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Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) is a high-speed wireless data service that can deliver speeds of up to 384kbps using all GSM channels. This speed now enables the possibility of the delivery of multimedia and other broadband application to mobile phones and computer users.
The EDGE standard is still built on the GSM standard, but is more specifically enhancements on the general packet radio system (GPRS) and high-speed circuit switched data (HSCSD) technologies. Considered as an evolutionary protocol in the way to Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS), it became commercially available in 2001.
The Enhanced Data GSM Environment standard was specifically developed for 3G, using the GSM platform. Thus, this technology is seen as a pre-3G development.
The enhancement is provided with upgrades to the packet-switching used by GPRS. Such is made possible through the addition of two types of nodes to the set up: the GPRS service node (GGSN), which connects to packet-switched networks and the serving GPRS service node (SGSN), which provides the packet-switched link to mobile stations.
This means that the usual GPRS modulation technique GSMK (Gaussian minimum shift-keying) is now introduced as 8PSK (eight-phase shift-keying) to offer the fastest rates possible. This capability is provided by the addition of an EDGE transceiver in each base station.
In some other instances, this system is also known as Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution. This may also be referred to as Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS) and is part of the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) of the GSM family.