WCDMA or GSM standard: what is the difference between them?
When consumers think about mobile providersnetworks, their basic requests are related to the quality of services, support, pricing and other factors. When you select a network operator, you also have to choose between a GSM or WCDMA network.
You probably encountered these termsearlier, when they chose a new mobile phone, they first connected to the providers or changed them. But do you know what they mean and what is the difference between them? To make the right choice, you should consider in more detail what distinguishes GSM from WCDMA and which one is better.
What is GSM?
GSM acts as a Global Mobile Systemand is now considered the standard of communication on a global scale, especially in Asia and Europe, with availability in more than 210 countries. It operates on four different frequency bands: 900 MHz and 1800 MHz - in Europe and Asia, and 850 MHz and 1900 MHz in the Americas. The GSM Association is an international organization founded in 1987, which is designed to develop and control the expansion of wireless usage of this standard.
GSM uses the TDMA option (multiple accesswith a time division), which divides the frequency bands into several channels. In this technology, the voice is converted into digital data, which is transmitted through the channel and the time interval. At the other end, the receiver only listens to the assigned time slot, and the call combines both signals. Obviously, this happens in a very short time, and the recipient does not notice a "break" or temporary division.
What is WCDMA?
CDMA, or multiple access with codedivision, became the standard developed and patented by Qualcomm, and subsequently used as a basis for CDMA2000 and WCDMA standards for 3G. However, because of its proprietary nature, WCDMA technology has not received such a global introduction that GSM has. Currently, it is used by less than 18% of networks around the world, mainly in the US, as well as in South Korea and Russia. What is the difference between GSM and WCDMA from a technical point of view?
In WCDMA networks, digital calls are superimposedon a friend, assigning unique codes for their differentiation. Each call signal is encoded by another key, and then they are transmitted simultaneously. Each receiver has a unique key capable of dividing the combined signal into its individual calls.
Both standards have multiple access, whichmeans that several calls can pass through one tower. But, as you can see, the main difference between them is related to how the data is converted into radio waves, which your phone translates and receives.
The main reason whytelecom companies have had problems with the rapid deployment of a new format, is the difference in the frequency bands they use. Because of this, phones released with support for only GSM, could not communicate with WCDMA networks, and vice versa. To get around this, most device manufacturers had to use multiple frequency bands for 2G and 3G networks. This ensured that mobile phones could be used in virtually any network and anywhere in the world.
WCDMA or GSM: what's the difference?
Before the advent of 4G LTE technology, the obvious difference between GSM and WCDMA devices was connected to a SIM card. GSM-phones were delivered with a connector for SIM, and CDMA devices - no.
In other words, WCDMA is a standard based onphone number with a subscriber number associated with a particular device that supports 3G. If you want to switch to another phone, you will need to contact the provider, deactivate the old device and activate the new one. On the other hand, in GSM-devices the number is connected to the SIM-card, so when switching to another device all you have to do is put the SIM card in the new phone.
The coverage of the network does not depend on whether it is GSMor WCDMA. What is the difference in this case? This characteristic is more likely to depend on the infrastructure that the operator has. GSM networks are much more popular around the world, with the exception of the US, where Verizon Wireless, the (W) CDMA network, boasts the largest number of subscribers in the country.
When connecting in the country does not matter,Which network do you use, if its coverage is sufficient. So, in Russia you can use WCDMA or GSM without hindrance. What is the difference outside the country?
When it comes to international roaming,GSM has a lot of advantages: there are many more of these networks around the world, as well as many roaming tariffs between these providers. With a GSM phone, you also have the advantage that you can purchase a local SIM card wherever you are (provided that you use an unlocked device). In turn, you will not be able to get full access to the WCDMA data connection, depending on the device and network compatibility.
4G, WCDMA or GSM: what's the difference in the near future?
With the advent of 4G and the adoption of LTE and LTE-Advanced inAs a standard by most network operators around the world, the debate about GSM and WCDMA takes less time. Today you can notice that the latest smartphones designed for WCDMA networks also come with SIM-card connectors to take advantage of 4G LTE's network capabilities.
The difference between GSM or WCDMA-devices results in,that they can not be used interchangeably even now and will never be cross-compatible, but in the near future it will not matter. This is due to the fact that modern developers continue to advance to a full transition to 4G LTE. This technology has obvious advantages.
So, with international roaming, the main factor -this is the quality of the voice call and the satisfaction of user needs for 3G data. These parameters can be equally good in GSM or WCDMA networks. What is the difference? Modems 3G, built into these devices, can show high functionality. But regarding factors such as availability, coverage and price for services, 4G offers better conditions.