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certification programs, and its industry trade show, the Personal Communications Showcase—PCIA is committed to maintaining its position as the association for the PCS industry.

PCIA's member companies include PCS licensees and those involved in the cellular, paging, ESMR, SMR, mobile data, cable, computer, manufacturing, and local and interexchange sectors of the industry, as well as private corporate systems users, wireless system integrators, communication site owners, distributors and service professionals, and technicians.

Personal Communication Service

Personal communication service includes a broad range of telecommunications services that enable people and devices to communicate independent of location. PCS networks and devices operate over a wide range of frequencies assigned and authorized by the FCC. There are currently seven different air interface technologies proposed for standardization for the new PCS licensees that will be operating in the 1.8 GHz band. Service providers that will be operating at these frequencies either are new entrants with no established network or are existing telecommunications service providers, such as cable, cellular, local exchange, and long-distance carriers. With the technology choices companies make over the next few months, there will need to be analysis of how and to what extent the various wireless and wireline networks will work together.

Interoperability and Interworking

To facilitate roaming among PCS carriers, some degree of interoperability and interworking needs to be accomplished between the networks. PCIA defines interoperability and interworking as follows:

Interoperability. The ability to logically connect two or more functional network elements for the purposes of supporting shared processes such as call delivery. Service interoperability is defined as the assurance that a service invoked by a subscriber in a network will be performed by the other network in the same way from a user perspective. Network interoperability is defined as the direct one-to-one mapping of services and protocols between interconnected networks. For example, a subscriber may invoke call waiting features exactly the same way in a DCS 1900 (GSM based) network in New York City as in a DCS 1900 (GSM based) network in San Francisco. In this scenario, call waiting network protocol messages map between the two networks on a direct one-to-one basis.

Interworking. The ability to translate between two or more dissimilar networks for the purpose of achieving effective interoperability. Service interworking is defined as the protocol translation that may or may not result in the service being performed in the receiving network in the same way from a user perspective. Network interworking is defined as functional mapping of services and protocols across networks (some services may not be delivered or may be delivered in a different way). For example, a subscriber with a PCS 2000 (Composite CDMA/TDMA) wireless personal terminal may register and authenticate on a San Francisco IS-41 based network, just as he or she could on a home base, DCS 1900 (GSM based) network in New York City. Although the method of registering may not be identical between systems, the end result is effectively the same—the subscriber can be registered and authenticated on both networks, and location services work across both platforms.

Standards should be developed and are currently being worked on in domestic and international standards bodies to facilitate features and services delivered consistently and in similar fashions to an end user, regardless of the air interface and/or network implementation used. All networks do not necessarily need to interoperate or interwork with every other network; those decisions will be made on a company-by-company basis. But the industry is working to make sure that if that choice is made, the technology will be available to support it.

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