Electronic Design

EDGE: The Almost-3G Alternative For The U.S.A.

EDGE software upgrade for 2.5G technology provides most of the benefits of 3G on existing systems.

Move over, 3G. Here comes EDGE. Comsys Communications & Signal Processing's EDGEware is one example of EDGE-related software that may put the kibosh on the need for 3G.

EDGE (enhanced data rate for GSM evolution) is an extension of current 2.5G digital technology that provides higher data rates with existing systems. With 3G delayed in the U.S. due to lack of spectrum and investment capital, GSM/GPRS carriers like AT&T Wireless and Cingular are looking to EDGE to get more and better data services out of their investment.

A software overlay for GSM/GPRS systems, EDGE uses 8PSK modulation to provide up to three times the data rate in a GPRS system. Assuming a 60-kbit/s maximum rate per time slot, EDGE will supply up to about 180 kbits/s. Of course, the actual rate depends upon the channel and specific link conditions, so most rates will likely be less. Nevertheless, 120 kbits/s seems possible on a consistent basis, and that's exceptional for cellular data. For most data applications, that may be fast enough. It also keeps carriers with GSM/
GPRS competitive with carriers like Sprint, who have adopted Qualcomm's near-3G cdma2000 1EV-DO. It makes one wonder if we really need 3G.

Comsys of Israel is making EDGE readily available. Its EDGEware software can make the upgrade from GSM/GPRS to EDGE fast and easy. It features a new differential 8PSK modulation, adaptive rate capability, and incremental redundancy that all help improve reliability of transmission. Look for EDGEware to show up first in basestations.

Comsys Communications & Signal Processing Ltd.

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