Mathematical and Computing Sciences Question #531

christina, a 14 year old female from the Internet asks on January 10, 2002,

Why are portable phones called cellular phones? How do they work?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on January 10, 2002

A lot of people think that cellular phones work by satellite, but they don't. Base station radio antennas are placed on tall buidings or towers so that their radio coverage divides a region into geograhic "cells". Each antenna can cover an area of about 10 square miles (26 square kilometers). As you go from cell to cell, the system switches your communication from one base station to another. You can read a lot more about this at How Stuff Works: How cellphones work.

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