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Introduction To GPRS and EDGE:

Technology, Operation, and Services


Lawrence Harte, Bryan Strange
Excerpted From:
Mobile Systems
With Updated Information
ALTHOS Publishing
GPRS GSMRadio GPRS IP Encapsulation
GPRS Normal
Burst Structure
GPRS and EDGE
Channel Coding Schemes
ALTHOS Publishing
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About the Authors
Mr. Harte is the president of Althos, an expert information
provider which researches, trains, and publishes on technolo-
gy and business industries. He has over 29 years of technology
analysis, development, implementation, and business manage-
ment experience. Mr. Harte has worked for leading companies
including Ericsson/General Electric, Audiovox/Toshiba and
Westinghouse and has consulted for hundreds of other compa-
nies. Mr. Harte continually researches, analyzes, and tests new communi-
cation technologies, applications, and services. He has authored over 50
books on telecommunications technologies and business systems covering
topics such as mobile telephone systems, data communications, voice over
data networks, broadband, prepaid services, billing systems, sales, and
Internet marketing. Mr. Harte holds many degrees and certificates includ-
ing an Executive MBA from Wake Forest University (1995) and a BSET
from the University of the State of New York, (1990).
Bryan Hashim Strange has performed a wide range of techni-
cal and managerial roles for 12 years at Wray Castle. This
began with four years lecturing on a variety of engineering and
academic modules for HND students, as a trainer and course
developer for short courses based on European second and
third generation technologies. These courses include UMTS
System Overview, UMTS Air Interface, UMTS Cell Planning,
GSM Air Interface, GSM Cell Planning, GSM Optimisation, GSM Indoor
Coverage Planning, GSM Applied Cell Planning and GPRS. He has also
developed and presented courses covering other global technologies such as
cdmaOne, CDMA2000, TETRA, APCO 25, iDEN, WLAN and Bluetooth. Mr.
Strange was educated in the United Kingdom at Clayesmore School (1976-
1984) and Wray Castle College (1987-1990) and Lancaster University (1999
-2000). He also specializes in HNC Electronics and Communications
Engineering and he has a Marine Radio General Certificate. Bryan Strange
also holds 3 'A' Levels; Maths, Physics, Engineering Drawing and Design
plus 9 'O' Levels; inc. Maths, English, Physics.
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Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION TO GPRS AND EDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
GLOBAL SYSTEM FOR MOBILE COMMUNICATION (GSM) . . . . . . . . . . . 3
GENERAL PACKET RADIO SERVICE (GPRS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
ENHANCED DATA FOR GLOBAL EVOLUTION (EDGE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
ENHANCED GPRS (EGPRS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
COMPACT GPRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
UPGRADING GSM TO GPRS AND EDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
GPRS AND EGPRS INDUSTRY SPECIFICATIONS . . . . . . . . 9
PACKET DATA SERVICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
MOBILE SERVICES (M-SERVICES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
STREAM PRIORITIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
ENHANCED MESSAGING SERVICE (EMS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
MULTICAST SERVICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
ASYNCHRONOUS CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
ASYMMETRIC CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
QUALITY OF SERVICE (QOS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Conversation Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Streaming Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Interactive Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
Background Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
SHORT MESSAGING SERVICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
SMS AND GPRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
LOCATION BASED SERVICES (LBS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
PACKET DATA SERVICE MEASUREMENT TYPES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Data Throughput . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Packet Loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Latency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Jitter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
GPRS AND EGPRS DEVICES (MOBILE STATIONS) . . . . . . 17
MOBILE DEVICE CLASSES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Class A Simultaneous Voice and Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Class B Automatic Transfer of Voice and Data . . . . . . . . . . .18
Class C Single System Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Dual Transfer Mode (DTM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Multi-slot Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
SUBSCRIBER IDENTITY MODULE (SIM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
EXTERNAL MODEMS (USB OR ETHERNET) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
PCMCIA AIR CARDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
EMBEDDED RADIO MODULES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
MOBILE TELEPHONES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
DUAL MODE CAPABILITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
GPRS AND EGPRS RADIO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
RF CHANNEL TYPES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
FREQUENCY BANDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
FREQUENCY REUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
FREQUENCY HOPPING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
RF POWER CONTROL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
DYNAMIC TIME ALIGNMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
CHANNEL STRUCTURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
MULTI-FRAME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
CODING SCHEMES (CS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
ENCRYPTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
MODULATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
DATA PACKET ENCAPSULATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
PACKET DATA CHANNEL SHARING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
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CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
PHYSICAL CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Packet Data Channel (PDCH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
LOGICAL CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
TRAFFIC CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
CONTROL CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
GSM LOGICAL CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Broadcast Channels (BCH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Common Control Channels (CCCH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Dedicated Control Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
General Logical to Physical Channel Mapping for GSM . . . . .43
GPRS LOGICAL CHANNELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Packet Broadcast Control Channel (PBCCH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
Packet Common Control Channels (PCCCH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
Packet Data Traffic Channel (PDTCH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Packet Dedicated Control Channels (PDCCH) . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Compact Mode of GPRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
GPRS AND EDGE/EGPRS NETWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
BASE STATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Packet Control Unit (PCU) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Communication Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
SWITCHING CENTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Mobile Switching Centre (MSC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Serving General Packet Radio Service Support Node (SGSN)
52
Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
NETWORK DATABASES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Home Location Register (HLR) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
Visitor Location Register (VLR) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Equipment Identity Register (EIR) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Charging Gateway (CG) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Billing Center (BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
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Authentication Center (AuC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
SMS Service Center (SC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
WIRELESS NETWORK SYSTEM INTERCONNECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Public Packet Data Network (PPDN) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Interworking Function (IWF) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
IP BACKBONE NETWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
ADDRESSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
MOBILE DEVICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Mobile Station ISDN (MSISDN) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58
International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) . . . . . . . . . . .58
International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) . . . . . . . . . .58
Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI) . . . . . . . . . . . . .58
Temporary Block Flow (TBF) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
Temporary Flow Identifier (TFI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
INFRASTRUCTURE ADDRESSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Access Point Naming (APN) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60
Tunneling End Point Identifier (TEID) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60
IP ADDRESSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Static and Dynamic (DHCP) Addressing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
GPRS AND EDGE/EGPRS SYSTEM OPERATION . . . . . . . . 63
INITIALIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
STANDBY STATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
INITIAL ASSIGNMENT/ACCESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
READY STATE (CONNECTED MODE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Dynamic Allocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68
Extended Dynamic Allocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68
Fixed Allocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
Packet Acknowledgement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
ALWAYS-ON CONDITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
REGISTRATION AREA UPDATES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
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GPRS ROAMING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
VOICE CALL AND DATA SESSION TRANSFER OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . 71
DATA TO VOICE (GPRS TO GSM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
TRANSFER BETWEEN GPRS AND IS-136 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
GPRS AND EGPRS RADIO LAYERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
PHYSICAL LAYER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
MEDIUM ACCESS CONTROL (MAC) LAYER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
RADIO LINK CONTROL (RLC) LAYER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
LOGICAL LINK CONTROL (LLC) LAYER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
SUBNETWORK DEPENDENT CONVERGENCE PROTOCOL (SNDCP) . . . . 74
FUTURE EVOLUTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
THIRD GENERATION GSM (3GSM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
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Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
The general packet radio service (GPRS) and enhanced data for global evo-
lution (EDGE) systems are additions to the GSM mobile radio communica-
tion system that provide for medium-speed packet data communication ser-
vices. Upgrading to GPRS and EGPRS capability allows GSM service
providers to offer their customers wireless medium-speed packet based ser-
vices. This involves upgrading one or more GSM radio channels on each
tower to the GPRS and/or EGPRS technology. The term Enhanced GPRS
(EGPRS) is used to describe the combination of GPRS and EDGE.
Customers can access wireless Internet services through GPRS or EGPRS
capable handsets or external modems that connect to their desktop or lap-
top computers. The GPRS and EGPRS radio channels are an always-on
system that allows users to browse the Internet without complicated dialup
connections.
The GPRS and EGPRS systems are composed of mobile stations (mobile
telephones or data communication devices), base stations (forming the radio
access network) and a packet data core network (potentially connected to
the Internet).
Figure 1.1 shows a simplified diagram of a GPRS system. This diagram
shows that the GPRS system includes mobile communication devices
(mobile telephones or data terminals) that communicate through base sta-
tions and a mobile switching center (MSC) or data routing networks to con-
nect to other mobile telephones, public telephones, or to the Internet. This
diagram shows that the GPRS system contains both GPRS data radio chan-
nels and GSM voice radio channels. GPRS devices can be data only (such as
a computer browsing the Internet), they can be single mode (such as a GSM
telephone), or they can be dual mode (able to access either or both the GPRS
and GSM channels). Data information is typically passed through data net-
work (such as the Internet) and that voice information is typically connect-
ed to the public telephone network. This diagram also shows that it is pos-
sible to send medium speed data through the public telephone.
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Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
Figure 1.1, GPRS System Overview
GPRS and EGPRS systems are commonly called 2.5 G (2 generation)
because they offer capabilities that exceed 2
nd
generation digital (voice and
low speed data) but do not satisfy the high-speed broadband (2 Mbps)
requirements for 3
rd
generation Universal Mobile Telecommunications
System (UMTS).
Because GPRS and EGPRS systems use GSM radio channels, they are com-
patible with GSM networks. To upgrade GSM systems to offer services car-
ried over GPRS and EGPRS, some network hardware and software is added
to an existing GSM system. Some hardware changes are needed for the
radio equipment. To be able to access services delivered over GPRS and/or
EGPRS, mobile devices must be capable of GPRS and/or EGPRS operation.
The GPRS system allows cellular carriers to offer packet based wireless ser-
vices for existing and new customers. The GPRS system is designed to per-
mit advanced and reliable services including media streaming and large file
transfers. This may include access to the carriers own content servers, pri-
vate computer networks, e-mail and messaging services or access to the
Internet. These new services can increase the average revenue per user
(ARPU) for existing customers and allow carriers to sign-up (add) new cus-
tomers they dont already have.
The GPRS system has evolved into EGPRS. EGPRS includes a modification
to the GSM radio channel structure to provide medium-speed data services
(theoretically up to 473.6 kbps) to wireless customers.
Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)
Global system for mobile communication (GSM) is a wide area wireless com-
munications system that uses digital radio transmission to provide voice,
data, and multimedia communication services. A GSM system coordinates
the communication between mobile stations (mobile telephones), base sta-
tions (radio towers/cell sites), and switching systems. The GSM radio chan-
nels are spaced 200 kHz apart. They are then further divided into frames
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Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
that hold 8 time slots. GSM was originally named Groupe Special Mobile,
but the name was changed to reflect its global use. The GSM system
includes mobile stations (mobile telephones), base stations (radio towers/cell
sites), and the core network (interconnecting switching system).
General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
General packet radio service is a packet data communication system that
adapts the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) radio system for
packet radio transmission. The GPRS system modifies the GSM channel
allocation and time slot control processes to allow for the dynamic assign-
ment of time slots to individual users. GPRS provides a theoretical maxi-
mum radio channel data transmission rate of 171.2 kbps.
Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE)
Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) is a radio enhancement that
increases the throughput in a GSM radio channel. If used in conjunction
with GPRS it enables medium speed packet data communication. The
EDGE system modifies the GSM radio channel by adding new phase modu-
lation and channel coding processes. EDGE uses 8 level phase shift keying
(8PSK) to increase the net radio channel data transmission rate from 271
kbps to 604.8 kbps (theoretical 473.6 kbps user rate).
Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS)
Enhanced general packet radio service is the combination of GPRS and
EDGE in the same system. EGPRS combines packet control with new mod-
ulation and coding techniques.
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Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
Compact GPRS
Compact GPRS is a GPRS system that uses a limited (compact) frequency
plan. This allows the system operator to use a relatively small amount of fre-
quency bandwidth or to convert a limited number of GSM channels to GPRS
capability. Because compact GPRS channels will experience higher interfer-
ence levels from nearby radio channels, the signaling processes between cell
sites are coordinated differently than standard GPRS channels.
Upgrading GSM to GPRS and EDGE
The deployment of GPRS allows carriers to upgrade their systems hard-
ware and software (such as replacing or adding channel cards and adding
packet switching nodes). Carriers can upgrade their GSM radio systems to
offer GPRS and EGPRS services by simply exchanging, upgrading, or
adding one or more of their existing radio channels to offer packet data ser-
vices.
Figure 1.2 shows how a GSM system can be upgraded to offer GPRS ser-
vices. This diagram shows that an existing GSM channel is removed,
replaced, or upgraded to have GPRS and EGPRS modulation and transmis-
sion capability. This diagram shows that packet control unit (PCU) must be
added to the base station controller (BSC) and packet data switching nodes
and gateways must also be added to allow data packets to be routed between
mobile devices and data networks (e.g. the Internet or private corporate
networks).
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Each GPRS system can be single mode (voice or data) or dual mode (data
and voice). To obtain dual mode voice and data operation, mobile devices
must be capable of processing voice and data signals at the same time. This
allows the GPRS system to continue to transmit data when a user is on a
voice call (such as web browsing while talking).
Figure 1.3 shows how the GPRS system can provide both voice and data
interoperation. This diagram shows how a voice call can be received while a
user is transferring a file via a GPRS data session. In this example, the
GPRS packet data channel sends a message to the mobile telephone alert-
ing the user that an incoming call is waiting. If the user accepts the call, the
mobile telephone may add a voice channel on another time slot. Note that
only some types of GPRS mobile devices are capable of simultaneous opera-
tion.
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Figure 1.2, GSM System Upgrade to GPRS
GPRS product types include external radio modems, wireless PCMCIA
cards, embedded radio modules, and mobile telephones. GPRS devices may
be single mode data or dual mode GSM voice and GPRS data.
Figure 1.4 shows the common types of GPRS products available to cus-
tomers. This diagram shows that the product types available for GPRS
include mobile telephones, integrated (embedded) radio modules, PCMCIA
cards, and external radio modems. GPRS mobile telephones may be capable
of operating on both the GSM voice and GPRS data radio channels simulta-
neously or may only be capable of GPRS data or GSM voice service. Small
radio assemblies may be integrated (embedded) into other devices such as
digital security cameras or tablet PCs. PCMCIA cards may allow for both
data and voice operations when inserted into portable communications
devices such as laptops or personal digital assistants (PDAs). External radio
modems may plug into standard interfaces such as USB or Ethernet RJ-45
connectors.
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Figure 1.3., GSM and GPRS Dual Mode Operation
Each GPRS channel can directly communicate with up to 8 connected users
and can transparently provide service (always-on) to tens of users.
However with this small amount of radio resource allocated to each user the
data rates experienced would be very low. Nevertheless, in this configura-
tion a single radio channel can have up to 8 GPRS packet data channels and
a cell site can have several GPRS radio channels in several sectors (focused
radio coverage areas).
GPRS uses the same modulation type as GSM and adds new signaling pro-
tocols (software). EGPRS uses new modulation that will require a hardware
change. Expanding from GSM to GPRS requires the addition of service
nodes (packet switches). Expanding from GPRS to EGPRS may require
additional capacity for the service nodes.
The service provider will also need to modify or upgrade billing systems to
track and bill for packet data and information services.
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Figure 1.4., GPRS Product Types
GPRS and EGPRS Industry Specifications
GPRS is a portion of the GSM specification that allows packet radio service
on the GSM system. The GPRS system adds (defines) new packet control
channels and gateways to the GSM system.
GPRS and EGPRS standards are a portion of the GSM industry standard
called phase 2+. The phase 2+ specification is an enhancement to the second
phase of the GSM system. GPRS was developed to provide medium-speed
packet data access for the GSM system. EGPRS developed from contribu-
tions of the universal wireless consortium 136 (UWC-136) [
i
].
Figure 1.5 shows the evolution of GPRS and EDGE/EGPRS industry speci-
fication. This diagram shows that the GSM standard was developed in phas-
es. GSM phase 1 provided basic voice services data services. GSM phase 2
brought enhancements to system operation and to circuit switched data
transmission. GPRS was added to GSM to provide packet data service in
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Figure 1.5., GPRS and EDGE/EGPRS Standards Evolution
phase 2+. EDGE specification was created to increase the data transmission
rate of the GPRS and is also applicable to IS-136 TDMA. EDGE was inte-
grated with GPRS to produce the Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS).
The GSM association assists with the promotion, protection, and evolution
of GSM technology (including GPRS and EDGE) and products throughout
the world. Information about the GSM association can be found at
www.gsmworld.com. GSM association members include mobile operators,
manufacturers, and suppliers.
Originally the GSM development group was hosted by CEPT. GSM technol-
ogy basics were created in 1987 and in 1989 ETSI became the managing
body. In 1990, the first GSM specification was released (more than 6,000
pages of specifications). In 1998, the Third generation Partnership Project
(3GPP) group was formed to create the next evolution of mobile specifica-
tion. 3GPP has now taken over the management of GSM and GPRS specifi-
cations. GSM and GPRS specifications (and evolved versions of the specifi-
cations) can be obtained at www.3gpp.org.
Packet Data Services
Packet switched data is the transfer of information between two points
through the division of the data into small packets. The packets are routed
(switched) through the network and reconnected at the other end to recre-
ate the original data. Each data packet contains the address of its source
and destination. In some circumstances this allows each packet to take a dif-
ferent route through the network to reach its destination.
The basic service that GPRS and EGPRS provide is efficient medium-speed
packet data transmission. The maximum data transmission rates can be
adjusted and capped for different types of users up to 171.2 kbps for GPRS
and up to 473.6 kbps for EGPRS, but in practice they are much lower.
Typical rates for GPRS would be in the region of 30 kbps with EGPRS per-
haps providing rates in excess of 100 kbps.
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Packet data service can be data only or a mixture of voice and data services.
An example of a data-only service would be wireless Internet service for a
desktop that is provided by an external GPRS modem that plugs into the
USB or RJ-45 Ethernet plug.
GPRS can be used to provide an always-on type of service. When the GPRS
device is initially turned on, it takes only a few seconds to obtain an IP
address that is necessary to communicate with the network. Even when the
GPRS or EGPRS device is inactive and placed in the dormant state, recon-
nection is typically less than 1/2 a second.
The services that GPRS can provide include medium-rate data transmis-
sion, streaming media, various levels of quality of service (QoS), multicast
services, and location based services. It is also possible for GPRS to provide
different classes of these services for different types of users.
Mobile Services (M-Services)
Mobile services are a set of applications and their required characteristics
for operation in a mobile environment that is defined by the GSM associa-
tion. Some of the objectives for M-Services include a more uniform look and
feel of mobile applications on different types of mobile devices, a gradual
evolution from text messaging to multimedia messaging services (MMS), to
use established protocols and standards when possible, and to help ensure
digital rights management of electronic media.
Stream Prioritization
Stream prioritization service is the identification and management of infor-
mation flow for different types of communication sessions. This allows the
system to prioritize the delivery of packets for time critical applications such
as IP telephony or audio streaming and to delay packets for non-real time
applications such as email or web browsing.
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Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS)
Enhanced messaging service is an evolution of short messaging service
(SMS) that adds the capabilities of text formatting, animation, pictures, and
sound to be transferred in short messages. The 3GPP standard for EMS ser-
vices is TS 23.040.
Multicast Services
Multicast service is a one-to-many media delivery process that sends a sin-
gle message or information transmission that contains an address (code)
that is designated for several devices (nodes) in a network. Devices must
contain the matching code to successfully receive or decode the message.
GPRS multicast services can include news services or media (digital audio)
broadcasts.
Asynchronous Channels
Asynchronous channels are dynamically adjusted channels that do not have
a fixed synchronization with some other reference signal. Communication
on an asynchronous channel is not sequential and may appear random or
unbalanced in nature. This type of data can be carried over GPRS and
EGPRS.
Asymmetric Channels
An asymmetric channel is a bi-directional channel in which different data
rates are carried in each direction. The GPRS and EGPRS systems permit
the assignment of different data transmission rates for the forward and
reverse directions.
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Quality of Service (QoS)
Quality of Service (QoS) is one or more measurements of desired perfor-
mance and priorities of a communications system. QoS measures may
include service availability, maximum bit error rate (BER), minimum com-
mitted bit rate (CBR) and other measurements that are used to ensure qual-
ity communications service.
The GPRS and EGPRS system can offer different types of quality of service
(QoS) for different types of customers. A key QoS attribute includes priority
access for different types of users. For example, priority access could apply
to executive user or public safety user classes over lower cost consumer
based users.
QoS provision in the GPRS and EGPRS systems will depend on the specifi-
cation release to which the network has been built. In current builds the
capability is quite limited, but in later releases four different service class-
es are defined. These are known as Conversational, Streaming, Interactive
and Background.
Conversation Class
Conversation class is aimed at the provision of communication services (typ-
ically voice) through a network with minimal delay in two directions. While
conversation has stringent maximum time delay limits (typically tens of
milliseconds), it may be acceptable to loose some data during transmission
due to errors.
Streaming Class
Streaming class is the delivering of audio or video signals through a network
by establishing and managing of a continuous flow (a stream) of informa-
tion. Upon request of streaming class of service, a server system (informa-
tion source) will deliver a stream of audio and/or video (usually compressed)
to a client. The client will receive the data stream and (after a short buffer-
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ing delay) decode the audio and play it to a user. Internet audio streaming
systems are used for delivering audio from 2 kbps (for low-quality speech)
up to hundreds of kbps (for audiophile-quality music).
Streaming class provides a continuous stream of information that is com-
monly used for the delivery of audio and video content with minimal delay
(e.g. real-time). Streaming signals are usually compressed and error pro-
tected to allow the receiver to buffer, decompress, and time sequence infor-
mation before it is displayed in its original format.
Interactive Class
The interactive class provides for data and control information transmission
through a network with minimal delays and with very few data errors. The
interactive class allows a user or system to interact with a software appli-
cation (typically a web host) in near-real time (limited transmission delays).
The interactive class allows the communication channel to be shared by
other users during periods of inactivity (such as when the user is thinking
about a response to a web page question.)
Background Class
Background class is the process of providing information transfer services
on a best-effort basis. Background class is used for non-time critical services
(such as Internet web browsing).
Short Messaging Services
Short message service (SMS) gives mobile phone subscribers the ability to
send and receive text or data messages. GSM mobile device can send short
messages or it can be sent by other systems (such as an email or web page
link).
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The GSM system limits the short message to 160 alphanumeric characters
(7 bits each), 140 data elements (8 bits each), or 70 two-type characters (16
bits each). SMS messages can be received while the mobile telephone is in
standby (idle) or while it is in use (conversation). While the mobile telephone
is communicating both voice and message information, short message trans-
fer takes slightly longer than it does while the mobile telephone is in stand-
by. Short messages can be concatenated together to produce longer mes-
sages. Short messages are received, stored, and forwarded through the use
of a SMS service center (SC).
Short messages that are received by a mobile telephone are typically stored
in the SIM card. This allows the user to keep all their messages on a single
SIM card regardless on which mobile telephone they use with the SIM card.
SMS and GPRS
Although SMS messages are a form of packet data they are not carried in
the GPRS part of the system. This is because their application in GSM was
specified before GPRS was defined. Instead they are carried as a separate
data flow in dedicated signaling channels associated with a mobile station.
Location Based Services (LBS)
Location based services are information or advertising services that vary
based on the location of the user. The GSM system permits the use of dif-
ferent types of location information sources including the system itself or
through the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS).
Although the location functionality is not part of GPRS, there are many
examples of services accessed using the GPRS bearer that may make use of
information about a users location.
Packet Data Service Measurement Types
Packet data service can be characterized by data throughput, packet loss,
latency, and jitter.
Data Throughput
Data throughput is the amount of data information that can be transferred
through a communication channel or transferred through a point on a com-
munication system.
Packet Loss
Packet loss is a ratio of the number of data packets that have been lost in
transmission compared to the total number of packets that have been trans-
mitted.
Latency
Latency is the amount of time delay between the initiation of a service
request for data transmission or when data is initially received for retrans-
mission to the time when the data transmission service request is granted
or when the retransmission of data begins.
Jitter
Jitter is a short-term variation of transmission delay time for data packets
that usually results from varying time delays in transmission due to differ-
ent paths or routing processes used in a packet communication network.
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GPRS and EGPRS Devices (Mobile Stations)
GPRS and EDGE/EGPRS devices (also called mobile stations) are data
input and output devices that are used to communicate with a nearby base
station. All GPRS devices include a removable Subscriber Identity Module
(SIM) that holds a variety of information including service subscription
information. The common available types of GPRS devices include external
radio modems, PCMCIA cards, radio modules, and mobile telephones.
Mobile Device Classes
GPRS mobile device class is a parameter that indicates the capabilities of a
device. GPRS device class capabilities may include maximum and minimum
transmitter power levels, available modulation and coding types, and which
services can be supported on the device.
One of the ways in which GPRS mobile devices are categorized relates to the
number of simultaneous timeslots that they can use in the uplink and down-
link directions. This capability affects the attainable bit rate since all eight
timeslots must be used to achieve the highest theoretical bit rates. It may
also have an impact on whether simultaneous GSM and GPRS operation is
possible. This is known as its Multi-slot Class. A typical capability would be
four slots in one direction and two in the other.
Some mobiles may also be multimode, being able to access other technolo-
gies, including for example, IS-136 TDMA.
A GPRS mobile devices ability to access circuit switched (voice) services in
parallel with GPRS is described with a capability class that may be A, B or
C. Note that almost all current devices are class B.
Class A Simultaneous Voice and Data
GPRS class A devices are capable of performing GSM voice and GPRS data
simultaneously.
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Class B Automatic Transfer of Voice and Data
GPRS class B devices are capable of performing GSM voice or GPRS packet
data transactions, but not simultaneously. The mobile can be registered on
and monitoring establishing connections over either as required.
Class C Single System Selection
GPRS class C devices are capable of performing either GSM voice or GPRS
data service. The selection of which service to use is performed manually
and once applied the mobile cannot use the other system.
Dual Transfer Mode (DTM)
Dual transfer mode is a class of GPRS service that allows a mobile device to
offer simultaneous voice and packet data service without having the
requirement of transmitting and receiving at the same time. DTM is a sub-
set of GPRS classes A capability.
Multi-slot Class
GPRS multi-slot class represents the capabilities of the mobile device to
receive/transmit and process multiple time slots per frame.
The maximum capability in any one direction is eight time slots. Note that
when four or more time slots are assigned, the mobile telephone must be
capable of full duplex transmission
Figure 1.6 shows the different multi-slot classes available for GPRS mobile
devices. This table shows that the multi-slot class ranges from 1 through 12.
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Subscriber Identity Module (SIM)
The SIM is a mandatory part of a GSM/GPRS/EGPRS mobile. It is small
information card that contains a variety of information including service
subscription, identity and personal information. Other information relates
to the mobiles operation, the processes required for security procedures and
a small amount of user specific data (such as feature preferences, a phone
book and short messages). This information is being stored in the card
rather than programming this information into the phone itself. This intel-
ligent card, either credit card-sized (ISO format), or the size of a postage-
stamp (Plug-In format), must be present in the phone before it will operate.
External Modems (USB or Ethernet)
External radio modems allow the customer simply to plug in their GPRS
device to their USB or Ethernet data port to their desktop or laptop com-
puter. An external modem behaves as if it were a self-contained modula-
tor/demodulator (MODEM) that can be connected to a computer or other
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Figure 1.6., GPRS Multislot Classes
data processing equipment. External modems are commonly connected to
computers via standard connections such as universal serial bus (USB) or
RJ-45 Ethernet connections.
PCMCIA Air Cards
GPRS PCMCIA cards can be added to most laptop computers.
The PCMCIA card uses a standard physical and electrical interface that is
used to connect memory and communication devices to computers, typically
laptops. The physical card sizes are similar to the size of a credit card 2.126
inches (51.46 mm) by 3.37 inches (69.2 mm) long. There are 4 different card
thickness dimensions: 3.3 (type 1), 5.0 (type 2), 10.5 (type 3), and 16 mm
(type 4).
Embedded Radio Modules
Embedded radio modules are self-contained electronic assemblies that may
be inserted or attached to other electronic devices or systems. Embedded
radio modules may be installed in computing devices such as personal digi-
tal assistants (PDAs), laptop computers, and other types of computing
devices that can benefit from wireless data and/or voice connections.
Mobile Telephones
Mobile telephones are radio transceivers (a combined transmitter and
receiver) that convert signals between users (typically people, but not
always) and radio signals. Mobile telephones can vary from simple voice
units to advanced multimedia personal digital assistants (PDAs).
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Some GPRS mobile telephones include both GSM (voice and low speed data)
and GPRS (high-speed packet data) capability. Because the signal process
and channel coding is different for GPRS radio channels, existing GSM
mobile telephones can only access the voice and medium-speed data capa-
bility of GPRS systems.
Dual Mode Capability
Dual mode (multi-mode operation) capability is the ability of a device or sys-
tem to operate in two different modes (not necessarily at the same time). For
wireless systems, it refers to mobile devices that can operate on two differ-
ent system types such as analog and digital or different forms or digital.
GPRS and EGPRS Radio
There are two types of radio channels used in the GSM/GPRS system; one
for packet data (GPRS) and another for voice and circuit switched data ser-
vices (GSM). The characteristics of GPRS radio channels include frequency
bands, frequency reuse, channel multiplexing techniques, RF power control,
and channel structure.
The GPRS system dynamically assigns time slots, as data transmission is
needed. GPRS is more efficient than circuit switched data for communica-
tion processes that have bursty types of transmission such as browsing the
Internet.
The GPRS system uses the existing GSM radio channel structure. It defines
new logical packet data and packet control channels.
The Packet Control Unit (PCU) manages radio transmission for packets
through coordinates with the base station and the Serving GPRS Support
Node (SGSN). The SGSN is responsible for maintaining the connection with
GPRS mobile devices that are operating within its area. The SGSN provides
a packet data switching function that is similar to that of an MSC that is
responsible for managing a communication session with mobile telephones.
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The SGSN receives registration requests and maintains the status and loca-
tion of mobile devices that are operating within its radio coverage area. The
GGSN is used as an anchor connection and gateway to allow the GPRS sys-
tem to connect to other networks (such as the Internet). The GGSN initiates,
maintains, and transfers connections with SGSNs that are communicating
with mobile devices. The GGSN is also the primary source for billing infor-
mation related to the communication session.
SGSNs and GGSNs are connected using the GPRS backbone network. The
GPRS backbone network routes IP packets between SGSNs and GGSNs
using GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP).Connections between SGSN and
GGSN are setup using a virtual tunnel path. The SGSN and GGSN use
their own unique address for each end of the tunnel.
When mobile devices move to new SGSNs, the tunnel end address may be
reassigned.
The IP addresses of SGSNs and GGSNs are independent of the IP address
of the mobile device and the destination it is in communication with (e.g.
Internet web site). The IP packets from the mobile device are simply insert-
ed (encapsulated) into the IP packets that are sent between the SGSN and
GGSN.
Figure 1.7 shows how an IP packet is encapsulated into the data portion of
another packet that is sent through a GPRS network. As the IP packet is
sent from the data device (e.g. portable computer) into the wireless device,
packets are individually addressed with their destination address (the web
site host). When the packet is received at the SGSN, the packet is embedded
into another packet and this is the packet that has the address of the GGSN.
This packet is forwarded to the destination GGSN on the virtual path (tun-
nel) through the GPRS data network. Both the SGSN and GGSN have their
own IP address. When the data packets arrive at the GGSN, the mobile
device IP packet is extracted from the data payload so it can be sent through
the Internet to its final destination (the web host).
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Communication between the base station and the SGSN uses Base Station
Subsystem GPRS Protocol (BSSGP). BSSGP was designed to allow for effi-
cient communication between the base station and SGSN. The SGSNs com-
munication with GSM and GPRS network databases including HLR, VLR,
AuC to authenticate, manages, and determines what services the users are
authorized to utilize.
RF Channel Types
GPRS radio channels use the same time division multiplexing structure for
the radio channel as the GSM system. Time division multiplexing (TDM)
allows up to 8 users to share a single transmission path by assigning the
path sequentially to each signal, each assignment being for a discrete time
interval.
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Figure 1.7., GPRS IP Datagram Encapsulation
Figure 1.8 shows the structure of the normal burst used in the GPRS sys-
tem. This example shows that a normal burst is 577 sec long and it con-
tains 156.25 bit periods. The information field included in the normal burst
consists of initial tail bits (TB), data bits (D), a training sequence (T), and
final tail bits (TB). A guard period (GP) is included at the end of the normal
burst time period to help ensure that transmitted bursts from one mobile
device does not overlap with transmitted bursts from another mobile device.
The RF power structure of the transmitted burst includes a ramp up and
ramp down time to reduce unwanted radio emissions that occur from rapid-
ly changing signals.
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Figure 1.8., GPRS Normal Burst Slot Structure
The EGPRS system uses 8PSK modulation that provides more bits per time
slot.
To increase the efficiency of packet data transmission, one timeslot number
in four consecutive frames are grouped together to form a radio block. Each
radio block contains a header, data part, and error check parts. The header
contains the device address along with radio link control information. The
data part may be user data or a control message. The error check part
ensures the radio block was successfully received without errors.
Some of the data in the radio blocks may be used for packet data control
channels. This would then include a packet broadcast channel, packet ran-
dom access channel, a packet common control channel, and a packet control
channel.
Figure 1.9 shows how one timeslot over four frames is grouped together to
form a radio block. This diagram shows that the radio block structures are
composed of four occurrences of one time slot. Each radio block structure
contains a header that identifies the mobile device(s) that should receive the
block, radio link control, the data or control information that is being trans-
ferred, and a radio block error check field. The EGPRS radio block also
includes a separate error check field for the header.
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Frequency Bands
Frequency allocation is the amount of radio spectrum (frequency bands)
that is assigned (allocated) by a regulatory agency for use for specific types
of radio services. The GPRS system uses the same frequency bands used by
GSM mobile systems.
Frequency Reuse
Frequency reuse is the process of using the same radio frequencies on radio
transmitter sites within a geographic area such that they are separated by
sufficient distance to minimize interference between them. Efficient fre-
quency reuse allows for a dramatic increase in the number of customers that
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Figure 1.9., GPRS Radio Block Structure
can be served (capacity) within a geographic area on a limited amount of
radio spectrum (limited number of radio channels). The ability to reuse fre-
quencies depends on various factors that include the ability of channels to
operate in with a limited amount of interference.
Frequency Hopping
Frequency hopping is a radio transmission process where a message or voice
communications is sent on a radio channel that regularly changes frequen-
cy (hops) according to a predetermined sequence. The receiver of the mes-
sage or voice information must also receive on the same frequencies using
the same frequency hopping sequence.
GSM and GPRS can use frequency hopping to reduce the effects of interfer-
ence to and from other GSM and GPRS cell sites. This interference averag-
ing increases the overall data throughput and reliability of the GPRS sys-
tem.
RF Power Control
RF power control is a process of adjusting the power level of a mobile radio
as it moves closer to and further away from a transmitter. RF power control
is typically accomplished by sensing the received signal strength level and
the relaying of power control messages from a transmitter to the mobile
device with commands that are used to increase or decrease the mobile
devices output power level. However, in GPRS the mobile assesses its own
required power level based on measurements made on the base station.
Mobile station classification determines the maximum RF transmitter
power and the slotting capabilities. For the GPRS system on the frequency
band and the country the mobile device is operating in. However, in practice
only one class is used in each band.
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Base stations always transmit at full power on control channels. This allows
mobile devices to accurately measure the signal strength of other access
points. Mobile devices that operate close to the base station will receive a
high quality signal and this will allow them to transfer at the highest data
transmission rates. For EGPRS they can use the more spectrally efficient
high-level modulation QPSK. Mobile devices that operate far away from the
base station (at the edge of the EGPRS radio coverage area) will transmit at
lower data transmission rates (using less efficient, more the robust modula-
tion GMSK).
GPRS mobile radios have a number of defined power classes and the maxi-
mum RF transmission levels for each class vary based on the band and the
country the devices are used in. Higher-classes of devices may be used as
fixed devices while lower class devices may be well suited for portable
devices for microcellular networks.
Figure 1.10 shows the different power classes available for GSM/GPRS/
EGPRS mobile devices operating in the 800/900 MHz frequency bands. This
table shows that there are nominally five power classes for mobile devices in
these bands with maximum power level from 0.8 Watts to 20.0 Watts.
However, power class 1 has been deleted from the standards and in practice
all manufactured devices are class 4.
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Figure 1.10., GPRS RF Power Classes
Dynamic Time Alignment
Dynamic time alignment is a technique that allows a base radio station
(tower site) to receive transmitted signals from mobile radios at varying dis-
tances in an exact time slot. Time alignment keeps different mobile radios
transmit bursts from overlapping. Dynamic time alignment is necessary
because subscribers are moving, and their radio waves arrival time at the
base station depends on their changing distance from the base station. The
greater the distance, the more delay in the signals arrival time.
Transmission roundtrip delay is approximately 6 sec per km (or 10 sec per
mile). The base station measures the observed time delay and sends correc-
tions, called Timing Advance (TA), to the mobile.
However, unlike GSM connections where under normal conditions a burst is
transmitted in every frame, GPRS connections may not require transmitted
bursts for extended periods of time. This limits the ability of the base sta-
tion to constantly track the necessary time alignment correction. To over-
come this challenge, some packets may be sent to the mobile station for the
purpose of estimating and maintaining time alignment with the GPRS sys-
tem.
The GPRS system uses a Packet Timing advance Control Channel (PTCCH)
for mobiles to send periodically transmit radio bursts that allows the GPRS
system to determine the necessary transmit timing advance. This ensures
that radio bursts do not overlap with transmission bursts in adjacent time
slots. The mobile device does not need to transmit these bursts while it is
transmitting data communication as the system can use the transmitted
bursts to determine its timing delay. A mobile device that is browsing the
Internet may be transmitting data less than 10% of the connection time.
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Channel Structure
Channel structure covers many things, but relates to the standardized way
in which information is arranged as it is carried over the radio link. This
includes the division of information according to type, referred to as logical
channels, and its subsequent organization into radio blocks, timeslots,
frames and multi-frames.
Control information on the GPRS forward channel is performed by time
multiplexing data and control channels. This allows the GPRS device to
receive control messages while operating on a data channel.
Each GPRS packet is transmitted using one timeslot over four consecutive
standard GSM frames.
Multi-frame
Multi-frames are patterns of frames that allow for the multiplexing of dif-
ferent information flows, known as logical channels, into a single radio
channel timeslot over a defined period of time. The GPRS system uses a new
type of multi-frame to mix packet traffic channels, control channels, and idle
periods. This 52-frame multi-frame is 240 msec in duration.
A 52-frame multi-frame contains twelve radio blocks. Each radio block con-
tains four time slots (one from each frame). The radio blocks are labeled B0
through B11. The 52-frame multi-frame includes an idle period that allows
the mobile phone to measure the radio signal quality on other radio chan-
nels at least two times during each 52-frame multi-frame
Figure 1.11 shows the structure of a 52-frame multi-frame that is used in
the GPRS system. This diagram shows that some frames are used for data
(D), some frames are used for packet timing control channel (T), and some
frames are used as idle periods (I).
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Coding Schemes (CS)
Coding schemes are error correction or detection schemes along with modu-
lation schemes that are used to protect data carried in communication chan-
nels. Coding schemes may include different modulation and channel coding
types. The selection of coding scheme that is used usually depends on the
type of communication medium and the nature of the data being carried.
Communication channels that have a high percentage of errors may use
strong error protection coding and robust modulation types. For communi-
cation channels that have a high quality link, more efficient modulation
technology and minimal error protection may be used to increase the data
transmission rate.
Channel coding is a process where one or more control and user data signals
are combined with error protected or error correction information. After a
sequence of digital data bits have been produced by a digital speech codec or
by other digital signal sources, these digital bits are processed to create a
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Figure 1.11., 52-Frame Multiframe
sequence of new bit patterns including error detection and error protection
bits. The order in which bits from different coded block are sent may also be
rearranged, this is known as interleaving and makes the error correction
scheme more effective.
The GPRS system uses various types of channel error coding that maximize
the reliability of data transmission while minimizing the amount of over-
head due to added error detection and correction bits. The error correction
code rates range from 1/3 to 1 (no error protection). Code rates are the ratio
of information bits to a coding process to the total number of bits created by
the coding process. A coding rate of 1/3 indicates for each information bit
into the coding process (such as 8 kbps) there will be 3 bits created for trans-
mission (output of 24 kbps). In general, the higher the code rate the more
effective the protection and the higher the percentage of error detection/cor-
rection overhead.
Punctured codes are linear error correction codes that remove one or more
symbols from the code word. This can significantly reduce the data trans-
mission overhead (additional bits for error detection/correction) without sig-
nificantly reducing the error detection/correction performance.
The error correction rates on the GPRS and EGPRS system vary from 1 (no
error protection) to 1/3 (66% of the bits are for error protection).
Figure 1.12 shows the different channel coding schemes that can be used in
GPRS and EGPRS systems. This table shows that the GPRS system uses 4
different code schemes CS-1 through CS-4 and EGPRS uses 9 different code
schemes MCS-1 through MCS-9 and that the type of modulation used on
these channels can be either GMSK or 8PSK. Because of the different types
of channel coding and modulation, the data transmission rate can vary up
to 473.6 kbps. This table shows that the maximum theoretical data transfer
rate available for GPRS is 171.2 kbps and 473.6 kbps for EGPRS. However,
is is very unusual to see anything other than CS-1 and CS-2 being used in
GPRS, and similarly it is expected that only the lower numbered coding
schemes will see widespread use in EGPRS.
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Encryption
Encryption is a process of a protecting voice or data information from eaves-
dropping by unauthorized third parties. Encryption involves the use of a
data processing algorithm (formula program) that uses one or more secret
keys that both the sender and receiver of the information use to encrypt and
decrypt the information. Without the encryption algorithm and key(s),
unauthorized listeners cannot decode the message. When the encryption
and decryption keys are the same, the encryption process is known as sym-
metrical encryption. When different encryption and decryption keys are
used (such as in a public encryption system), the process is known as asym-
metrical encryption.
The GPRS system uses encryption between the SGSN and the mobile
device. The use of encryption prohibits other mobile devices or unauthorized
third parties from capturing and decoding packets that are not intended for
them.
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Figure 1.12., GPRS and EGPRS Channel Coding Schemes
Modulation
Modulation is the process of changing the amplitude, frequency, or phase of
a radio frequency carrier signal (a carrier) to reflect the information signal
(such as voice or data). The GPRS system uses the same form of modulation
as GSM (GMSK), but a new modulation process is available for EGPRS
(8PSK).
The modulation may vary from time slot to time slot. When an existing GSM
mobile telephone receives a time slot with 8PSK modulation, it will not be
able to decode this new type of EGPRS modulation.
While 8PSK modulation can provide for higher data transmission rates,
these high data transmission rates are only possible when radio channel
conditions are good. This typically occurs when the user is near a base sta-
tion or they are moving relatively slowly.
As the radio channel quality begins to degrade, more robust channel coding
types are used (lower data transfer rates).
Data Packet Encapsulation
Data packet encapsulation is the process of inserting the entire contents of
one packet (header, control, and data) into the payload of another packet.
Packet encapsulation is used to transfer packets transparently from one
packet communication system by placing them inside the packets of anoth-
er communications system.
Figure 1.13 shows an example of how IP packets (datagrams) can be encap-
sulated in the payload (data portion) of other types of data packets to trans-
parently transfer IP packets through different types of networks. This dia-
gram shows a data file being sent from a laptop computer via a radio link to
a destination computer that has a specific Internet protocol (IP) address.
The wireless laptop computer divides the data file into small IP packets.
Each IP packet has its destination IP address. The laptop computer sends
these IP packets via the radio link to a wireless access point. Because the
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radio packet payload size is relatively small, the IP datagram is further
divided into smaller portions that can be directly inserted into the payload
of the radio packet. These portions are received by the access point where
(the end of link 1) they are reassembled into the original IP datagram. This
example shows that the IP datagrams are then sent through a frame relay
network. Because the frame relay packet payload is much larger, several IP
datagrams can be encapsulated into one frame relay packet. When the
frame relay packets reach their destination (end of link 2), the packets are
extracted so they can be sent on the next network. The IP datagrams are
then encapsulated in the data portion of the Ethernet packets. When the
Ethernet packets reach their destination, they are extracted and provided to
the file transfer application on the destination computer. This example
shows that the use of data encapsulation allows the file transfer applica-
tions in the laptop and destination to be unaware of the different types of
networks that the IP packets travel through to reach their destination.
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Figure 1.13., Data Packet Encapsulation
Processes similar to this are used in GPRS, but in that case both encapsu-
lation in frame relay and encapsulation in IP are used. Frame relay is used
as part of the access network and IP is used within the core network. Both
technologies encapsulate end-to-end IP packets being carried on GPRS.
Packet Data Channel Sharing
Up to 8 GPRS connected devices can share a single packet data channel
through the use of a 3-bit uplink state flag (USF). GPRS and EDGE mobile
devices are assigned a temporary 3-bit USF code when they are connected
to the system.
Figure 1.14 shows how a single packet data channel can be shared by up to
8 simultaneous users. This diagram shows that each GPRS or EGPRS
mobile device is identified by a 3-bit USF code. The system relates (maps)
the USF code to a specific IP address it has assigned for each device.
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Figure 1.14., GPRS USF Channel Sharing
Channels
Channel is a general term describing a communication link carrying data
between two points. In GSM/GPRS the word channel is used in three very
specific ways. Firstly, it can be used to describe the radio frequency used on
the link between the mobile and the base station. In this case the term radio
channel would be used. The radio channel is then divided into eight times-
lots. Each timeslot is referred to as a physical channel, thus there are eight
physical channels in a radio channel. Finally, different types of information
flow are described as logical channels. Multiple logical channels can be mul-
tiplexed into a single physical channel.
Physical Channels
Physical channels are timeslots on radio channels. In the GSM/GPRS sys-
tem different names the general functions given to physical channels. For
example they may be described as signaling or as traffic channels. Note that
this designation is not absolute in that some types of signaling may be sent
in a traffic channel and vice versa. However, for the GPRS system itself
there is only one type of physical channel.
Packet Data Channel (PDCH)
A packet data channel is a physical channel (a time slot) in a GPRS system
that is assigned for packet data communication. One or more PDCHs (time
slots) may be combined to provide higher data transmission rates to or from
a particular user.
If EGPRS is in use the modulation type of the PDCH may change between
time slots. Older mobile devices that cannot decode the new modulation will
simply ignore them.
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Logical Channels
Logical channel is a term used to describe a type of data flow (signaling or
traffic) that is being carried in a physical channel. A single physical channel
may carry more than one logical channel type multiplexed over a number of
frames. The basic GSM system has two main categories of logical channel;
traffic channels and control channels.
Logical channels can be shared by multiple users (common channels) or the
can be used for one-to-one communication (dedicated channels).
Traffic Channels
The term traffic channel is usually used to describe a timeslot (physical
channel) that is configured to carry user traffic of some kind. In GSM this
will be voice or circuit switched data, in GPRS the traffic will be packet
switched data. Configuration of the physical channel for traffic transfer
involves the mapping of traffic logical channels into it. There are several
types of traffic logical channel in GSM/GPRS.
For GSM the basic Traffic logical channel is called a TCH. This is then sub-
divided into more specific types according to the type of traffic being carried.
For example, there are several different types of voice coder that may be
used in GSM. Thus a TCH carrying enhanced full rate coded voice is called
TCH/EFR, one carrying half rate-coded voice is called TCH/HR.
In GPRS there is only one type of traffic carrying logical channel, simply
called a Packet Data Traffic Channel (PDTCH)
For both GSM and GPRS there is always a need to carry some signaling
information to support the traffic connection. Associated control logical
channels provide this function. These will be multiplexed into traffic physi-
cal channels alongside traffic logical channels.
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Control Channels
The term control channel is usually used to describe a physical channel that
is configured to carry signaling of some kind. The type of signaling may vary
and for both GSM and GPRS different types of signaling logical channels
can be multiplexed into a single control physical channel. These different
types of signaling include paging (alerting), access control (channel assign-
ment) and system broadcast information (access parameters and system
identification).
There is a set of signaling logical channel defined specifically for GPRS, but
because the GPRS is an upgrade to the existing GSM system, control mes-
sages can be sent on either the GSM control channels or on the GPRS con-
trol channels. Therefore it is common practice in most current GPRS sys-
tems to use the existing GSM control channels for common control func-
tions.
GSM Logical Channels
When the GPRS system does not have any packet control channels in oper-
ation, existing GSM control channels (such as the paging channel and access
channels) can be used for initial setup of GPRS data communication ses-
sions.
Broadcast Channels (BCH)
The broadcast channels are transmitted in the forward direction (downlink)
by the base station across the cell area. The information in them is intend-
ed to be received by any mobile in the cell area.
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Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH)
The broadcast control channel is used for the broadcasting of system infor-
mation. This includes a wide variety of information describing the network
and cell identities along with their respective configurations. This system
information also contains information about features and services support-
ed and any access restriction. The mobile will also find parameters relating
to its activity whilst monitoring the system such as the neighbor cell cells
that it should be measuring.
Each cell contains a one broadcast control channel. Mobile devices usually
monitor the radio signal strength of cell site broadcast channels to deter-
mine which cell site may best provide it with service.
Frequency Correction Channel (FCCH)
The frequency correction channel provides frequency reference information
that allows the mobile device to adjust its frequency so it can better decode
the received signals. The presence of FCCH also indicates the presence of
BCCH since they are always broadcast on the same radio channel frequen-
cy on a cell. The frequency correction channel transmission burst occurs
before the timing synchronization burst.
Synchronization Channel (SCH)
The synchronization channel a signaling channel that provides the system
timing information that a mobile device needs to adjust its timing so that it
can better align, decode, and measure other communication channels. It also
carries some basic cell identification information.
Cell Broadcast Channel (CBCH)
A cell broadcast channel is an optional channel carries short messages on
the broadcast channel. This is a special (and very rarely used) form of the
Short Message Service (SMS) that can carry locally specific text based infor-
mation. Each CBCH can transfer up to 80 octets/91 characters (in one mes-
sage) every 2 seconds [
1
]. If the CBCH is included, it replaces one of the ded-
icated signaling channels.
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Common Control Channels (CCCH)
The common control channels are used to coordinate the control of mobile
devices operating within its cell radio coverage area. Any mobile in the cell
area may receive (or transmit) the information in these channels, but it has
relevance to only one mobile. The common control channels include the
Random Access Channel (RACH), Paging Channel (PCH), and Access Grant
Channel (AGCH).
Random Access Channel (RACH)
The random access channel is a reverse (uplink) signaling channel that is
used by mobile devices to initiate requests for access to the communication
system. Responses to service requests that are sent on a RACH channel are
provided on the downlink AGCH.
Because the distance between the mobile device and the cell site is not
known when the mobile first accesses the system, the access request is
attempted using a shortened transmission burst. This prevents potential
overlap of the transmission burst with adjacent time slots for the same cell
site.
Paging Channel (PCH)
The paging channel is used to send messages (paging messages) that alert a
mobile device of an incoming call. The paging message will contain an iden-
tity for the intended mobile. This identity may be the users International
Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) or, if one has been allocated, a Temporary
Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI).
In addition to sending paging messages, the paging channel is also used to
provide information about discontinuous reception (DRX). This feature
allows the mobile device to turn off its receiver (sleep) during periods
between paging groups.
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Access Grant Channel (AGCH)
The access grant channel is used to assign mobile device to a channel where
it can begin to communicate with the system. In some cases, the AGCH may
assign the mobile device may be directly assigned to a traffic channel or it
may be assigned to an interim control channel where it can communicate
with the system before being assigned to a traffic channel.
Dedicated Control Channels
Some control channels are established to carry signaling messages to and
from one specific mobile. These are described as dedicated control channels.
In general these are not used in conjunction with GPRS operation. However,
all GPRS mobiles will use them when supporting circuit switched services.
Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channel (SDCCH)
The stand alone dedicated control channel is a signaling channel that can be
used to coordinate the radio channel assignment of a mobile device after it
has successfully competed for access. The SDCCH channel is used for off air
call setup (OACSU) to allow the mobile device to authenticate and complete
other control processes without being assigned to a dedicated traffic chan-
nel.
Traffic Channel Signaling
Signaling on the traffic channel is divided into two channels, the Fast
Associated Control Channel (FACCH) and the Slow Associated Control
Channel (SACCH). The FACCH channel replaces speech with signal data.
The SACCH channel uses dedicated (scheduled) frames within each burst.
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General Logical to Physical Channel Mapping for GSM
Figure 1.15 shows the basic logical channels used in the GSM system. This
diagram shows that the TDMA physical channel is divided into a control
channel (time slot 0) and a traffic channel (time slot 4 in this example). The
forward logical control channels include the frequency correction channel,
synchronization channel, broadcast channel, paging channel, and access
grant channel and the reverse logical control channel includes an access
request channel. The traffic channel carries user data in both directions.
This example shows that while on the traffic channel, fast control channel
messages (FACCH) and slow control channel messages (SACCH) can be
sent.
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Figure 1.15., Logical Channels Used in GSM Systems .
GPRS Logical Channels
GPRS logical channels include packet data control channels (for signaling
control) and the packet data traffic channel (for user data).
When a GPRS system is first started (very few data users), GPRS control
functions related to access can be handled with standard GSM channels.
However, they may come a point as the system develops where more sig-
naling capacity is required. Therefore a set of GPRS specific control chan-
nels is defined. These would be implemented on a radio frequency channel
that is dedicated for GPRS operation.
When GPRS mobiles are receiving to the packet data broadcast channel,
they will also receive GSM system broadcast information.
Packet Broadcast Control Channel (PBCCH)
The packet broadcast control channel is a signaling channel that is used to
constantly transfer parameters needed by mobile devices to help them iden-
tify and gain access to a communication system. A mobile device that is lis-
tening on the PBCCH will receive both the GSM system information and
GPRS system information messages.
Packet Common Control Channels (PCCCH)
A packet common control channel carries one or more logical channels that
are used control packet data mobile devices on a shared basis. To control
specific devices on this channel, control messages are addressed to specific
mobile devices or groups of mobile devices.
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Packet Radio Access Channel (PRACH)
The packet radio access channel is a signaling channel that is used to trans-
fer access request messages from mobile devices to the system.
Because the distance from the radio tower is not exactly known, the PRACH
channel uses a shortened transmission burst to help ensure transmitted
packets do not overlap with packets in an adjacent time slot do to the trans-
mission delay.
Packet Paging Channel (PPCH)
The packet paging channel is used to send messages (paging messages) that
alert mobile devices of an incoming communication session request. This
includes both circuit switched connections (in which case the mobile will
move to GSM mode) and packet switched sessions. However, in current
GPRS systems there is no mechanism for the support of mobile terminated
packet sessions. The paging channel is also used to provide information
about discontinuous reception (DRX) which allows the mobile device to turn
off its receiver (sleep) during periods between paging groups.
Packet Notification Channel (PNCH)
The packet notification channel is similar to the PPCH except that it is used
to inform mobile devices group (one-to-many) communication sessions.
Packet Access Grant Channel (PAGCH)
The packet access grant channel is used to assign mobile device to a chan-
nel where it can begin to communicate with the system after initial access
in the PRACH . In some cases, the PAGCH may assign the mobile device
may be directly assigned to a traffic channel or it may be assigned to an
interim control channel where it can communicate with the system before
being assigned to a traffic channel.
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Packet Data Traffic Channel (PDTCH)
A packet data traffic channel is an uplink or downlink communication chan-
nel that is used to transfer user data. One or more PDTCHs may be tem-
porarily allocated to a mobile for traffic transfer on a statistically multi-
plexed basis. This statistical multiplexing allows up to eight mobiles to be
allocated to one physical channel at the same time, each one having access
to the resource only when there is data to send.
Packet Dedicated Control Channels (PDCCH)
There are several dedicated control channels used for GPRS operation. The
main one is the Packet Associated Control Channel (PACCH). A packet
associated control channel is signaling channel that is used to communicate
with a specific (associated) mobile device. The PACCH is associated with the
packet data traffic channel (PDTCH). There are also associated logical con-
trol channels for the assessment and control of timing advance.
Compact Mode of GPRS
Compact mode defines a specialized way of operating GPRS such that it can
be used efficiently in small radio bandwidths. This is mainly aimed at North
American operators, particularly those in the PCS1900 bands using the IS-
136 TDMA technology. This frequency-efficient mode of operation is
achieved by time-sharing between synchronized neighboring cell sites. This
results in compromise which limits maximum data throughput in a cell. The
standards define a complete set of control and traffic logical channels for
compact mode.
Compact Packet Broadcast Control Channel (CPBCCH)
The compact packet broadcast control channel carries system information in
the downlink direction in a compact GPRS system.
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Compact Packet Radio Access Channel (CPRACH)
The compact packet radio access channel is a signaling channel that is used
to transfer access request messages from GPRS and EGPRS mobile devices
to the system when using a compact frequency plan.
Compact Packet Paging Channel (CPPCH)
The compact packet-paging channel is used to send messages (paging mes-
sages) that alert mobile devices of an incoming communication session
request on a compact GPRS system.
Compact Packet Notification Channel (CPNCH)
The compact packet notification channel is similar to the CPPCH except
that it is used to inform mobile devices group (one-to-many) communication
sessions on a compact GPRS system.
Compact Packet Access Grant Channel (CPAGCH)
The compact packet access grant channel is used to assign mobile device to
a channel where it can begin to communicate with the system on a compact
GPRS system.
GPRS and EDGE/EGPRS Network
GSM networks consist of base stations (cell site radio towers), communica-
tion links, switching center(s) and network databases. All of these are used
to create links to public telephone and data networks (e.g. the Internet).
The GPRS system adds packet radio and packet data switching parts to a
GSM system. In the GSM part, the MSC coordinates the overall allocation
and routing of calls throughout the wireless system. Inter-system connec-
tions can link different wireless network systems to allow wireless tele-
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phones to move from cell site to cell site and system to system. In the GPRS
part, a Packet Control Unit (PCU) coordinates the assignment of radio pack-
ets and GPRS Support Nodes (GSNs) receive and forward data packets
toward their destination.
The GPRS system can be divided into a base station subsystem (BSS), a net-
work and switching system (NSS), and an operation and maintenance sub-
system (OMS). The radio parts of the GPRS network are contained in the
BSS. The switching, databases, and interconnection parts are contained in
the NSS. The OMS contains the necessary system to monitor and diagnose
system operation.
Figure 1.16 shows a simplified functional diagram of a GPRS network. This
diagram shows that the GPRS network is an addition to the circuit switched
GSM system. However, this voice and a packet switched data systems that
share a common radio access network. This diagram shows that the Base
Station (BTS) contains a radio transceiver (radio and transmitter) that con-
verts the radio signal into a data signal (data and digital voice) that can
transfer through the network. The BTS is connected to a base station con-
troller (BSC) that coordinates the radio channel assignments. In this exam-
ple (there are other possible configurations), the packet data at the
BSC/PCU is routed to a serving GPRS service node (SGSN) and the SGSN
is connected to a gateway GPRS service node (GGSN). The circuit switched
digital data at the BSC is routed to the mobile switching center (MSC) for
connection to the public telephone network or to a data network through an
inter-working function (IWF).
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Base Stations
Base stations are composed of an antenna system (typically a radio tower),
building, and base station radio equipment. Base station radio equipment
consists of RF equipment (transceivers and antenna interface equipment),
controllers, and power supplies.
The radio transceiver section is divided into transmitter and receiver assem-
blies. The transmitter section converts a data or voice signal to RF for trans-
mission to mobile devices and the receiver section converts RF from the
mobile devices to voice or data signals routed to the MSC or packet switch-
ing network. The controller section commands insertion and extraction of
signaling information.
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Figure 1.16., GPRS Network Parts
Packet Control Unit (PCU)
A packet control unit is a system or process in a GPRS system that manages
the channel setup and transfer of radio packets between the BTS and the
serving GPRS support node (SGSN).
Communication Links
Communication links carry both data and voice information between the
MSC, GSNs, BSCs and the base stations. Options for the physical connec-
tions include wire, microwave, or fiber optic links. Alternate communication
links are sometimes provided to prevent a single communication link failure
from disabling communication [
2
]. Some terrain conditions may prohibit the
use of one type of communication link. For example, microwave systems are
not usually used in extremely earthquake-prone areas because they require
precise line-of-sight connection. Small shifts in the earth can miss-align
microwave transceivers to break communications.
Regardless of the physical type of communication link, the channel format
is usually the same. Communication links are typically digitally time-mul-
tiplexed to increase the efficiency of the communication line. The standard
format for time-multiplexing communication channels between cell sites in
North America is the 24-channel T1 line, or multiple T1 channels. The stan-
dard format outside of North America is the 32-channel (30 useable chan-
nels) E1 line.
Switching Centers
A switching center coordinates all communication channels and processes.
There are two types of switches used in the GSM/GPRS system; a Mobile
Switching Center (MSC) for circuit switched traffic and a GPRS Support
Node (GSN) for packet switched traffic.
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Mobile Switching Centre (MSC)
The mobile switching centre (MSC) processes requests for service from
mobile devices and landline callers, and routes calls between the base sta-
tions and the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The MSC receives
the dialed digits, creates and interprets call-processing tones, and routes the
call paths.
The basic components of an MSC include system and communication con-
trollers, switching assembly, operator terminals, primary and backup power
supplies and wireless telephone database registers.
A system controller coordinates the MSCs operations. A communications
controller adapts voice signals and controls the communication links. The
switching assembly connects the links between the base station and PSTN.
Operator terminals are used to enter commands and display system infor-
mation. Power supplies and backup energy sources power the equipment.
The GSM system defines two types of MSC; the serving Mobile Switching
Center (MSC) and the Gateway Mobile Switching Center (GMSC). This is
the logical separation of the MSC for directly controlling the mobile tele-
phone and providing a bridge to other networks.
The serving mobile switching center (SMSC) is the switch that is connected
to the RNC that is providing service directly to the mobile telephone. The
SMSC is responsible for coordinating the transfer of calls between different
BSCs. When the call is transferred to BSCs that are connected to a differ-
ent MSC, the role of SMSC will be transferred to the new MSC.
The gateway MSC (GMSC) is the point where the GSM network is connect-
ed to the public circuit switched networks (typically the PSTN). All PSTN
call connections must enter or leave through the GMSC. The GMSC main-
tains communication with the SMSC as calls are transferred from one sys-
tem (or different MSCs within a system) to another.
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Serving General Packet Radio Service Support Node (SGSN)
A serving general packet radio service support node is a switching node that
coordinates the operation of packet radios that are operating within its ser-
vice coverage range. The SGSN operates in a similar process of a MSC and
a VLR, except the SGSN performs packet switching instead of circuit
switching. The SGSN registers and maintains a list of active packet data
radios in its network and coordinates the packet transfer between the
mobile radios.
Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN)
A gateway GPRS support node is a packet switching system that is used to
connect a GPRS packet data communication network to other packet net-
works such as the Internet.
Network Databases
There are many network databases in the GSM network. Some of the key
network databases include a master subscriber database (home location reg-
ister), temporary active user subscriber database (visitor location register),
unauthorized or suspect user database (equipment identity register), billing
database, and authorization and validation center (authentication).
Home Location Register (HLR)
The home location register (HLR) is a subscriber database containing each
customers international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) to uniquely iden-
tify each customer. There is only one HLR for each carrier even though each
carrier may have many MSCs.
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The HLR holds each customers user profile includes the selected long dis-
tance carrier, calling restrictions, service fee charge rates, and other select-
ed network options. The subscriber can change and store the changes for
some feature options in the HLR (such as call forwarding). The MSC system
controller uses this information to authorize system access and process indi-
vidual call billing.
The HLR is a magnetic storage device for a computer (commonly called a
hard disk). Subscriber databases are critical, so they are usually regularly
backed up, typically on tape or CDROM, to restore the information if the
HLR system fails.
Visitor Location Register (VLR)
The visitor location register (VLR) contains a subset of a subscribers HLR
information for use while a mobile telephone is active on a particular MSC.
The VLR holds both visiting and home customers information. The VLR
eliminates the need for the MSC to continually check with the mobile tele-
phones HLR each time access is attempted. The users required HLR infor-
mation is temporarily stored in the VLR memory, and then erased either
when the wireless telephone registers with another MSC or in another sys-
tem or after a specified period of inactivity.
Equipment Identity Register (EIR)
The equipment identity register is a database that contains the identity of
telecommunications devices (such as wireless telephones) and the status of
these devices in the network (such as authorized or not-authorized). The
EIR is primarily used to identify wireless telephones that may have been
stolen or have questionable usage patterns that may indicate fraudulent
use. The EIR has three types of lists; white, black and gray. The white list
holds known good IMEIs. The black list holds invalid (barred) IMEIs. The
gray list holds IMEIs that may be suspect for fraud or are being tested for
validation.
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Charging Gateway (CG)
A charging gateway is a device or processing system that combines, process-
es, and reformats billing detail records (CDRs, IPDRs, etc) into a format
that can be used by a billing system.
Billing Center (BC)
A separate database, called the billing center, keeps records on billing. The
billing center receives individual call records from MSCs and other network
equipment. The switching records (connection and data transfer records) are
converted into call detail records (CDRs) that hold the time, type of service,
connection points, and other details about the network usage that is associ-
ated with a specific user identification code. The format of these CDRs is
transferred account procedure (TAP) format. The TAP format CDR has
evolved into the flexible TAP3 system. The TAP3 system (3rd generation
TAP protocol) includes flexible billing record formats for voice and data
usage. These billing records are then transferred via tape or data link to a
separate computer typically by electronic data interchange (EDI) to a billing
system or company that can settle bills between different service providers
(a clearinghouse company).
Authentication Center (AuC)
The Authentication Center (AuC) stores and processes information that is
required to validate of the identity (authenticate) of a wireless telephone
before service is provided. During the authentication procedure, the AC
processes information from the wireless telephone (e.g. IMSI, secret keys)
along with a random number that is also used by the mobile telephone to
produce an authentication response. The calculated respose is transferred to
the VLR where it is compared with the authentication response received
from the mobile telephone. If the processed information matches, the wire-
less telephone passes.
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SMS Service Center (SC)
The SMS service center (SC) receives, stores, delivers, and confirms receipt
of short messages. Although these could be carried by the GPRS system it is
normal to carry SMS messages in the standard GSM part of the network.
Wireless Network System Interconnection
System interconnection involves the connection of user data and signaling
control messages between different systems. GSM systems are typically con-
nected to public switched telephone network (PSTN) and data networks
such as the Internet.
Subscribers can only visit different wireless systems (roam) if the systems
communicate with each other to verify Roamers, automatically deliver calls,
and operate features uniformly. Fortunately, cellular systems can use stan-
dard protocols to directly communicate with each other. These inter-system
communications use brief packets of data sent via packet data networks or
the SS7 PSTN signaling network. SS7, which is used by the telephone com-
panies, is available only to telephone companies for direct routing using
telephone numbers. Some MSCs also use other proprietary data connec-
tions. No voice information is sent on the SS7 networks. Only inter-system
signaling such as SS7 mobile applications part (MAP) and intersystem sig-
naling standard 41 (IS-41) is sent between networks to establish, authenti-
cate and maintain communication paths.
Communication between MSCs is performed either by a proprietary or stan-
dard protocol. Standard protocols such as SS7 mobile applications part
(MAP) or IS-41 allow MSCs of different makes to communicate with few or
no changes to the MSC. Regardless of whether a standard (e.g. IS-41) pro-
tocol or manufacturers private (proprietary) protocol is used, the underlying
data transferred via inter-system signaling is the same. If changes are
required to communicate with a different protocol, an interface (protocol
converter) changes the proprietary protocol to standard protocol. The inter-
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face has a buffer that temporarily stores data elements being sent by the
MSC and reformats it to the SS7 MAP or IS-41 protocol. Another buffer
stores data until it can be sent via the control-signaling network.
Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
Public switched telephone networks are communication systems that are
available for the public to allow users to interconnect communication
devices. Public telephone networks within countries and regions are stan-
dard integrated systems of transmission and switching facilities, signaling
processors, and associated operations support systems that allow communi-
cation devices to communicate with each other when they operate.
Public Packet Data Network (PPDN)
A packet data network that is generally available for commercial users (the
public). An example of a PPDN is the Internet.
Interworking Function (IWF)
Interworking functions are systems and/or processes that attach to a com-
munications network that is used to process and adapt information between
dissimilar types of network systems. IWFs in the GSM system may include
data gateways that convert circuit switched data from the MSC to the
Internet.
IP Backbone Network
A backbone network is the core infrastructure of a network that connects
several major network components together. A backbone system is usually
a high-speed communications network such as ATM or FDDI. The GPRS
and EGPRS system uses a backbone network that can provide end-to-end IP
transmission capability.
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The focus on using IP communication allows carriers to use off-the-shelf IP
network equipment. This typically lowers the equipment cost (due to a large
selection of vendors and equipment options), reduces operation and mainte-
nance costs due to one type of system to maintain (less training and process-
es), and allows for the use of standard software (traffic monitoring and man-
agement).
GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX)
The GPRS roaming exchange is packet data communication system that
interconnects GPRS systems. GPRS operators who choose to connect to the
GRX system are able to connect with many GPRS systems through a single
data connection.
Addressing
The GPRS system uses several addressing schemes for mobile devices, sys-
tem parts, and to identify communication sessions and associated software
applications.
Mobile Device
GPRS and EGPRS users are uniquely identified several different number
types. These include the Mobile Station ISDN (MSISDN) and the
International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI). A Temporary Mobile
Station Identity (TMSI) may also be allocated by the VLR. The mobile
equipment is identified using the International Mobile Equipment Identifier
(IMEI). In addition may be assigned temporary IP addresses as required.
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Mobile Station ISDN (MSISDN)
The MSISDN is the phone number assigned to the user. This number is
compatible with the E.164 international public telephone numbering plan.
It is possible for a user to have more than one MSISDN associated with their
subscription.
International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI)
The international mobile subscriber identity is an identification number for
that is assigned by a mobile system operator to uniquely identify a user. The
user will have only one IMSI and it is associated with their SIM card (not
their mobile phone).
International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI)
An International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) is an electronic serial
number that is contained in a GSM mobile radio. The IMEI is composed of
14 digits. Six digits are used for the type approval code (TAC), two digits are
used for the final assembly code (FAC), six digits are used for the serial
number and two digits are used for the software version number. The IMEI
is independent of the users identity.
Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI)
A temporary mobile subscriber identity (TMSI) is a number that is used to
temporarily identify a mobile device that is operating in a local system. A
TMSI is typically assigned to a mobile device by the system during its ini-
tial registration. The TMSI is used instead of the International Mobile
Subscriber Identity (IMSI). TMSIs may be used to provide increased priva-
cy (keeping the telephone number private) and to reduce the number of bits
that are sent on the paging channel (the number of bits for a TMSI are half
the number required to represent an IMSI).
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Temporary Block Flow (TBF)
Temporary block flow is sequential identifier for packets that are trans-
ferred on a GPRS data session. A TBF is established for the duration of data
transfer and is used until all the radio link control (RLC) blocks have been
transmitted for the TBF session.
Temporary Flow Identifier (TFI)
Temporary flow identifier is a unique identifier assigned by a GPRS system
to the mobile device that identifies unique TBF flows that may be concur-
rently sent on packet data channels (PDCHs).
Infrastructure Addressing
Infrastructure addressing is the assigning of device addresses or names to
network elements (e.g. routers) in a communication system.
GPRS infrastructure uses public IP addresses as GTP does not support
Network Address Translation (NAT). NAT is a process that converts net-
work addresses between two different networks. NAT is typically used to
convert public network addresses (such as IP addresses) into private local
network addresses that are not recognized on the Internet. NAT provides
added security, as computers connected through public networks cannot
access local computers with private network addresses.
Access Point Naming (APN)
Access point naming is the assigning of identifying names (universal
resource locators URLs) to access points that allows names to identify
node IP addresses within GSM and GPRS networks. An APN is composed of
two parts; a network ID and an operator specific ID. The network ID iden-
tifies the service requested by a user in a network and the operator ID iden-
tifies the specific routing information.
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GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP)
GPRS tunneling protocol is used for to setup and manage a secure commu-
nication path between service nodes in a data network. This will be between
the GGSN and the SGSN (even when the SGSN is in a visited network).
Tunneling End Point Identifier (TEID)
A tunneling end point identifier is a unique address that identifies a specif-
ic tunnel (packet communication channel) that an IP packet will be routed
through.
IP Addressing
Internet Protocol addressing (IP addressing) is the use of unique identifiers
in a data packet that are assigned to a particular device or portion of a
device (such as a port) within a system or a domain (portion of a system). IP
addressing varies based on the version of Internet protocol. For IP version
4, this is a 32-bit address and for IP version 6, this is a 128-bit address. To
help simplify the presentation of IPv4 addresses, it is common to group each
8 bit part of the IP address as a decimal number separated from other parts
by a dot, such as: 207.169.222.45. For IPv6 it is customary to represent the
address as eight, four digit hexadecimal numbers separated by colons, such
as 1234:5678:9000:0D0D:0000:5678:9ABC:8777.
The GPRS system was designed to allow IP addressing of mobile devices.
The system was specifically designed to allow IP communication sessions by
simply encapsulating the IP packets into the GPRS radio packets.
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Static and Dynamic (DHCP) Addressing
The GPRS system permits the static or dynamic assignment of IP address-
es. Static IP addressing can simplify the connection of services to mobile
devices. Dynamic IP addressing can better manage a limited number of IP
addresses and enhance the security of systems.
Static IP addressing is the process of assigning a fixed Internet Protocol (IP)
address to a computer or data network device. Use of static IP address
allows other computers to initiate data transmission (such as a video con-
ference call) to a specific recipient.
Dynamic IP addressing is a process of assigning an Internet Protocol
address to a client (usually and end users computer) on an as needed basis.
Dynamic addressing is used to conserve on the number of IP addresses
required by a server and to provide an enhanced level of security (no prede-
fined address to use for hackers). In practice this is the approach adopted in
current GPRS systems.
Figure 1.17 shows how a computer uses DHCP to obtain a temporary IP
address when it requires an Internet communication session. In this exam-
ple, the computer requests a connection with an Internet service provider
(ISP) via a modem that its connected to a universal serial bus (USB) line.
When the Internet service provider receives the request for connection, it
assigns an IP address from is list of available IP addresses. The computer
will then use this IP address for all of its communications with the Internet
until it disconnects the connection to the ISP. The process would be similar
in a GPRS system except that the DCHP server will be internal to the GPRS
network.
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Figure 1.18 shows how a GPRS system uses multiple addresses to allow IP
datagram packet to transfer between the end user an Internet web sites.
This example shows that the end user mobile data device uses its IMSI to
communicate with the SGSN. The SGSN links this IMSI to a private IP
address that routes the data packets to a gateway router. When the data
packets reach the GGSN, they are linked (mapped) to a public Internet
address that allows the packet to reach its destination.
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Figure 1.17., DHCP Addressing
GPRS and EDGE/EGPRS System Operation
The GPRS and EGPRS system operation is the set of tasks performed to
complete key operations: initialization of information when the subscriber
unit is turned on, idle, available to receive and send data (standby), and
setup to immediately send and receive data (ready).
Initialization
Initialization is the process of initially finding an available GPRS channel,
synchronizing with the system and obtaining system parameters to deter-
mine the information requirements for access and communication.
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Figure 1.18., GPRS Addressing
The initialization phase begins when the access terminal first powers on. It
initially looks to the subscriber identity module (SIM) card for a preferred
control channel list. If there is no list, the terminal scans all of the available
radio channels to find a control channel.
The mobile device identifies candidate beacon frequencies and selects the
best candidate based on the signal strength level and other information
(such as home system identification). The mobile device then retrieves the
system timing information and synchronizes to the system timing.
If the mobile device cannot find a GPRS beacon channel (no GPRS packet
control channel is available), it can get the necessary GPRS information
from the GSM broadcast channel.
Standby State
Standby mode is adopted after a terminal has successfully registered on a
GPRS system. It can be transited rapidly from this state to one in which
data can be transferred. GPRS mobile devices are remain in standby mode
when they are not actively involved in a data communication session.
When in standby mode, the subscriber unit monitors several different con-
trol channels to acquire system access parameters, to determine if it has
been paged and to monitor system information.
The subscriber unit continuously monitors the broadcast channel for
changes in system parameters, including system identification and access
information. If the subscriber unit has discontinuous reception (sleep mode)
capability, and if the system supports it, the subscriber unit turns off its
receiver for a predetermined number of burst periods. The system knows
that it has commanded the subscriber unit to sleep, so it does not send pages
designated for that subscriber unit during the sleep period. Control chan-
nels are on only one of the eight bursts in a frame, so during the other seven
burst periods, the subscriber unit scans neighboring control channels. If a
better control channel (higher signal strength or better bit error rate) is
available, the subscriber unit tunes to it. This is called cell reselection.
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Initial Assignment/Access
Initial assignments are the procedures that are used to establish a physical
and/or logical connection between communication devices. This may involve
the establishment of physical connections, assignment of logical channels,
and the selection and allocation of communication protocols.
When mobile devices respond to a page (incoming connection request), set
up a call, or attempt any other type of access to the cellular network, the
attempt is at random (at any time), so multiple mobile devices could attempt
access simultaneously. To avoid such access collisions, a seizure collision
avoidance procedure has been developed.
The mobile will transmit a short initial message in the RACH, or if GPRS
logical channels are used, in the PRACH. This message is called Channel
Request and it contains only very basic information about why the mobile is
accessing along with a random reference value (not the mobiles identity). If
the channel request message is received correctly the system responds with
a resource allocation using the AGCH (or PAGCH). Once on the allocated
resource the mobile will send more detailed information indicating its iden-
tity and reason for accessing. It is possible that more than one mobile may
access at the same time with the same random reference value. Subsequent
signaling in the allocated resource is used to provide the required contention
resolution when this happens.
If there is no response to the channel request message the mobile will try
again. This process is repeated up to a predefined maximum number of
retrys. If this point is reached the procedure is abandoned and a failure mes-
sage displayed for the user.
Ultimately the system sends a packet assignment message to the mobile
device which informs it which physical channel, or channels (radio channel
and time slot), to use as the PDCH and which radio link control (RLC) to use
(e.g. confirmed or unconfirmed packet transmission). The channel assign-
ment can vary on uplink and downlink channels and this allows for asym-
metric (unbalanced) data transmission rates
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Figure 1.19 shows the basic process that is used when assigning a GPRS
radio channel. The mobile device sends an channel request message on the
RACH (or PRACH) channel. If the system does not acknowledge the mes-
sage within an anticipated time period, the mobile device will wait a short
amount of time and repeat the access attempt again. Each time the mobile
device attempts access, it will randomize the delay time between sending
access request messages. If the system receives the access request message
and has the resources available, it assigns the mobile device to a PDCH
packet data channel (time slot) and a specific USF code.
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Figure 1.19., GPRS Radio Channel Assignment
Ready State (Connected Mode)
After a GPRS device is attached to the network it is in the Standby state, it
must move to the Ready state to receive or send data. This is achieved
through the access and resource allocation procedure described above. A
mobile device has a virtual connection between the SGSN and the GGSN
when in the ready mode.
When in the Ready state, the base station continuously controls the mobile
device during the communication session. These control tasks include power
level control, timing advance control and resource allocation. The base sta-
tion exercises control during the communication session through the associ-
ated control channel.
Mobile devices transmit data on a packet data traffic channel (PDTCH). To
increase the data transmission rate, multiple PDTCH channels can be com-
bined. Signaling control messages are sent on an associated control channel
(PACCH) while a mobile device is in an active data communication session.
The mobile device does not have to continuously transmit data while in the
Ready state (typical data transmission activity is less than 10%). When in
the Ready state, the base station associates (maps) the radio link to the IP
address used by the device.
To transmit packet data on a GPRS radio channel, the mobile device uses
media access control (MAC) to allow communication devices to gain access
to a shared communications medium or channel. A MAC protocol is used to
control access to a shared communications media (transmission medium),
which attaches multiple devices. The GPRS system uses three forms or
medium access control (MAC) in the uplink direction; dynamic allocation,
extended allocation, and fixed allocation. Downlink arbitration is achieved
through the addressing of blocks of GPRS data.
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Dynamic Allocation
Dynamic allocation mode is used for very short data transmission bursts.
Mobile devices that are actively connected to the GPRS system share each
PDCH. Up to 8 devices can share each PDCH using an 8 bit uplink status
flag (USF). The use of the USF to assign mobile devices to specific packets
eliminates the need for contention resolution (competition). When a mobile
device reads its assigned USF in the downlink, it can transmit without the
need to compete for a channel in the uplink.
Extended Dynamic Allocation
Extended dynamic allocation is used when larger amounts of data are to be
transmitted. Extended dynamic allocation is similar in operation of
Dynamic allocation except that the indication to transmit provided by the
USF in the downlink can apply to multiple rather than to just one uplink
timeslot.
Figure 1.20 shows how a GPRS system can use extended dynamic allocation
to increase the data transmission rate for a mobile device. This example
shows that a mobile device has entered into the extended allocation mode
and has been instructed to transmit packets on three uplink timeslots.
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Fixed Allocation
Fixed allocation is the assignment of a resource for a predetermined or
scheduled amount of time. Fixed allocation is used to allow mobile devices
to transmit data for fixed time intervals. This allows a mobile device to be
guaranteed data transmission rates for time sensitive applications such as
packet voice or streaming media sessions. During fixed allocation mode, the
mobile device does not need to monitor USF because it has authorization to
use the channel(s).
Packet Acknowledgement
Data packets that are sent can be sent in unacknowledged mode (uncon-
firmed) or acknowledged mode (confirmed). Unacknowledged mode may be
used for streaming media or for broadcast messages (one-to-many users)
that do not need to be or cannot be acknowledged. Acknowledged mode is
used to ensure all the packets have been received successfully. If the pack-
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Figure 1.20., Extended Allocation Mode
ets are not acknowledged, they can be retransmitted. The acknowledgment
of packets may be provided by other packets containing downlink data pack-
ets may be sent specifically for acknowledging data transfer.
Always-on Condition
Once a PDP Context is active the mobile does not need to remain in the
Ready state. During periods of extended inactivity relating to a PDP context
the mobile will be in the Standby state and no radio resources will be allo-
cated. The Standby state can be thought of as the equivalent to idle mode in
GSM. Whilst the PDP context is active the IP address is maintained by the
system to allow communication sessions to continue when user begins to
transmit or receive data again.
When the device needs to send or receive information, the mobile moves to
the Ready state and the connection is re-established, typically in less than
second. Because the users session (key information) is maintained during
the dormancy period, the user experiences little or no delays in the service
or program operation. This is why the term always-on is often used to
describe the user experience.
Registration Area Updates
Registration area updates (Routing Area updates for GPRS) are a process
where a communication device informs a system about its physical location
within a network. Routing area updates are performed periodically or when
the mobile device detects that it has crossed a routing area boundary.
Mobile devices also perform a routing area up data at power on, but in this
case the procedure is referred to as an Attach procedure. At power off the
mobile device will perform a detach procedure so that the system knows that
it is not available.
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Because the registration process consumes resources of the system (channel
capacity and system signaling resource), there is a tradeoff between regu-
larly maintaining registration information and the capacity of the system.
Setting the size of routing areas and the duration of the periodic update
timer are important considerations for system design.
GPRS Roaming
GPRS roaming is the capability to move from one wireless carriers system
coverage area to another carriers coverage area and obtain GPRS service.
While it is desirable to roam without loosing the functionality of GPRS ser-
vices, some GPRS systems offer limited features (such as limited data trans-
fer rates) and may limit the operation of advanced features.
Voice Call and Data Session Transfer Operation
Handover is a process where a mobile radio operating on a particular chan-
nel is reassigned to a new channel, usually on a different cell. The process
is most often used to allow subscribers to travel throughout the large radio
system coverage area by switching the calls (handoff) from cell-to-cell (and
different channels) with better coverage for that particular area when poor
quality conversation is detected. For GSM circuit switched operation this is
triggered by system based triggers considering measurements reported by
the mobile device. However, for GPRS operation it is the mobile device itself
that determines the best cell. This system operates in a similar way to the
cell reselection process that would be used by the mobile device whilst it is
in the standby mode.
In some cases Handoff may be triggered for traffic reasons. In this case the
handoff may be from one channel to another channel on the same cell.
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Data to Voice (GPRS to GSM)
From time to time mobile devices that are engaged in a GPRS data session
may need to setup a GSM channel to complete voice calls. This could be
because the user has initiated a voice call or because there is an incoming
call for the user.
To a large degree the resulting action at such an occurrence depends on the
capabilities of the mobile device. Most if not all current mobile devices are
class B. This means that although they can monitor and be attached simul-
taneously to GSM and GPRS, they are not capable of simultaneous opera-
tion. Thus if a user initiates a voice call in the middle of a GPRS data ses-
sion, the data session will be suspended for the duration of the call. If there
is an incoming call for the user, then the user may be prompted about
whether or not they would like to take the call (and halt the GPRS session)
or maintain the GPRS session (with the call diverted to voicemail).
Even for class A mobile devices that can operate simultaneous voice and
GPRS data session, the need to transmit, receive and take measurements on
GSM will limit the maximum data rate available for GPRS.
Transfer Between GPRS and IS-136
The GPRS system was designed to allow Multi-mode operation with the IS-
136 TDMA system.
When transferring between modes of operation, the other mode of operation
must be suspended.
It may be possible for the unit to perform some data transmission using cir-
cuit switched data on the other mode of operation.
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GPRS and EGPRS Radio Layers
The GPRS system was designed using a layered processing approach where
each layer performs specific control functions and uses one or more proto-
cols. The use of layers allows for the addition of functions and modification
of protocols without requiring significant changes to the system.
Physical Layer
The physical layer performs the conversion of data to a physical medium
transmission and coordinates the transmission and reception of these phys-
ical signals. The physical layer receives data for transmission from upper
layers and converts it into physical format suitable for transmission across
the GPRS air interface (such as bursts, slots, frames, and super frames).
Higher layers provide the physical layer with the necessary configuration
and control (e.g. maximum packet size) to allow conversion to a format suit-
able for transmission on the GPRS or EGPRS air interface.
Medium Access Control (MAC) Layer
The MAC layer is composed of one or more logical communication channels
that are used to coordinate access to a shared communications medium (or
channel). MAC channels typically communicate the availability and access
priority schedules for devices that may want to gain access to a communi-
cation system.
The GPRS system MAC layer is used to dynamically control access to pack-
et data channels on each physical time slot.
-73-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
Radio Link Control (RLC) Layer
The radio link control layer is used to coordinate the overall flow of data
packets across the radio link. RLP uses error detection and data retrans-
mission to increase the reliability of the radio link while reducing the error
rate. RLC functions include packet division (segmentation), reassembly,
concatenation, padding, and error correction when the communication chan-
nel requires error control (not all sessions require error detection and con-
trol). The RLC is also used to control the flow of data (rate of transfer).
Logical Link Control (LLC) Layer
The LLC is used to coordinate the packet transfer between the mobile sta-
tion and the SGSN. The LLC layer also provided a secure encrypted link
between the mobile station and the SGSN. The LLC can operate in two
modes; unacknowledged and acknowledged mode. There are four types of
field formats used in the LLC layer; confirmed information (I format), super-
visory function (S format), unconfirmed information (UI), and control func-
tions (U format).
Subnetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol (SNDCP)
Subnetwork dependent convergence protocol layer manage services that are
using the radio link. These services include connectionless service, data
transfer, and user data confidentiality. The SNDCP layer coordinates infor-
mation flow between the LLC layer and upper layers.
There are different layers and protocols used in the GPRS system. Each pro-
tocol in the GPRS system has its own function from node to node in the
appropriate way. IP packets relating to the file being downloaded are car-
ried from the GGSN to the SGSN by encapsulation in GTP. GTP 'tunnels'
the packets through the carrier's internal private IP network to the SGSN
At the SGSN the SNDCP is responsible for transferring the packets on the
-74-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
mobile device. In this respect it is the link between end-to-end network
requirements and the radio link capabilities. The logical link layer provides
and encrypted and reliable link between the mobile device and the SGSN.
The radio link control layer is concerned with reliability over the radio link
connection. The medium access control layer (MAC) provides the processes
used to request and coordinate access to the system at the radio interface.
The physical layer is concerned with the conversion of digital bits into the
RF packets that are sent between the mobile device and the system.
Future Evolution
GPRS and EGPRS systems are likely to continue to provide a supporting
role for many carriers third generation system for several years. Eventually
the radio spectrum occupied by GSM/GPRS/EGPRS is likely to be reas-
signed for third generation operation.
Third Generation GSM (3GSM)
The third generation migration route for GSM systems is through the intro-
duction of the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). The
gradual upgrade of a GSM infrastructure toward that of UMTS is some-
times described as third generation GSM or 3GSM. UMTS uses wideband
code division multiple access (WCDMA) technology to provide voice, data
and broadband multimedia services. The radio portion of the WCDMA sys-
tem uses wideband radio channels (5 MHz wide) which are different and not
compatible with 200 kHz GSM channels. The WCDMA infrastructure is
compatible with GSM mobile radio communication system.
Installing or upgrading to WCDMA technology allows mobile service
providers to offer their customers wireless broadband (high-speed Internet)
services and to operate their systems more efficiently (more customers per
cell site radio tower).
-75-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
The WCDMA system is composed of mobile devices (wireless telephones and
data communication devices called user equipment - UE), radio towers (cell
sites called Node Bs), and an interconnection system (switches and data
routers). The WCDMA system can use two types of radio channels configu-
ration, Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD).
However, very limited adoption of the TDD standard has so far been seen.
The WCDMA system includes various types of mobile communication
devices (called user equipment - UE) that communicate through a UMTS
radio access network and a core network that is divided into a packet
switched side and a circuit switched side. Initially the architecture of the
core network is similar to that of GSM/GPRS, but as it evolves it will merge
into a single IP-based transmission and routing network that is able to pro-
vide both real-time and non-real-time services. The existing GSM/GPRS
radio access network can be connected to the evolved UMTS core network.
References:
i
. Enhanced Data-rates for Global Evolution (EDGE): An
Overview, Universal Wireless Communications Consortium
(UWCC), March 2001, www.uwcc.org.
ii
. Michel Mouly, Marie-Bernadette Pautet, The GSM System for
Mobile Communications, M. Mouly et Marie-B Pautet, Palaiseau,
France, pg. 193
iii
. CTIA Winter Exposition, Disaster Experiences, Reno Nevada,
February 6, 1990.
-76-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
3GPP, 10, 12
Access Channel, 25, 41, 45, 47
Always-On, 1, 8, 11, 70
Asymmetric Channels, 12
Asynchronous Channels, 12
Authentication, 52, 54
Authentication Centre (AuC), 23, 54
Background Class, 14
Bandwidth, 5
Base Station Subsystem (BSS), 23,
48
Base Transceiver Station (BTS), 48,
50
Bit Error Rate (BER), 13, 64
Bit Rate, 13, 17
Broadband, 3, 75
Broadcast Channel, 25, 40, 43-44, 64
Cell Broadcast Channel (CBCH), 40
Cell Site, 8, 40-41, 47-48, 75
Channel Coding, 4, 21, 31-34
Channel Mapping, 43
Channel Structure, 3, 21, 30
Circuit Switched Data, 9, 21, 38, 56,
72
Class A, 17, 72
Class B, 17-18, 72
Class C, 18
Clearinghouse, 54
Code Division Multiple Access
(CDMA), 75
Codec, 31
Coding Schemes, 31-33
Compact GPRS, 5, 46-47
Compact Mode, 46
Connected Mode, 67
Control Channel, 25, 29-30, 39-40,
42-46, 64, 67
Conversation Class, 13
Data Packet Encapsulation, 34-35
Data Services, 3, 5, 9-11, 21
Data Throughput, 16, 27, 46
Discontinuous Reception (DRx), 41,
45, 64
Dual Mode, 2, 6-7, 21
Duplex, 18, 76
Dynamic Addressing, 61
Dynamic Allocation, 67-68
Dynamic Time Alignment, 29
Encryption, 33
Equipment Identity Register (EIR),
52-53
Error Correction, 31-32, 74
Error Detection, 32, 74
European Telecommunications
Standards Institute (ETSI), 10
Extended Dynamic Allocation, 68
Forward Channel, 30
Fraud, 53
Frequency Allocation, 26
Frequency Bands, 21, 26, 28
Frequency Division Duplex (FDD),
76
Frequency Hopping, 27
Frequency Reuse, 21, 26
Full Rate, 38
Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying
(GMSK), 28, 32, 34
-77-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Index
Global System for Mobile
Communications (GSM), 1-11, 14-
15, 17-19, 21, 23, 26-30, 34, 37-39,
43-45, 47-48, 50-52, 55-56, 58-59, 64,
70-72, 75-76
GSMWorld, 10
GSM Association, 10-11
GSM Specification, 9-10
Guard Period, 24
Handoff, 71
Handover, 71
Home Location Register (HLR), 23,
52-53
Infrastructure Addressing, 59
Interference, 5, 26-27
Integrated Services Digital Network
(ISDN), 57-58
Interactive Class, 14
Interconnection, 48, 55, 76
Interleaving, 32
International Mobile Equipment
Identity (IMEI), 57-58
Internet Protocol Address (IP
Address), 11, 22, 34, 36, 60-62, 67,
70
Intersystem Signaling, 55
Jitter, 16
Latency, 16
Location Based Services (LBS), 15
Logical Channel, 38-39
Messaging Service, 12
Messaging Service, 12
Mobile Switching Centre (MSC), 2,
21, 47-53, 55-56
Modems, 1, 7, 17, 19-20
Multicast, 11-12
Multi-Slot, 17-19
Multiple Access, 75
Multiplexing, 21, 23, 30, 46
Normal Burst, 24
Packet Acknowledgement, 69
Packet Loss, 16
Packet Radio Access CHannel
(PRACH), 45, 47, 65-66
Paging Channel (PCH), 39, 41, 43,
45, 47, 58
Physical Layer, 73, 75
Power Control, 21, 27
Public Packet Data Network
(PPDN), 56
Public Switched Telephone Network
(PSTN), 51, 55-56
Quadrature Phase Shift Keying
(QPSK), 28
Radio Block, 25-26, 30
Radio Coverage, 8, 22, 28, 41
Radio Layers, 73
Random Access CHannel (RACH),
25, 41, 65-66
Ready State, 67, 70
Registration, 22, 58, 70-71
RF Power Control, 21, 27
Roaming, 57, 71
Routing Area, 70
Short Message Service (SMS), 12,
14-15, 40, 55
Single Mode, 2, 6-7
Sleep Mode, 64
Standby State, 64, 67, 70
Static IP Address, 61
Stream Prioritization, 11
Streaming Class, 13-14
Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
-78-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Subscriber Identity Module (SIM),
15, 17, 19, 58, 64
Synchronization Burst, 40
System Identification, 39, 64
Temporary Mobile Service Identity
(TMSI), 41, 57-58
Time Delay, 13, 16, 29
Time Division Duplex (TDD), 76
Time Division Multiple Access
(TDMA), 10, 17, 43, 46, 72
Time Slot, 4, 6, 25, 29, 34, 37, 43, 45,
65-66, 73
Traffic CHannel (TCH), 37-38, 42-
46, 67
Transceiver, 48-49
Visitor Location Register (VLR), 23,
52-54, 57
Voice Services, 9, 17
Index
-79-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Introduction to GPRS and EDGE
-80-
Copyright , 2005, ALTHOS, Inc
Wireless Books
by ALTHOS Publishing
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