What is TDMA?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Time division multiple access or TDMA is a form of technology that is utilized with cell phone function. Essentially, TDMA allows for the division of each channel within the configuration of the cell network into three different units known as timeslots. This process of dividing the channels into three different slots makes it possible to increase the amount of data that can be transferred at the same time using the same amount of resources.

Making use of TDMA is one way that cellular networks are able to handle larger loads of data transmission without creating a decrease in the overall efficiency of the network. Because this form of technology protects and actually enhances the process of channel access method, networks avoid the incidence of as many bottlenecks that can occur when signaling backs up at a given switch point. By allowing the network to function more efficiently, consumers are kept happy and the network does not encounter many internal failures.


Consumers benefit from the use of TDMA in several ways. First, there does not appear to be any degradation in voice quality as a result of the use of TDMA. Because the segmentation of the channel is done with such precision, sound at both the point of origin and the point of termination remain clear. At the same time, the use of TDMA can mean fewer delays in making a connection to a receiving party, as the technology makes the most use of available network resources. The end result for the consumer is a clear signal that is established with the same level of speed and clarity as using a landline system.

TDMA is part of just about all 2G cellular systems, as well as various D-AMPS and GSM systems around the world. The technology is also used with Personal Digital Cellular as well. Due to the ease with which frequency channel integrity is maintained by segmenting the channel into three distinct timeslots, there is an excellent chance that TDMA will remain a viable technology for many years to come.


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