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Digital radio is taking over: customer gets clearer connection, less noise.

DIGITAL RADIO IS TAKING OVER

Digital radio is the way to handle skyrocketing cellular subscription and improve service, according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association's subcommittee for Advanced Radio Technologies.

"Cellular carriers must have a new digital-radio technology available by the third quarter of 1990, "says Dennis M. Rucker, director of planning and new technologies at Ameritech Mobile Communications and past co-chairman of the CTIA subcommittee.

Digital gives the customer a clearer connection, with less noise and static, he says. It gives them potential access to more services on the cellular phone: data, fax, voice-activated control, imaging, and incoming-number display. And digital cellular phones handle more subscribers without overloading the system.

Ameritech Trial

Digital radio--first demonstrated by Ameritech Mobile in a 1988 AT&T Technologies test program in Aurora, Ill.--gives you six times as many channels and 10 times as much network capacity as analog. It enhances transmission (channel) quality, allowing more conversations on the same bandwidth.

"Digital-radio technology for the cell-site-to-mobile-communications link will marry well with today's use of digital transmission and fixed-network technology," Rucker says.

Currently the transmission from the car phone to the cell tower is analog. The rest, from the cell to the land-line company, is usually digital. The second generation will be completely digital. The voice will be digitized and transmitted in an error-correcting mode superior to analog, he says.

However, come third-quarter 1990, the analog system will not become obsolete.

The digital-radio technology will be introduced via dual-mode mobile units to accommodate areas without advanced technology.

Dual-Mode Transition

"By mid to late 1991, the cellular industry will begin to see digital-only cellular phones that are far superior to their analog counterparts," says Rucker.

Dual-mode analog/digital phones will let users take advantage of existing analog technology or new digital-radio technology.

"Digital-only sets also will be made available in the transition period," Rucker says, "as digital becomes more widespread and the cost advantages of building a digital-only single-mode telephone become apparent.

"In order for the new radio technology to be viable, it was determined that the technology would need to last from eight to 10 years in the larger markets.

"It is important to remember, however, that increasing capacity requirements and subsequent radio-channel limitations do not end at this 10-year point. The cellular industry will continue to significantly grow well beyond the new capabilities to be gained with second-generation digital-radio technology.

"Second-generation radio technology could not reasonably be expected to solve all future radio-capacity limitation problems, but it will provide the evolutinary stepping stone to radio-technology developments."
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Feb 1, 1990
Words:423
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