fixed wireless systems work best at much higher frequencies than mobiles, while satellite phones are more expensive and much bulkier than most people are prepared to carry around. Wireless LANs are still mandated in some official standards, but they too seem unlikely to be implemented. IMT-2000 has effectively reverted to FPLMT's original aim—a cellular network for highspeed data.

3G Defined

The ITU's original definition of IMT-2000 concerned only the data rate. Three different rates were suggested, each corresponding to a different type of ISDN, then the standard for carriers' core voice networks.

  • 144 kbps was the absolute minimum acceptable capacity. It is the same speed as a B-rate ISDN line, the type that can be deployed over ordinary telephone wires. B-rate ISDN makes up a large proportion of regular phone lines in some European countries, especially Germany. It is also marketed as a high-speed fixed Internet access technology in areas where DSL and fiber have yet to arrive.

  • 384 kbps was the ideal capacity, which the system should aim for. It corresponds to an H-rate ISDN channel, often used for vid-eoconferencing. Though video is possible at much slower speeds, this was considered the minimum necessary for picture quality approaching that of television.

  • 2 Mbps was the capacity that should be achievable inside a building. It corresponds to a European P-rate ISDN line, which is usually a fiber-optic cable carrying up to 30 separate phone lines into an office switchboard. The idea was that small picocells could be set up in public areas, such as on trains or in airport departure lounges, giving people access to very high data rates.
These recommendations, shown in Figure 5.2, were made back in 1992, when the Internet was still not widely known outside of academic and technical circles. Politicians talked vaguely of an "information super-highway," but no one knew what form it would take. IMT-2000 was supposed to form the mobile part of this highway, complementing the interactive TV that it was assumed would reach people through cables in the ground.

As the Internet hit the public and commercial consciousness, the ITU realized that Net surfing would become one of IMT-2000's most important uses. This entailed an additional requirement: that it support the Internet protocols and be based on a packet-switched network backbone. The previously set data rates remained, but circuit-switched ISDN itself was abandoned....

Meet the Author

Andy Dornan is Senior Editor specializing in wireless technology at Network magazine in San Francisco, CA, and has covered advanced wireless technologies for Red Herring.

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