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Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2315036, 17 pages
Review Article

Evolution of Positioning Techniques in Cellular Networks, from 2G to 4G

Department of Computer Engineering, CEFET/RJ, Campus Petrópolis, Petrópolis, RJ, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Rafael Saraiva Campos

Received 29 June 2016; Revised 3 October 2016; Accepted 18 October 2016; Published 12 January 2017

Academic Editor: Mauro Femminella

Copyright © 2017 Rafael Saraiva Campos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This review paper presents within a common framework the mobile station positioning methods applied in 2G, 3G, and 4G cellular networks, as well as the structure of the related 3GPP technical specifications. The evolution path through the generations is explored in three steps at each level: first, the new network elements supporting localization features are introduced; then, the standard localization methods are described; finally, the protocols providing specific support to mobile station positioning are studied. To allow a better understanding, this paper also brings a brief review of the cellular networks evolution paths.