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Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology

Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering


Department of Telecommunications
----------------------------------------------------------

GSM Architecture

Lectured by Ha Hoang Kha, Ph.D.


Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology
Email: hahoangkha@gmail.com
Content

 GSM Architecture
 Mobile Station
 Base Station Subsystem
 Network Switching Subsystem
 Operation and Maintain Subsystem

H. H. Kha 2
References

 Hayat Wali, GSM Training for Professionals


 Ta Tri Nghia, Wireless Communications, Lecture notes.
 Ivica Kostanic, Personal Communication Systems, Lecture
notes.
 T.S. Rappaport, Wireless Communications, Prentice Hall
PTR, 1996.

H. H. Kha 3
The Main Cellular Standard

H. H. Kha 4
Frequencies for
Major Mobile Standards

 Vietnam: GSM 900 and GSM 1800

H. H. Kha 5
Frequency Specifications
GSM Systems

H. H. Kha 6
GSM Network Architecture

H. H. Kha 7
GSM Geographical Network Structure

 Cell:
• Basic unit of a cellular system
• Defined as the area of radio coverage
• Is assigned unique number called Cell Global Identity
(CGI)

H. H. Kha 8
GSM Geographical Network Structure

 Location Area (LA)


• Is defined as a group of cells
• Within the network, a subscriber’s location is linked to
the LA in which it is currently located
• The identity of a LA (LAI) is store in the VLR
• When the MS crosses the boundary between to cells
belongs to different LA, it must report its new location
area to the network

H. H. Kha 9
GSM Geographical Network Structure

 MSC service Area


• An MSC service area is made up of a number of LA
• Represents the geographical part of the network
controlled by one MSC

H. H. Kha 10
GSM Geographical Network Structure

 PLMN Service Area


• Entire set of cells served by one network operator
• There may be several PLMN service area, one for each
mobile operator

H. H. Kha 11
GSM Geographical Network Structure

 GSM service area


• Entire geographical area in
which a subscriber can gain
access to GSM network
• GSM service area
increases as more
operators signs contract
agreeing to work together
- International roaming is the
term applied when an MS
moves from one PLMN to
another when abroad

H. H. Kha 12
GSM Network Components

H. H. Kha 13
Network Architecture

OMS
NSS
Operations & Network Switching
Maintenance Subsystem
Subsystem

MS
BSS
Mobile Station Base Station Subsystem

H. H. Kha 14
Mobile Stations

H. H. Kha 15
Mobile Station: IMEI

 International Mobile Station Equipment Identity or IMEI


Uniquely identifies the mobile equipment, 15 digits.
 Assigned to ME during manufacturing and “type approval”
testing
• “Type approval” procedure: guarantees that the MS meets a
minimum standard, regardless of the manufacturer
• Check IMEI: *#06#

H. H. Kha 16
Mobile Unit

 Usually the only part of the


system that users are aware CONTROL
TRANSCEIVER UNIT ANTENNA
ASSEMBLY
of SECTION

Receive Audio
RF

 Traditionally used for voice


Signal Demodulation Filter
Amplifier
Processing
Antenna
RECEIVER
Display

 Becoming more data centric Duplexer

 Performs any functions Control Logic Unit

• Voice processing Keyboard

Transmit
RF
• CS/PS Call management Audio Signal
Processing
Modulation
Amplifier
Filter

TRANSMITTER

• Packet data transfer


 May be multi-band
Block diagram of voice
 May be multi-technology
processing in mobile unit

H. H. Kha 17
Mobile Station
Functions

 Transmission and receipt


 Measurements
• Used in making decision
about signal strength and
handovers
 Power saving functions
• Discontinuous
transmission & reception

H. H. Kha 18
Mobile Station Classes

H. H. Kha 19
Radio parameters

MS: BTS:
 Sensitivity: -104 (-102)  Sensitivity: -104 (-104)
dBm dBm
 Typical – 106 dBm  Typical: – 107 dBm
 Max. output power: 33  Max. output power: 43
(30) dBm dBm (60?)

Numbers in parenthesis for GSM-


1800

H. H. Kha 20
SIM (Subscriber Identity Module)

Credit Card Size


µ SIM-Card
Global GSM Mobility
Card
15 mm The Smart Card to use
25 mm

Permanent data: GSM


- Unique mobile subscriber identity
through IMSI number, Microchip with stored
- Authentication parameter Ki, user information
- Authentication algorithm A3,
- Generating encryption key Kc Removable data:
algorithm A8. - Temporary Mobile Subscriber Number,
- Location Area Identification.

H. H. Kha 21
Subscriber Identification

IMSI MS - ISDN

Mobile Station -
International Mobile Subscriber Identity
Nature Integrated Services Digital Network Nb

Similar to ISDN,
Conformity with E212
Conformity with E164/E213

Identify a PLMN Identify the subscriber National Significant Mobile Number


worldwide of a PLMN

MCC MNC MSIN CC NDC SN


Format H1 H2 x x x ......... x x x M1 M2 xx xx xx xx

Country
Mobile Mobile Mobile Subscriber National Mobile Subscriber
Code
Meaning Country Network Ident. Nb Destination (national definition)
(where
Code Code H1 H2 = Identity of HLR
subscription Code * M1 M2 = nbr of logical HLR
within the home PLMN
has been made)

Nb. digits 3 2 max 10 1 to 3 2 to 4 total max 15

*
H. H. Kha 22
BSS (Base Station Subsystem)

BTS: Base Transceiver Station


BSC: Base Station Controller
TRAU: Transcoder and Adaptation Unit
*
H. H. Kha 23
BSS (Base Station Subsystem)

 Base Transceiver Station (BTS)


• Transmitter & receiver devices, voice coding and
decoding, rate adaptation for data
• Provides signaling channels on radio interface
 Base Station Controller (BSC)
• Performs most important radio interface management
functions:
- Radio channel allocation / de-allocation
- Handover management
 Transcoder Controller (TRC)
• Provide BSS with rate adaptation capabilities
*
H. H. Kha 24
GSM Radio Access Network (GRAN)

cell

Packet domain
Abis Gb
cell
BTS
BSC A

BTS Circuit domain

BSC

H. H. Kha 25
Open interfaces access network

 The interfaces between network elements must be


well defined to achieve open interfaces, i.e. different
network elements can be delivered by different
vendors

 Interfaces in GRAN:
• Um: The air interface between the mobile equipment and the
BTS
• Abis: Interface between BTS and BSC
• A: Interface between GRAN and circuit switched part of core
network (CN).
• Gb: Interface between GRAN and packet switched part of
the core network (CN)

H. H. Kha 26
Base station antenna configure

 Omnidirectional (Omni) Antennas


- Coverage pattern is a
circle
- Usually located in low-
traffic
(rural) areas
 Directional Antennas
- Coverage directed to
a specific area
- Increase system capacity
- 60º, 90º and 120º are
the most common

H. H. Kha 27
Base Station Coverage Classification

Macrocells

 Coverage depends on;


- transmit power
Microcells
- antenna gains
- antenna height

Picocells

Cell Type Mega Cell Macro Cell Micro Cell Pico Cell
Cell Radius 100 – 500 km <= 35 km <= 1 km <= 50 m
Operating Global Suburban Urban In-building
Environment
Installation Satellites Top of the Lamp-post or Inside the
Mode building or tower side of the building
building
Subscriber’s <= 500 km/h <= 100 km/h < = 10 km/h
Speed

H. H. Kha 28
Towers

Monopole
- 24-45 m
- small amount of
land required
- limited loading

Guyed Tower
- up to 457 m
- heavy loading
can be a problem

Self Supporting
-30 – 90 m
- heavy loading

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Some base station equipment

H. H. Kha 30
Some more base station equipment

Typical micro cell


Typical macro cell
BSS Connectivity

H. H. Kha 32
Transcoding rate and adaptation unit
(TRAU)
 One of the most interesting features of GSM is TRAU. Its
function is the compress and decompress the speech
between TRAU and MS. Possible locations are as below

H. H. Kha 33
Network Switching Sub-system

 Elements
• Mobile Switching Center (MSC) / Gateway MSC
• Home Location Register (HLR) / Authentication Center
(AUC)
• Visitor Location Center (VLR)
• Equipment Identity Register (EIR)

H. H. Kha 34
NSS – Mobile Switching Center (MSC)

 An ISDN switch (64 Kbps channel)


 Perform all switching and routing functions of a fixed
network switching node
 Plus specific mobility-related functions:
• Allocation and management of radio resources
• Management of mobile users
- Registration, authentication
- Handover execution and control
- Paging
 A PLMN, in general, has many MSCs
• Each MSC is responsible of a set of BSS

H. H. Kha 35
NSS – Home Location Register
(HLR)
 HLR:
• Centralized network database that store and manage all
mobile subscriptions belonging to a specific operator
• Acts as a permanent store for a person’s subscription
information until that subscription is cancelled

H. H. Kha 36
NSS
Home Location Register (HLR)
 HLR:
• The information stored includes:
- Permanent information associated to a user
– Subscriber identity (i.e., IMSI, MSISDN)
– Subscriber supplementary service
– Subscriber location information (i.e., MSC service area)
– Subscriber authentication information
- Temporary information associated to a user
– Current VLR address (if available)
– Current MSC address (if available)
– MSRN (if user outside PLMN)

H. H. Kha 37
NSS
Home Location Register (HLR)
 Functions:
• Subscription data management
• Communication with MSCs
• Communication with GMSCs
• Communication with AUC
• Communication with VLR/IRL

H. H. Kha 38
NSS
– Visitor Location Register (VLR)
 VLR acts as a temporary storage location for
subscription information for MSs which are within a
particular MSC service area
 there is one VLR for each MSC service area
• MSC does not have to contact the HLR every time the
subscriber uses a service or changes its status

H. H. Kha 39
NSS
Visitor Location Register (VLR)
 When MS moves to a new service area

H. H. Kha 40
NSS
Visitor Location Register (VLR)
 While a MS is within one MSC service area, the VLR
contains complete copy of necessary subscription
details:
• Identity numbers of subscriber (IMSI, MSISDN)
• Supplementary service information
• Activity of MS (e.g. idle mode)
• Current LA of MS

H. H. Kha 41
NSS – Authentication Center (AUC)

 AUC is an intelligent database concerned with the


regulation of access to the network ensuring that
services can be used by those who are entitled to do
so and that the access is achieved in a secure way
 AUC provides information which is then used by
MSC/VLR
• To perform subscriber authentication and
• To establish ciphering procedure on the radio link
between the network and MSs
 The AUC is generally integrated with the HLR

H. H. Kha 42
NSS – Authentication Center (AUC)

 The information provided is called triplet and consist of:


• Non-predictable random number (RAND)
• A Signed RESponse (SRES)
• A ciphering key (Kc)

H. H. Kha 43
NSS – Authentication Center (AUC)

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NSS – Authentication Center (AUC)

 The principle is that the AUC and the SIM have a unique key for every
subscriber (Ki ) which is used as the basis for generating a response
(SRES) to a random number (RAND) generated by the AUC. Only the
true SIM will be able to generate the correct response and thus gain
access to the network.

H. H. Kha 45
NSS – Authentication Center (AUC)

 Authentication can by operator’s choice be performed


during:
• Each registration
• Each call setup attempt
• Location Updating
• Before supplementary service activation and
deactivation
• There can be exceptions for subscribers belonging to
other PLMN)

H. H. Kha 46
NSS – Equipment Identity Register

 EIR: database that holds list of “allowed” equipment


identity, i.e. IMEI number: WHITE/ GREY/ BLACK list
 EIR procedure:

H. H. Kha 47
NSS – Gateway MSC(GMSC)

 GMSC: Interrogating Node


 Gateway functionality enables an MSC to interrogate a
HLR in order to route a mobile terminating call.

H. H. Kha 48
Operation & Maintenance Subsystem

 Network measurement and control functions


 Monitor and initiated from OMC (Operation and
Maintenance Center)
 Basic functions:
• Network Administration
- Configuration, operation, performance management, statistic
collection and analysis, network maintenance
• Commercial operation and charging
- Accounting and billing
• Security management
- e.g. EIR management

H. H. Kha 49
GSM Call Setup

H. H. Kha 50
AUC

HLR  MS Mobile Station = phone + SIM card


BSC  BTS Base Transceiver Station
 BSC Base Station Controller
 HLR Home Location Register
 MSC Mobile services Switching Centre
 VLR Visitor Location Register
 AUC Authentication Centre
VMS EIR Stand-alone or integrated in HLR
 EIR Equipment Identity Register
For blacklisting stolen and unwanted
equipment
PrePaid MSC/VLR SMSC
 SMSC Short Message Service ”Support”
Node Centre
Warid  VMS Voice Messaging System
 PrePaid Node Hosting prepaid service system
 IN Intelligent Network services
INTERNET
Telenore  PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network
 PABX Private Automatic Branch Exchange

MSC
PSTN Mobilink w
BSC

H. H. Kha 51
BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 52
BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 53
BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 54
BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 55
BSC
Base Station Controller

 The call request reaches the BSC from the BTS and
is forwarded to MSC.
 After call is established, the BSC will perform
decoding of the call (in typical config.)

H. H. Kha 56
BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 57
BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

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BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 59
 Checks A number.
 To whom is A subscriber calling?
(Checks B number)
 Example : A subscriber has prepaid
number.

MSC
Mobile Switching Centre

H. H. Kha 60
BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

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BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

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BSC HLR

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 63
 Does the A subscriber have
money left on his/her account?
 When the call is established and
on-going the subscriber’s
account is decremented
accordingly.

PrePaid Node

H. H. Kha 64
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 65
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

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HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

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 Where is the B subscriber?
 MSC interrogates in HLR.
(HLR = Home Location Register)

MSC
Mobile Switching Centre

H. H. Kha 68
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

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HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 70
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 71
 HLR says ’I am the home of the B
subscriber and I know where he/she is
right now’ (i.e. which VLR)
 Tells this VLR ’Give me a visitor address
for this subscriber’ (Roaming Number)

HLR
Home Location Register

H. H. Kha 72
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 73
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 74
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 75
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 76
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 77
 Hosting MSC/VLR returns TEMPORARILY
assigned visitor/roaming address for B-
subscriber to HLR.

MSC
Mobile Switching Centre

H. H. Kha 78
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 79
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 80
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 81
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 82
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 83
 ’Thanks for the visitor address!’
 ’I will send this address to the MSC
that requested for it.’

HLR
Home Location Register

H. H. Kha 84
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 85
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 86
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 87
 ’Thank you, HLR!’
 Speech connection path will set up
now towards the MSC/VLR where the
B subscriber is presently located.

MSC
Mobile Switching Centre

H. H. Kha 88
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 89
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 90
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 91
 Sets up a speech connection towards BSC.
 Delivers B-subscriber ID to BSC and asks
to page for the subscriber using that ID.

MSC
Mobile Switching Centre

H. H. Kha 92
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 93
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 94
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 95
 BSC now sends a PAGING MESSAGE to all the BTSs
that it covers/controls.
 Carrys PAGING RESPONSE from called MS back to
MSC.
 Allocates a RADIO channel through a BTS with best
available and allowable SIGNAL STRENGTH for
called MS.
 Performs SPEECH CODING when call is established.

BSC
Base Station Controller

H. H. Kha 96
HLR
BSC

VMS EIR
Voicemail

PrePaid MSC SMSC

IN INTERNET

MSC BSC
PSTN PSTN PABX
Fixed Network International

H. H. Kha 97
Mobile Phones, PDAs & Co.

The visible but smallest


part of the network!
Antennas

Still visible – cause many discussions…

H. H. Kha
Infrastructure 1
Base Stations

Cabling

Microwave links

H. H. Kha
Infrastructure 2
Not „visible“, but comprise the
major part of the network (also
from an investment point of
view…)

Management

Data bases

Switching units

Monitoring