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The Guru speaks #4 - TDMA, the second evolutionary path of AMPS

Discussion in 'BoM Blogs' started by Disciple of The Watch, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

    Aug 20, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Last time, we looked at CDMA, the digital standard developped by Qualcomm. Today, we are going to look more indepth at the other evolutionary path of AMPS -- Time Division Multiple Access.

    TDMA and CDMA, despite the name, actually have few points in common. TDMA, as I said, stands for Time Division Multiple Access. TDMA uses Time Division Duplex, while CDMA uses spread spectrum. In short, this means that calls on the TDMA network are divided into multiple timeslots, each phone taking it's turn in broadcasting/receiving.

    Let's say that user A and user B both have TDMA phones. A receives a call, while B places one, for the sake of the demonstration, let's assume they are in the same room. Both A and B will use the same channel, and will take turns at transmitting/receiving within the same channel. This is transparent and not noticeable on the user side.

    TDMA is also a digital standard. Battery life increased drastically, SMS was introduced, CSD for data at low speeds. Calls were encrypted, but it was demonstrated that the encryption cipher used was weak. However, TDMA used an authenticating system, which pretty much took care of the ESN cloning pandemic.

    Sound quality on TDMA is outstanding... crystal clear. No standard except iDEN has managed to sound as good as TDMA, because iDEN inherited from TDMA. You got to try it to understand.

    While TDMA itself as a wireless network technology is end-of-life and has been discontinued by major carriers, some smaller, regional carriers still offer TDMA. But, as a standard, TDMA's legacy lived on, as GSM and iDEN were based off TDMA.

    And last, but not least, TDMA, unlike CDMA, is an open standard. CDMA phone manufacturers have to pay royalties to Qualcomm for using their standard, and all except Nokia phones use Qualcomm CDMA chipsets... so it's not like there's a choice.

    In the next The Guru Speaks, I'm going to take a look at AMPS, or analog, the forefather of wireless telecommunication.
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