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CDMA or Code Division Multiple Access signal is generally respected as one of the most efficient voice communication signals

in existence. Cellular carriers in particular favor this type of signal because of the high number of simultaneous calls that CDMA is capable of handling using a very low amount of available space. Competitive services like GSM or Global System for Mobile Communications do not have the capacity to handle the same amount of simultaneous calls within the given amount of space. The space used to transmit data is commonly referred to as its "spectral footprint". To illustrate why CDMA has such a low spectral foot print we need to understand how it works. CDMA uses an encoding process known as Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum or DSSS. Spread spectrum imprints a unique address on the signal. This unique address is also called a bit identifier. The process of giving a unique address is only possible using digital transmissions. Bit identifiers are important because they allow receivers to ignore any data that is not intended for them. By not processing this type of useless information the network is allowed to concentrate on useful processing, and speeds up the transfer of information. DSSS imprints this signal by multiplying the original digital information by a higher frequency signal. This higher frequently signal is known as Pseudo Random Noise or a PN signal. This PN signal is pseudo random because the signal cycles unique bit identifiers randomly, but once all bit identifiers have been exhausted the cycle will repeat. The length of this cycle is called an Epoch. The Epoch determines how quickly the PN codes recycle. The minimum length of the Epoch must be longer than the round trip propagation delay. The round trip propagation delay is the sum of all pauses during the transmission, the processing, and the return of reply for any transmission made using the network. The PN signals use a series of 1's and 0's to determine the bit code, which is also called a chip. The frequency of the PN is sometimes referred to as a chipping frequency. When the digital packet is multiplied by the unique chipping frequency, the signal enters a process known as spreading. Spreading compresses the digital information carried in the signal prior to radio frequency modulation. The process of spreading requires the actual information to use more bandwidth, but compresses it so other transmissions can be stacked together. Bandwidth size of a spread signal is two times its bit rate. This can be estimated using the bit rate of the PN code and doubling it. Radio

frequency modulation adds power to the signal so that it will transmit further distances. Exactly how much farther the transmission will go depends on how much power is put into the transmission. Network engineers need to be careful to stay within specific transmission guidelines handed down from the Federal Communications Commission. Too much power could also sacrifice the quality of the network by over modulating the signal. Over modulation causes the information to distort and become muffled. High gain processing allows interference rejection, and bandwidth allocation. The higher the PN bit rate, the better the performance, but the wider the bandwidth. Bandwidth is simply the amount of space available to transmit information. The form of radio frequency modulation used to transmit CDMA is Quadrature Phase Shift Keying or QPSK. QPSK uses 4 different states to encode each symbol. The bits are divided into I and Q channels that carry the data. A symbol is made by using a 2 digit binary code. Phase shifts typically occur at 45, 135, 225, and 315 degrees. A phase shift is a variance in the transmission wave representing the symbol data that has been encoded into the signal. A spectral analyzer can be used to examine the signal visually. Through this device the spread spectrum looks like noise, but contains the same information as the original signal. These "noise" signals can be stacked on top of each other in the transmission. Compressing and stacking is how CDMA saves space during transmission. The smaller the transmission, the more simultaneous transmissions can occur at a given time. As long as the original information signal is still present, you can retrieve the information using a process known as despreading. Preparation for despreading requires demodulation of the signal. Demodulation is the exact opposite of RF modulation. Instead of adding power like RF modulation we remove power. This removal of power allows us to send the signal into a correlator. The correlator is responsible for encoding and decoding the signals used during transmission. The correlator generates it's own PN code. Using the pilot and sync channels from the base station the correlator obtains a lock on the proper PN code to use to decode the information. The PN code that the correlator uses must be exactly the same as the PN code from the base station or the signal will not decode. Despreading is done the exact same way as spreading. Using the

original PN chipping rate and bit code sequence, the spread frequency is multiplied by the PN signal for a second time. Once the information is despread it is separated into the I and Q bits that originally carried the information, they are then forwarded on to the receiver which reassembles the original information based on the bits that it is given. Any signal that is spread using a PN frequency must be decoded with an identical frequency or the frequency will be disregarded as noise. Transmissions from another spread spectrum transmitter decoded without the proper PN frequency still resembles high frequency noise and are filtered by the receiver. Non-spread narrow band transmissions in the same frequency that are received are effectively spread by the despreading process. These newly spread narrow band transmissions are disregarded in the same fashion as the signals decoded with the wrong PN chip code. In order for any CDMA network to function properly, the transmitters all need to be tuned to different PN frequencies. The magic of Spread Spectrum really is revealed when the base stations all sync their frequencies to a master clock. Each transmitter starts their frequencies on a different bit. Two PN rates that were derived by a transmitter using a different bit rate are not identical, even if they give the same result, and will not decode with another transmitter unless the PN chip was derived starting from the same bit. This will also require your receiving handset to use the same PN chipping frequency derived from the same starting bit. The tower is responsible for relaying all required information to keep the handset on the proper PN frequency. This is achieved through the use of channels on the base station or tower. Base stations transmit on a few channels to assist with different operations in the network. The pilot channel is a continuous transmission that has a unique time offset from the master clock. This time offset tells the mobile switching center where your handset is located based off of the pilot signal. The consumer version of this function is A-GPS which stands for Assisted Global Positioning Satellite. This GPS is said to be assisted because it works by measuring the response time from the handset in a given direction from the tower which is already a known

constant location. The pilot channel controls power management and call handoff functions. Call hand-off functionality allows the receiver to stop talking to one transmitter and start talking to another transmitter without loosing any information. Power management is very important because the number of simultaneous calls the system can handle is dependent on the power being managed properly. Both the device and the base station rely on the other to manage their power output. Devices that are close in proximity to the tower get turned down so they don't drown out other devices further away by increasing the noise ratio to intolerable levels. You can liken this to listening to someone talk on the other side of the room, but having a second person next to you yelling. The sync channel is responsible for synchronizing the base stations PN with the mobile unit. The paging channel is used to page the mobile unit. The paging channel carries overhead, and subscriber specific information. This channel is used when the phone first turns on to help it register to the network properly. The Upstream and Downstream channels are information channels that contain the voice call information, and are assisted by the access channel. The access channel responds to paging, creates call connections, and updates location information. The base station transmits the pilot, sync, paging, upstream, and downstream channels. The mobile receiver, in this case a cellular phone, is responsible for upstream, downstream, and the access channels. CDMA digital service is dependent on DSSS technology to encrypt pieces of data that are ignored by everything except the intended receiver. The signal is decrypted in the cellular handset where it is processed. New information is given to the handset, encrypted and transmitted to the base station. Once at the base station the information is again decrypted and the process starts all over again.