EDGE networks

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EDGE = Enhanced Data-rates for GPRS Evolution

On a modern smartphone, users will in areas of 2G network covererage a letter 'E' beside the signal strength. This indicates that the phone is trying to use 2G EDGE technology for the data connection. GPRS was the first always-on data network using the 2G network and EDGE was an improvement for this technology.

The first developments of GRPS were successful in delivering data to the user; but as always there is a demand for faster connections. The development of EDGE was to use the existing data network (2G) and to evolve the use of the network to deliver faster data rates. Note that the term evolve is critical. Evolution of the network is key, there is a demand for the previous GPRS technology to work with the new EDGE technology.

GRPS worked at a speed of 115-160kbps with the new EDGE technology working at 384-473kbps; around 3 times faster. The two main evolutions were a new evolved paket switching technology to speed up the network and a more dense modulation. GRPS uses BPSK modulation whereas EDGE uses PSK/8; sending 3 bits rather than 1 thus the threefold increase in speed.