ALERT

[WEBINAR] See the Whole Story: The Case for a Visualization Platform

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

Definition - What does Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) mean?

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a second generation (2G) standard for mobile networks.

In the early 1980s, a group was formed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to develop a digital mobile communication system. Aptly named Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM), its main task was to develop a single, consistent network for all of Europe and come up with a better and more efficient technical solution for wireless communication.

The GSM standard operates on three different carrier frequencies: the 900 MHz band, which was used by the original GSM system; the 1800 MHz band, which was added to support the swelling number of subscribers and the 1900 MHz frequency, which is used mainly in the U.S.

Although GSM is based on the time division multiple access (TDMA) system, its technology uses digital signaling and speech channels and is considered a second generation (2G) mobile phone system.

Techopedia explains Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

The GSM standard has given birth to wireless services like General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE). Its end users were the first to take advantage of an inexpensive implementation of SMS (short message system), which is more popularly known as texting.

Being a cellular network, GSM makes use of cells to provide wireless communication to subscribers who are in the vicinity of these cells. The four main cells that make up a GSM network are called macro, micro, pico and femto. Outdoor coverage is typically provided by macro and micro cells, while indoor coverage is usually provided by the pico and femto cells.

GSM phones may be identified by the presence of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM). This tiny object, which is about as wide as a finger, is a removable smart card that contains a user’s subscription information, as well as some contact entries. This SIM card allows a user to switch from one GSM phone to another. In some countries, especially those in Asia, GSM phones are locked to a specific carrier. However, if a user manages to unlock a phone, he can insert any SIM from any carrier into the same phone.

One of the main advantages of the GSM standard is the ability to roam and switch carriers by using individual mobile units (if partner networks are located in their destination).

Connect with us

Techopedia on Linkedin
Techopedia on Linkedin
Tweat cdn.techopedia.com
"Techopedia" on Twitter


'@Techopedia'
Sign up for Techopedia's Free Newsletter!

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter

Resources
Free Whitepaper: The Path to Hybrid Cloud
Free Whitepaper: The Path to Hybrid Cloud:
The Path to Hybrid Cloud: Intelligent Bursting To Amazon Web Services & Microsoft Azure
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide:
This white paper is for leaders of Operations, Engineering, or Infrastructure teams who are creating or executing an IT roadmap.
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor:
Virtual Health Monitor is a free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments.
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic:
Turbonomic delivers an autonomic platform where virtual and cloud environments self-manage in real-time to assure application performance.