GSM Specifications

Before looking at the GSM specifications, it is important to understand the following basic terms:

• bandwidth - the range of a channel's limits; the broader the bandwidth, the faster data can be sent

• bits per second (bps ) - a single on-off pulse of data; eight bits are equivalent to one byte

• frequency - the number of cycles per unit of time; frequency is measured in hertz (Hz)

• kilo (k) - kilo is the designation for 1,000; the abbreviation kbps represents 1,000 bits per second

• megahertz (MHz) - 1,000,000 hertz (cycles per second)

• milliseconds (ms ) - one-thousandth of a second

• watt (W) - a measure of power of a transmitter

Specifications for different personal communication services (PCS) systems vary among the different PCS networks. Listed below is a descr iption of the specifications and characteristics for GSM.

• frequency band - The frequency range specified for GSM is 1,850 to 1,990 MHz (mobile station to base station).

• duplex distance - The duplex distance is 80 MHz. Duplex distance is the distance between the uplink and downlink frequencies. A channel has two frequencies, 80 MHz apart.

• channel separation - The separation between adjacent carrier frequencies. In GSM, this is 200 kHz.

• modulation - Modulation is the process of sending a signal by changing the characteristics of a carr ier frequency. This is done in GSM via Gaussian minimum shift keying (GMSK).

• transmission rate - GSM is a digital system with an over-the-air bit rate of 270 kbps.

• access method - GSM utilizes the time division multiple access (TDMA) concept. TDMA is a technique in which several different calls may share the same carr ier. Each call is assigned a particular time slot.

• speech coder - GSM uses linear predictive coding (LPC). The purpose of LPC is to reduce the bit rate. The LPC provides parameters for a filter that mimics the vocal tract. The signal passes through this filter, leaving behind a residual signal. Speech is encoded at 13 kbps.


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