CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) refers to any of several protocols used in so-called second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) wireless communications. As the term implies, CDMA is a form of multiplexing, which allows numerous signals to occupy a single transmission channel, optimizing the use of available bandwidth. The technology is used in ultra-high-frequency (UHF) cellular telephone systems in the 800-MHz and 1.9-GHz bands.
CDMA employs analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) in combination with spread spectrum technology. Audio input is first digitized into binary elements. The frequency of the transmitted signal is then made to vary according to a defined pattern (code), so it can be intercepted only by a receiver whose frequency response is programmed with the same code, so it follows exactly along with the transmitter frequency. There are trillions of possible frequency-sequencing codes, which enhances privacy and makes cloning difficult.
The CDMA channel is nominally 1.23 MHz wide. CDMA networks use a scheme called soft handoff, which minimizes signal breakup as a handset passes from one cell to another. The combination of digital and spread-spectrum modes supports several times as many signals per unit bandwidth as analog modes. CDMA is compatible with other cellular technologies; this allows for nationwide roaming.
The original CDMA standard, also known as CDMA One and still common in cellular telephones in the U.S., offers a transmission speed of only up to 14.4 Kbps in its single channel form and up to 115 Kbps in an eight-channel form. CDMA2000 and wideband CDMA deliver data many times faster.
Since the development of CDMA technology there has been many new releases and platforms. The original CDMA is now referred to as CDMAone. Several different variants of CDMA technology been developed continuously improving quality and data transfer speeds. Third generation CDMA technology, commonly referred to as CDMA2000 encompasses a wide variety of different standards, each continually improving upon the first including; 1X EV, 1XEV-DO, and MC 3X. CDMA2000 is the current standard used by most US carriers today. The first release of CDMA2000 was refereed to as either 3G1X, 1XRTT, or 1X. Designed to provide data transmissions of ten times faster then the previous technology and double the voice capacity of CDMAone.
As stated above, Verizon Wireless operates on the CDMA network. Depending on the phone you have and its capabilities you will notice symbols in the default screen of your phone reading either 1X, 1XEV-DO or some variation of the two. This symbol defines the CDMA2000 standards your phone is operating on. Newer phones will display EV or EV-DO using the newer faster, more reliable CDMA technology.
Enhanced data transfer provides for the new technologies released by companies like Verizon. Including data transfer for files, music, games and the Internet.
WCDMA technology, standing for Wideband Code Division Multiple access, is the most developed and advanced form of the third generation CDMA2000 technology. It encompasses higher data transfer rates and provides wireless connections in markets world wide. Many existing GSM 2G (GSM/GPRS) operators have slowly began the switch to using WCDMA technology.
Qualcomm the original developer of CDMA owns patents of this technology. They have granted royalty-bearing licenses to over 100 network operators.