Essay by ashisdaga September 2004

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Mobile Communications Principles

Each mobile uses a separate, temporary radio channel to talk to the cell site. The cell site talks to many mobiles at once, using one channel per mobile. Channels use a pair of frequencies for communication-one frequency (the forward link) for transmitting from the cell site and one frequency (the reverse link) for the cell site to receive calls from the users. Radio energy dissipates over distance, so mobiles must stay near the base station to maintain communications. The basic structure of mobile networks includes telephone systems and radio services. Where mobile radio service operates in a closed network and has no access to the telephone system, mobile telephone service allows interconnection to the telephone network.

Early Mobile Telephone System Architecture

Traditional mobile service was structured in a fashion similar to television broadcasting: One very powerful transmitter located at the highest spot in an area would broadcast in a radius of up to 50 kilometers.

The cellular concept structured the mobile telephone network in a different way. Instead of using one powerful transmitter, many low-power transmitters were placed throughout a coverage area. For example, by dividing a metropolitan region into one hundred different areas (cells) with low-power transmitters using 12 conversations (channels) each, the system capacity theoretically could be increased from 12 conversations-or voice channels using one powerful transmitter-to 1,200 conversations (channels) using one hundred low-power transmitters. Figure 2 shows a metropolitan area configured as a traditional mobile telephone network with one high-power transmitter.

Mobile Telephone System Using the Cellular Concept

Interference problems caused by mobile units using the same channel in adjacent areas proved that all channels could not be reused in every cell. Areas had to be skipped before the same channel could be reused. Even though this affected the efficiency of the...