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What's cellular about a cellphone?

https://theconversation.com/whats-cellular-about-a-cellphone-150352

theconversation.com

What's cellular about a cellphone?
A professor of wireless communications explains the origins of cellular networks and how they evolved into today's 5G networks.

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Wireless communication before cellular technology

Wireless communication before cellular technology

The Marconi system made a radio link between systems, which was the size of a building. Eventually, people put up a radio system at a high point in the city, then those with the right kind of radio could talk to the high point.

In essence, there was only one cell, even though it wasn't cellular in any sense. But the amount of data you could send depended on how far away you were. The desire was for these cells to get closer together, leading to the invention of the cellular system.

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How cellular systems are different

Phones need to be close to the base station for a good signal. Many cell towers mean you can talk to the one that's closest to you.

What is amazing about the development of cellular systems is that it automatically switched which base station the phone talks to as its location changed.

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Major improvements to cellular networks

  • The first-generation cellular systems converted your voice to an analogue signal.
  • The second-generation systems digitized your voice, then send it as a data link to improve stability and security. It could also transmit data across, making it useful to send photos or information, but data moved too slow.
  • Subsequent cellular network generations used increasingly wider bandwidths and were powered by a denser network of base stations.

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What to expect from 6G technologies

It is not certain which technologies developed now will be used in 6G networks, but the following are possibilities:

  • 6G networks will allow a much broader set of user types - for humans as well as a broad range of devices with their varying needs.
  • Communication systems are not the only users of the radio frequency system. Radars use the spectrum, as well as position navigation and timing. With 6G, we'll have multi-function systems.
  • Then there is the push to go to higher frequencies.

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