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How do cell phone work?. By Nelson Oduro ISC 110. introduction. Nowadays, cell phones are everywhere. Cell phones are being carried by almost everyone around the world including children, teenagers, adults, as well as grandparents.

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how do cell phone work

How do cell phone work?

By Nelson Oduro

ISC 110

  • Nowadays, cell phones are everywhere.
  • Cell phones are being carried by almost everyone around the world including children, teenagers, adults, as well as grandparents.
  • Phone companies are one of the fastest growing businesses on the market. This is because technology is blooming.
  • Every now and then, there are new phones that are released in the market. Marketing strategies like new features are being used to update phones to make the phone looks different.
  • Phones nowadays can perform many tasks such as web browsing, making phone, checking email, GPS locations, and more.
  • There were about 87% adults own cell phones in 2012 excluding teenagers.
  • Statistics predicted that in 2013, the population of those who use phones would increase.
  • Also according to the article “how do cell phones work”, there were about seven billion people that were using cellphones worldwide.
what is a cell phone and how does it work
What is a cell phone and how does it work?
  • Acell phone is mainly a two way radio, which consists of a radio transmitter and a radio receiver.
  • As we talk to someone on a cell phone, the phone converts the voice into an electrical signal, which is then transmitted through radio waves to the nearest cell tower.
  • The network of cell towers then communicates the radio wave to the person’s cell phone, which transforms it to an electrical signal and then back to sound again.
  • Cell phones use radio waves to communicate. Radio waves transport digitized voice or data in the form of wavering electric and magnetic fields, called the electromagnetic field (EMF).
  • The rate of alternation is called frequency.

Radio waves transport the information and travel in air at the speed of light.

  • There are several directions which cell phone radio waves are transmitted. All waves are absorbed and reflected through surrounding objects before the waves reach the nearest cell tower.  
  • Also most cell phones have at least one built in radio antenna in order to transmit or receive radio signals. An antenna transforms an electric signal to the radio wave (transmitter) and vice versa (receiver).
  • Some cell phones use more than one transmitter and receiver antenna, while in some cell phones only has one transmitter and receiver antenna. For example, the iPhone has more than one transmitter and receiver antenna.

An antenna helps us to transmit and receive frequencies of radio waves, but in some older generation phones, some antennas were external or extractable. Due to the blooming of technology, modern phones have compactable antennas inside them.

  • All metal components in the device like the circuit board metal frame in the iPhone can cooperate with the spread antennas and also contribute to the outline transmitted signal.
  • In every two to three miles, there is a phone tower that helps the phone to communicate with others to get service.  
  • Cell phones transmit to towers, which then connects you to the normal land based telephone system to route a phone call.

A large city has hundreds of towers. Each carrier in each city runs a central office also known as the Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO).

  • The MTSO is a switch that controls all the operation system of a cellular system. When you power up a phone, it listens for special frequencies (control channel) that the phone and tower use to talk to one another.
  • If there is no control channel, a phone displays a message no service because it knows it is out of range (The Physics of Cell Phones, 2003).
  • A phone transmits a registration request so that the MTSO keeps track of the phone’s location in the database.

It is important for the MTSO to know the cell phone one is using when the phone cell phone is about to ring.

  • When MTSO gets a call, it tries to find the owner of the by looking into the database to see which cell tower you are near.
  • MTSO also chooses a frequency pair that a phone will use in that cell to take the call.
  • MTSO communicates with your phone over the control channel to tell it what frequencies to use.

When your phone and the tower switch on those frequencies you are connected and talking.

  • Lastly, as one move toward the edge of the cell range, the cell tower notes a diminishing signal.
  • The diminishing signal indicates that it is time for the control channel to hand off you to the next cell tower.
advantages of a cell phone
Advantages of a cell phone
  • Cell phones are small and easy to carry around. Modern digital cell phones can process millions of calculations per second in order to compress and decompress the voice stream.
  • Cell phones have full duplex, meaning you can use one frequency for talk and other frequency for listening.
  • Other advantages of cell phones are that you can store information, make task or to do lists, keep track of appointments, and set reminders.
  • Cell phones have a built-in calculator for math, you can send, receive calls, get information for a variety of sources, such as, news, entertainment, stock quotes, and play simple games.
  • Cell phones have great influence in our everyday life and are convenient to have around. Cell phones are a faster and more effective way to transfer information.
disadvantages of a cell phone
disadvantages of a cell phone
  • Cell phones physically have non-repairable internal parts that can corrode. For example if a cell phone gets wet, it may damage the internal parts.
  • Extreme heat in a car can damage the battery or the cell phone electronics and extreme cold may cause a momentary loss of the screen display.
  • In the tall building rage, it is hard to gain service because the cell phone might not communicate well with the cell towers .

There are reasons to think that cell phones may cause cancer of the ear or brain tumors.

  • to the brain.

The more an individual uses cell phones and the greater the number of years used by the person, the greater the risk of brain tumors.

  • However, there has been doubt of phone companies that there are no links to cancer even though the phones radiations do not have any connection to the electrical activity

"How Do Cell Phones Work?" Pong Making the Case for Cell Phone Radiation Protection RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

"The Physics of Cell Phones." 03.04.07: The Physics of Cell Phones. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

"How a Cell Phone Works." How a Cell Phone Works. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from

"Guide Print Email." Understanding Wireless Telephone Coverage Areas. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from