Explain UMTS briefly.

Subject: Mobile Computing

Difficulty: Medium

Marks: 4 Marks

1 Answer

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) is a third-generation (3G) broadband, packet-based transmission of text, digitized voice, video, and multimedia at data rates upto 2 megabits per second (Mbps).

  • Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a air interface standard and has evolved since late 1996 under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). European carriers, manufacturers, and government regulators collectively developed the early versions of UMTS as a competitive open air-interface standard for 3G wireless telecommunications.

  • UMTS offers a consistent set of services to mobile computer and phone users, which is not depend on the location. UMTS is based on the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication standard. Once UMTS is available, computer and phone users can be continuously connected to the Internet wherever they travel, will have the same set of capabilities. Users will get access to internet via combination of terrestrial wireless and satellite transmissions.

  • Earlier cellular telephone systems were using circuit-switched connection, where the connections were always dependent on circuit availability. A packet-switched connection uses the Internet Protocol (IP), meaning that a virtual connection is always available.

  • The 3G W-CDMA air interface standard had been designed for always-on packet based wireless service, so that computers, entertainment devices, and communication device all share the same wireless network and be connected to the Internet, anytime, anywhere. W-CDMA is used to transfer packet up to 2.048 Mbps per user (if the user is stationary), thereby allowing high quality data, multimedia, streaming audio, streaming video and broadcast-type services to consumers. Future versions of W-CDMA will support stationary user data rates in excess of 8 Mbps. W-CDMA provides public and private network features, as well as video conferencing and virtual home entertainment (VHE). W-CDMA designers contemplate that broadcasting, mobile commerce (m-commerce), games, interactive video, and virtual private networking will be possible throughout the world, all from a small portable wireless device.
  • UMTS also makes it possible to provide new services like alternative billing methods or calling plans. For instance, users can choose to pay-per-bit, pay-per-session, flat rate, or asymmetric bandwidth options.
  • The higher bandwidth of UMTS also enables other new services like video conferencing. UMTS may allow the Virtual Home Environment (VHE) to fully develop, where a roaming user can have the same services to either at home, in the office or in the field through a combination of transparent terrestrial and satellite connections.
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