EDGE is the next step in the evolution of GSM and IS- 136. The objective of the new technology is to increase data transmission rates and spectrum efficiency and to facilitate new applications and increased capacity for mobile use. With the introduction of EDGE in GSM phase 2+, existing services such as GPRS and high-speed circuit switched data (HSCSD) are enhanced by offering a new physical layer. The services themselves are not modified. EDGE is introduced within existing specifications and descriptions rather than by creating new ones. This paper focuses on the packet-switched enhancement for GPRS, called EGPRS.
GPRS allows data rates of 115 kbps and, theoretically, of up to 160 kbps on the physical layer. EGPRS is capable of offering data rates of 384 kbps and, theoretically, of up to 473.6 kbps. A new modulation technique and error-tolerant transmission methods, combined with improved link adaptation mechanisms, make these EGPRS rates possible. This is the key to increased spectrum efficiency and enhanced applications, such as wireless Internet access, e-mail and file transfers.GPRS/EGPRS will be one of the pacesetters in the overall wireless technology evolution in conjunction with WCDMA.
Higher transmission rates for specific radio resources enhance capacity by enabling more traffic for both circuit- and packet-switched services. As the Third-generation Partnership Project (3GPP) continues standardization toward the GSM/EDGE radio access network (GERAN), GERAN will be able to offer the same services as WCDMA by connecting to the same core network. This is done in parallel with means to increase the spectral efficiency. The goal is to boost system capacity, both for real- time and best-effort services, and to compete effectively with other third-generation radio access networks such as WCDMA and cdma2000.