General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
As discussed in Chapter 3, “Second Generation (2G),” the Global System for
Mobile communications (GSM) provides voice and data services that are circuit-
switched. For data services, the GSM network effectively emulates a
modem between the user device and the destination data network. Unfortunately,
however, this is not necessarily an efficient mechanism for the support
of data traffic. Moreover, standard GSM supports user data rates of up to 9.6
Kbps. In these days of the Internet, such a speed is considered very slow. Consequently,
the need exists for a solution that provides more efficient packetbased
data services at higher data rates. One solution is the General Packet
Radio Service (GPRS). Although GPRS does not offer the high-bandwidth
services envisioned for 3G, it is an important step in that direction.
In this chapter, we spend some time describing the operation of GPRS.As
we shall see in later chapters, UMTS Release 1999 reuses a great deal of
GPRS functionality. Therefore, a solid understanding of GPRS will greatly
help in understanding UMTS.
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