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Global System for

Mobile (GSM)

Network and Protocol

National University of
Modern Languages
Telecomm Engineering
Semester VI-2009
Lecturer: Sheraz Alam Khan


GSM Network Overview

Radio Station System
Network Switching System
Operation and Maintenance System
Network in Reality---example
Network Interfaces
GSM Protocol Architecture

GSM Network
1. Radio Station System (RSS)
Mobile Station (MS)
Base Station Sub-system (BSS)

2. Network Switching System (NSS)

3. The Operations and Maintenance
System (OMS)

1-Radio StationSystem
a. Mobile Station
Mobile Equipment (ME)
Subscriber Identity Module (SIM)

b. Base Station Sub-System (BSS)

Base Transceiver Station (BTS)
Base Station Controller (BSC)
Transcoding and Rate Adaption Unit (TRAU)
*TRAU is also called XCDR

a. Mobile Station (MS)

Mobile Equipment (ME)

These devices are
Vehicle Mounted
mounted in a vehicle and the antenna is
physically mounted on the outside of the
This equipment can
Portable Mobile Unit
be handheld when in operation, but the antenna
is not connected to the handset of the unit.
Hand-portable Unit This equipment
comprises of a small telephone handset not
much bigger than a calculator. The antenna is
be connected to the handset.

Mobile Equipment (ME)

Subscriber Identity
International Mobile Subscriber
Identity (IMSI)
This number identifies the MS subscriber. It is
only transmitted over the air during initialization.

Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity

This number identifies the subscriber; it is
periodically changed by the system management
to protect the subscriber from being identified by
someone attempting to monitor the radio

Subscriber Identity
Location Area Identity (LAI)
Identifies the current location of the subscriber

Subscriber Authentication Key (Ki)

This is used to authenticate the SIM card.

Mobile Station International Services

Digital Network (MSISDN)
This is the telephone number of the mobile
subscriber. It is comprised of a country code, a
network code and a subscriber number.

b. Base Station
subsystem (BSS)
The Base Transceiver Station
The Base Station Controller
The Transcoder XCDR or TRAU

Base Transceiver Station(BTS)

The BTS contains the RF components that
provide the air interface for a particular
This is the part of the GSM network which
communicates with the MS.
The antenna is included as part of the BTS
Connected to MSs using Air/radio interface
and to BSC either by microwave link or

BTS Functionality

Base Station controller (BSC)

The BSC as its name implies is heart, core and
controlling element for the BSS.
Responsible for Radio Resource Management
Evaluation of signaling information from MSC
via TRAU and MSs via BTSs
The BSC may control single or multiple BTSs
Frequency management of connected BTSs
Management of entire BSS database

BSC Functionality

BSS Functionality

Transcoder (XCDR)
TRAU or XCDR is used for
Transcoding-----compresses/decompresses the incoming
speech data from 64kbps to 13 kbps or
12.2 or 5.6 kbps
Rate Adaption----filters out the useful
data coming from MSC

2- Network switching
Mobile Services Switching Centre
Home Location Register HLR
Visitor Location Register VLR
Equipment Identity Register EIR
Authentication Centre AUC
InterWorking Function IWF
Echo Canceller EC

Mobile Switching
Brain of GSM
Responsible for Mobility Resource
Interface between BSS and other
network Operators like PSTN,ISDN
PDN etc.

MSC Functionality
Operations and Maintenance Support
Includes database management, traffic
metering and measurement, and a man
machine interface

Internetwork Interworking
Manages the interface between the GSM
network and the PSTN

Collects call billing data

Home Location Register

Reference database for subscriber
Various identification numbers and
addresses are stored, as well as
authentication parameters
Subscriber profiles are created,
deleted and barred by operator in
this database

Visiting Location Register


Database containing the most precise

location of an MS
Usually co-located with MSC
Provides MSC with all the information
Contains additional info like

Mobile status (busy/free/no answer etc.)

Location Area Identity (LAI)
Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI)
Mobile Station Roaming Number (MSRN)

Equipment Identity
Register (EIR)
The EIR contains a centralized
database for validating the
International Mobile Equipment
Identity (IMEI).
This database is concerned solely
with MS equipment and not with the
subscriber who is using it to make or
receive a call.

EIR Database
White List
Contains those IMEIs which are known to have
been assigned to valid MS equipment

Black List
Contains IMEIs of MS which have been reported
stolen or which are to be denied service for some
other reason

Grey List
Contains IMEIs of MS which have problems (for
example, faulty software) These are not, however,
sufficiently significant to warrant a black listing.

Authentication Centre
The AUC is a processing system that
performs the authentication function.
It will normally be co-located with the
Home Location Register (HLR) as it will be
required to continuously access and update,
as necessary, the system subscriber records
Contains different Keys and algos, using
which it generates Triples(Kc , SRES and
RAND) used for authentication

Interworking Function
The IWF provides the function to
enable the GSM system to interface
with the various forms of public and
private data networks currently
The basic features of the IWF are
listed below.
Data rate adaption.
Protocol conversion.

Echo Canceller (EC)

An EC is used on the PSTN side of the
MSC for all voice circuits.
Echo control is required at the switch
because the inherent GSM system
delay can cause an unacceptable
echo condition, even on short
distance PSTN circuit connections

3-Operations and
Maintenance System (OMS)
The operations and maintenance system
provides the capability to manage the GSM
network remotely.
This area of the GSM network is not currently
tightly specified by the GSM specifications, it
is left to the network provider to decide what
capabilities they wish it to have.
Divided in to
The Network Management Centre (NMC)
The Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC)

Network Management Centre


Operations and Maintenance

Centre (OMC)
There are two types of OMC
OMC controls specifically the Base Station
OMC controls specifically the Network
Switching System.

Following are the main responsibilities of OMC

Event/Alarm Management.
Fault Management.
Performance Management.
Configuration Management.

Security Management.

The Network in Reality

City Coverage

The Network in Reality

UK Network Coverage

Signaling System 7(SS7)

Base Station System Application Part
BSSMAP Base Station System Management
Direct Transfer Application Part
ISDN User Part
Mobile Application Part
Signaling Connection Control Part
Telephone User Part
Transaction Capabilities Application Part

SS7 Layer Functionalities

Interfacing the PSTN, the MSC performs call
signaling functions using the Telephone User
Part (TUP), or interfacing the ISDN, the ISDN
User Part (ISUP).
Between the MSC and the BSC, the Base
Station System Management Application Part
(BSSMAP) is used. The Direct Transfer
Application Part (DTAP) is used to send
messages between the MSC and the mobile
(MS). MAP is used between the MSC and the
VLR, EIR, and HLR.

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NUML Engineering & IT