Over the last 20 years, wireless cellular communications have experienced an incredible evolution between 2G – GSM in Europe – and 4G. LTE, which seems that will be the technology grabbing the relay baton, is already being deployed in many places – in a recent link I talked about the Telia-Sonera/Ericsson 4G deployment in Stockholm -.

Everything started with analog communications – 1G – but the real revolution came with the European standard by ETSI, GSM. This standard was actually so well designed that it s widely used and still – allow me the expression – kicking, despite the advent of 3G and 4G. It simply works very well.

Later on, it was clear that an evolution towards data – not just voice and eventual short messages – was necessary, and GSM was enhanced with GPRS and EDGE. It is interesting to remember that short messages were added as a simple extra that was initially being transmitted on the empty control time slots of the GSM frame. Some years later, about 4.1 billion short messages – sms – are sent daily.

In parallel with GPRS and EDGE, 3G standards were developed, based on CDMA access. In Europe, the standard defined was UMTS. And, with the coexistence of GERAN – GSM+EDGE – and UMTS networks, new strategies of Common Radio Resource Management were born, such as Initial RAT selection, Vertical Handover. I did some research work on the first; you can check it either at my website or at one of my publications.

Anyhow, it’s been a long and interesting evolution. And if you want to know more about it, I just found this presentation by Peter Rysavy from Rysavy Research. Check it out here:

Transition to 4G
3GPP Broadband Evolution to IMT-Advanced (4G)