Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

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1 Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) Nguyen Thi Mai Trang LIP6/PHARE UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 1 Outline Principles of cellular networks GSM architecture Security management Location management Radio interface Logical channels Network planning UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 2 1

2 Mobile networks First generation In the late 1970s Analog air interface Ex: AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service) in the US, Radiocom 2000 in France, NMT 900 in the Nordic countries, TACS in England, NETZ C in Germany Second generation In the early 1990s Digital air interface Ex: GSM in Europe and over the world, DCS (Digital Communication System) which is the GSM standard deployed in the 1800 MHz band, IS-136, IS-95, GSM PCS 1900 in the US GPRS function Third generation In the early 2000s Multimedia applications and Internet access Ex: UMTS 3G+ and 4G 3G+: High speed data services 4G: Multi-homed terminal UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 3 Cell Cell is a geographical area covered by an antenna in the center UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 4 2

3 Cell size Depend on the frequencies and the power level used The more the frequency is high, the more the cell is small The more the power level is high, the more the cell is big UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 5 Different cell sizes meters tens of meters hundreds of meters tens of kilometers hundreds of kilometers UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 6 3

4 Cellular networks The network is organized in cells which are partially overlapping to cover the area that the operator want to provide services cells UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 7 Handover The change of cell of a mobile The handover procedure ensures the continuity of the ongoing communication Cell 1 Cell 2 Handover zone UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 8 4

5 Frequency reuse The reuse of the same frequency in disjoint cells allows a coverage in large scale A k-cell reuse pattern is defined as the smallest group of cells containing a set of channels which are used only once K = 3 F3 F2 F2 F1 F3 F3 F2 F2 F1 F3 F3 F2 UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 9 Air interface Terminals communicate with the central antenna via the air interface Use frequency bands specific to each country In Europe: GSM 900 MHz DCS 1800 MHz In the US: DCS 1900 MHz Air interface specification Modulation techniques, encoding scheme and multiple access mechanism, frequency bands, bit rates, power levels UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 10 5

6 Multiple access procedures Air interface is responsible for frequency bands sharing between users Multiple access procedure prevents the collisions FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) used in the first generation TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) used in GSM CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) used in UMTS UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 11 FDMA The frequency band f is divided into n channels allowing n mobiles to transmit simultaneously frequency Channel time UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 12 6

7 TDMA The time is divided into time slots who are affected to different mobiles frequency Totality of bandwidth time UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 13 CDMA The mobiles in a cell share the same radio channel by using a code assigned by the system which determines the frequencies and the power levels used Allow the reuse of the same frequencies in adjacent cells frequency Simultaneous transmissions over the whole band but with different codes between clients time UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 14 7

8 GSM architecture (1) Um BTS BTS Abis BSC A VLR MSC VLR HLR Home Location Register GMSC Gateway MSC MSC Visitor Location Register Mobile service Switching Center AuC Authentication Center RTC BSC BTS Base Station Controller Base Transceiver Station MSC VLR Radio Sub-System Network Sub-System UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 15 GSM architecture (2) Radio Sub-System BTS (Base Transceiver Station) BSC (Base Station Controller) Network Sub-System MSC (Mobile service Switching Center) Two databases HLR (Home Location Register) VLR (Visitor Location Register) AuC (Authentication Center) Mobile terminal SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 16 8

9 Radio sub-system Air interface transmission and radio resource managmemnt Base station (BTS) Responsible for radio transmission Modulation, demodulation, equalization, error recovery TDMA multiplexing, frequency hopping, encryption, radio measurements Base station controller (BSC) Radio resource management Channel allocation Analyze the measurements realized by the BTSs to control the power of the mobiles or the BTSs Handover decision UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 17 Network Sub-System (1) Mobile switching center (MSC) Switching matrix Call establishment between a mobile and another MSC MSC level handover execution Mobility management (VLR look-up for outgoing call, transfer of location information) Gateway for the calls towards fixed users UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 18 9

10 Network Sub-System (2) Two databases for subscriber management Home Location Register (HLR) Database containing information of the subscribers of an operator Subscriber information: subscriber identity (IMSI), telephone number (NSISDN), service profile (supplementary services, international call authorization), the number of VLR where the mobile is registered Visitor Location Register (VLR) Database containing information of the users present in a geographical area managed by the VLR User information: IMSI, MSISDN as in the HLR, and in addition the TMSI Authentication center (AuC) associated with the HLR Contain the secret key of each subscriber for the authentication and the encryption of the communications UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 19 Mobile terminal A smart card (SIM card) containing the subscriber identity Subscriber identity authentication is realized between the SIM card and the authentication center (AuC) SIM card IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) Ex: Terminal IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) User MSISDN (Mobile Station ISDN Number) Ex: UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 20 10

11 Addressing IMSI TMSI MSISDN MSRN Permanent identity of the subscriber which is only used internally the network Temporary identity used to identify the mobile in the exchange over the air interface The telephone number of the subscriber A number assigned for the call establishment with a fixed network UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 21 IMSI Each subscriber has an international identity, the IMSI MCC (Mobile Country Code) Home country code of the subscriber Ex: 208 for France MNC (Mobile Network Code) Home network code of the subscriber Ex: 01 for France Télécom, 10 for SFR MSIN (Mobile Subscriber Identification Number) Subscriber number inside the home network Two first digits (H1 H2) indicate the HLR within the network UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 22 11

12 TMSI Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity Locally assigned to the mobile within the area managed by the current VLR Only known at the MS-MSC/VLR levels, not by the HLR Used to identify the mobile during the call establishment For each change of VLR, a new TMSI must be assigned The structure of TMSI depends on the operator (encoded over 4 bytes) The use of TMSI is optional (depends on the operator) UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 23 MSISDN Mobile Station ISDN Number Follow the international numbering plan E.164 CC (Country Code) Indicate the country of the home network of the subscriber Ex: 33 for France NDC (National Destination Code) Indicate a particular network within the country SN (Subscriber Number) Free to assigned by the operator UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 24 12

13 Identity exchanges UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 25 IMEI International Mobile Equipment Identity <= 15 digits Uniquely reference to a terminal equipment TAC (Type Approval Code) Provided by the constructor when the device type is approved FAC (Final Assembly Code) Identify the factory where the terminal is made SNR (Serial Number) Freely assigned by the constructor Spare (SP) Reserved UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 26 13

14 Subscriber identity confidentiality Limit the transmission of the IMSI over the air interface Use TMSI The mapping TMSI - IMSI is managed at the VLR level TMSI is sent to the mobile in the encrypted mode Radio interface Encryption procedure of save of release UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 27 Authentication and encryption (1) Elements Two keys: authentication key Ki, encryption key Kc Three algorithms: A3, A5, A8 Random number RAND Principles Each subscriber has a key Ki stored in the SIM card together with the IMSI, and in the AuC of the network operator For encryption The encryption key Kc is generated by the A8 algorithm from the Ki key and the random number RAND The A5 algorithm uses the Kc key for data encryption For authentication The A3 algorithm generates a number SRES from the Ki key and the random number RAND The set of three values (RAND, SRES, Kc) forms a triplet UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 28 14

15 A3 RES Authentication and encryption (2) SIM Card Ki A8 Kc Mobile Terminal RAND Challenge (RAND) Response (RES ) Authentication Center AuC HLR Ki A3 RES A8 Kc RAND Ki: Authentification key Kc: Encryption key Kc RES = RES :? Oui Authenticated Kc Non X Encryption/ Decryption A5 Encypted communication A5 Encryption/ Decryption 29 Subscriber identity authentication Allow the verification of the identity sent by the mobile (IMSI or TMSI) For each location update, call establishment, service activation/deactivation radio interface network yes no Subscriber authenticated Subscriber forbidden UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 30 15

16 Data confidentiality Kc key establishment radio interface network Encryption/decryption algorithm is implemented in the BTS Encryption activation is realized on request of the MSC UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 31 Triplet The network using the triplets to authenticate and activate the encryption don t need to know the A3 and A8 algorithms The triplets are calculated by the AuC and sent to the MSC/VLR Each operator can have their own A3 and A8 algorithms Subscriber is always authenticated by the algorithms of their home network Generate de 1 to n Store the vectors UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 32 16

17 Global view of security UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 33 Location management The system has to know at any time the location of each mobile in order to be able to join it The mobile must stay active (i.e. standby mode), even if there is not communication, in order to signal the system about its movement UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 34 17

18 Location Area Identification Location area is a group of cells Each location area is identified by a LAI (Location Area Identification) address MCC: country code (as in IMSI) MNC: network code (as in IMSI) LAC (Location Area Code) (<= 2 bytes): assigned by the operator cell Location area boundary UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 35 Location management (1) A VLR can manage several location areas A location area cannot include cells belonging to different VLRs Only the VLR knows the current location area of the managed mobiles The HLR knows the identity of the current VLR of each subscriber and don t know its location area The location update is initiated by the mobiles upon a change of location area It s possible to have a periodical location update with the period controlled by the network UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 36 18

19 Location management (2) search by UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 37 IMSI Attach/Detach procedure To avoid un-useful search of turned off mobiles, a parameter in the MSC/VLR indicates that whether the mobile is reachable When a mobile is turned on, the IMSI Attach procedure reattach this mobile to its location area If the VLR contains the information of the mobile, no message is sent to the HLR equivalent to an update without change of VLR When the mobile is switching off, or when the VLR is not in contact with a mobile during a certain period, the network can detach itself from the mobile UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 38 19

20 Paging procedure To search a subscriber for an incoming call, the MSC broadcasts a paging message containing the TMSI (or the IMSI in the absence of TMSI) of the callee in the cells belonging to its location area The mobile responds to the paging message, realizes the authentication and encryption The call establishment duration is about 8 seconds UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 39 Air interface Frequency bands Uplink: MHz Downlink: MHz Frequency bands are divided into channels of 200 KHz In a channel, the signals are modulated and transmitted around a carrier frequency at the center of the channel In GSM carriers available for each downlink or uplink frequency band UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 40 20

21 TDMA in GSM Each carrier is divided into time slots T slot = (75/130)10-3 (s) = 0,5769 ms In the same carrier, 8 slots are grouped to form a TDMA frame T TDMA = 8 * T slot = 4,6152 ms Each user uses one time slot per TDMA frame A physical channel is constituted by the periodical repartition of a time slot in TDMA frames UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 41 TDMA frame Slot (~577 µs) TDMA frame (4,6152 ms) A full-rate simplex physical channel without frequency hopping A half-rate simplex physical channel without frequency hopping UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 42 21

22 Duplexing A duplex physical channel corresponds to two simplex physical channels f u (i) = f d (i) - W duplex f d (i): downlink frequency f u (i): uplink frequency W duplex is the duplex interval (45 MHz in GSM) The downlink frequencies in GSM 900 f d = (0,2 * n), 1 n 124 A mobile sends and receives at different moments with the interval of three slots UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 43 Duplex physical channel frequency f d Duplex interval f u Downlink Uplink time UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 44 22

23 Voice transmission (1) UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 45 Voice transmission (2) Analog voice frame Speech coding Unprotected voice Channel coding Protected voice Interleaving TDMA frame TDMA frame Duration of a voice frame Voice frame UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 46 23

24 Speech coding Full-rate 13 Kbps Voice is sampled at 8 khz to form 20 ms frames The codec RPE-LTP (Regular Pulse Excitation Long Term Prediction) transforms the 20 ms voice segments into 260 bits blocks Half-rate 5,6 Kbps UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 47 Full-rate voice coding UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 48 24

25 Channel coding (1) The 260 bits of voice don t have the same importance Class I.a 50 bits very sensible to errors Class I.b 132 bits sensible to errors Class II 78 bits less sensible to errors UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 49 Channel coding (2) bits 50 3 class I.a bits CRC bits Class I.b 4 tail bits 189 bits Convolutional code 78 bits of class II bits 456 bits UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 50 25

26 Interleaving (1) Interleaving is used to make the error positions random especially when the errors in wireless networks are usually bursty The encoded symbols are permuted before their transmission to make the error correction at the receiver easier Interleaving consist in Mixing the bits of a bloc Distributing the symbols over a set of bursts UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 51 Interleaving (2) Reading Writing 1 2 b 0 b 1 b 2 b 3 b 4 b 5 b 6 b 7 b 8 b 9 b 10 b 11 b 12 b 13 b 14 b 15.. b 440 b 441 b 442 b 443 b 444 b 445 b 446 b b 448 b 449 b 450 b 451 b 452 b 453 b 454 b half-blocs A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 52 26

27 Interleaving (3) B0 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 Burst (odd bit : A0 even bits: B4) C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 3 bits 58 bits 26 bits 58 bits 3 bits 8,25 bits UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 53 Burst structure TDMA frame bits 58 bits 26 bits 58 bits 3 bits 8,25 bits Training sequence Coded data UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 54 27

28 Logical channels (1) Over physical channels, logical channels are defined for different purposes User data transmission Control functions The mobile can use the best base station Establish a communication Monitor a communication Realize the handovers UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 55 Logical channels (2) UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 56 28

29 Multiframe A multiframe is a succession of a given slot The time interval between two slots of a multiframe is of 4,615 ms TDMA frame multiframe UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 57 Multiframe, superframe and hyperframe (1) Two structures of multiframe have been defined Multiframe of 26 frames Duration of 120 ms Multiframe of 51 frames Duration of 235,8 ms Superframe To have a commun structure for the two types of multiframe Composed of [26 multiframes at 51] or [51 multiframes at 26] Hyperframe Composed of 2048 superframes Duration of 3h 28min 53s 760ms Each TDMA frame is located in the hyperframe by a counter FN (Frame Number) which is periodically transmitted by the BTS UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 58 29

30 Multiframe, superframe and hyperframe (2) multiframe multiframe superframe hyperframe UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 59 TCH-SACCH multiplexing (1) Duration of 26 TDMA frames UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 60 30

31 TCH-SACCH multiplexing (2) 1 voice bloc is of 20 ms 260 bits to send in 8 demi-bursts (4 bursts) 1 burst of voice every 5 ms is required A multiframe at 26 lasts 120 ms 6 voice blocs (24 bursts) to send The mobile has 26 slots 2 slots are availables 1 slot for the SACCH channel 1 slot of pause (the mobile listens and analyzes the beacons of the neighbor cells) UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 61 SACCH Slow Associated Control Channel Control physical parameters of the link Measure the round trip delay Control the power level of the terminal Control the link quality Analyze the measurements made over the neighbor base stations UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 62 31

32 FACCH Fast Associated Control Channel The low data rate of the SACCH (380 bps) channel is not sufficient to handover execution The TCH channel is temporarily stolen for signaling Even data bits Even data bits Normal burst Data bits (TCH or FACCH) Sequence Data bits (TCH or FACCH) Odd data bits Odd data bits UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 63 Beacon channel (1) Each base station has a beacon channel Allow the mobiles to be in permanent contact with the best base station Play an important role to realize roaming and handover UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 64 32

33 Beacon channel (2) Corresponds to a particular frequency, one of the frequencies allocated to the base station A neighbor mobile periodically measures the signal level over this channel Allow a mobile to determine whether it is in the coverage of a base station, near or far from the base station UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 65 Beacon channel (3) Information Specific form of signal Allow the mobiles to detect the presence of a base station and synchronize in terms of time and frequency System information Network identity and access characteristics Mobile terminal Turned on Seeking the beacon channel of the best BTS Standby Monitor in permanence the beacon channels of the current and neighbor cells to change the cell if necessary Under communication Periodically listen to beacon channels of neighbor cells to realize a handover if necessary UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 66 33

34 RACH AGCH PCH Random Access CHannel When the mobile want to make an control operation with the network (location update, call request, etc.), it must inform the network by sending a request over the RACH channel Access Grant CHannel When the network receive a request, it allocate a dedicated signalling channel by sending an allocation message over the AGCH channel containing the carrier number and the slot number Paging CHannel When the network wants to communicate with a mobile (for a call, an authentication, etc.), it broadcasts the identity of the mobile over a set of cells using the PCH channel UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 67 Network planning Blocking probability N: the number of servers A: the traffic generated by the clients Erlang-B table UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 68 34

35 Example (1) For an area with a population of subscribers having each a traffic of 25 me. 24 frequencies are available and allocated to cells following a reuse pattern with K=12. The acceptable blocking ratio is fixed to 2%. Determine the number of cells to cover the area UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 69 Example (2) Pattern K = 12 The number of frequencies per cell 24/12 = 2 UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 70 35

36 Example (3) The number of TCH per cell (2 * 8) 2 = 14 Each cell can support at most 14 simultaneous communications With the blocking ratio of 2%, the traffic that can go through a cell is 8,2 Erlang UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 71 Example (4) Each cell can serve 8,2 / 0,025 = 328 subscribers The number of cells necessary for the considered area is /328 = 30 cells UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 72 36

37 References Réseaux GSM, Xavier Lagrange, Philippe Godlewski, Sami Tabbane, Hermes Science, 2000 Les réseaux, Guy Pujolle, 2008 UPMC/PUF - M2 Networks - PTEL 73 37

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