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Keywords & Acronyms

We have written articles to explain some 3GPP related keywords and acronyms, to give some background material on the topic.

Terms include:  

3GPP Series & technologies

The first two digits of a 3GPP TS or TR number define the spec series; for example LTE radio (E-UTRAN) is defined in the 36 Series.

On this page you can find which technology is [at least partially] aligned with which 3GPP series.

A-Z list of technical terms

The 3GPP Report ‘Vocabulary for 3GPP Specifications’ identifies specialist technical terms used;

  • To ensure that editors use terminology that is consistent across specifications.
  • To provide a reader with convenient reference for technical terms that are used across multiple documents.

Furthermore, you can check which Spec(s) a term or abbreviation is defined in using ETSI’s TEDDI application. Note that this only shows terms defined in 3GPP TSs and TRs which have already been transposed as ETSI publications.



gsmGeneral Packet Radio Service / Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution 

GSM is a circuit-switched network; ideal for the delivery of voice but with limitations for sending data. However, the standard for GSM was designed to evolve and in 2000 the introduction of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) added packet-switched functionality, kick-starting the delivery of the Internet on mobile handsets.

GPRS adds packet-switched functionality to GSM networks

Based on specifications in Release 97, GPRS typically reached speeds of 40Kbps in the downlink and 14Kbps in the uplink by aggregating GSM time slots into one bearer. Enhancements in Releases R’98 and R’99 meant that GPRS could theoretically reach downlink speeds of up to 171Kbps.

EDGE… almost 3G

The next advance in GSM radio access technology was EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution), or Enhanced GRPS.

With a new modulation technique yielding a three-fold increase in bit rate (8PSK replacing GMSK) and new channel coding for spectral efficiency, EDGE was successfully introduced without disrupting the frequency re-use plans of existing GSM deployments.

The increase in data speeds to 384Kbps placed EDGE as an early pre-taste of 3G, although it was labeled 2.75G by industry watchers.


Ongoing standards work in 3GPP has delivered EDGE Evolution, which is designed to complement high-speed packet access (HSPA) coverage.

EDGE Evolution has:

  • Improved spectral efficiency with reduced latencies down to 100ms
  • Increased throughput speeds to 1.3Mbps in the downlink and 653Kbps in the uplink

GPRS (Release 97) and EDGE (Release 98) are largely maintained in the RAN6 Working Group of 3GPP, which succeeded TSG GERAN when it was closed in 2016.

Reading should start with the 44 series and 45 series of the 3GPP specifications.

Conformance Testing (UE)

UE test case work for LTE goes in to Over-drive

3GPP RAN5, the Working Group responsible for User Equipment (UE) testing, made significant progress during the recent Plenary meeting (#42), in Athens, with a set of LTE related test specifications being approved in Release 8 of the standard.


Universal Mobile Telecommunications System

UMTS is an umbrella term for the third generation radio technologies developed within 3GPP.

The radio access specifications provide for Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) variants, and several chip rates are provided for in the TDD option, allowing UTRA technology to operate in a wide range of bands and co-exist with other radio access technologies.


Wideband Code Division Multiple Access

W-CDMA – the radio technology of UMTS - is a part of the ITU IMT-2000 family of 3G Standards.

Both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) variants are supported.

W-CDMA is a spread-spectrum modulation technique; one which uses channels whose bandwidth is much greater than that of the data to be transferred. Instead of each connection being granted a dedicated frequency band just wide enough to accommodate its envisaged maximum data rate, W-CDMA channels share a much larger band.



Self-Organizing Networks

By Magdalena Nohrborg

SON solutions can be divided into three categories: Self-Configuration, Self-Optimisation and Self-Healing. The SON architecture can be a centralized, distributed or a hybrid solution.