Joachim Tisal: The GSM Network
GPRS Evolution: One Step Towards UMTS
A reasonable book spoiled by a grotesque translation
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JPOC Rating
Four out of ten.

Properly translated, this book would have merited eight out of ten. As things stand, it doesn't.

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My Review

The subtitle of this book is a little misleading. It is a general GSM book that has been updated in its second edition to include coverage of GSM, WAP and UMTS and not a book specifically about these subjects.

This book covers all aspects of GSM cellular radio systems in a moderate degree of detail. It is more suited to readers who are working with, or studying, the technology than to those who are just interested in how their telephone works.

The breadth of coverage means that nothing is dealt with in sufficient depth to be your sole source of information on any one aspect of the technology. That does not mean that the book is worthless. Anyone with a professional interest in one particular area of GSM networks will benefit from having a reasonable understanding of the rest of the technology and that is what this book provides.

It is handy to have all of this material in one place with a coherent picture of how everything fits together and if you were leading a GSM project, you would probably feel happy if all of your team had read this book in addition to having in depth knowledge of their particular area of responsibility.

These things are however spoiled by the quality of the translation from the original French. Despite his background in electronics, the translator appears to have little knowledge of the actual subject matter. This is clear in those areas where there is established technical terminology in English. The translation frequently uses a literal translation of a French term rather than substituting in the standard English term.

In other parts of the book, the translator just appears to have been lazy or careless or perhaps just not to have understood the material at all. Some sentences appear to be step by step word substitutions thus retaining a non-English structure with English words.

In particular, the translator appears not to understand the concepts of public key cryptography and the section on encryption reads like an undergraduate essay written by somebody who was asleep in most of the relevant lecture.

These things do matter as it just makes it harder read the book when it is necessary to keep wading through such poor writing and muddled explanations.

Finally, there are too many technical typos. It is unacceptable that a book such as this should give wrong frequencies for radio transmission!