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From GSM to LTE: An Introduction to Mobile Networks and Mobile Broadband by Martin Sauter

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3.1 Overview, History and Future

The trends and developments seen in fixed-line networks are also appearing in mobile networks albeit with a delay of about 5 years. In fixed networks, the number of people using the network not only for voice telephony but also to connect to the Internet is increasing as steadily as the transmission speeds. When the Internet first became popular, circuit-switched modems were used to establish a dial-up connection to the network. While the first modems that were used in the middle of the 1990s featured speeds of about 14.4 kbit/s, later models achieved around 50 kbit/s in the downlink (network to user) direction. Another incredible step forward was made around the year 2002 when technologies like cable and Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) modems reached the mass market and dramatically increased transmission speeds for end users. With these technologies, transmission speeds of several megabits per second are easily achieved. In many countries, fixed-line network operators are now rolling out high-speed connections based on optical fibers that are either directly deployed into the basements of buildings (fiber to the building) or to street-side equipment cabinets (fiber to the curb). The last few meters into buildings or apartments are then bridged with copper technologies such as Ethernet or Very-high-bitrate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL). This way a shorter length of copper cable is used for the last leg of the connection, which helps ...

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