Cellular Networks and Mobile Phones

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18 Questions

Why are cell phones called 'cell phones'?

Because they are using a cellular network

What do the antennas at the edges of cellular cells help in maintaining?

Connectivity wherever we might travel

What were some of the original cellular networks called?

2G networks

Which standard was a big part of the early cellular network and about 90% of the worldwide market?


Which networks in the United States were common GSM networks?

AT&T and T-Mobile

What allowed you to have all of your phone configurations on in a GSM network?

Subscriber identity module (SIM) card

What is the GSM standard known for?

Allowing multiple people to communicate using the same frequencies through multiplexing

What was the main limitation of CDMA networks in the United States?

Controlled handset compatibility by specific network providers

What was a significant advancement introduced by 3G technologies?

Enhanced data speeds and capabilities

What did LTE technology aim to achieve?

Convergence of GSM and CDMA standards

What is a key feature of 5G networks?

Support for Internet of Things devices with enhanced connectivity

What functionality does a PRL update provide for a mobile phone?

Updates the preferred roaming list for appropriate towers

What is the purpose of turning a mobile phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot?

To share internet connectivity with other devices using cellular network

'LTE Advanced' effectively doubled the throughput up to:

$300 megabits per second

'Long Term Evolution' (LTE) technology is primarily based on:

$GSM and EDGE technologies

What was one of the limitations of CDMA networks outside of the United States?

Unpopularity with other mobile providers worldwide

What was a notable feature introduced by third generation (3G) technologies?

Increased data capabilities and speeds

What was the primary purpose of introducing LTE technology?

To enable converged standard for sending data over wireless network

Study Notes

Cellular Networks

  • Cell phones are called "cell phones" because they operate in cellular cells, which are geographic areas covered by antennas at the edges that help maintain communication signals.

Early Cellular Networks

  • Original cellular networks were called Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), Total Access Communication System (TACS), and Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT).
  • The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard was a big part of the early cellular network and dominated about 90% of the worldwide market.

GSM Networks

  • In the United States, common GSM networks included AT&T and T-Mobile.
  • The SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card allowed users to have all their phone configurations on a GSM network.
  • GSM is known for its ability to use the same phone in different countries by swapping SIM cards.

CDMA Networks

  • The main limitation of CDMA networks in the United States was the lack of compatibility between different carriers' networks.
  • Outside of the United States, one of the limitations of CDMA networks was that phones were often locked to a specific carrier.

3G and LTE Technologies

  • A significant advancement introduced by 3G technologies was the ability to support multimedia services like video calling and mobile internet.
  • LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology aimed to achieve faster data speeds and lower latency.
  • LTE is primarily based on the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology.

4G and 5G Networks

  • LTE Advanced effectively doubled the throughput up to 1 Gb/s.
  • A key feature of 5G networks is their ability to support extremely low latency and high-speed data transmission.

Mobile Phone Functionality

  • A PRL (Preferred Roaming List) update provides a mobile phone with the information it needs to roam on different networks.
  • The purpose of turning a mobile phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot is to allow other devices to use the phone's internet connection.

Learn about the fundamentals of cellular networks and mobile phones, including the concept of dividing areas into cells, maintaining connectivity, and the evolution from 2G networks.

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