Understanding GSM, CDMA, UMTS, cdma2000,WiFi, WiMAX Wireless for Non-technical Professionals and Managers

Course ID



1 day

Aimed At

Today’s business world requires professionals and managers in a variety of roles and industries to have a layman’s understanding of the technology and business of wireless. That is the need this course is intended to address.


If you have a curious mind and are comfortable discussing technology-related issues, that’s about all that’s required by way of a prerequisite for this course.

Course in a Nutshell

In this fast-paced tutorial, you will learn how radio waves propagate, how they are produced and detected, the basic architecture of a cellular radio network, the sequence of activities that happens when you make a cell phone call, the various families (FDMA, TDMA, CDMA) and generations (1G, 2G, 3G, 4G) of wireless technologies, local and wide area wireless broadband technologies (WiFi, WiMAX), and the shape of things to come. We will teach this course in a language understandable to a lay person, but without watering down the technical accuracy. While the course will help you master the wireless jargon, it’s more about the important concepts that lie behind those terms. At the end of this course, you will have acquired a good understanding of how wireless networks work, where they have come from, the forces that drove their evolution from one stage to the next, and their future.

Course outline

Part 1: Understanding the Wireless Basics

  • History of Wireless Communications
    • Early inventions and discoveries
    • The wireless pioneers
    • The historical timeline of wireless
  • Radio Waves: It’s What Makes Wireless “Wireless”
    • Electromagnetic energy
    • Frequency and wavelength
    • The electromagnetic spectrum
      • U.S. radio bands
      • Licensed commercial radio bands
      • Unlicensed Personal Radio Services (PRS)
    • Role of the FCC and the NTIA
  • Modulation: How Information is Carried over Radio Waves
    • AM and FM
    • Digital modulation
    • BPSK
    • QPSK
    • QAM
  • Decibels: What They Are and How They Are Used
  • How Radio Waves are Produced, Transmitted, and Received
    • Block diagram of a Radio system
      • Transmitter components
      • Receiver components
    • Transmission lines
      • Copper twisted pair
      • Coaxial cable
      • Fiber-optic cable
      • Waveguides
    • How antennas work
    • How radio waves propagate
      • Understanding path loss
      • Types of transmission impairments
      • Link budgets and how they are calculated

Part 2: Architecture and Operation of Cellular Systems

  • The Early Beginnings: “Improved” Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS), 1965
  • The Cell in Cellular Radio: Cells and Frequency Reuse
  • Architecture of a Cellular System
    • Mobile Services Switching Center (MSC)
    • Base station
    • Mobile station
    • Backhaul facilities
    • The inter-cell handover
  • Analog versus Digital: The Advantages of Going Digital
    • Transmission and reception
    • Forward error correction
  • How Voice is Processed
    • Speech processing and compression
    • Speech quality comparisons
  • Cellular Systems in Action; How a Call Goes Through
    • Making a cellular telephone call
    • The authentication procedure

Part 3: Wireless Technologies: Families and Generations

  • Multiple Access Technologies
    • FDMA
    • TDMA
    • CDMA
  • FDMA Cellular Systems
    • 1G: Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS)
  • TDMA Cellular Systems
    • 2G: IS136 (U.S.A.) and GSM (Europe)
    • 2.5G: GPRS and EDGE
  • CDMA Cellular Systems
    • 2G: IS95 (U.S.A.)
  • 3G CDMA Cellular Technologies
    • “On the GSM side”
      • UMTS/WCDMA
      • Evolution to HSDPA, HSUPA, 3G LTE
    • “On the CDMA side”
      • cdma2000 and 1xRTT
      •  Evolution to 1xEV-DO and 1xEV-DV
  • WiFI (Wireless Fidelity)
    • WiFi WLAN characteristics and performance features
    • The IEEE 802.11 committee
    • The WiFi Alliance objectives
  • WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access)
    • Bringing broadband service to a mass market
    • Evolution of broadband services: Cable, DSL, etc.
    • Wireless broadband: 3G/4G and WiMAX
    • Evolution of WiMAX
      • The WiMAX Forum
      • Fixed and Mobile WiMAX
      • The IEEE 802.16 series of standards
    • WiMAX spectrum options
    • Basic features of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM)
    • Technical challenges for WiMAX
    • Market challenges for WiMAX
    • Potential applications for WiMAX
  • Course Wrap-up
    • Future of wireless
    • Recap and discussion