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‘Our day begins with a sunrise and ends with a sunset’.
How genuine you think the above statement is?
This statement might have seemed genuine before a decade or so. But today it won’t be an exaggeration if we say that the above statement is quite irrelevant. Because our day starts with a smartphone and ends with a smartphone. That too an internet-enabled smartphone. But how does our device gets access to the internet. Well GPRS/GSM could possibly be the answer. Yes ….it is true that before the Wi-Fi and other similar technologies were dominantly used to access the internet, GPRS was the one to have been able to provide internet on your GSM device.GPRS might have lost its lustre but even today it is considered as the best alternative when Wi-Fi and other similar technologies fail to access the internet.GPRS is able to provide the internet access in remote areas as well as during the emergency situations.
What is GSM?
GSM is an acronym for Global System for Mobile communication. It operates on two frequency bands i.e 900MHz or 1800MHz.
We all know that mobile devices use cellular networks and certain set of rules are defined to govern these networks. So to introduce the protocols for the second generation of cellular networks, the GSM standard was introduced by ETSI(European Telecommunications Standards Institute) in 1991.
The GSM is architectured into different segments as Base station, network and switching, operation support system and optional GPRS core network. Macro, pico, femto, umbrella and micro are the available sizes of cells in the GSM. Generally, cell phones connect to GSM by searching any of these cells in the close proximity.
SIM(Subscriber identity module) is a crucial aspect of GSM. It majorly holds the subscribers’ information.
In GSM 51 frame MF is employed for the purpose of signalling whereas, 26 frame MF is employed for the so-called traffic. Therefore we can say that in GSM varied structures of the frame are used for traffic and signalling. Thus the use of circuit switching traffic is there in GSM.IDLE and READY are the two states in which the GSM UE can exist. The radio resource allocation in GSM is symmetric because the time slot is allocated in uplink as well as downlink. The concept of location area is predominantly used in GSM.
What is GPRS?
GPRS is an acronym for General Packet Radio Service. It can support 56-114 kbps data transfer rate.GPRS is a packet-based standard defined for 2G and 3G cellular networks. It was introduced by ETSI. It uses TDMA(Time Division Multiple Access) channels for data transfer. It comes as integration with GSM. GPRS is an extension of GSM and provides services such as messaging, broadcasting, internet applications etc. The protocols that govern the GPRS module include Internet Protocol, Point to Point protocol and X.25 connections.
If the devices can be connected to GPRS and GSM simultaneously then they belong to the class A category. If devices can use both GPRS and GSM but one at a time then they are said to be of class B category. Here switching between the service occurs automatically. If the devices can use both GPRS and GSM but need to switch manually then they belong to class C category.
So basically it can be said that GPRS is an updated version of GSM that enables to send data at a much higher speed than the GSM was able to do initially. GPRS makes use of 52 frame MF for both traffic and signalling. Instead of circuit switching traffic, it uses packet switching traffic. IDLE, READY and STANDBY are three states in which the UE can exist. Here in GPRS, the time slot can be allocated either in the downlink or in an uplink. Hence it is said to have asymmetric resource allocation. The concept of routing area is predominantly used in GPRS.
In totality, GPRS is very promising when it comes to connectivity. It has reduced the cost of GSM operator up to a great extent. And most importantly the charges are based on the amount of data transferred and not the time for which the connection exists.