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Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) improves spectrum capacity by splitting each frequency into time slots. TDMA allows each user to access the entire radio frequency channel for the short period of a call. Other users share this same frequency channel at different time slots. The base station continually switches from user to user on the channel. TDMA is the dominant technology for the second generation mobile cellular networks. Networks using TDMA assign 6 timeslots for each frequency channel. Devices using the wireless network send bursts of information that are reassembled at the receiving end.
TDMA builds on FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) by dividing conversations by frequency and time. Since digital compression allows voice to be sent under 10 kilobits per second (equivalent to 10 kHz), TDMA can fit three digital conversations into a FDMA/Analog channel (which is 30 kHz). By sampling a person’s voice for, say 30 milliseconds, then transmitting it in 10 milliseconds; the system is able to offer 3 timeslots per channel in a round-robin fashion. This technique allows compatibility with FDMA while enabling digital services and easily boosting the system by 3 times capacity. This leads to increase calls, more users on the network and better cellular quality.