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Radio access network

A radio access network (RAN) is part of a mobile Telecommunication system. It implements a radio access technology. Conceptually, it sits between the Mobile phone, and the core network (CN). The mobile phone is varyingly known as user equipment (UE), terminal equipment, mobile station (MS), etc., depending on the standard. See the following diagram:
/ / RAN / \ UE UE CN \ \ RAN / \ UE UE

Examples of radio access network types are:

GRAN - GSM radio access network GERAN - essentially the same as GRAN but specifying the inclusion of EDGE packet radio services UTRAN - UMTS radio access network

The term RAN is typically used in regards to the GSM, UMTS, and associated family of standards. While there is no direct equivalent in TIA standards such as IS-136 and IS-95, the equivalent would be the air interface of that network, coupled with those components governing the networking of base stations and their connection to the core network. Note that it is also possible for a single handset/phone to be simultaneously connected to multiple radio access networks. Handsets capable of this are sometimes called dual-mode handsets. For instance it is common today (2008) for handsets to support both GSM and UMTS (a.k.a. "3G") radio access technologies. It is then possible to seamlessly transfer an ongoing call between different radio access networks without the user noticing any disruption in service.

Building block for mobile broadband networks

GSM is the most successful communication technology ever. Launched in 1991, it serves more than 80% of mobile subscribers today. In many parts of the world GSM is the only means of mobile communication, and will be for some time to come. In other areas, GSMs wide penetration and vast footprint provide umbrella coverage for HSPA and LTE networks.

New challenges and new opportunities

Every day around 1.5 million people become new GSM subscribers. As a result, new networks are built and existing networks are expanded to new geographical areas. With a huge increase in voice and data traffic, operators face the challenge of upgrading and optimising network infrastructure while maintaining cost efficiency. Nokia Siemens Networks is committed to delivering smarter GSM networks. Our innovative products, software and site solutions have the potential to vastly increase revenue, providing: cost optimised use of existing infrastructure efficient expansion with software solutions M2M and smart device friendly GSM networks HD voice and IP transport reduced environmental impact unmatched end user experience improved security

Solutions for optimisation and infrastructure

The 3G data boom driven by smart devices brings new business opportunities to GSM networks. Our Smart Resource Adaptation software feature an industry first allows up to a five-fold increase in smart device users in a network, while improving network quality for other users. The software provides capacity to support more new devices, more end users, increased signalling and traffic load, and simultaneous voice and data calls. Typically, modernising GSM network infrastructure gives a return on investment in 1 to 2 years. Our best-selling Flexi Base Station provides effective modernisation, and with weather-proof modules to suit any site, its the ideal platform for expansion.