13Network Topologies, Design and Convergence

Historical Note

A fundamental mobile telecommunications system configuration consists of a central device, usually known as a base station, which simultaneously transmits and receives signals from several end-user devices. The area covered by the base station is called a ‘cell’, giving rise to the term cellular communications. This configuration still remains the way all public wireless systems are designed and rolled out. Nevertheless much has changed since the first generation systems.

The first generation system networks were designed around fixed line operator exchanges. Most exchanges had a telecommunications tower for point-to-point relay connectivity and on these the first cellular system antennas were installed. These exchanges were already a part of the public-switched telephone network (PSTN) and readily switched mobile calls to their destination. Moreover, exchanges served a certain number of fixed subscribers, usually 10 000–20 000, and were therefore ideally ...

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