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  1. History lesson time! This could be helpful to anyone new to this site, or new to cell phone technology, as well as mobile networks. Origin of cell phone towers: Well, cell towers didnt become widely available until the 1990`s in the U.S, as after this time period, more and more people began to use cell phones, which led to more cell towers being deployed around communities, cities, and eventually, almost everywhere in the United States. Imagine how it used to be. Stuck on landline phones, and not having a way to contact others while you were away from home. Now, cell phones and cell phone towers are literally the backbone of our society. We use towers to connect our cell phones to mobile data networks that allow us to surf the web, send e-mails, watch videos, and more. But still, how does a cell tower work exactly? The Basics: Cell phone towers can take up different forms, or styles. Some could be free standing towers, or some could be placed on standing structures such as buildings(usually taller buildings), and other taller objects. (Keep in mind that most base stations are usually between 50-200 Feet tall). Towers and cell phones communicate with each other mainly through RF (Radio Frequency) waves. When a call is placed on a cell phone, the signal from the phone is directed to the closest base station antenna. From this point, the base station sets the available RF frequency channel to the signal. The signal is then sent to a switching center, which then transfers the call to the appropriate person, or place you are calling. Signals are constantly transfered back and fourth from the cell tower, to the mobile phone as the call is active. Much more simple than you would think right? Today`s faster networks: Technology has really advanced as time went on. We went from compact cell phones that weighed over 3 pounds, to sleek, thin, light devices that sometimes run all day on a single charge, or phones that have HD screens, HD video, and even HD voice. (A lot of HD now a days.) Carriers have now been deploying their new 4G LTE Networks around the nation so customers can enjoy a faster mobile data experience on their devices. Sprint was one of the companies to introduce a 4G service to their customers. Running the WIMAX standard of 4G shortly after May 7, 2008 when they announced the merger of their WIMAX network with clearwire. That was the first form of 4G found in the U.S. A few years later, companies started deploying LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks across the country. Verizon being one of the first to do so. AT&T shortly followed verizon, but AT&T took an extra step and deployed HSPA+(Known as 3.5G, but AT&T called it 4G). HSPA+ speeds were achieved by installing enhanced backhaul to thier sites, drastically boosting data speeds. Not quite as fast as LTE, but more similar to WIMAX speeds, this put AT&T behind the LTE race. After AT&T started their LTE rollout, Sprint announced in late 2012 that they would start offering LTE to their customers, and they expected the rollout of their LTE network to mainly be completed by sometime in 2014. Despite this newer, faster mobile networking technology, the cell phone system still relies on the standard way of sending and recieving data from cell phone to cell tower. The point of this is: The same technology that was pioneered back in the 1990`s has stil affected how our cell phones work to this very day.
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