The Future

The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), also known as 3G, is a specification for the third generation of mobile communications. It is based on an enhanced version of CDMA called Wideband CDMA (W-CDMA).

Perceived as the successor to 2.5G technology, the 3G systems are intended to provide higher data transfer rates than GPRS and are based on packet-switching networks that are "always on." Unlike GPRS, the UMTS standard provides a dynamic connection, so that the bandwidth varies depending on the requirements, providing a more efficient utilization of the network.

An enhancement to GSM networks is EDGE, which stands for Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution. This technology is complementary to the GPRS network upgrade to GSM and might be considered a "bridge" between the 2.5G GPRS and future 3G technologies. EDGE allows increased high-speed data transfer capabilities.

CDMA2000 wireless technologies build on CDMA to provide improved transfer rates for users. Evolution Data Optimized (EV-DO) technology is expected to provide high-speed data transmission, whereas Evolution Data Voice (EV-DV) would allow increased network capacity for voice transmissions and higher speeds for data transfers.

For enhanced wireless high-speed connectivity technology, the next step may be WiMAX. WiMAX will operate like WiFi, but is expected to provide high-speed connectivity from 1-10 miles, a much larger range than that in your neighborhood WiFi hot spot. WiMAX could be the key to Internet connectivity that covers entire communities without the huge investment in cable or phone networks.