What is GPRS?

August 19, 2023
David Sunnyside

GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service. It is an add-on to GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) that currently dominates cell phone technology in Europe and Asia, and allows data to move in packets rather than the circuit-switched manner used in traditional cellular phone connections. It also enables the use of mobile Internet services and GPS (Global Positioning System) location information.

In a GPRS network, each user has access to one pair of up-link and down-link frequency channels that are shared with other users. This multiplexing uses a time domain statistical multiplexing scheme with first-come, first-served packet scheduling. In addition to the time domain statistical multiplexing, GPRS uses channel encoding processes such as cyclic code and punctured convolutional code for error correction.

AT&T Wireless plans to start offering GPRS in Seattle later this year, with its basic 1 MB Wireless Internet Express package sufficient for WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) usage. This should give AT&T a step up on the competition, which includes Cingular and VoiceStream in the US and Vodafone in Europe.

AT&T's new network is expected to be upgraded next year to EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution), which provides about 118K bit/sec on a handheld device, Pemble said. EDGE will offer three times the performance of GSM and GPRS, and should provide enough speed for typical Internet and WAP use. In addition to offering faster data rates, EDGE will allow AT&T to reduce the cost of its mobile Internet services, because it will require less bandwidth than existing technologies.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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