Circuit Switched Data
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In communications, Circuit Switched Data (CSD) is the original form of data transmission developed for the time division multiple access (TDMA)-based mobile phone systems like Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). After 2010 many telecommunication carriers dropped support for CSD, and CSD has been superseded by GPRS and EDGE (E-GPRS).
CSD uses a single radio time slot to deliver 9.6 kbit/s data transmission to the GSM Network and Switching Subsystem where it could be connected through the equivalent of a normal modem to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), allowing direct calls to any dial-up service. For backwards compatibility, the IS-95 standard also supports CDMA Circuit Switched Data. However, unlike TDMA, there are no time slots, and all CDMA radios can be active all the time to deliver up to 14.4 kbit/s data transmission speeds. With the evolution of CDMA to CDMA2000 and 1xRTT, the use of IS-95 CDMA Circuit Switched Data declined in favour of the faster data transmission speeds available with the newer technologies.
Prior to CSD, data transmission over mobile phone systems was done by using a modem, either built into the phone or attached to it. Such systems were limited by the quality of the audio signal to 2.4 kbit/s or less. With the introduction of digital transmission in TDMA-based systems like GSM, CSD provided almost direct access to the underlying digital signal, allowing for higher speeds. At the same time, the speech-oriented audio compression used in GSM actually meant that data rates using a traditional modem connected to the phone would have been even lower than with older analog systems.
A CSD call functions in a very similar way to a normal voice call in a GSM network. A single dedicated radio time slot is allocated between the phone and the base station. A dedicated "sub-time slot" (16 kbit/s) is allocated from the base station to the transcoder, and finally, another time slot (64 kbit/s) is allocated from the transcoder to the Mobile Switching Centre (MSC).
At the MSC, it is possible to use a modem to convert to an "analog" signal, though this will typically actually be encoded as a digital pulse-code modulation (PCM) signal when sent from the MSC. It is also possible to directly use the digital signal as an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) data signal and feed it into the equivalent of a remote access server.
GSM data transmission has advanced since the introduction of CSD:
- High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD) is a system based on CSD but designed to provide higher data rates by means of more efficient channel coding and/or multiple (up to 4) time slots.
- General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) provides more efficient packet-based data transmission directly from the mobile phone at speeds roughly twice those of HSCSD.
- Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) (E-GPRS) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) provide improved radio interfaces with higher data rates, while still being backward compatible with the GSM core network.