Today’s mobile professionals need to stay in regular contact with important sources of information such as the Internet, email, corporate networks and remote databases. As demand for Wide Area Networking (WAN) connectivity continues to grow, users and organizations are seeking ways to make it more efficient and productive. One of the most promising new technologies for this purpose is General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). GPRS is a packet-switching data network that is overlaid on the existing cellular voice network, using the same radio frequencies and cellular towers. When combined with the existing Global System for Mobile communication (GSM), GPRS offers a complete voice and data solution with significant advantages over other solutions.
GPRS offers the flexibility and throughput of packet switching. GPRS uses packet switching to transfer data from the mobile device to the network and back. On a packet switched network a device can be always connected and ready to send information without monopolizing the channel. Channels are shared in packet-switched network, but in circuit-switched each channel is dedicated to one user. There are no call up or suspend delays.
By overlaying the GSM network, GPRS is able to take advantage of the world’s leading digital phone system with a global subscriber base of over 646.5 million.Theoretical maximum speeds of up to 171.2 kilobits per second (kbps) are achievable with GPRS. This is about three times as fast as the data transmission speeds possible over today’s fixed telecommunications networks and ten times as fast as current Circuit Switched Data services on GSM networks.
Wireless wide area cellular network solutions have been around for many years. Widespread adoption has been slow due to issues with coverage, cost, performance, and secure remote access to business networks. The deployment of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) based General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) has the potential to change this situation and to provide connectivity any time and any where. GPRS is a packet based radio service that enables always on connections, eliminating repetitive and time consuming dial up connections. It will also provide real throughput in excess of 40 Kbps, about the same speed as an excellent land line analog modem connection.
Need For a Wireless WAN Solution
Mobile workers who need to access information while they travel can do so using one of two Wide Area Networking methods – wired or wireless. In the past, they relied mainly on wired methods such as analog modems to connect over the public switched telephone network (PSTN). However, users realized that using a dial up method to get a connection were relatively tedious and time consuming, and connections were sometimes difficult to maintain. In addition, as networking has progressed, the circuit- switched phone network has proved to have limitations for data transmission compared to packet-switched networks such as the Internet and corporate LANs. And finally, wired methods do not provide the same degree of mobility as wireless solutions. The advent of wireless data communication through the use of mobile phones and alphanumeric pagers have provided a higher degree of flexibility over wired mobile connections. Today, users are able to connect their notebook and handheld computers to data sources using mobile phone connection kits, and the data is sent over the mobile phone network. However, mobile phones are still relatively slow in terms of data throughput, and pagers can only display small amounts of information. Manufacturers are rapidly developing a wide variety of new client devices, and advanced transmission capabilities are also required. Mobile data users, businesses and other organizations have asked for the freedom of wireless, but with the performance of wired connections. One of the most promising technologies for meeting these needs is General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). This wireless data transmission technology can be used to send data over large geographic areas to create the next evolution of wireless WANs (WWANs).