Defining Personal Communications

Personal communications services (PCS) are wireless. This simply means that they are radio based. The user requires no tether. The conventional telephone is connected by a wire pair through to the local serving switch. The wire pair is a tether. We can only walk as far with that telephone handset as the "tether" allows.

Both of the systems we have dealt with in the previous sections of this chapter can be classified as PCS. Cellular radio, particularly with the hand-held terminal, gives the user tetherless telephone communication. Paging systems provided the mobile/ambulatory user a means of being alerted that someone wishes to talk to that person on the telephone or of receiving a short message. The cordless telephone is certainly another example that has extremely wide use around the world with a rough estimate of 600 million sets and growing. We provide a brief review of cordless telephone set technology below. Other examples are those governed by IEEE 802.11 series of specifications, 802.15 and 802.16, which have been described earlier. The European-developed GSM, although listed as cellular, may also be included under the PCS umbrella. It not only is widely used in Europe, Africa, and Asia, but also is beginning to have deep penetration in North America.

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