The EDGE network stands for Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution. It is a third generation mobile data technology, according to AT&T. It is used to provide fast Internet service to cell phones, and can be used to fill in the gaps of coverage networks from the cell phone providers.
EDGE is a type of GSM technology. It is also considered a 3G network. It was developed in 2003 and originally implemented by Cingular. It was three times faster than the GPRS networks that were prevalent.
An EDGE network has an average speed of 75 to135Kbps. The maximum speed that the network can attain is 473.6kbit/s, which would require eight time slots to be in use at the same time, according to International Mobile Telecommunications.
EDGE is backwards compatible with 2G networks, and does not require hardware or software to be changed in order for it to be used. EDGE transceiver units are installed at the base station, bringing EDGE access to the coverage area of that station.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantages of the EDGE network were more marked before the widespread implementation of 3G networks. It is four times as efficient as a GPRS network, and AT&T reports lower power usage with EDGE networks as opposed to 3G. The disadvantage arises from the fact that 3G is much faster than EDGE—up to 2.4 mbps.
There are two carriers in the United States that offer EDGE network coverage. AT&T, which originally developed the technology under Cingular, and T-Mobile. Both companies offer EDGE network coverage in addition to 3G. 3G requires a higher signal strength to be used, so EDGE can cover the gaps caused by reception issues.