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Evolved Packet System: A Look at Modern Mobile Networking

An exploration of mobile networking turns into a discussion of good protocol design.

The Evolved Packet System (EPS) is one of the most transformative technologies developed within my lifetime. It was in response to, but also enabled, the rise of internet-first mobile devices. Today, it forms the basis of the next generation of innovations like self-driving cars. This presentation provides a brief overview of the EPS, as well as how EPS shows us how to design solid protocols.

Key Take Aways

  • Protocols are difficult to design, but it is critical that people take time to develop them peroperly
  • Standardization between products is good for customer experience, especially with roaming
  • When possible, user needs and future adoption should be central to protocol development
  • Protocols should be invisible to the user


Olsson, M., Rommer, S., Mulligan, C., Sultana, S., & Frid, L. (2009). SAE and the Evolved Packet Core. Academia Press.


This presentation and page are subject to the disclaimers at


  • At 5:31, I make a comment that vehicles in China connect to Cisco networks. I have not verified that any Chinese manufacturers connect to the Cisco Packet Core. I regret this error immensely.
  • At 27:54, the slide says 2022 but I say 2021. 2022 is the correct date.