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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-topoint 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
BTS BTS BTS ISDN MSC BTS BTS BTS BSC CSPDN PSPDN BSC HLR VLR AUC PSTN

Figure 1. GSM Network Components the same area and has a similar PC setup. One day, Wally calls up his brother and the two get into a heated discussion about what is the best "first-person" type computer game. Wally gets an SMS message telling him he has email, so while talking to his brother, he logs on to his Internet service and checks his email. He tells his brother he has just received a mail that directs them to a web site where the brothers can try out the latest web-based first-person game. Both brothers log on to the site and commence play, all the while talking with each other as they go. The game includes

full screen video 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! GPRS Network Topology To make all of this possible, let's first take a look at what the network must look like for GPRS to work. Figure 1 shows a fairly 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
HLR BTS BTS BTS SGSN BTS BTS BTS BSC GGSN BSC

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 parameter that the mobile and base station agree upon that describes a
PSTN MSC CSPDN BTS BSC

SGSN

To other SGSNs over the Intra PLMN backbone

Internet
Inter PLMN IP backbone

GGSN PSPDN
Firewall

Figure 3. Overall PLMN Structure 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

Figure 2. GPRS Network Components 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

$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 portion of 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 all-important 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 Automatic Repeat reQest, or ARQ. LLC frames are segmented into Radio Blocks, with each Radio Block including a unique
Mobile station Base station subsystem

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.
Gateway GPRS support node
Network Layer

Serving GPRS support node

Network Layer SNDCP LLC RLC MAC PLL RFL LLC Relay RLC BSSGP MAC PLL RFL Frame Relay PL SNDCP LLC BSSGP Frame Relay PL GTP TCP/UDP IP L2 PL

GTP TCP/UDP IP L2 PL

Figure 4. GPRS Transmission Protocol Layers number called the Temporary Frame Identity (TFI). The TFI for each block is composed of a mobile identifier and a frame sequence number. 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 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 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, noncoded 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 threebit 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 allimportant 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

1 GSM/GPRS Burst PBCH PDTCHs

Downlink

PDTCHs

Uplink

Figure 5. GPRS Power Control 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 the appropriate order by using these TFI. This allows the BTS to senddata out the Downlink GPRS channels without too much regard for who or when, since any number of mobile stations can listen to any number of Downlink channels. Can you start to see how efficient GPRS channels can be? Since channels are not dedicated to individual users they can be filled with data all of the time. In a fully utilized GPRS channel there is no idle time on the Uplink while the mobile user listens to someone speaking, no need for DTX or DRX! This makes for a very efficient use of the air interface. Power Control If the idea of multiple users on the same timeslot was not interesting enough for you, how about different power levels per timeslot? With GPRS, both the BTS and mobile station can control power on a burstby-burst basis. Having a power scheme like this, with things like Open Loop and Closed Loop power control, allows for better control of interference over the air interface. CDMA has been doing this from the beginning in order to make that air interface as clean as possible. Let's start with Uplink power control by taking a look at Figure 5. To start off we need to make sure we all know what a Frame is. In GPRS, we always talk about data with regard to Radio Blocks, which are the same as Frames, which are the same

as LLC Frames, which are made up of 4 power down to a level just adequate for the consecutive bursts. 4 bursts = 1 Radio most remote mobile on that channel, thereby Block = 1 RLC Block = 1 LLC Frame. OK. reducing overall system interference. The Mobile stations in GPRS must be able to other mode, Power Control Mode B, is adjust power on a slot-by-slot basis, with the applicable for mobiles involved in a Fixed slot power being constant for all 4 bursts of Allocation data transfer and puts no limit on a frame, and the power being calculated by how low the base station can drop power. some formula. Figure 6 gives us the formula The power level is applicable to each for mobile station Uplink power control. The channel the transfer is happening on for a power transmitted by the mobile can be multislot transfer, and need only be high either Closed Loop, which would be using enough for the mobile to correctly decode the PMAX value provided by the network, or the blocks. One note for Power Control Open Loop, which is the value calculated Mode B transfers is that every 360ms the using the formula. Why would a mobile broadcast channel must up the power so need to have different power levels for that other mobiles decoding the USF can different timeslots? Good questions. First, if stay synchronized. the mobile user is transmitting while driving directly toward the BTS, it can reduce the Logical Channels power of each successive frame. Second, if All of the things we have been going over the mobile is capable of using timeslots on can't work without some logical channel different frequency channels, frequency structure. Well get ready for a nice surprise, selective attenuation is a real problem, and because the only things changing with the having different levels at different currently available logical channels are the frequencies makes sense. So, Uplink power names, for the most part. GPRS logical control has the mobile transmit at the channels are broken down into three groups. minimum of PMAX, or the mobile calculated The Packet Broadcast Control Channel level. (PBCCH) serves the identical purpose to For Downlink power control the situation is GPRS mobiles that the Broadcast Control not as clear. We must remember that the Channel (BCCH) does for GSM mobiles. In base station is transmitting data to multiple fact, if the network operator wants to support mobiles per timeslot. These mobiles may be GPRS but does not want to add the PBCCH, vastly spread out geographically, with some GPRS information is simply added to the very close to the Pch = m ((T0 - Tch - (C+ 48)), PMAX) in station, and some at the limits of the cell. T0 = 39d for G Bm SM900, 36d mfor D B CS1800 The broadcast power must be sufficient for Tch = C an e p e r se t inRLCCon Me e h n l aramte n trol ssag all mobiles decoding the USF, so limits are = Syste p m aram te b cast onPBCC e r road H put on just 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 station to ACHan RACHp d ower le ls first u PMAX ve se vary power on the PR Downlink. Power Control Mode A can be used on a channel without regard to the Figure 6. Open Loop Power Calculation Allocation Mode of each mobile currently existing BCCH. For those networks carrying transferring data. In this mode, the base large amounts of GPRS data, it is wise to station can set power from a high of the have a dedicated PBCCH in order to split up BCCH power minus a system constant, to the increased control traffic. And if that was 10dB below that. Again, this allows the not good enough, standard voice and circuit network operator to reduce overall system

switched information is also carried on the lets get ready to go through an Internet PBCCH, so GPRS mobiles need only listen session with your customer. to one broadcast channel to satisfy all of We will start with the mobile station. A their needs. GPRS mobile can be of several service The second channel group is the Packet classes, and several multislot classes. We Common Control Channel, or PCCCH. won't go into too much detail, but a Class A This group of channels contains the Packet mobile station can do both circuit-switched Random Access Channel (PRACH), the and packet-switched calls at the same time. Packet Paging Channel (PPCH), the Wally's phone card from the first example Packet Access Grant Channel (PAGCH), would have been a Class A. A Class B and the Packet Notification Channel mobile can do both GPRS and GSM, but (PNCH). These should all look very familiar only one at a time. It listens for both to those experienced with GSM, with the services and goes active automatically. The possible exception of the PNCH. This last class, Class C, can do only one service channel is used to notify all targeted mobiles at a time, with the service being selected of an upcoming multicast message, which manually. we won't cover in this handout. As for multislot classes, there are bunches, The final group of channels, the Packet and they just describe how many slots a Transfer Channels (PTCH), includes the mobile is capable of transmitting and Packet Data Traffic Channel (PDTCH), the receiving on. A word of caution about Packet Associated Control Channel multislot classes; some literature talks about (PACCH), and the Packet Timing Advance the amazing transfer rates capable by a Control Channel (PTCCH). The Access Attempt PDTCH is the name Initial access request for the data carrying PRACH or RACH channel, and the Immediate Assignment PTCCH is obviously PAGCH or AGCH the channel used to transmit timing Data Transfer advance values. Frames When any of the PDTCH above channels is NAK (if lost Radio Block) provided on a PACCH network, the timeslot Retransmit lost RLC blocks is generally referred PDTCH to as carrying a Acknowledge PACCH Packet Data Channel (PDCH). This term is used Figure 7. GPRS Single Phase Access extensively in the mobile that can use all eight timeslots during literature, so remember what it means. a session. If we believe that assertion, Again, there is nothing very new about the when does the mobile have time to monitor GPRS logical channels. They all perform neighboring cells and do other the same type of purpose as their GSM housekeeping stuff counterparts, only they carry data specific to OK. Let's get that call up. When Wally GPRS instead of GSM. Let's culminate this turns the power to his GPRS mobile on, it paper with an attempt to walk through a camps much like any other mobile. The unit GPRS session like we did for Wally and will look for the standard BCCH and decode Willie, except we will now use many of the system information. Part of the information terms we have learned, plus a few that only carried on the broadcast channel includes fit well in the following type of discussion. whether or not a GPRS channel has been allocated, and if so, where the mobile can The GPRS session: Masters Version find the PBCCH. Wally's mobile reads the Now that you are fluent in most of the terms BCCH then camps on the PBCCH, entering necessary to converse in "GPRS Speak",

one of three GPRS States. In GPRS Idle, a resources in a fair manner, giving everyone mobile station is not attached to the system at least limited access all the time. and must be paged or send a PRACH in Wally's mobile is now in both active GSM order to gain network resources. A mobile and GPRS, with his GPRS connection using in GPRS Standby is attached to the system multiple bursts. and can receive system information, but This is all interesting, but can one test it? cannot send or receive data without first Now that we know how GPRS works, are requesting network resources. Another there any new testing requirements for our difference between Idle and Standby is that customers? in Standby the location of the mobile is For the transmitter, the mobile station, tracked to the routing area level. A mobile in depending on class, must be able to the GPRS Ready is attached to the system transmit timeslots at different power levels. and can send and receive data; it is actively To make this easy ETSI has established a decoding the USF. In Ready the mobile new variable PvT mask that a series of location is known down to the cell level. A bursts must fit into, as in Figure 8. If they mobile will stay in the Ready State until the test PvT now we can probably assume that user decides to return to Standby, or the they will test PvT for GPRS. Also for the system "Ready" timer expires. transmitter, a GPRS mobile might be 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 requested a traditional circuit switched channel to call his brother. So here we have a phone 34 us with an active GSM call up (approx) and in GPRS Idle. Wally gets his SMS telling him of email and fires up his Internet browser in Figure 8. GPRS PvT Mask for Multislot Operation order to go online. The capable of transmitting both GMSK and 8GPRS system in his mobile performs a PSK, which would dictate adding a second PRACH to get network attention and starts set of modulator tests to those existing for the negotiations to attach to the GPRS GMSK. system. There are two possible ways the On the receiver side, a mobile using multiple network can choose to put Wally's mobile on uplink slots must be able to change gain the system, more than likely dependent on between timeslots fast enough to keep from current network traffic. Figure 7 shows a causing BER problems when the timeslots Single Phase Access where the mobile are broadcast at different power levels. tells the network what it has in mind, and the ETSI has provided a solution to some of the network comes right back with the number test difficulties in the form of a test mode. In of channels allocated and the number of GPRS Test mode, the mobile camps and is frames granted. This would probably occur then instructed to start transmitting on a when data traffic on the network was at a certain set of timeslots at a certain power lull. If there were several other mobile level. This allows the test equipment to users transferring data already, the network make transmitter measurements without can schedule resources using a Two-Phase having to establish a GPRS session. Also, Access. In this situation, the mobile tells the mobile manufacturers are given the the network what it wants and the network option to support a loopback mode that responds with "hold on a minute", followed would have the mobile directly loopback by "go ahead in 2 seconds on these downlink data to the corresponding uplink channels, for this long". The Two Phase channel, thereby allowing for Block Error approach lets the network manage system

GM SK
Q (0,1,0) I

8-PSK
Q (0,1,0) (0,1,0) I (0,1,0)

mobile station to have a constant envelope output level, which (0,1,0) (0,1,0) equates to a simple (0,1,0) transmitter design. 8PSK has no such 1 bit per symbol 3 bits per symbol limitation; that vector can move to any state as shown in Figure 10, making the mobile Figure 9. Modulation Decision Points station transmitter a little more difficult to Rate, and possibly Bit Error Rate design. The solution to this problem will be determination. to allow two kinds of EGPRS mobiles: a Mobile manufacturers may also want to high-end and a low-end. The high-end verify data throughput at assembly much like mobile would support 8-PSK on both uplink they make a check on audio for voice-only and downlink, while the entry mobile will mobiles. Since throughput is the reason for downlink 8-PSK while transmitting only the device in the first place this would seem GMSK. The low end doesn't let you upload like a logical step, as was the case for with EDGE speed, but since most Web requirements surrounding similar test browsing has the user downloading data, equipment for data services in CDMA. the user would still benefit from 8-PSK. 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 8 Phase Shift Keying (8-PSK) is a new modulation scheme that transmits 3 bits for each symbol. Take a look at Figures 9 and 10. The current modulation scheme, GMSK, transmits 1 bit per symbol. Actually, you decode a 1 or 0 based on the direction you took to get to the next dot, or state, since each state does not have an absolute value as the 8-PSK states do. With this modulation the gross bit rate per timeslot goes from 22.8 kbits/s to 69.2 kbits/s. There are issues with 8-PSK. 8-PSK is taxing, both on the mobile and the network. Take a look at Figure 9. With GMSK, the data point can only move to the point on the circle to its immediate left or right for each transition, thereby keeping the vector point always on the circle. GMSK allows the

(0,1,0)

GSM 0.3 GM SK

E DGE 3/8 Shifted 8P SK

3 Bits / Symbol - -3X Data! 1 Bit / Symbol Non constant amplitude... Constant E nvelope changes 16+ dB

Figure 10. Constellation Comparison The network will also have some difficulty with 8-PSK due to the high bit rates it produces. The GPRS nodes are already capable of dealing with packets at high speed, but the Abis interface, that connection between the BTS and BSC, can only handle 16 kbits/s. Link Adaptation is a new feature that allows the system to vary modulation and coding schemes, real-time, based on link quality. If a mobile user is moving through an area of high interference, the network may 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