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What is CDMA Cell Phone Technology?

Compare TDMA Technology Versus CDMA

There are three main cellular technologies:  Older Analog/FDMA, Modern TDMA, Newer CDMA

CDMA is the latest, greatest cellular technology.

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. For cellular phone users, it's a transparent interface for a wireless digital network. CDMA was original developed by the military in the early 1960's. CDMA uses sequential code frequencies to funnel traffic channels within the same radio channels.

For a non-technical definition, CDMA channels the packets of voice and data over wireless radio frequencies so a cellular user can hear better, quicker and with more quality then ever before. CDMA cell phones are also more efficient as they use a channels "band-with" efficiently.

CDMA uses wide-band spread spectrum techniques for signal transmission, as opposed to narrow-band channel techniques used in conventional analog systems. A perfect analogy of CDMA wide-band technology and narrow-band analog would be the Internet. Picture CDMA technology as a Cable or DSL Line, and analog technology as a dial-up Internet connection. Since DSL or cable lines are thicker and wider than a thinner phone line, it's faster and quicker, in both directions. CDMA is faster in transmitting and receiving data over a cellular phone.

CDMA was originally developed and enhanced by a US company named Qualcomm. Because the Company led the development of CDMA technology, it owns a significant amount of intellectual property, including patents, patent applications and trade secrets. Qualcomm licenses these patents to customers and integrates them into its own products.

It 1993, CDMA went mainstream. That year, CDMA was certified by the TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) and was adopted as the leading digital multiple access technique for cellular phones.

Obviously, Qualcomm and other telecommunication service providers and manufacturers who use CDMA technology would like to push it's growth. A CDMA Development Group (CDG) was formed to produce products, platforms and services that use CDMA and helps to promote its adoption around the world. Since these manufactures and telecommunications providers base designs, research and development budgets and plans on CDMA, there is much to gain or lose in it's worldwide adaption.

Cellular experts and even the casual cell phone user will notice the difference of quality between CDMA and analog technology. With the roll out of 3G (Third Generation) networks, there is no doubt that CDMA will continue to grow. Will it prosper, only time will tell. Competing technology called TMDA, Time Division Multiple Access, providers cellular users will many technology benefits as well. In the future, it's quite possible several other technology methods may be spawned, or all cellular technologies may get combined. The only sure thing - cellular technology will continue to improve in quality.

Over the last several years, there has been a new variation of CDMA call WCDMA. Produced by Interdigital Communications (IDCC), IDCC has developed intellectual property for both hardware and software products for the wide-band code division multiple access (WCDMA) air-interface protocols of the third-generation (3G) standards. Quite simply, a more efficient multiple access network. InterDigital is currently developing both WCDMA frequency division duplex and WCDMA time division duplex technology platforms. Some manufactures, such as Ericsson, has already implemented this technology and pays IDCC royalties. Other companies, such as Nokia, has started to implement this technology but does not want to pay IDCC royalties. Whatever the case, look for possibly more variations of CDMA and a wider adaption of WCDMA soon.