Generic Access Network


Generic Access Network (GAN) refers to a mobile telecommunication protocol that extends mobile voice, data and multimedia (IP Multimedia Subsystem/Session Initiation Protocol (IMS/SIP)) applications over IP networks. Traditionally confined to local private and public networks, GAN allows user access to these services from any IP network globally. This bridge between wireless technology and IP networking optimizes bandwidth usage and provides seamless consolidation of wireless and wired networks.


Generic Access Network – /dʒɪˈnɛrɪk/ /’ækses/ /ˈnɛtwɜːrk/

Key Takeaways

  1. Generic Access Network (GAN) is a telecommunication system which extends mobile voice, data and multimedia applications over IP networks. This allows users to access network services through different devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets.
  2. GAN technology enables seamless handover of voice and data connections between wireless LANs and cellular networks. This results in improved coverage, particularly indoor coverage, and reduces load from cellular networks.
  3. It employs a dual-mode handset or dual-mode chipset to handle the handover between cellular network and local area network. This makes it more convenient for users and offers cost-effective communication.


Generic Access Network (GAN), also known as Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), is a critical technology term in the realm of telecommunications. It’s a significant concept because it extends mobile voice, data and multimedia applications across both cellular networks and public or private unlicensed networks such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and broadband. With GAN technology, mobile network operators can leverage wireless local area networks (WLAN) to provide seamless, high-quality connectivity to their consumers, which is particularly beneficial in areas with poor cellular network coverage. Furthermore, this technology facilitates better user experiences by offering increased capacity, improved in-door coverage, and cost-efficient internet telephony. Thus, it serves as a potent tool in the telecommunication industry’s ongoing effort to expand and optimize coverage while keeping costs down for both operators and consumers.


Generic Access Network (GAN) technology is primarily designed to extend mobile voice, data, and multimedia applications over IP networks. Essentially, this technology allows a mobile device’s connectivity to be extended over a wide range of networks, regardless of their architecture. It is most commonly employed to extend mobile services over networks with wireless access points, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, thereby providing users with a seamless mobile broadband experience.GAN not only extends the reach of mobile applications but it also ensures the uninterrupted use of these applications even when the user switches between different types of networks. For instance, a user might start a voice call using the mobile network and later switch to a Wi-Fi network without the call being dropped. This is achieved through the use of the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) which is a GAN specification. UMA enables the transition between cellular networks and local area networks while maintaining the ongoing service. This seamless transition across networks makes GAN an essential technology for enhancing mobile connectivity and broadening the reach of mobile services.


1. Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots: Generic Access Network technology is used by mobile hotspots (like those in coffee shops or airports) to provide internet connectivity. In this setup, the Wi-Fi router serves as the access point, and users can connect their devices to access the internet.2. Home Internet Routers: At home, most people use Wi-Fi routers to connect to the internet. This is another example of a Generic Access Network. Multiple devices such as laptops, smartphones, or gaming consoles can connect to this network simultaneously and access the internet.3. Cellular Networks: Telecommunication providers utilize Generic Access Network technology to manage mobile communications. In this example, the access points are the cell towers, and the consumers’ mobile devices connect to these towers to place calls, send text messages, or access the internet.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: What is a Generic Access Network (GAN)?A: Generic Access Network is a protocol that extends mobile voice, data and multimedia (IP Multimedia Subsystem/Session Initiation Protocol [IMS/SIP]) applications over IP networks. It is a telecommunication system which allows users to make and receive calls over the internet.Q: What technology does the Generic Access Network rely on?A: GAN relies on the IP technology (Internet Protocol), which enables the use of data, voice and multimedia over the internet. Q: What is the primary use of GAN?A: The main function of GAN is to enable seamless and uninterrupted voice and data communication by allowing automatic switching between local area networks and wide area wireless networks.Q: How does GAN enhance the mobile communication experience?A: GAN, by allowing automatic switching between different networks, enhances the user’s mobile communication experience by providing uninterrupted and efficient service, even when the user is moving across different network coverage areas.Q: What does GAN do, in simpler terms?A: Essentially, GAN allows your mobile phone to connect to the internet for calls and data usage, which can provide higher quality and sometimes lower cost service than traditional cellular networks.Q: Is GAN the same as Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA)?A: Yes, GAN was originally named UMA. UMA was changed to GAN when the technology was standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).Q: What kind of devices is GAN used on?A: GAN can be used with any device that has the necessary software installed, which includes but is not limited to, smartphones, tablets, and laptops, although it’s most commonly used with smartphones.Q: Do all mobile networks support GAN?A: Not all mobile networks support GAN. It’s best to check with your mobile network provider to see if they provide this service.Q: Can GAN be used globally?A: Yes, as long as the device has the necessary software and the network provider supports GAN, it can be used anywhere you have the necessary network access.Q: Is GAN safe to use for communication?A: GAN uses advanced encryption techniques to secure data and voice communication, making it as safe as any other type of digital communication.

Related Tech Terms

  • UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System)
  • GERAN (GSM EDGE Radio Access Network)
  • QoS (Quality of Service)
  • Handover
  • BSS (Base Station Subsystem)

Sources for More Information


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