WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is the radio access scheme used for third generation cellular systems that are being rolled out in various parts of the globe.


The 3G systems to support wideband services like high-speed Internet access, video and high quality image transmission with the same quality as the fixed networks. In WCDMA systems the CDMA air interface is combined with GSM based networks. The WCDMA standard was evolved through the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) which aims to ensure interoperability between different 3G networks.


The standard that has emerged through this partnership project is based on ETSI's Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) and is commonly known as UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA). The access scheme for UTRA is Direct Sequence Code Division Multiple Access (DS-CDMA). The information is spread over a band of approximately 5 MHz. This wide bandwidth has given rise to the name Wideband CDMA or WCDMA.


In WCDMA, there are two different modes of operation possible:

-TDD: In this duplex method, uplink and downlink transmissions are carried over the same frequency band by using synchronized time intervals. Thus time slots in a physical channel are divided into transmission and reception part.

-FDD: The uplink and downlink transmissions employ two separated frequency bands for this duplex method. A pair of frequency bands with specified separation is assigned for a connection. Since different regions have different frequency allocation schemes, the capability to operate in either FDD or TDD mode allows for efficient utilization of the available spectrum


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