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Introduction to GPRS

With an EDGE primer

What is GPRS? General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a GSM data service that provides the properly equipped mobile user with data transfer rates near what is currently available on our home PC's over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). GPRS is an overlay for the current GSM system, requiring only software and a couple of new network components to work. The system transfers data in packets over the air interface, and uses existing TCP/IP protocols to mate seamlessly with the Internet and other data networks. To give you a quick idea of how much faster GPRS is than GSM, consider the following comparison. When you sit at home, hooked to the Internet through a 56K modem, you can expect to get data rates around 8kbytes per second. Currently, data over GSM will net you from 1.2 to 1.8kbytes per second. To put that in useable terms, data over GSM would take 20 minutes to download the latest virus definition for your laptop,

whereas with GPRS you could do it in about 4. How does GPRS differ from HSCSD? High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) is a GSM data service that allows a single user to establish a call on more than one timeslot for the purpose of data transfer. GPRS also allows users to transmit and receive over more than one channel, but it differs from HSCSD in two fundamental ways. First, GPRS uses packet switching versus circuit switching to move data. For those of us who are troubled by these fancy terms, circuit switching transfers data in a single big block over a dedicated point-to-point connection, where packet switching transfers the same data in little chunks over several virtual connections. Second, GPRS applies only a loose relationship between the same number Uplink and Downlink timeslot, and it allows multiple users to share a single timeslot. Although similar transfer rates can be achieved in both schemes, GPRS is much more

efficient over the air interface and allows for faster connect times.

One possible "Power User" scenario Lets look at how a fully implemented GPRS session might some day play out. Enter Wally Wireless, the ultimate wireless-savvy user. Wally has purchased a top of the line GPRS PC Card, planning to use his PC for both wireless voice and data. Wally lives in a service area where the network operator has implemented GPRS to the fullest extent possible. Wally's brother, Willie, also lives in the same area and has a similar PC setup. BTS HLR VLR AUC One day, Wally calls up his brother and BTS BSC PSTN the two get into a BTS heated discussion ISDN MSC about what is the CSPDN BTS best "first-person" type computer BTS BSC PSPDN game. Wally gets BTS an SMS message telling him he has email, so while Figure 1. GSM Network Components talking to his brother, he logs on GPRS Network Topology to his Internet service and To make all of this possible, let's checks his email. He tells his first take a look at what the brother he has just received a network must look like for GPRS mail that directs them to a web to work. Figure 1 shows a fairly site where the brothers can try HLR out the latest web-based firstBTS person game. Both brothers log BTS BSC on to the site and commence BTS play, all the while talking with each other as they go. The SGSN GGSN game includes full screen video BTS and stunning audio, and the

brothers spend hours playing the game. After they are finished, Willie checks out, but Wally continues surfing the web for a few hours more. In GPRS land, what just happened? The brothers had a traditional GSM call in progress when Wally received a Short Message Service (SMS) notification that he had something new in his Inbox. Wally then transparently connects a GPRS session and logs on to his Internet service to check email. Wally has three services going at once, making him the ultimate wireless power user!

Figure 2. GPRS Network Components

simple diagram of the traditional GSM network components. We are not going to talk about any of these and offer the figure up just for comparison. For more information on traditional GSM, look to the GSM Basics, An Introduction module available on the Spokane Division Marketing web page. Next, take a look at the network in Figure 2. The BSC now has a second path to choose from when sending and receiving user data. If it gets voice, it sends it to the MSC, but if it gets GPRS data, it sends it to the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN). The SGSN gives us our first glimpse into how GPRS was designed to fit in with modern data networks, like TCP/IP. In fact, we will come to see that GPRS is a very Internet-savvy system, designed to be "plug and play" shall we say with what the mainstream population is using to move data. The services provided to the GPRS network by the SGSN are: 1. IP router supporting fixed and dynamic addressing 2. Security using new ETSI ciphering standard 3. Mobility management 4. Authentication 5. Session management including Quality of Service (QoS) Take another look at number 1. Having an IP router in the system means that your mobile will have an IP address! The network operator can make that address either temporary or permanent, but the point

remains; you will look just like any other addressable thing on the Internet! Feature number 5 also draws our attention. QoS is a new


To other SGSNs over the Intra PLMN backbone

Inter PLMN IP backbone


Figure 3. Overall PLMN Structure

parameter that the mobile and base station agree upon that describes a cost-based level of service. This means that the mobile user has a choice they can make on the quality of the session, knowing that a better QoS is going to cost them more money. The QoS value covers such things as session priority, data delay, connection reliability, peak throughput, and sustained throughput. So, if you send your friend "Elf Bowling" you may choose a cheap QoS, whereas if you are sending a password protected zip file you might opt to pay more for the best service. For some idea as to the scope of a single SGSN, one node provides up to 100Mbps throughput, supports 100,000 users, is the size of a refrigerator, and costs about US

$2,000,000. By comparison, one circuit switch with comparable support is 20 refrigerators and costs US $10,000,000. From the SGSN, data packets destined for the outside world go back and forth through the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGNS). This node provides the network with the following: 1. Gateway between GPRS network and external packet data networks like IP, X.25, and the Internet 2. Acts as the GPRS firewall 3. Manages roaming between GGSN's 4. Contains Point to Multipoint (PTM) Service Center The SGSN and GGSN can be one unit, two units, co-located, or placed in separate entities. Figure 3 gives you some idea of how the GPRS network fits in with the Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN) and the rest of the voice/data network. Some other components you will see are the Circuit Switched Public Data Network (CSPDN), the PSTN, and the Packet Switched Public Data Network (PSPDN). One key learning to take away from the network structure is that SGSN's can communicate with each other without having to leave the safe confines of the GPRS network. Looking at the repeated use of protocol terms you can make a second observation. Along with installing an SGSN and GGSN, network operators will install

software, a large which is protocol.



GPRS - A lesson in Protocol So much of GPRS is protocol that it behooves us to become familiar with some of the layers. Figure 4 shows the transmission layers for data used in GPRS. The scheme is based on a portion of the famous OSI model, sans a couple of layers. Let's start with the mobile station protocols and work our way through the network. When looking at the stack for the mobile, understand that not all of the layers actually need to be inside the mobile; some may reside in the Terminal Equipment (TE), which could be the PC. The first protocol for us to look at is the Subnetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol, or SNDCP. This layer, although not really a part of GPRS, is the first real protocol that we will worry about since the Network Layers above SNDCP are off-the-shelf varieties that need not concern us. SNDCP is used to provide a logical link between the mobile and the SGSN. SNDCP takes Network Layer Protocol Data Units (PDU) and segments, encrypts, compresses, and multiplexes them for use at the lower layers. The next layer is the Logical Link Layer (LLC), which is the highest layer in a grouping of protocols that form the Data Link Layer. LLC provides a logical link between the mobile and the BSS and is radio link

independent, which means it does not care how the bits get over the air interface. LLC provides the following services: 1. Support for PTM transmissions 2. LLC level ciphering 3. Acknowledged PDU transmission, if requested So, LLC can squirt data to multiple users, encrypt that data, and provide backward error correction if the mobile and network desire it. Below the LLC layer is the allimportant Radio Link Control (RLC). RLC is the workhorse of GPRS. This layer ensures that only completed frames get passed up to the LLC layer by using a protocol by the name of
Mobile station Base station subsystem

Since both halves of the RLC layer know the TFI, when the receiving layer does not get the blocks it needs to completely reassemble an LLC frame, it knows which block is missing and requests a retransmission. Again, RLC demands perfection, so only complete blocks get past this layer up to LLC. A slick thing about ARQ is it's ability to change the consequences of a bad channel from getting corrupted data to just a slowing down of the data rate. The layer below RLC is the Medium Access Control Layer (MAC). RLC and MAC are often spoken of as the RLC/MAC layer, but we break them into two chunks for
Gateway GPRS support node
Network Layer

Serving GPRS support node



Figure 4. GPRS Transmission Protocol Layers

Automatic Repeat reQest, or ARQ. LLC frames are segmented into Radio Blocks, with each Radio Block including a unique number called the Temporary Frame Identity (TFI). The TFI for each block is composed of a mobile identifier and a frame sequence number.

simplicity of explanation. The MAC layer controls mobile station access to the physical channels. The protocol, which is also used in standard GSM, is based on a "Slotted ALOHA" scheme. In layman's terms once again, slotted ALOHA just means the standard random

access process with those access bursts scheduled in some uniform manner. The MAC layer also handles multiplexing, contention resolution, and arbitration for mobiles desiring access to the same channel. Did you catch that? For mobiles desiring access to the same channel! Thats right! In GPRS, several mobiles use the same timeslot, or channel. We will talk more about how the physical channel is used a little bit later. The last two layers, the Physical Link Layer (PLL), and the RF Layer (RFL), are still doing what they have always done. These layers provide forward error correction, interleaving, modulation/demodulation, frequency selection, and other physical layer tasks. One new task for the physical layers is the implementation of a new Channel Coding Scheme. Four levels of coding are available, from a 1/2 convolution coded 9600bps "safe" level, to a 21,400bps, non-coded high throughput level. Looking back at Figure 4 we see many other protocols outside of the mobile station, but we will only cover one more, the GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GRP). This layer links the SGSN and GGSN and acts as a taxi service around the GPRS backbone. If a funky protocol enters the network, like something from X.25, as long as the system knows the mobile will support it,

it encapsulates the data packet to keep its odd form from messing up the network, and ships it across the GPRS network to the receiver. This allows GPRS to take data from truly many sources, and if supported by the user, route that data harmlessly over a network that would otherwise have no idea what the packet was. GTP is point-to-point oriented, so the GGSN looks at the address, bags up the data, and shoots it directly to the receiving SGSN. We have talked enough about protocol to know that GPRS is a very modern type of data system, directly compliant with major data networks. If you would like to know more about the protocols, the ETSI standards are actually quite readable. Lets now move to a discussion of the physical layer. Multiple users on one channel Is this just another name for CDMA? Does GPRS completely restructure our good old friend GSM? First, let's go over what is still the same. We still have TDMA/FDMA with 200kHz spacing, frames with eight timeslots, multiframes, superframes, GSM phones still work on this network! So, if a GSM phone still works on the network, what DID change? Well, when the network operator decides to get into the GPRS business, they buy the gear and dedicate a timeslot or two for

GPRS use. What is fascinating about GPRS channels is the network operators can dynamically assign channels between GPRS and GSM as demand for resources change. So if at 5 p.m. each day the demand for voice goes down while demand for data goes up, the network operator can take some voice channels and turn them into data channels and vice versa as the situation dictates. Now that we have a dedicated GPRS channel, how do GPRS mobiles use that channel? We will break this discussion into two focus areas, the Uplink and the Downlink, because these physical channels are no longer related to each other like they were in the old days. How does that Uplink Channel work? Several users can share each Uplink timeslot dedicated for GPRS; this is a big statement! Mobiles only use the Uplink channel when they are told to do so. Remember: Uplink and Downlink timeslots are not used as they are in GSM, but they are still loosely related. In GSM, once a mobile user sets up a call, it can transmit on the Uplink whenever it wants, it has a dedicated channel assigned solely for its own use. In GPRS, when mobile stations are attached to the GPRS system, they are assigned a unique number called the Uplink State Flag (USF) for each timeslot they will be using. The USF tells

the mobile when it is allowed to transmit data on the Uplink. How many mobiles are checking the value of the USF for access? Well, the USF is a three-bit number, giving us eight possible values. One of these values is used to let the listening mobiles know when the Uplink is to be used for access attempts (i.e. RACH), while the other seven can be used by seven mobiles! Watch out now, as some materials out there tell us eight users can share each Uplink timeslot. How eight users can share seven values is a neat trick, somewhat in need of an explanation. For us, let us decide then that each Uplink timeslot can support seven separate users, all at the same time! To get into a little more detail we should explore just how a mobile would know when to transmit by using this USF. Recall that even though Uplink and Downlink are only loosely related, for mobiles assigned to timeslot 2 on the Uplink, they will listen in on timeslot 2 on the Downlink for that all-important USF. Each Downlink block of data will have in its header the USF to be used on the next Uplink block. So a mobile that is waiting to transmit data will decode each Downlink block until it sees its USF, knowing then that it owns the following Uplink block for transmitting its data. We will now talk about the different Allocation modes that can be assigned each mobile using the Uplink channel.

Allocation Modes: Uplink made Easy When a mobile station has data to send, it will do what mobiles on the GSM voice channels do and perform a RACH. The mobile already knows system information by listening to the broadcast channel enough to know to look for that unique USF RACH value. Once it sees the availability of a RACH Uplink, it will burst access attempts and start the process of getting attached to the system. During the setup the mobile will tell the system what kind of access it desires and how much data it has to send, along with other parameters to be cover later. The Network has three options of access it can grant the mobile called Allocation Modes. For Dynamic Allocation, the mobile is assigned a channel or two and will listen to the USF. When it decodes its assigned USF, it will transmit an agreed upon number of bursts and then release the channel and wait for another USF. The number of bursts will vary from 4 to some multiple determined by a granularity setting made by the network operator. The Dynamic Allocation model was what we went over in the last section. The second possible allocation is called Fixed Allocation. In Fixed mode, the mobile and network agree on a fixed number of channels and bursts. This mode is a little like a virtual circuit since the mobile can transmit all of the agreed upon

data without regard to the USF. The final mode is called Extended Dynamic Allocation, which is an optional mode for the network. In Extended mode, the mobile looks for its USF on each channel that it is assigned to monitor. When it decodes a USF meant for it, it can transmit the agreed upon block of data on the decoded channel, and all higher numbered channels assigned. Similar to Dynamic mode except over multiple channels, driven by only the first USF it decodes. That wraps up our discussion of how mobiles use the Uplink channels. Now we will explore how mobiles receive data on the Downlink. GPRS Downlink - Take a number please The Downlink GPRS scheme is a little bit easier to understand than the Uplink. When a mobile is up on the GPRS system, transmitting and receiving data, it listens to individual channels based on negotiations with the network, and its own multislot class. Remember the Temporary Frame Identity (TFI) that we talked about when we discussed the RLC layer? The Downlink channels use the TFI to tell all listening mobiles which data blocks are intended for their consumption. Let's say we have a multislot capable mobile listening to timeslots 3, 4, and 5. This mobile will ignore all data blocks that have TFI's that differ from those assigned.

When data comes down on these channels, the mobile can receive each block on each channel, buffer them internally, and reconstruct the data into

about different power levels per timeslot? With GPRS, both the BTS and mobile station can control power on a burst-byburst basis. Having a power scheme like this, 1 GSM/GPRS Burst with things like PBCH PDTCHs Open Loop and Downlink Closed Loop power control, allows for better control of interference over PDTCHs Uplink the air interface. CDMA has been doing this from the beginning in order to make that air interface as clean as Figure 5. GPRS Power Control possible. the appropriate order by using Let's start with Uplink power these TFI. This allows the BTS control by taking a look at to senddata out the Downlink Figure 5. To start off we need to GPRS channels without too make sure we all know what a much regard for who or when, Frame is. In GPRS, we always since any number of mobile talk about data with regard to stations can listen to any Radio Blocks, which are the number of Downlink channels. same as Frames, which are the Can you start to see how same as LLC Frames, which efficient GPRS channels can be? are made up of 4 consecutive Since channels are not bursts. 4 bursts = 1 Radio dedicated to individual users Block = 1 RLC Block = 1 LLC they can be filled with data all of Frame. OK. Mobile stations in the time. In a fully utilized GPRS GPRS must be able to adjust channel there is no idle time on power on a slot-by-slot basis, the Uplink while the mobile user with the slot power being listens to someone speaking, no constant for all 4 bursts of a need for DTX or DRX! This frame, and the power being makes for a very efficient use of calculated by some formula. the air interface. Figure 6 gives us the formula for mobile station Uplink power Power Control control. The power transmitted If the idea of multiple users on by the mobile can be either the same timeslot was not Closed Loop, which would be interesting enough for you, how using the PMAX value provided

by the network, or Open Loop, used on a channel without which is the value calculated regard to the Allocation Mode of using the formula. Why would a each mobile currently mobile need to have different transferring data. In this mode, power levels for different the base station can set power timeslots? Good questions. from a high of the BCCH power First, if the mobile user is minus a system constant, to transmitting while driving 10dB below that. Again, this directly toward the BTS, it can allows the network operator to reduce the power of each reduce overall system power successive frame. Second, if down to a level just adequate the mobile is capable of using for the most remote mobile on timeslots on different frequency that channel, thereby reducing channels, frequency selective overall system interference. attenuation is a real problem, The other mode, Power and having different levels at Control Mode B, is applicable different frequencies makes for mobiles involved in a Fixed sense. So, Uplink power control Allocation data transfer and puts has the mobile transmit at the no limit on how low the base minimum of PMAX, or the station can drop power. The mobile calculated level. power level is applicable to each For Downlink power control the channel the transfer is situation is not as clear. We happening on for a multislot must remember that the base transfer, and need only be high station is transmitting data to enough for the mobile to multiple mobiles per timeslot. correctly decode the blocks. These mobiles may be vastly One note for Power Control spread out geographically, with Mode B transfers is that every some very close to the station, 360ms the broadcast channel and some at the limits of the must up the power so that other cell. The broadcast power must be sufficient for Pch = m ((T0 - Tch - (C+ 48)), PMAX) in all mobiles T0 = 39d for G Bm SM900, 36d mfor D B CS1800 decoding the USF, so limits Tch = C an e p e r se t inRLCCon Me e h n l aramte n trol ssag are put on just = Syste p m aram te b cast onPBCC e r road H how much the base station can C= Re ive sig al lev l at m ile ce d n e ob vary power. PMAX - m im mallowe p r with th ce ax u d owe in e ll Two modes exist for the base PR ACHan RACHp d ower le ls first u PMAX ve se station to vary power on the Downlink. Power Control Mode A can be Figure 6. Open Loop Power Calculation

mobiles decoding the USF can stay synchronized. Logical Channels All of the things we have been going over can't work without some logical channel structure. Well get ready for a nice surprise, because the only things changing with the currently available logical channels are the names, for the most part. GPRS logical channels are broken down into three groups. The Packet Broadcast Control Channel (PBCCH) serves the identical purpose to GPRS mobiles that the Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH) does for GSM mobiles. In fact, if the network operator wants to support GPRS but does not want to add the PBCCH, GPRS information is simply added to the existing BCCH. For those networks carrying large amounts of GPRS data, it is wise to have a dedicated PBCCH in order to split up the increased control traffic. And if that was not good enough, standard voice and circuit switched information is also carried on the PBCCH, so GPRS mobiles need only listen to one broadcast channel to satisfy all of their needs. The second channel group is the Packet Common Control Channel, or PCCCH. This group of channels contains the Packet Random Access Channel (PRACH), the Packet Paging Channel (PPCH), the

Packet Access Grant Channel (PAGCH), and the Packet Notification Channel (PNCH). These should all look very familiar to those experienced with GSM, with the possible exception of the PNCH. This channel is used to notify all targeted mobiles of an upcoming multicast message, which we won't cover in this handout. The final group of channels, the Packet Transfer Channels (PTCH), includes the Packet Data Traffic Channel (PDTCH), the Packet Associated Control Channel (PACCH), and the Packet Timing Advance Control Channel (PTCCH). The PDTCH is the name for the data
Access Attempt
Initial access request PAGCH or AGCH Immediate Assignment PRACH or RACH

Data Transfer
Frames PACCH NAK (if lost Radio Block) Retransmit lost RLC blocks PACCH Acknowledge PDTCH PDTCH

Figure 7. GPRS Single Phase Access

carrying channel, and the PTCCH is obviously the channel used to transmit timing advance values. When any of the above channels is provided on a network, the timeslot is generally referred to as carrying a Packet Data Channel (PDCH). This term is

used extensively in the literature, so remember what it means. Again, there is nothing very new about the GPRS logical channels. They all perform the same type of purpose as their GSM counterparts, only they carry data specific to GPRS instead of GSM. Let's culminate this paper with an attempt to walk through a GPRS session like we did for Wally and Willie, except we will now use many of the terms we have learned, plus a few that only fit well in the following type of discussion. The GPRS session: Masters Version Now that you are fluent in most of the terms necessary to converse in "GPRS Speak", lets get ready to go through an Internet session with your customer. We will start with the mobile station. A GPRS mobile can be of several service classes, and several multislot classes. We won't go into too much detail, but a Class A mobile station can do both circuit-switched and packet-switched calls at the same time. Wally's phone card from the first example would have been a Class A. A Class B mobile can do both GPRS and GSM, but only one at a time. It listens for both services and goes active automatically. The last class, Class C, can do only one service at a time, with the service being selected manually. As for multislot classes, there are bunches, and they just

describe how many slots a mobile is capable of transmitting and receiving on. A word of caution about multislot classes; some literature talks about the amazing transfer rates capable by a mobile that can use all eight timeslots during a session. If we believe that assertion, when does the mobile have time to monitor neighboring cells and do other housekeeping stuff OK. Let's get that call up. When Wally turns the power to his GPRS mobile on, it camps much like any other mobile. The unit will look for the standard BCCH and decode system information. Part of the information carried on the broadcast channel includes whether or not a GPRS channel has been allocated, and if so, where the mobile can find the PBCCH. Wally's mobile reads the BCCH then camps on the PBCCH, entering one of three GPRS States. In GPRS Idle, a mobile station is not attached to the system and must be paged or send a PRACH in order to gain network resources. A mobile in GPRS Standby is attached to the system and can receive system information, but cannot send or receive data without first requesting network resources. Another difference between Idle and Standby is that in Standby the location of the mobile is tracked to the routing area level. A mobile in the GPRS Ready is attached to the system and can send and receive data; it is actively

decoding the USF. In Ready the network can schedule resources mobile location is known down using a Two-Phase Access. In to the cell level. A mobile will this situation, the mobile tells stay in the Ready State until the the network what it wants and user decides to return to the network responds with Standby, or the system "Ready" "hold on a minute", followed by timer expires. "go ahead in 2 seconds on these When Wally went online, his mobile negotiated directly to the Idle GPRS state since he did not have data to send, but once in Idle, his mobile 34 us (approx) requested a traditional circuit switched channel to Figure 8. GPRS PvT Mask for Multislot Operation call his brother. So here we have a channels, for this long". The phone with an active GSM call Two Phase approach lets the up and in GPRS Idle. network manage system Wally gets his SMS telling him of resources in a fair manner, email and fires up his Internet giving everyone at least limited browser in order to go online. access all the time. The GPRS system in his mobile Wally's mobile is now in both performs a PRACH to get active GSM and GPRS, with his network attention and starts the GPRS connection using multiple negotiations to attach to the bursts. GPRS system. There are two This is all interesting, but possible ways the network can can one test it? choose to put Wally's mobile on Now that we know how GPRS the system, more than likely works, are there any new dependent on current network testing requirements for our traffic. Figure 7 shows a Single customers? Phase Access where the For the transmitter, the mobile mobile tells the network what it station, depending on class, has in mind, and the network must be able to transmit comes right back with the timeslots at different power number of channels allocated levels. To make this easy ETSI and the number of frames has established a new variable granted. This would probably PvT mask that a series of bursts occur when data traffic on the must fit into, as in Figure 8. If network was at a lull. If there they test PvT now we can were several other mobile users probably assume that they will transferring data already, the test PvT for GPRS. Also for the

transmitter, a GPRS mobile might be capable of transmitting both GMSK and 8-PSK, which would dictate adding a second set of modulator tests to those existing for GMSK. On the receiver side, a mobile using multiple uplink slots must be able to change gain between timeslots fast enough to keep from causing BER problems when the timeslots are broadcast at different power levels. ETSI has provided a solution to some of the test difficulties in the form of a test mode. In GPRS Test mode, the mobile camps and is then instructed to start transmitting on a certain set of timeslots at a certain power level. This allows the test equipment to make transmitter measurements without having to establish a GPRS session. Also, the mobile manufacturers are given the option to support a loopback mode that would have the mobile directly loopback downlink data to the corresponding uplink channel, thereby allowing for Block Error Rate, and possibly Bit Error Rate determination. Mobile manufacturers may also want to verify data throughput at assembly much like they make a check on audio for voice-only mobiles. Since throughput is the reason for the device in the first place this would seem like a logical step, as was the case for requirements surrounding similar test equipment for data services in CDMA.

We've talked about the network, the mobile, the physical channel, the logical channels, and test, what about the future? EGPRS, and EDGE. EGPRS is Extended GPRS. To get to EGRS from GPRS one needs to implement EDGE, or Enhanced Data Rate for GSM Evolution. EDGE, in brief, is a new modulation that plays well within the current GPRS system, so network operators do not have to change their network too much to make it work. The two main additions EDGE brings to networks and users are: 1. 8-PSK modulation 2. Link Adaptation

Q (0,1,0) I

Q (0,1,0) (0,1,0) I (0,1,0)

high-end and a low-end. The (0,1,0) high-end mobile (0,1,0) (0,1,0) would support 8PSK on both 1 bit per symbol 3 bits per symbol uplink and downlink, while the entry mobile Figure 9. Modulation Decision Points will downlink 8PSK while 8 Phase Shift Keying (8-PSK) transmitting only GMSK. The is a new modulation scheme low end doesn't let you upload that transmits 3 bits for each with EDGE speed, but since symbol. Take a look at Figures most Web browsing has the user 9 and 10. The current downloading data, the user modulation scheme, GMSK, would still benefit from 8-PSK. transmits 1 bit per symbol. Actually, you decode a 1 or 0 based on the direction you E DGE took to get to the next dot, or GSM 3/8 Shifted state, since each state does 0.3 GM SK 8P SK not have an absolute value as the 8-PSK states do. With this modulation the gross bit rate per timeslot goes from 22.8 3 Bits / Symbol - -3X Data! 1 Bit / Symbol kbits/s to 69.2 kbits/s. Non constant amplitude... Constant E nvelope There are issues with 8-PSK. changes 16+ dB 8-PSK is taxing, both on the mobile and the network. Take a look at Figure 9. With Figure 10. Constellation Comparison GMSK, the data point can The network will also have some only move to the point on the difficulty with 8-PSK due to the circle to its immediate left or high bit rates it produces. The right for each transition, thereby GPRS nodes are already capable keeping the vector point always of dealing with packets at high on the circle. GMSK allows the speed, but the Abis interface, mobile station to have a that connection between the constant envelope output level, BTS and BSC, can only handle which equates to a simple 16 kbits/s. transmitter design. 8-PSK has Link Adaptation is a new no such limitation; that vector feature that allows the system can move to any state as shown to vary modulation and coding in Figure 10, making the mobile schemes, real-time, based on station transmitter a little more link quality. If a mobile user is difficult to design. The solution moving through an area of high to this problem will be to allow interference, the network may two kinds of EGPRS mobiles: a


suggest the use of more coding and GMSK. When the mobile transitions back into a friendlier environment, the network would again raise the bit rate. This kind of strategy leads to more improvements in channel efficiency since a noisy channel tends to generate a lot of traffic surrounding retransmissions.

That's All Folks! This marks the end of our journey into GPRS. Some major points to remember about this new GSM service: 1. Same physical channel structure 2. 2 new network nodes - SGSN and GGSN 3. Multislot use 4. Packet switched versus Circuit switched 5. Virtual connections 6. Multiple mobiles per timeslot 7. Uplink and Downlink power control Good luck!

Abbreviations and definitions ARQ BCS BEC BH CS EDGE EGPRS FH GGSN LLC MAC PACCH PAGCH PBCCH PC PCCCH PDCH PDTCH PDU PNCH PPCH PRACH PTCCH RLC SGSN SNDC TA TBF TFI USF Automatic Repeat reQuest Block Check Sequence Backward Error Correction Block Header Coding Scheme Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution Enhanced GPRS Frame Header Gateway GPRS Support Node Logical Link control Medium Access Control Packet Associated Control Channel Packet Access Grant Channel Packet Broadcast Control Channel Power Control Packet Common Control Channel Packet Data Channel Packet Data Traffic Channel Protocol Data Unit Packet Notification channel (for PTM-M on PCCCH) Packet Paging Channel Packet Random Access Channel Packet Timing Advance Control Channel Radio Link Control Serving GPRS Support Node Subnetwork Dependent Convergence Timing Advance Temporary Block Flow Temporary Frame Identity Uplink State Flag