Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) (also known as Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS), or IMT Single Carrier (IMT-SC), or Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution) is a digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates as a backward-compatible extension of GSM. EDGE is considered a pre-3G radio technology and is part of ITU's 3G definition. EDGE was deployed on GSM networks beginning in 2003 — initially by Cingular (now AT&T) in the United States.
EDGE is standardized by 3GPP as part of the GSM family.
Through the introduction of sophisticated methods of coding and transmitting data, EDGE delivers higher bit-rates per radio channel, resulting in a threefold increase in capacity and performance compared with an ordinary GSM/GPRS connection.
EDGE can be used for any packet switched application, such as an Internet connection.
Evolved EDGE continues in Release 7 of the 3GPP standard providing reduced latency and more than doubled performance e.g. to complement High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA). Peak bit-rates of up to 1Mbit/s and typical bit-rates of 400kbit/s can be expected.
EDGE/EGPRS is implemented as a bolt-on enhancement for 2.5G GSM/GPRS networks, making it easier for existing GSM carriers to upgrade to it. EDGE is a superset to GPRS and can function on any network with GPRS deployed on it, provided the carrier implements the necessary upgrade.
EDGE requires no hardware or software changes to be made in GSM core networks. EDGE-compatible transceiver units must be installed and the base station subsystem needs to be upgraded to support EDGE. If the operator already has this in place, which is often the case today, the network can be upgraded to EDGE by activating an optional software feature. Today EDGE is supported by all major chip vendors for both GSM and WCDMA/HSPA.
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