Difference Between CDMA and WCDMA

There are a number of algorithms used in the telecommunication industry for various purposes. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is one of those algorithms used for increasing the number of useable channels which can be transmitted in a given amount of bandwidth. WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is basically an air interface standard commonly found in modern day 3G mobile networks. Both algorithms differ from each other mainly with respect to the group of technology each of the algorithms is grouped with. Here are a few notable differences between CDMA and WCDMA.


  • 1

    CDMA directly corresponds to 2G technology whereas WCDMA directly corresponds to 3G technology. This means that WCDMA has wider range of prospects for customers as compared to CDMA.

  • 2

    WCDMA offers much higher speeds, allowing users to take advantage of the most recent, modern day services. However, CDMA, being 2G technology can offer only a limited range of services over quite limited speeds.

  • 3

    While the frequency bands used in WCDMA are 5 MHz wide, the width of each frequency band in CDMA in only 1.25 MHz. The dominance in the width of used frequency bands accounts for the better performance of WCDMA as compared to CDMA.

  • 4

    CDMA stand as a competitor to one of the most widely used technologies being used these days, the GSM. However, WCDMA is used in tandem with GSM most of the times. This gives WCDMA a great edge over CDMA because most telecommunications companies which were already using GSM can also use WCDMA and thus enhance the options that their customers have in terms of choosing handsets.

  • 5

    The design used in the two algorithms under discussion also differs. This is because WCDMA was a unique design built from the ground up. WCDMA’s design was not in any way dependant on the design of CDMA.

  • 6

    Least but not the least, there is a difference between power control both entities. For CDMA, the power control rate is 800 times / 1 second whereas the power control rate for WCDMA is 1500 times / 1 second. This makes WCDMA’s power control almost double than that of CDMA.

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