Feb. 8, 2011, 8:43 p.m.
posted by clayrat
Choose the Right Phone for the Network
A Nokia mobile phone works with either the GSM network or the CDMA network. You need to choose the right model to match your wireless operator.
Not all Nokia smartphones work with all wireless operators everywhere in the world. Wireless operators build their networks using different technologies, and a given phone typically works with only one of the network technologies.
If you got your Nokia smartphone directly from the wireless operator when you signed up for a service plan, you can rest assured that the device is compatible with the operator's wireless network in your area. However, as smartphone power users and gadget lovers, many of us actually buy cutting-edge devices directly from electronics stores and then use them with existing service plans. In this case, you need to be a little careful to select a phone that works with your operator's network.
Popular networking technologies used by today's wireless operators include GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network), and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access):
The GSM technology was originally developed in Europe for digital voice networks. It has been extended to support fast wireless data access via the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS; 2040 kbps), EDGE (40 230 kbps), and UMTS (384 kbps and up) protocols. GSM phones operate at frequencies of around 900, 850, 1800, and 1900 MHz. It is now the most widely used wireless phone network technology in the world. Most Nokia phones support GSM and GPRS. A few newer models also support EDGE and UMTS. I discuss how to set up data networking on Nokia GSM phones in "Connect Your Phone to the Internet" [Hack #10].
The iDEN technology is Motorola's proprietary wireless networking technology based on (but not compatible with) GSM. It attempts to combine the digital phone, two-way radio, alphanumeric pager, and data/fax modem in a single network. The iDEN network is used in about a dozen countries. In North America, Nextel and Mike (Telus Mobility) are iDEN operators. Nokia phones do not work on iDEN networks.
The CDMA technology is developed and licensed by Qualcomm. It is a spread-spectrum technology that uses a single-frequency band for all traffic. Individual transmission is differentiated via a unique code assigned by the network before transmission. CDMA supports wireless data at a peak of 153 kbps, roughly three times the speed of GPRS. As of late 2004, 15 models of CDMA-compatible Nokia devices were available. However, when it comes to device software and additional features, Nokia's CDMA devices are not as technically advanced as its GSM-based devices.
To get a complete list of GSM and CDMA devices from Nokia, go to the Forum Nokia device matrix at http://www.forum.nokia.com/ devices and choose GSM or CDMA in the "Devices filtered by" drop-down box (see Figure).