UMTS: Mobile Communications for the Future / Edition 1

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Mobile communications bring profound changes to our everyday lives.

The launch of 3rd generation mobile systems in 2001 in Japan and from 2002 throughout the rest of the world, will enable us to communicate at anytime and anywhere, by using a variety of services which have up to now only been available to fixed network users.

By the end of 2003, there are expected to be over one billion mobile telephones in use around the world, which surpasses the number of fixed telephone lines projected for that date.

• Illustrates the current situation and forthcoming developments of UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System)

• Outlines the rationale and motives behind the evolution of this new mobile telephony system

• Analyzes the requirements of the UMTS system and describes the radio UTRA (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access) and the UTRAN (UTRA Network) together with Core Network Issues

• Provides an overview of the new voice, data and multimedia services that will be available to users

• Reviews the current trends that will affect future research and discusses key topics, including SDMA (Space Division Multiple Access) smart antennas and software radio

Written in an easily accesible style, UMTS: Mobile Communications for the Future will prove indispensable reading for all those working in the area of mobile communciations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471498292
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

The authors are CSELT researchers who have been active for a number of years in specifying terrestrial and satellite mobile radio systems and optimising their performance. The editor, Flavio Muratore, received his degree in electronic engineering from the Politecnico di Torino, and has over ten years experience at CSELT in the field of mobile radio systems, occupying positions of responsibility in standards-writing organisations and in international co-operative projects.
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Read an Excerpt

There can be no doubt that mobile telephony and data transmission on the Internet were the two outstanding successes in telecommunications during the closing years of the century, and there is every sign that these successes will be no more than the starting point for those of the new millennium.

For a number of years, in fact, development work has focused on new `third generation' systems, or in other words, systems with the enhanced capabilities needed to make user mobility compatible with the growing demand for multimedia communication.

Given the success of mobile telephony, the world's major players in telecommunications and the information society are working to specify these new third-generation mobile systems. In Europe, specifications have been drawn up for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), which will be a significant innovation over today's systems because of its high operating flexibility, its ability to provide a wide range of applications and, more generally, to extend the services now provided to fixed network users to mobile customers. What, however, are the driving forces behind this move to develop new mobile communication systems? What exactly are these systems, and how are they organised? What kind of services can they give us? How will today's terminals change?

This book will attempt to provide an answer to these and other questions.

Mobile radio systems have now reached levels of usage which few people would even have dared imagine just a few years ago.

Around the world, some 400 million people use these systems, with penetration levels that already exceed 50 percent of the population in certain countries.

At the same time, thesesystems' geographical radio coverage has far outstripped the most optimistic expectations, and some of the systems are present in a large number of countries. GSM, for instance, now extends well beyond the borders of Western Europe, the area for which it was originally conceived.

The most recent forecasts indicate that, by the end of the year 2003, there will be over one billion mobile terminals in operation around the world, which also means that they will exceed the number of fixed telephone lines foreseen for that date (as indeed is already the case in certain areas such as Italy).

On the Internet front, around 18 million new users log on every month, while data traffic doubles every six months or so. At this rate, it is clear that the Internet is becoming the most important channel for collecting and distributing information throughout the world.

A new era of multimedia communication, whereby voice, text and video can be combined in the same call, is rapidly becoming a reality in the world of mobile communications, where growth prospects are nothing if not excellent.

The new sector of multimedia mobile communications will make it possible to combine ongoing work on mobile telephony and the Internet in a single, concerted effort which will give the growth potential of the two areas - already brilliant when taken separately - a further boost.

The revolution that has taken place in the world of telecommunications over the last few years has not only changed our habits and lifestyles, but has also changed the outlook for developing countries, who quite rightly see access to telecommunications as one of the keys to economic and social success.

The time is now ripe for a further move forward, both because this is what people want and expect, and because the state of the art now makes such a move possible. Increasing numbers of people want access to information on the move, and want this information to cover a wider and more variegated range than can currently be provided.

For example, market surveys indicate that the demand for visual information continues to grow. At the moment, images can be acquired and transferred, stored in memory and processed, using commercial devices such as video camcorders, personal computers and cameras. These new tools brought to us by digital technology can be used to send `electronic postcards' in real time, view potential purchases located anywhere in the world, share moments in our lives with distant friends and relatives, or to help people who are hurt, lost or are otherwise in distress. We will also be able to look up flight schedules and timetables for other forms of transportation, check our bank accounts and make remote payments with procedures that are simpler and more straightforward than those that are beginning to be available to us today.

If we look at what is happening around us now, it is clear that the new age of multimedia mobile communications has already begun.

On the Internet, a large number of multimedia applications are already available today. For instance, we have tele-working applications that make it possible to manage voice and text simultaneously, or to share documents and video clips that can be updated or edited by several users at the same time. There are applications that permit simultaneous communication between multiple users, e-commerce or stock trading. The latter kinds of transaction, in fact, are gradually ousting more traditional ways of doing business. Other examples of interactive services include latest-generation video games, where several players in different places can interact in a three-dimensional virtual environment, or applications that make it possible to choose films, radio channels or TV programs in real time.

Alongside these developments on the Internet, many companies have set up their own internal networks - or intranets - to manage the information and documents they produce using the same methods and applications as are used on the Internet...

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Table of Contents

New Service Requirements and Innovation Factors.
UMTS System Radio Access.
UMTS Access Network.
UMTS Network Infrastructure.
Satellite Opportunities in Mobile Communications.
Terminals and Applications.Equipment and Service Tests.
Research Areas.
List of Codes and Acronyms.

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Commercial start-up of the third-generation mobile system is scheduled for the year 2002. The name given to this system, at least in the European context, is the universal mobile telecommunication system (UMTS). Of the original idea conceived in the early 1980s, what remains today are the ambitious service features that the system must provide to the user: the ability to communicate in movement, anytime and anywhere, through an enormous variety of applications and universally usable terminals. These expectations are attracting increasing attention from the mass media, and are seen by the public at large as the natural evolution of a process which in a few short years has enabled the cellular telephone to enjoy a success that few would have thought possible.

The mobile systems that we have now come to take for granted have done much to change how we live and communicate. Together with the potential offered by the Internet, they have even changed some of our ways of thinking, at levels that are far deeper than might seem at first sight. How we work, use information, represent concepts and exchange messages have all changed. To an ever-increasing extent, the new media bring together voice, images and data, or even make these different communication modes interchangeable. This is possible because of the common digital representation shared by information content, and the synthesis and coding techniques associated with it.

Thus, the UNITS system springs from convergence between the worlds of telecommunications and information technology. The new mobile system could well prove to be an ambitious synthesis of the evolution of these two worlds, especially at the level of services.

Aside from the shared expectations, however, preparing the way for the UNITS system has been a far from straightforward process, and many of the system's basic aspects are still open to different interpretations and solutions. At the moment, for example, specifications are addressing at least three different radio interface modes, two of which have been adopted at the European level.

These different ways of responding to a shared vision of UNITS reflect the variety of interests at stake, and the unequal rates and stages of evolution in the countries involved. The different stances that have been taken up regarding the system's implementation are confirmed, however involuntarily, by the first letter in its acronym, which stands, not for unique, but for universal. And this latter characteristic is most likely to be achieved by making different techniques compatible at the service level, rather than by developing a single solution for all continental regions.

Be this as it may, the system's complexity and the enormous economic interests hinging on it have led to the consolidation of certain technological and systems-related aspects, where a common vision now prevails. The major innovations that have been achieved range from the service creation approach to the associated features' independence of the network layers, and to the flexibility of the transport functions, which can cover a broad range of application requirements. In addition, the UMTS system's evolution is seen as a continuation of existing systems and services. The new system, in fact, grows from a mobile market that is now firmly consolidated, at least with regard to voice services. GSM operators, who have deployed (and continue to invest) massive financial resources and know-how in the complexities of specifying the system, are aiming at a relatively graceful transition (a sort of soft handover, as it were) from today's system to UMTS. Indeed, the UNITS specifications acknowledge this need for gradual migration by calling for multimode terminals and the adoption of network architectures that are largely derived from GSM solutions.

Today, the standards-writing groups in Europe, Japan and to some extent in the United States are collaborating in defining a system which, if not unique, can truly be termed universal. This degree of convergence is by no means accidental, and has largely been achieved through the determination shown by TIM in its strategic contributions at the international level.

This book deals chiefly with the technical and service solutions that have been adopted in this context. Though the topics covered are highly specialised by nature, every effort has been made to ensure that the basic concepts are accessible to a wide readership, as the book is addressed to decision makers in related industries in addition to those working in the specific technical sectors concerned.

There can be no doubt that the book is one of the first to be published on the topic. With specifications still in a state of flux, any such effort to organise the many issues involved and put them in context is of enormous value, as it provides a consistent view of the entire system and the services it is expected to support.

The preview of the UMTS system's content, technical scenarios and services that the book offers has been made possible by TIM's early commitment to drawing up specifications for UMTS, and the importance which the operator has from the outset assigned to meeting this new challenge. A significant part of this commitment was channelled through CSELT, which was directly involved in developing specifications and in assessing and testing candidate solutions. CSELT was thus able to consolidate its mastery of the mobile systems of the near future, building up a broad-based understanding of these systems and operative skills of great value. This is no mean achievement, if we think of the vital impact that this know-how can have on our country's growth prospects.

Flavio Muratore
January 18, 2000

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