space division multiple access


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Space-Division Multiple Access (SDMA) is a channel access method based on creating parallel spatial pipes next to higher capacity pipes through spatial multiplexing and/or diversity, by which it is able to offer superior performance in radio multiple access communication systems. In traditional mobile cellular network systems, the base station has no information on the position of the mobile units within the cell and radiates the signal in all directions within the cell in order to provide radio coverage. This results in wasting power on transmissions when there are no mobile units to reach, in addition to causing interference for adjacent cells using the same frequency, so called co-channel cells. Likewise, in reception, the antenna receives signals coming from all directions including noise and interference signals. By using smart antenna technology and differing spatial locations of mobile units within the cell, space-division multiple access techniques offer attractive performance enhancements. The radiation pattern of the base station, both in transmission and reception, is adapted to each user to obtain highest gain in the direction of that user. This is often done using phased array techniques.

In GSM cellular networks, the base station is aware of the mobile phone’s position by use of a technique called Timing Advance (TA). The Base Transceiver Station (BTS) can determine how distant the Mobile Station (MS) is by interpreting the reported TA. This information, along with other parameters, can then be used to power down the BTS or MS, if a power control feature is implemented in the network. The power control in either BTS or MS is implemented in most modern networks, especially on the MS, as this ensures a better battery life for the MS and thus a better user experience (in that the need to charge the battery becomes less frequent). This is why it may actually be safer to have a BTS close to you as your MS will be powered down as much as possible. For example, there is more power being transmitted from the MS than what you would receive from the BTS even if you are 6 m away from a mast. However, this estimation might not consider all the MS’s that a particular BTS is supporting with EM radiation at any given time.


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