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

WCDMA Network

Overview

The WCDMA system includes a Base Stations (BS), various data processing functions, and a data distribution network. The WCDMA network is also called a radio access network (RAN).

WCDMA network parts may be dedicated equipment assemblies or software programs that run on computer servers. WCDMA networks inter-connect wireless devices with nearby radio towers (base stations - called node B) that route calls through switching systems to other wireless telephones to other telephones or data networks. Creating and managing a wireless network involves equipment selection and installation, implementation methods, inter-connection to the public switched telephone network (PTSN) and other networks such as the Internet.

The WCDMA system uses either a mobile switching center (MSC) for voice and medium-speed data or a packet data service node (PDSN) for packet data services. The MSC coordinates the overall allocation and routing of calls throughout the wireless system. The PDSN ensures packets from the mobile devices can reach their destination.

Figure 1.27 shows a simplified functional diagram of a WCDMA network. This diagram shows that the WCDMA system is composed of 3 key parts; the user equipment (UE), UMTS terrestrial radio access network (UTRAN), and a core interconnecting network (CN). The UE is divided into 2 parts, the mobile equipment (ME) and the UMTS subscriber identity module (USIM) card. The UTRAN is composed of base stations (called Node B) and radio network controllers (RNCs). This example shows that the RNCs connect voice calls to mobile switching centers (MSCs) and connect data sessions to packet...

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