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

WCDMA System Operation

Overview

The WCDMA system operation is the set of tasks performed to complete key operations: initialization of information when the subscriber unit is turned on, monitoring of control information, accessing the system, and maintaining communication sessions.

When a WCDMA mobile device is first turned on, it gathers its initial information (initializes) by scanning the available radio channels to find pilot channels. If it finds pilot signals, it determines that there is WCDMA service capability and it will begin to synchronize (time align) with the channel and obtain system broadcast information.

If it finds more than one pilot channel, it will usually tune to the radio channel with the strongest or best quality signal. If the mobile device does not find any pilot channels, it may begin to scan for GSM channels if the user has programmed the mobile device to allow access to the GSM system (companies may charge a surcharge for accessing GSM service.) If it finds GSM control channels, it will synchronize with the control channel and gather its system broadcast information.

The system broadcast information provides the information needed by the mobile device to monitor for incoming calls (paging messages) and to coordinate how to access the system (power level and maximum number of system access attempts).

After the mobile device has gathered its initial information (initialized), it will typically register with the system. This allows the system to route incoming calls to the cell site(s) that are able to communicate with the mobile device. The mobile...

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