CDMA Module An Alternative to 3G

Ashish Gulati
Country Head, India, Telit Wireless Solution

Deploying a CDMA module can result in cost-effective, highly competitive device and perfect platform for low data network.

Numerous telecommunication carriers across the world are migrating from 2G to 3G technology to provide high speed data service. The migration more or less has direct impact on the requirements for 3G wireless modems used in machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. One of the main issues related is the numerous and differing frequency bands used by 3G networks depending on carrier and geographic region. But on the other hand, the rapid growth of M2M has been driven by innovation, new applications, and communications services to the service providers.

The huge and dynamic M2M market place comprises of a wide range of applications across a diverse industries. In many applications, the largest growth opportunities lie in embedded cellular M2M, which enables rapid and secure data transfer via CDMA networks. Companies who are looking to market a new solution might want to consider using a CDMA module as an alternative to 3G. There is a significant price difference as the module makes up around 30% of the device cost. Deploying a CDMA module can therefore result in a cost-effective and a highly competitive device. For example, there are solutions for perfect platform for low data from applications on CDMA networks, such as telemetry, telematics, smart metering and health care. Many modules like 1xRTT are pin-to-pin compatible with the xE910 family, allowing easy integration of different wireless technologies into the same design. It enables reliable and secure 1xRTT cellular communication, making it an ideal platform for m2m applications requiring robust and proven connectivity.

New entrants into the M2M markets may not be aware that solutions need to be certified before they can be deployed. Obtaining certification for M2M devices in this market is a complex process. It is important to note that devices which have been approved for European and other networks will still have to go through the U.S. certification process if the company wants to market its solution in that market.

Enabling more innovative, cost-effective solutions that come to the market in short time frames is not only good for the industry but also for the economy.

Speeding up the Process Developing and deploying a M2M solution involves a multi-step process. Different companies have different requirements, but one can start with reviewing the design which includes the antenna, placement, the schematic and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layout. The position of the antenna on the PCB is very important since this is the source of potential Radio Frequency and RF Interference signals. Moreover the most common reason for compliance failure is RF interference.

The portfolio also includes RF/EMC pre-certification tests at the application level. These are important because they speed up the certification process and help get solutions to market in shorter time frames.

The Certification Process
The CCF (CDMA Certification Forum) is the organization that authorizes test labs and determines whether a device qualifies for certification to operate on CDMA-based networks. The CCF and its authorized labs certify that a device meet the requirements defined by 3GPP2 specifications. But they are considerably simpler to achieve as compared to the approval for the country’s leading 3G-based network. That’s why it is important to deploy modules that have been pre-certified: if not, the solution will be unusable in this market.

The M2M providers design an innovative solution for a specific sector, which may also be particularly relevant for smaller vendors and/or companies who are entering the M2M arena for the first time. Without specialist support these companies may fail to realize the business opportunity that they have, even though the device has been certified and deployed. In addition they may lack the requisite skills in the development of hardware, software and mechanical components.

CDMA uses analog-to-digital conversion in combination with spread spectrum technology. Some of the CDMA devices use a rake receiver that exploits multipath components to improve the performance of the system. Multipath occurs when RF signals arrive at a location via different transmission paths due to the reflection of the transmitted signal from fixed and moving objects. When signal received over multipath channels, rake receivers uses several baseband correlators to combat several signal multipath components.

CDMA wireless frequency carries many conversations simultaneously and converts voice to digital data with a unique code. CDMA is a channelized technology in the latest generation of mobile networks. With high capacity, CDMA provides secure communication. Machine 2 Machine communication is a developmental platform for CDMA, allowing devices to communicate with each other in a communication network. M2M communication has been used in a wide variety of applications like sending and receiving data through CDMA cellular network.