CDMA vs WCDMA: Difference and Comparison

Intercommunication devices have become of the utmost use in this 21st Century. We used to have mobile phones, pagers, radios, etc. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, most of our devices are connected to it.

However, we ought to look into the more fundamental aspects of these kinds of communication networks, whether it is our computers, TVs, mobile phones, or anything. How do they function, and why? This is where CDMA and WCDMA come into play. 

Key Takeaways

  1. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is a technology that uses spread spectrum techniques for communication, while WCDMA (Wideband CDMA) is a third-generation mobile communication technology.
  2. CDMA provides more secure communication, while WCDMA offers faster data transfer rates.
  3. CDMA is used in the United States, while WCDMA is used in Europe and Asia.

CDMA vs. WCDMA

The difference between CDMA and WCDMA is that CDMA is the technology used in 2G networks, while WCDMA is used in 3G networks.

CDMA vs WCDMA

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. This algorithm helps a user capture several channels for the same bandwidth. So, in simple terms, it improves the connection by accommodating more users per MHz of bandwidth.

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WCDMA stands for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. It uses the same technology as CDMA but incorporates it into 3G. This works with GSM and EDGE to be used as UMTS, resulting in higher internet speed.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCDMAWCDMA
DefinitionCDMA is an algorithm that brings in more channels in a specified bandwidth.WCDMA uses the basic technology of CDMA but incorporates it into GSM and EDGE.
NetworkUsed in 2G network.Used in 3G network.
SpeedRelatively slower than WCDMA.Faster than CDMA.
GSMIs a rival to GSM.Works with GSM.
Bandwidth1.25 MHz.5 MHz.

What is CDMA?

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. This algorithm helps a user capture several channels for the same bandwidth. So, in simple terms, it improves the connection by accommodating more users per MHz of bandwidth.

So, in a way, CDMA multiplexes various signals to fit into a single bandwidth. Usually, CDMA operates in the ultra-high-frequency region, mostly between 800 MHz to 2 GHz.

However, one should not confuse the mode of operation of CDMA with the usual methods of time and frequency multiplexing. This is because, in CDMA, a customer can access the network for the whole duration without any supposed interruptions.

The main reason for this is that this algorithm gives each user a unique identity, which helps to identify two different customers. The working CDMA is an intricate mechanism that allows up to 61 users simultaneously and fits them into the same 1.23 MHz.

There are 64 Walsh codes. These codes help the algorithm differentiate between the theoretical limits and the calls. However, in real-time applications, the real number is lesser than this number due to technical limitations and quality purposes.

Using CDMA has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages of using CDMA include low interference due to transmission bursts and the usage of rake receivers to improve receivers. Usage of flexible transfer, which helps the switching of mobile stations without changing the operator.

The main disadvantages of CDMA include delay due to the code’s large size, precise time synchronization requirement, and gradual transfer often saturates radio capacity.

cdma

What is WCDMA?

WCDMA stands for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. It uses the same technology as CDMA but incorporates it into 3G. This works with GSM and EDGE to be used as UMTS, resulting in higher internet speed.

WCDMA signifies the leap from 2G to 3G and thus is miles ahead in terms of speed. This is due to a very specific reason. CDMA is a competitor of GSM, and hence, they did not incorporate technologies to build something faster and stronger.

However, WCDMA incorporates GSM and EDGE, which finally led to UMTS. This resulted in better connectivity, better capacity, and better speed. WCDMA supports various technological connectivity, such as cellular voice, text, MMS, and 3G.

WCDMA deploys a Direct Sequence Code Division Method (DS-CDMA) channel access method, a frequency division duplexing. These help it to attain better connectivity and higher speeds.

WCDMA has two modes:

  1. Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) – This is a method of separating users by software and hardware. They use the code and the frequencies to differentiate between the users. Two frequencies are used. One of them is the uplink, and the other is the downlink.
  2. Time Division Duplex (TDD) –  In this method, in addition to the frequencies and code used in FDD, time is another factor that is used to differentiate between the users. 

The advantages of WCDMA include higher connection speeds and stronger networks. The main disadvantages of WCDMA are that it is not used worldwide, so there is a compatibility issue for many handsets.

wcdma 1

Main Differences Between CDMA and WCDMA

  1. The main difference between CDMA and WCDMA is that CDMA is an algorithm that beings more channels in a single bandwidth, while WCDMA uses CDMA and incorporates GSM and EDGE.
  2. CDMA is used over a 2G network, while WCDMA is used over a 3G network.
  3. CDMA is slow compared to WCDMA.
  4. CDMA rivals GSM, while WCDMA works with it.
  5. CDMA operates in a bandwidth of 1.25 MHz, while WCDMA operates at 5 MHz.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 19T094015.660
References
  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.5555/525067
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=DRO6CwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=wcdma&ots=R6XtqSHTYf&sig=8RZQ4jYDxYKA88mQTz6kIom1pa0
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