Term Paper: Cell Phone Communication Technology Evolution

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Cell Phone Communication Technology Evolution Over the Past 15 Years

Cell phones have become a ubiquitous feature of modern life and contemporary society and culture. The term " the cell phone culture" is fast become a term that correctly describes the way that cellular technology is influencing modern communications and cultural trends in the world. This technology has in recent years accelerated in terms of sophistication and usage. No longer are cell phones mainly found in affluent and developed countries. Countries like India, South Africa and less developed regions of Asia have shown a remarkable increase in usage and growth in the last decade.

Cell phones have also had a huge and dramatic influence on society and culture throughout the world. This mode of communication that modern cellular devices offers has changed not only access and availability to easy communication but also the way that people interact and relate to one another. Aspects like convergence and the visual facilities offered by modern cell phones have had a decided impact on society and altered the way that we perceive ourselves and the reality of the world around us.

In recent years, the growth of this technology has meant that cell phones and mobile Internet connections have become more integrated to open up new vistas in communication and interaction. The integration of mobile phones and the World Wide Web has led to developments in the mobile arena that were unimaginable fifteen years ago.

The term convergence, which is being touted by many pundits in the field, is an example of the modern trends in cell phone technology. Convergence and "smart phones" refer to the integration and interaction with other technologies that become an integral part of the cellular phone experience. Convergence also means that many previously separate forms of data and activities can converge or take place in one single mobile device. This factor has changed not only the way that many people work and play but has also had a far-reaching affect on contemporary society.

This refers to not only the Word Wide Web and information accessibly but also to aspect such as games, video and entrainment that are now accessible via the mobile device. In fact the mobile phone has morphed from a device that was used a decade ago purely for communication, to a device that can be used for business, entertainment and almost any other facet that requires communication. In some countries, such a South Africa and South Korea, the cell phone culture has become so endemic that many people spend most of their time on the phone. However, the growth of the cell phone culture, as will be discussed, has both positive and negative implications for modern society.

This paper will provide an overview of the growth and development of the modern cell phone and will relate these developments to their social and cultural impact on the modern world.

Brief overview of the development of cell phone communication.

2.1. Early developments

In essence, the technological development of modern cell phones and cell phone communications systems has its origins in the extension of radio technology. The early cell phone technology can be compared to the way that a CB radio system functions. The limitations of a CB radio system is that it uses the same frequency for both receiving and transmitting, which limits the communication to a single person at a time. This is known as a simplex system. (Mobile Phones: A Brief History) the development of a duplex system of communication was to lead to the modern cell phone. A duplex system is described as one that "... uses one frequency for transmitting and a second, separate frequency for receiving" (Mobile Phones: A Brief History).

Another aspect of the origins of the cell phone that should be noted is that these devises operate within specified cells. These cells are divided by a base station in a specified service area. This means that cell phone calls are relayed or transmitted from one transmitting tower to another as the caller moves one cell or area to another. This is an aspect of cellular technology that took some time to develop.

While the technology for the cell phone was known in the 1960s, there was still a lack of technical infrastructure to make the mobile cell phone a functioning reality. The central problem that had to be overcome was the fact that the user had to remain in one cell area for the phone to operate. In other words,

Cell areas which were serviced by a base station were unable to hand off cellular phone calls from one base station to another. While you could make a phone, call, you weren't able to continue the call after you reached a set range.

What is the History of Cell Phones?)

However, in 1970 an engineer form the Bell Labs, Amos Edward Joel, developed what is known as the 'call handoff system'. This system was to allow for the continuity of services and meant that a cellular phone call could be transmitted and continued "...from one area to another without dropping the phone call" (What is the History of Cell Phones?).

A request for cellular service was submitted by at&T to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1971. However, approval from the FCC was to take until 1982 to be realized. Furthermore,"... The FCC allocated the frequencies of 824-894 MHZ Band to Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS). From 1982 to 1990, AMPS was an analog service, Digital AMPS came online as of 1990." (What is the History of Cell Phones?)

It should also be noted that were many other technologies developed in the rest of the word that facilitated the emergence of the modern cell phone. For example, the Mobile Telephone System or MTA developed by Eriksson was available in Sweden in 1950's. However, the drawback in his system was that it weighted over eighty pounds. The reduction of the system to twenty pounds still meant that the system was unsuitable as a portable device. (What is the History of Cell Phones?) Size and weight of the cell phone as network restrictions were early obstacles that were slowly but surely overcome by the industry.

First, Second and Third Generation cell phones

The general history of the cell phone in terms of technological advance is usually divided into First, Second and Third generation phones. The first true mobile cellular phone was developed by the Motorola Company in 1983. This was known as the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. (What is the History of Cell Phones?) This phone was subsequently approved by the FCC in the United States. One of the defining features of this phone that it weighted only about 28 ounces, which made it the first real portable device for cellular communication. It was largely developed with the help of Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola. There were also new technical developments in terms of data transmission. For example,

After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared in 1987 that cellular licensees could employ alternative cellular technologies in the 800 MHz band, the cellular industry began to research new transmission technology as an alternative to AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service) that had been the industry standard since 1978.

Bellis)

Cell phones began to increase in popularity and usage and by the end of the 1980s and the early 1990's there was more access in terms of the cellular systems and networks. Cell phones were initially used mainly as "car phones" due to their size and bulk. Battery size was also a problem and "There were also a few models that came as briefcases, to hold large batteries necessary to make phone calls" (What is the History of Cell Phones?).

At this point in its development, communication over cellular phones was largely limited to emergency communications or communication while traveling. The technology at this stage was far removed from the ubiquitous and general usage that is experienced today.

Second generation cellular phones (2G) began to be developed in the 1990s. In technical parlance, these phones were designed to work on mobile phone systems such as GSM, IS?136 (TDMA) and IS?95 (CDMA). (What is the History of Cell Phones?)

One of the defining characteristics of this generation of phones was that digital circuits were used to switch phone transmissions. This had a number of advantages and brought about further advances in communications.

This ultimately enabled quicker network signaling, lowering the amount of dropped calls and increasing call quality. As 2G digital networks were online, most of the time, they replaced analog network frequencies, effectively making them obsolete.

What is the History of Cell Phones?)

Furthermore, the 2G phones were much smaller in size, making them more amenable to transportation by the individual and therefore increasing their usability and popularity. One of the central technological advances in the development and acceptance of the modern cell phone was the improvements in battery size and usage time. 2G phones has more battery life which made them more accessible and mobile.

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Cell Phone Communication Technology Evolution.  (2008, March 10).  Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cell-phone-communication-technology/38192

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