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Difference Between IDEN and CDMA Network Technologies

IDEN vs CDMA Network Technologies

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and IDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) are two mobile telecommunications technologies that are used with mobile phones. They basically facilitate the communication between the base station and the mobile devices like phones. The main difference between IDEN and CDMA is in how they divide the allocated bandwidth in order to accommodate a lot of users with the same frequency band. IDEN uses TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access), which divides the use of the bandwidth into time slots that can be divided among the users. As already implied by the name, CDMA uses code division. This method uses a certain code in order to differentiate between the multiple signals.

To illustrate how they are different, we can relate the two to real-world examples. Given a room full of people talking, hearing each other can become difficult. With IDEN, the problem is solved by letting only one person talk at a time. In the actual implementation of IDEN’s TDMA, the switching between who speaks happens very quickly so it still appears like everyone is talking simultaneously. With CDMA, the solution is to have the pairs talk in different languages. Since the person cannot understand anyone else aside from the person he’s talking to, the other conversations are just rejected as noise.

IDEN was the first to introduce PTT or Push-to-Talk feature with mobile phones. This feature is identical to walkie talkies where multiple phones are registered to one channel. When one talks, everyone else on the channel hears it. Of course, only one person can talk at a time. This is very beneficial for groups working together as it simplifies the dissemination of information and does not use up the minutes allocated in the plan. Although there are now PTT capabilities in CDMA and GSM, those came later.

The main disadvantage with IDEN is that it doesn’t have the same data speeds that you would get with CDMA. Whereas the new versions of CDMA can reach multiple Mbps in data speeds, IDEN is stuck with dial-up speeds. The data speeds you would get with IDEN are not enough for most online services.


1.IDEN uses time division while CDMA uses code division.
2.IDEN uses SIMs while CDMA does not.
3.IDEN was the first to offer PTT over CDMA.
4.CDMA provides significantly higher data speeds than IDEN.

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