GSM and Similar Architectures Lesson 03 GSM System Architecture

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1 GSM and Similar Architectures Lesson 03 GSM System Architecture 1

2 Mobile communication using base station in cellular networks A mobile station, MS, communicates with a GSM public land mobile network (PLMN) In turn, may connect to a PSTN network The PSTN connects to a source destination network which acts as an interface for the destination terminal, TE 2

3 GSM network architecture Radio subsystem (RSS) Network subsystem (NSS) Operation subsystem (OSS) 3

4 Mobile Station (MS) A mobile device or phone Connects to the GSM network Radio transmission system used in mobile phones) 4

5 RSS 5

6 Mobile Station (MS) Hardware and software to transmit and receive GSM data, and a user terminal (TE) through which the user receives and sends the data Transmits through the interface Um (Fig. 3.6) at a power of 1 2 W 6

7 RSS Consists of a number of base station controllers (BSC) Each BSC connects to a number of base transceiver stations (BTS) which, in turn, provide radio interfaces for mobile devices 7

8 NSS 8

9 NSS Consists of a number of mobile services switching centres (MSC) Each MSC of the NSS interfaces to a number of BSCs in the RSS Home location registers (HLR) Visitor location registers (VLR) 9

10 OSS OMC 10

11 Interfacing between the three subsystems in a GSM network 11

12 Mobile Communication from the MS When a mobile station MS x communicates to another mobile station MS y, a switching center MSC i establishes (switches) a connection (channel) between (i) MS x interfaced to the BTS p, then to the BSC q, then to MSC r and (ii) MS y interfaced to the BTS u, BSC V, and MSC w 12

13 GSM System communication RSS and NSS for communication MSCs must have location registries to enable the NSS to discover a path (route or channel) between MSx and MSy The OSS facilitates the operations of MSCs 13

14 Base station system in a cellular GSM network 14

15 Connection interfaces in the RSS subsystem between BTS and the MSs 15

16 Connection interfaces in the RSS subsystem between BSC and the BTSs 16

17 Interfaces in the RSS subsystem between MSC (in the NSS) and the BSCs 17

18 MS s subscriber identity module (SIM) An inserted card Provided by the GSM service provider 18

19 SIM Uniquely identifies the user to the service Enables the MS to connect to the GSM network When the MS connects to the GSM subsystems, the SIM saves a temporary mobile (dynamic) cipher key for encryption, temporary mobile subscriber identity (TMSI), and location area identification (LAI) 19

20 SIM Information which does not change when the MS moves into another location (i) international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) (ii) card serial number and type 20

21 SIM Contains a PIN (personal identification number) Using the PIN, the MS is unlocked when it seeks connection to another MS The user can use the PIN to lock or unlock the MS 21

22 SIM Functions Stores the PUK (PIN unblocking key) which enables the subscriber to unlock the SIM if it is accidentally locked due to some reason Stores a 128-bit authentication key provided by the service provider 22

23 SIM Functions The MS authenticates by a switching centre through an algorithm using this key and a 128-bit random number dynamically sent by authentication centre If the MS is not authenticated, the service to that number is blocked 23

24 SIM Also stores the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) IMSI a unique 15 digit number allocated to each mobile user IMSI three parts a three digit mobile country code (MCC), a mobile network code (MNC) consisting of two digits, and the mobile subscriber identity number (MSIN) with up to 10 digits 24

25 IMSI Same IMSI all over the globe Identical coding scheme Helps service providers in identifying and locating an MS 25

26 IMSI Helps the MS in obtaining the cipher key, TMSI, and LAI from the mobile service provider during connection setup TMSI used to identify an MS during a connection for protecting the user ID from hackers or eavesdroppers 26

27 Mobile station to BTS interface in a GSM cell 27

28 Base transceiver station (BTS) Connects to a number of mobile stations (MSs) Each MS establishes connection through the user interface Um [(1,8)] Um is the ISDN U interface for mobile The BTS to MS connection through Um A BTS is also connected to a BSC at through the A bis interface 28

29 Main functions performed by the BTS Formation of cells using appropriately directed antennae Processing of signals Amplification of signals to acceptable strength so that they can be transmitted without loss of data 29

30 Main functions performed by the BTS Channel coding and decoding (for example, coding voice into bits so that it can be transmitted at 13 kbps and decoding received coded signals back to voice) 30

31 Main functions performed by the BTS Frequency hopping so that multiple channels for various mobile stations can operate simultaneously using different channel band frequencies Encryption and decryption of data Paging 31

32 Main functions performed by the BTS Adapting to the rate of data synchronous data transmission The receiver clock of the transceiver at one end of an interface adapts itself according to transmitter clock of the transceiver at the other end) 32

33 BTS to BSC interface in a GSM network 33

34 A bis transceiver Transmits and receives data with four multiplexed channels of 16 kbps or with a 64 kbps channel Usually a BTS is used to manage one cell in the GSM cellular network, but using a sectorized antenna, a single BTS can be used to manage many cells 34

35 Base station controller (BSC) Manages a number of BTSs Uses the A bis interface to connect to BTSs BSCs reserve radio frequencies for communication and manage handovers between BTSs 35

36 Base station controller (BSC) A BSC along with the BTSs connected to it and the mobile stations managed through it forms a base station system (BSS) Also connected to an MSC in the networking and switching layer using an interface A 36

37 Important functions performed by the BSC Processing of signals Controlling signals to the connected BTSs and control of handover of signals from one BTS to another within a BSS Control and handover of the signals from BSC to MSC 37

38 Important functions performed by the BSC Mapping the signals of a channel at given instant receives signals from a BTS at 16 kbps through A bis and interfaces them to an MSC at 16 kbps Alternatively, may have to interface to a PSTN switching centre at 64 kbps through a fixed line network mapped by assigning a 16 kbps channel for 64 kbps signals and vice versa 38

39 Important functions performed by the BSC Reserving radio frequencies Frequency hopping (For example, multiple BTSs operate simultaneously by using the different frequencies at a given instant 39

40 Important functions performed by the BSC Traffic control by continuous measurement of the frequency channel spectrum being used at a given instant Authentication, encryption, and decryption of data Updating location registry for the MSs Paging 40

41 Network subsystem (NSS) Acts as an interface between wireless and fixed networks Mainly consists of switches and databases and manages functions such as handovers between BSS s, worldwide user localization, maintenance of user accounts and call charges, and management of roaming The interface between the NSS components and the AuC and the OMC in the OSS 41

42 NSS Consists of l mobile services switching centres (MSC), m and n home and visitor location registers, gateway MSCs (GMSC), and inter-working functions (IWFs) with the mobile switching centres GMSCs and IWFs connect to the other networks (for example, PSTN, ISDN, or PSPDN) 42

43 Basic connections and components in the NSS Each MSC in the NSS can manage several base station systems Every MSC has a home location register (HLR) and a visitor location register (VLR) An MSC can connect to another MSC, GMSC, and IWF 43

44 Basic connections and components in the NSS An HLR connects to an AUC in the OSS. A GMSC can connect to an OMC in the OSS. GMSCs also used to connect to a PSTN, ISDN, or PSPDN network 44

45 Mobile services switching centre (MSC) Consists mainly of high-performance digital ISDN switches Connects to a number of BSCs over the A interface Connect to other MSCs and to fixed-line networks through GMSCs Used to manage BSCs in a geographical area 45

46 Functions performed by an MSC Processing of signals Establishing and terminating the connection between various mobile stations via BSCs The mobile stations to be connected may fall in a given MSCs own area or in the area assigned to another MSC, in which case the communication path has to be via the other MSC 46

47 Functions performed by an MSC Establishing and terminating the connection between an MS and a fixed line phone via a GMSC or IWF Monitoring of calls made to and from an MS Call charging, multi-way calling, call forwarding, and other supplementary services 47

48 Gateway Mobile Services Switching Centre A special node which handles connections to other fixed networks These other networks may be ISDN, PSTN, PSPDN, or other PLMN networks Special IWFs may be used by a GMSC to connect to public data networks such as the X.25 48

49 Visitor Location Register at Each MSC A dynamic real-time database that stores both permanent and temporary subscriber data which is required for communication between the MSs in the coverage area of the MSC associated with that VLR. The VLR is an integral part of the MSC 49

50 Home Location Register Has the MT databases Stores all the relevant subscriber data including mobile subscriber ISDN number (MSISDN), details of subscription permissions such as call forwarding, roaming, etc., subscriber s ISMI, user s location area, user s current VLR and MSC status 50

51 HLR. Each mobile user has only one HLR record worldwide, which is updated constantly on a real-time basis Each MS must register at a specific HLR of a specific MSC The HLR contacts AuC in the OSS for authentication 51

52 HLR Each HLR is associated to an MSC so that when an MS registered at a certain HLR moves to another location area (LA), serviced by another MSC, the user s home MSC update the user s current VLR 52

53 Interfaces in the NSS between MSC, BSCs, VLR, and OMC 53

54 Operation subsystem (OSS) Administers the operation and maintenance of the entire network Each AuC associates with an HLR in the NSS and each EIR connects to an MSC An OMC at OSS can connect to an MSC or a GMSC in the NSS and to a BSC at RSS 54

55 Interfaces between AuC, HLR, EIR and MSC, OMC, BSC, and GMSC 55

56 Operation and Maintenance Centre Monitors and controls all other network entities through the O interface 56

57 OMC functions Management of status reports Traffic monitoring Subscriber security management Accounting and billing 57

58 Authentication Centre AuC calculation of authentication parameters and then conveying these to the HLR Used by the HLR to authenticate a user The AuC may also be a secured partitioned part of the HLR itself 58

59 Authentication Centre Since mobile networks quite vulnerable to attacks, the GSM standard specifies that the algorithms for key generation should be separated out as an OSS network entity. This entity is the AuC 59

60 AuC database Stores subscriber authentication keys 60

61 The equipment identity register (EIR) Stores the international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) numbers for the entire network IMEI enables the MSC in identifying the type of terminal, mobile equipment manufacturer, and model and helps the network in locating the device in case it is stolen or misplaced 61

62 EIR three lists A black list that includes mobile stations which have been reported stolen or are currently locked due to some reason. A white list which records all MSs that are valid and operating. A grey list including all those MSs that may not be functioning properly. 62

63 Summary Data dissemination from server to mobile systems Data synchronization between one to one or one to many or many to many Mobility Management 63

64 End of Lesson 03 GSM System Architecture 64

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