Introduction to WCDMA: Physical Channels, Logical Channels, Network, and Operation

Introduction to WCDMA Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA)


The 3 rd generation wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) system is a mobile radio communication system that provides for high-speed data and voice communication services. WCDMA is one of two technologies that are being used to fulfill the radio access requirements of universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS).

Installing a new WCDMA system or upgrading existing systems to WCDMA allows mobile service providers to offer their customers wireless broadband (high-speed Internet) services and to operate their systems more efficiently (more customers per cell site radio tower).

The WCDMA system is composed of mobile devices (wireless telephones and data communication devices called user equipment -UE), radio towers (cell sites called Node Bs), and an interconnection system (switches and data routers). The WCDMA system uses two types of radio channels; frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD). The FDD radio channels are primarily used for wide area voice (audio) channels and data services. The TDD channels are typically used for systems that do not have the availability of dual frequency bands.

The WCDMA system has been designed to interoperate with GSM systems. This allows for the gradual migration of GSM customers to advanced WCDMA digital services.

WCDMA radio towers (cell sites) are composed of an antenna system, and radio equipment (base station). WCDMA base stations contain one or more WCDMA digital and/or GSM radio channels. The base station converts radio signals from mobile devices into electrical signals that can be transferred to the cellular interconnection system (typically a...


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