Is D-AMPS different from AMPS?

There have been lots of technologies in the evolution of mobile communications which can a bit confusing especially when you hear two terminologies that sound quite similar. One such confusion can be AMPS vs. D-AMPS which is what we will answer in this article.

AMPS and D-AMPS are two separate technologies, the first one is analogue and the other is digital. AMPS was the analogue technology used for the first generation (1G) of mobile networks while D-AMPS is the digital version of AMPS used for the second generation (2G) of mobile networks.

What is AMPS?

AMPS stands for Advanced Mobile Phone System, and it was the analogue technology standard used for the first generation (1G) of mobile networks in the US which was followed by other countries. It was introduced in the early 1980s. AMPS employed frequency bands from 824 to 894 MHz for communication over the air interface including uplink and downlink frequencies. It used Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) for connecting mobile phones to the mobile networks. AMPS used frequency channels of 30 kHz bandwidth.

The other 1G technologies that existed in other parts of the world at the same time as AMPS were NMT (Nordic Mobile Telephone), C-NETZ (Radio Telephone Network C) and TACS (Total Access Communications System). NMT was used in nordic countries, C-NETZ mainly in Germany and TACS mainly in the UK.

What is D-AMPS?

D-AMPS stands for Digital Advanced Mobile Phone System and is the digital upgrade path for AMPS. It was used for the second generation (2G) of mobile networks in the US and various other countries. D-AMPS was launched in the early 1990s in the same era when GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) was launched. D-AMPS uses the same frequency band for communication as AMPS which is 824 MHz to 894MHz.

The frequency band is divided into two with 824-849 MHz for the uplink (Mobile phone to Base Station) and 869-894MHz for the downlink (Base Station to Mobile phone). The allocated uplink and downlink frequency bands are first divided into frequency channels of 30 kHz each using FDMA, and then TDMA is applied which further breaks each of these 30 kHz channels down into three (3) time slots. Digital voice compression is also used to make efficient use of the existing capacity.

The communication in D-AMPS networks is also encrypted to ensure security. Seemingly due to the fact that TDMA was applied to this digital version of AMPS, it is often referred to as TDMA, which can be a bit confusing considering it uses both FDMA and TDMA. Interestingly, GSM, which is the most widely deployed 2G standard, also uses a combination of FDMA and TDMA for its air interface. The other prominent technology for 2G that existed at the same time as D-AMPS and GSM was cdmaOne or IS-95.

Here are some helpful downloads

Thank you for reading this post, I hope it helped you in developing a better understanding of cellular networks. But sometimes, we need some extra support especially when preparing for a new job, or studying a new topic, or maybe just buying a new phone. Whatever you are trying to do, here are some downloads that can help you:

Students & fresh graduates: If you are just starting, the complexity of the cellular industry can be a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, I have created this FREE ebook so you can familiarise yourself with the basics like 3G, 4G etc. As a next step, check out the latest edition of the same ebook with more details on 4G & 5G networks with diagrams. You can then read Mobile Networks Made Easy which explains the network nodes e.g. BTS, MSC, GGSN etc.

Professionals: If you are an experienced professional but new to mobile communications, it may seem hard to compete with someone who has a decade of experience in the cellular industry. But not everyone who works in this industry is always up to date on the bigger picture and challenges given how quickly the industry evolves. The bigger picture comes from experience which is why I’ve carefully put together a few slides to get you started in no time. So if work in sales, marketing, product, project or any other area of business where you need a high-level view, Introduction to Mobile Communications can give you a quick start. Also, here are some templates to help you prepare your own slides on product overview and product roadmap.

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