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

RF Power Classification

RF Power classification defines the RF power levels associated with specific modes of operation for a particular class of radio device. Classes of RF devices often vary based on the application and use of the device such as portable, mobile or fixed applications. RF power classification typically defines the maximum RF power level a device may transmit but it may also include the minimum RF power levels and the RF power levels for specific modes of operation (such as during power control commands). The maximum RF power for each class typically determines the type of mobile device; car mounted (high power class), transportable (medium power class), or handheld portable (low power class). WCDMA mobile devices have 4 different power classes 1-4 (most portable mobile telephones are class 4).

Mobile devices that operate close to the base station will receive a high quality signal and this will allow them to transfer at the highest data transmission rates (they can use lower spreading factors). Mobile devices that operate far away from the base station (at the edge of the radio coverage area) will typically be assigned to slower data transmission rates that use higher spreading factors (more protection from interference).

Base stations typically transmit at full power. This allows mobile devices to accurately measure the signal strength of nearby base stations.

Figure 1.16 shows the different types of power classes available for WCDMA mobile devices and how their maximum power level. This table shows that there are 4 classes...

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