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GSM Architecture


The Global System for Mobile communications is a digital cellular communications system. It as develo!ed in order to create a common "uro!ean mobile tele!hone standard but it has been ra!idly acce!ted orld ide. GSM as designed to be com!atible ith IS#$ services.


History of the Cellular Mobile Radio and GSM

The idea of cell%based mobile radio systems a!!eared at &ell 'aboratories (in )SA* in the early 1+,0s. -o ever. mobile cellular systems ere not introduced for commercial use until the 1+/0s. #uring the early 1+/0s. analog cellular tele!hone systems e0!erienced a very ra!id gro th in "uro!e. !articularly in Scandinavia and the )nited 1ingdom. Today cellular systems still re!resent one of the fastest gro ing telecommunications systems. &ut in the beginnings of cellular systems. each country develo!ed its o n system. an undesirable situation for the follo ing reasons2

hich as

The e3ui!ment as limited to o!erate only ithin the boundaries of each country. The mar4et for each mobile e3ui!ment as limited.

In order to overcome these !roblems. the 5onference of "uro!ean 6osts and Telecommunications (5"6T* formed. in 1+/7. the Grou! S!ecial Mobile (GSM* in order to develo! a !an%"uro!ean mobile cellular radio system (the GSM acronym became later the acronym for Global System for Mobile communications*. The standardi8ed system had to meet certain criteria2

S!ectrum efficiency International roaming 'o mobile and base stations costs Good sub9ective voice 3uality 5om!atibility ith other systems such as IS#$ (Integrated Services #igital $et or4* Ability to su!!ort ne services

)nli4e the e0isting cellular systems. hich ere develo!ed using an analog technology. the GSM system as develo!ed using a digital technology. In 1+/+ the res!onsibility for the GSM s!ecifications !assed from the 5"6T to the "uro!ean Telecommunications Standards Institute ("TSI*. The aim of the GSM s!ecifications is to describe the functionality and the interface for each com!onent of the system. and to !rovide guidance on the design of the system. These s!ecifications ill then standardi8e the system in order to guarantee the !ro!er inter% or4ing bet een the different elements of the GSM system. In 1++0. the !hase I of the GSM s!ecifications as !ublished but the commercial use of GSM did not start until mid%1++1. The most im!ortant events in the develo!ment of the GSM system are !resented in the table 1. &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ 1

Version 1 Revision 0 ;ear 1+/7 1+/< 1+/= 1+/, 1+// 1+/+ 1++0 1++1 1++7 1++A 1++<

GSM Architecture

"vents 5"6T establishes a GSM grou! in order to develo! the standards for a !an% "uro!ean cellular mobile system Ado!tion of a list of recommendations to be generated by the grou! >ield tests ere !erformed in order to test the different radio techni3ues !ro!osed for the air interface T#MA is chosen as access method (in fact. it ill be used ith >#MA* Initial Memorandum of )nderstanding (Mo)* signed by telecommunication o!erators (re!resenting 17 countries* Validation of the GSM system The res!onsibility of the GSM s!ecifications is !assed to the "TSI A!!earance of the !hase 1 of the GSM s!ecifications 5ommercial launch of the GSM service "nlargement of the countries that signed the GSM% Mo)? 5overage of larger cities@air!orts 5overage of main roads GSM services start outside "uro!e 6hase 7 of the GSM s!ecifications 5overage of rural areas Table 1: Events in the development of GSM

>rom the evolution of GSM. it is clear that GSM is not anymore only a "uro!ean standard. GSM net or4s are o!erational or !lanned in over /0 countries around the orld. The ra!id and increasing acce!tance of the GSM system is illustrated ith the follo ing figures2

1.A million GSM subscribers orld ide in the beginning of 1++B. Cver < million GSM subscribers orld ide in the beginning of 1++<. Cver 10 million GSM subscribers only in "uro!e by #ecember 1++<.

Since the a!!earance of GSM. other digital mobile systems have been develo!ed. The table 7 charts the different mobile cellular systems develo!ed since the commercial launch of cellular systems. ;ear 1+/1 1+/A 1+/< 1+/= Mobile 5ellular System $ordic Mobile Tele!hony ($MT*. B<0? American Mobile 6hone System (AM6S* Total Access 5ommunication System (TA5S* Radiocom 7000 5%$et8 $ordic Mobile Tele!hony ($MT*. +00? Global System for Mobile communications? $orth American #igital 5ellular 1++1 ($A#5* 1++7 #igital 5ellular System (#5S* 1/00 1++B 6ersonal #igital 5ellular (6#5* or :a!anese #igital 5ellular (:#5* 1++< 6ersonal 5ommunications Systems (65S* 1+00% 5anada? 1++= 65S%)nited States of America? Table 2: Mobile cellular systems &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ 7

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GSM Architecture


Cellular Syste s
The Cellular Stru!ture

In a cellular system. the covering area of an o!erator is divided into cells. A cell corres!onds to the covering area of one transmitter or a small collection of transmitters. The si8e of a cell is determined by the transmitterDs !o er. The conce!t of cellular systems is the use of lo !o er transmitters in order to enable the efficient reuse of the fre3uencies. In fact. if the transmitters used are very !o erful. the fre3uencies can not be reused for hundred of 4ilometers as they are limited to the covering area of the transmitter. The fre3uency band allocated to a cellular mobile radio system is distributed over a grou! of cells and this distribution is re!eated in all the covering area of an o!erator. The hole number of radio channels available can then be used in each grou! of cells that form the covering area of an o!erator. >re3uencies used in a cell ill be reused several cells a ay. The distance bet een the cells using the same fre3uency must be sufficient to avoid interference. The fre3uency reuse ill increase considerably the ca!acity in number of users. In order to or4 !ro!erly. a cellular system must verify the follo ing t o main conditions2

The !o er level of a transmitter ithin a single cell must be limited in order to reduce the interference ith the transmitters of neighboring cells. The interference ill not !roduce any damage to the system if a distance of about 7.< to A times the diameter of a cell is reserved bet een transmitters. The receiver filters must also be very !erformant. $eighboring cells can not share the same channels. In order to reduce the interference. the fre3uencies must be reused only ithin a certain !attern. ithin the

In order to e0change the information needed to maintain the communication lin4s cellular net or4. several radio channels are reserved for the signaling information.



The cells are grou!ed into clusters. The number of cells in a cluster must be determined so that the cluster can be re!eated continuously ithin the covering area of an o!erator. The ty!ical clusters contain B. ,. 17 or 71 cells. The number of cells in each cluster is very im!ortant. The smaller the number of cells !er cluster is. the bigger the number of channels !er cell ill be. The ca!acity of each cell ill be therefore increased. -o ever a balance must be found in order to avoid the interference that could occur bet een neighboring clusters. This interference is !roduced by the small si8e of the clusters (the si8e of the cluster is defined by the number of cells !er cluster*. The total number of channels !er cell de!ends on the number of available channels and the ty!e of cluster used.


Ty"es #f Cells

The density of !o!ulation in a country is so varied that different ty!es of cells are used2 Ma!ro !ells The macro cells are large cells for remote and s!arsely !o!ulated areas &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ A

Version 1 Revision 0 Mi!ro !ells

GSM Architecture

These cells are used for densely !o!ulated areas. &y s!litting the e0isting areas into smaller cells. the number of channels available is increased as ell as the ca!acity of the cells. The !o er level of the transmitters used in these cells is then decreased. reducing the !ossibility of interference bet een neighboring cells. Sele!ti$e !ells It is not al ays useful to define a cell ith a full coverage of A=0 degrees. In some cases. cells ith a !articular sha!e and coverage are needed. These cells are called selective cells. Ty!ical e0am!les of selective cells are the cells that may be located at the entrances of tunnels here coverage of A=0 degrees is not needed. In this case. a selective cell ith coverage of 170 degrees is used. 3.2.3.% U brella !ells A free ay crossing very small cells !roduces an im!ortant number of handovers among the different small neighboring cells. In order to solve this !roblem. the conce!t of umbrella cells is introduced. An umbrella cell covers several micro cells. The !o er level inside an umbrella cell is increased com!aring to the !o er levels used in the micro cells that form the umbrella cell. Ehen the s!eed of the mobile is too high. the mobile is handed off to the umbrella cell. The mobile ill then stay longer in the same cell (in this case the umbrella cell*. This ill reduce the number of handovers and the or4 of the net or4. A too im!ortant number of handover demands and the !ro!agation characteristics of a mobile can hel! to detect its high s!eed.


The Transition &ro

Analo' To (i'ital Te!hnolo'y

In the 1+/0s most mobile cellular systems ere based on analog systems. The GSM system can be considered as the first digital cellular system. The different reasons that e0!lain this transition from analog to digital technology are !resented in this section.


The Ca"a!ity of the Syste

As it is e0!lained in section 1. cellular systems have e0!erienced a very im!ortant gro th. Analog systems ere not able to co!e ith this increasing demand. In order to overcome this !roblem. ne fre3uency bands and ne technologies ere !ro!osed. &ut the !ossibility of using ne fre3uency bands as re9ected by a big number of countries because of the restricted s!ectrum (even if later on. other fre3uency bands have been allocated for the develo!ment of mobile cellular radio*. The ne analog technologies !ro!osed ere able to overcome the !roblem to a certain degree but the costs ere too im!ortant. The digital radio as. therefore. the best o!tion (but not the !erfect one* to handle the ca!acity needs in a cost%efficiency ay.


Co "atibility )ith other Syste s su!h as IS(*

The decision of ado!ting a digital technology for GSM as made in the course of develo!ing the standard. #uring the develo!ment of GSM. the telecommunications industry converted to digital methods. The IS#$ net or4 is an e0am!le of this evolution. In order to ma4e GSM &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ B

Version 1 Revision 0 com!atible ith the services offered by IS#$. it the best o!tion.

GSM Architecture as decide that the digital technology as

Additionally. a digital system allo s. easily than an analog one. the im!lementation of future im!rovements and the change of its o n characteristics.


As"e!ts of +uality

The 3uality of the service can be considerably im!roved using a digital technology rather than an analog one. In fact. analog systems !ass the !hysical disturbances in radio transmission (such as fades. multi%!ath rece!tion. s!urious signals or interferences* to the receiver. These disturbances decrease the 3uality of the communication because they !roduce effects such as fadeouts. cross%tal4s. hisses. etc. Cn the other hand. digital systems avoid these effects transforming the signal into bits. These transformations combined ith other techni3ues. such as digital coding. im!rove the 3uality of the transmission. The im!rovement of digital systems com!aring to analog systems is more noticeable under difficult rece!tion conditions than under good rece!tion conditions.


The GSM *et)or,

Ar!hite!ture of the GSM *et)or,

The GSM technical s!ecifications define the different entities that form the GSM net or4 by defining their functions and interface re3uirements. The GSM net or4 can be divided into four main !arts2 The architecture of the GSM net or4 is !resented in figure 1.

G CM5 &

V'R # 5 -'R >

Cther MS5s V'Rs

&S5 MS5 " Cther MS5s Cther $et or4s

MS )n





&i' - 1
3.%.1.1 Mobile Station

Architecture of the GSM net or4

A Mobile Station consists of t o main elements2 &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ <

Version 1 Revision 0 A.B.1.1.1 The Terminal

GSM Architecture

There are different ty!es of terminals distinguished !rinci!ally by their !o er and a!!lication2 The Ffi0edD terminals are the ones installed in cars. Their ma0imum allo ed out!ut !o er is 70 E. The GSM !ortable terminals can also be installed in vehicles. Their ma0imum allo ed out!ut !o er is /E. The handheld terminals have e0!erienced the biggest success than4s to the eight and volume. hich are continuously decreasing. These terminals can emit u! to 7 E. The evolution of technologies allo s decreasing the ma0imum allo ed !o er to 0./ E.

A.B.1.1.7 The SIM The SIM is a smart card that identifies the terminal. &y inserting the SIM card into the terminal. the user can have access to all the subscribed services. Eithout the SIM card. the terminal is not o!erational. The SIM card is !rotected by a four%digit 6ersonal Identification $umber (6I$*. In order to identify the subscriber to the system. the SIM card contains some !arameters of the user such as its International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI*. Another advantage of the SIM card is the mobility of the users. In fact. the only element that !ersonali8es a terminal is the SIM card. Therefore. the user can have access to its subscribed services in any terminal using its SIM card.


The 'eo'ra"hi!al areas of the GSM net)or,

The figure 7 !resents the different areas that form a GSM net or4.

&i' - 2

GSM net or4 areas

As it has already been e0!lained a cell. identified by its 5ell Global Identity number (5GI*. corres!onds to the radio coverage of a base transceiver station. A 'ocation Area ('A*. identified by its 'ocation Area Identity ('AI* number. is a grou! of cells served by a single MS5@V'R. A grou! of location areas under the control of the same MS5@V'R defines the MS5@V'R area. A 6ublic 'and Mobile $et or4 (6'M$* is the area served by one net or4 o!erator. &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ =

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GSM Architecture


The GSM fun!tions

In this !aragra!h. the descri!tion of the GSM net or4 is focused on the different functions to fulfill by the net or4 and not on its !hysical com!onents. In GSM. five main functions can be defined2 3.%.3.1 Trans ission The transmission function includes t o sub%functions2

The first one is related to the means needed for the transmission of user information. The second one is related to the means needed for the transmission of signaling information.

$ot all the com!onents of the GSM net or4 are strongly related ith the transmission functions. The MS. the &TS and the &S5. among others. are dee!ly concerned ith transmission. &ut other com!onents. such as the registers -'R. V'R or "IR. are only concerned ith the transmission for their signaling needs ith other com!onents of the GSM net or4. Some of the most im!ortant as!ects of the transmission are described in section <. 3.%.3.2 Radio Resour!es ana'e ent .RR/

The role of the RR function is to establish. maintain and release communication lin4s bet een mobile stations and the MS5. The elements that are mainly concerned ith the RR function are the mobile station and the base station. -o ever. as the RR function is also in charge of maintaining a connection even if the user moves from one cell to another. the MS5. in charge of handovers. is also concerned ith the RR functions. The RR is also res!onsible for the management of the fre3uency s!ectrum and the reaction of the net or4 to changing radio environment conditions. Some of the main RR !rocedures that assure its res!onsibilities are2 5hannel assignment. change and release. -andover. >re3uency ho!!ing. 6o er%level control. #iscontinuous transmission and rece!tion. Timing advance.

Some of these !rocedures are described in section <. In this !aragra!h only the handover. hich re!resents one of the most im!ortant res!onsibilities of the RR. is described. A.B.A.7.1 -andover The user movements can !roduce the need to change the channel or cell. es!ecially hen the 3uality of the communication is decreasing. This !rocedure of changing the resources is called handover. >our different ty!es of handovers can be distinguished2 &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ ,

Version 1 Revision 0 -andover of channels in the same cell.

GSM Architecture

-andover of cells controlled by the same &S5. -andover of cells belonging to the same MS5 but controlled by different &S5s. -andover of cells controlled by different MS5s.

-andovers are mainly controlled by the MS5. -o ever in order to avoid unnecessary signaling information. the first t o ty!es of handovers are managed by the concerned &S5 (in this case. the MS5 is only notified of the handover*. The mobile station is the active !artici!ant in this !rocedure. In order to !erform the handover. the mobile station controls continuously its o n signal strength and the signal strength of the neighboring cells. The list of cells that must be monitored by the mobile station is given by the base station. The !o er measurements allo deciding hich the best cell is in order to maintain the 3uality of the communication lin4. T o basic algorithms are used for the handover2

The Fminimum acce!table !erformanceD algorithm. Ehen the 3uality of the transmission decreases (i.e. the signal is deteriorated*. the !o er level of the mobile is increased. This is done until the increase of the !o er level has no effect on the 3uality of the signal. Ehen this ha!!ens. a handover is !erformed. The F!o er budgetD algorithm. This algorithm !erforms a handover. instead of continuously increasing the !o er level. in order to obtain a good communication 3uality.

3.%.3.3 Mobility Mana'e ent The MM function is in charge of all the as!ects related ith the mobility of the user. s!ecially the location management and the authentication and security. A.B.A.A.1 'ocation management Ehen a mobile station is !o ered on. it !erforms a location u!date !rocedure by indicating its IMSI to the net or4. The first location u!date !rocedure is called the IMSI attach !rocedure. The mobile station also !erforms location u!dating. in order to indicate its current location. hen it moves to a ne 'ocation Area or a different 6'M$. This location u!dating message is sent to the ne MS5@V'R. hich gives the location information to the subscriberDs -'R. If the mobile station is authori8ed in the ne MS5@V'R. the subscriberDs -'R cancels the registration of the mobile station ith the old MS5@V'R. A location u!dating is also !erformed !eriodically. If after the u!dating time !eriod. the mobile station has not registered. it is then deregistered. Ehen a mobile station is !o ered off. it !erforms an IMSI detach !rocedure in order to tell the net or4 that it is no longer connected. A.B.A.A.7 Authentication and security &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/

Version 1 Revision 0 GSM Architecture The authentication !rocedure involves the SIM card and the Authentication 5enter. A secret 4ey. stored in the SIM card and the Au5. and a ci!hering algorithm called AA are used in order to verify the authenticity of the user. The mobile station and the Au5 com!ute a SR"S using the secret 4ey. the algorithm AA and a random number generated by the Au5. If the t o com!uted SR"S are the same. the subscriber is authenticated. The different services to hich the subscriber has access are also chec4ed. Another security !rocedure is to chec4 the e3ui!ment identity. If the IM"I number of the mobile is authori8ed in the "IR. the mobile station is allo ed to connect the net or4. In order to assure user confidentiality. the user is registered ith a Tem!orary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI* after its first location u!date !rocedure. "nci!hering is another o!tion to guarantee a very strong security but this !rocedure is going to be described in section <. 3.%.3.% Co uni!ation Mana'e ent .CM/

The 5M function is res!onsible for2 o 5all control. o Su!!lementary Services management. o Short Message Services management. A.B.A.B.1 5all 5ontrol (55* The 55 is res!onsible for call establishing. maintaining and releasing as ell as for selecting the ty!e of service. Cne of the most im!ortant functions of the 55 is the call routing. In order to reach a mobile subscriber. a user dials the Mobile Subscriber IS#$ (MSIS#$* number. hich includes2

a country code a national destination code identifying the subscriberDs o!erator a code corres!onding to the subscriberDs -'R

The call is then !assed to the GMS5 (if the call is originated from a fi0ed net or4* hich 4no s the -'R corres!onding to a certain MIS#$ number. The GMS5 as4s the -'R for information hel!ing to the call routing. The -'R re3uests this information from the subscriberDs current V'R. This V'R allocates tem!orarily a Mobile Station Roaming $umber (MSR$* for the call. The MSR$ number is the information returned by the -'R to the GMS5. Than4s to the MSR$ number. the call is routed to subscriberDs current MS5@V'R. In the subscriberDs current 'A. the mobile is !aged. A.B.A.B.7 Su!!lementary Services management

&R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/

Version 1 Revision 0 GSM Architecture The mobile station and the -'R are the only com!onents of the GSM net or4 involved ith this function. The different Su!!lementary Services (SS* to hich the users have access are !resented in section =.A. A.B.A.B.A Short Message Services management In order to su!!ort these services. a GSM net or4 is in contact ith a Short Message Service 5enter through the t o follo ing interfaces2

The SMS%GMS5 for Mobile Terminating Short Messages (SMS%MT@66*. It has the same role as the GMS5. The SMS%IEMS5 for Mobile Criginating Short Messages (SMS%MC@66*.

3.%.3.0 #"eration1 Ad inistration and Maintenan!e .#AM/ The CAM function allo s the o!erator to monitor and control the system as ell as to modify the configuration of the elements of the system. $ot only the CSS is !art of the CAM. also the &SS and $SS !artici!ate in its functions as it is sho n in the follo ing e0am!les2

The com!onents of the &SS and $SS !rovide the o!erator ith all the information it needs. This information is then !assed to the CSS hich is in charge of analy8ing it and control the net or4. The self test tas4s. usually incor!orated in the com!onents of the &SS and $SS. also contribute to the CAM functions. The &S5. in charge of controlling several &TSs. is another e0am!le of an CAM function !erformed outside the CSS.


The GSM Radio Interfa!e

The radio interface is the interface bet een the mobile stations and the fi0ed infrastructure. It is one of the most im!ortant interfaces of the GSM system. Cne of the main ob9ectives of GSM is roaming. Therefore. in order to obtain a com!lete com!atibility bet een mobile stations and net or4s of different manufacturers and o!erators. the radio interface must be com!letely defined. The s!ectrum efficiency de!ends on the radio interface and the transmission. more !articularly in as!ects such as the ca!acity of the system and the techni3ues used in order to decrease the interference and to im!rove the fre3uency reuse scheme. The s!ecification of the radio interface has then an im!ortant influence on the s!ectrum efficiency.


&re2uen!y Allo!ation
The band /+0%+1< M-8 has been allocated for the u!lin4 direction (transmitting from the mobile station to the base station*. 10

T o fre3uency bands. of 7< M-8 each one. have been allocated for the GSM system2

&R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/

Version 1 Revision 0 GSM Architecture The band +A<%+=0 M-8 has been allocated for the do nlin4 direction (transmitting from the base station to the mobile station*. &ut not all the countries can use the hole GSM fre3uency bands. This is due !rinci!ally to military reasons and to the e0istence of !revious analog systems using !art of the t o 7< M-8 fre3uency bands.



The figure B !resents the different o!erations that have to be !erformed in order to !ass from the s!eech source to radio aves and vice versa. S"ee!h !odin' The transmission of s!eech is. at the moment. the most im!ortant service of a mobile cellular system. The GSM s!eech codec. hich ill transform the analog signal (voice* into a digital re!resentation. has to meet the follo ing criteria2
S!eech 5odin g 5hannel 5oding S!eech #ecodin g 5hannel #ecodin g #e%Inter 'eaving

Inter 'eaving &urst Assembling

&urst dis% Assembling


#eci!herin g

Modulation Transmission

#e% Modulation

&i' - 3

>rom s!eech source to radio aves

If the source of information is data and not s!eech. the s!eech coding ill not be !erformed

A good s!eech 3uality. at least as good as the one obtained systems.

ith !revious cellular

To reduce the redundancy in the sounds of the voice. This reduction is essential due to the limited ca!acity of transmission of a radio channel. 11

&R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/

Version 1 Revision 0 GSM Architecture The s!eech codec must not be very com!le0 because com!le0ity is e3uivalent to high costs. The final choice for the GSM s!eech codec is a codec named R6"%'T6 (Regular 6ulse "0citation 'ong%Term 6rediction*. This codec uses the information from !revious sam!les (this information does not change very 3uic4ly* in order to !redict the current sam!le. The s!eech signal is divided into bloc4s of 70 ms. These bloc4s are then !assed to the s!eech codec. hich has a rate of 1A 4b!s. in order to obtain bloc4s of 7=0 bits. Channel !odin' 5hannel coding adds redundancy bits to the original information in order to detect and correct. if !ossible. errors occurred during the transmission. A.<.7.7.1 5hannel coding for the GSM data T5- channels The channel coding is !erformed using t o codes2 a bloc4 code and a convolution code. The bloc4 code corres!onds to the bloc4 code defined in the GSM Recommendations 0<.0A. The bloc4 code receives an in!ut bloc4 of 7B0 bits and adds four 8ero tail bits at the end of the in!ut bloc4. The out!ut of the bloc4 code is conse3uently a bloc4 of 7BB bits. A convolution code adds redundancy bits in order to !rotect the information. A convolution encoder contains memory. This !ro!erty differentiates a convolution code from a bloc4 code. A convolution code can be defined by three variables2 n. 4 and 1. The value n corres!onds to the number of bits at the out!ut of the encoder. 4 to the number of bits at the in!ut of the bloc4 and 1 to the memory of the encoder. The ratio. R. of the code is defined as follo s2 R G 4@n. 'etDs consider a convolution code ith the follo ing values2 4 is e3ual to 1. n to 7 and 1 to <. This convolution code uses then a rate of R G 1@7 and a delay of 1 G <. hich means that it ill add a redundant bit for each in!ut bit. The convolution code uses < consecutive bits in order to com!ute the redundancy bit. As the convolution code is a 1@7 rate convolution code. a bloc4 of B// bits is generated. These B// bits are !unctured in order to !roduce a bloc4 of B<= bits. Thirty t o bits. obtained as follo s. are not transmitted2 5 (11 H 1< 9* for 9 G 0. 1. A1 The bloc4 of B<= bits !roduced by the convolution code is then !assed to the interleaver. A.<.7.7.7 5hannel coding for the GSM s!eech channels &efore a!!lying the channel coding. the 7=0 bits of a GSM s!eech frame are divided in three different classes according to their function and im!ortance. The most im!ortant class is the class Ia containing <0 bits. $e0t in im!ortance is the class Ib. hich contains 1A7 bits. The least im!ortant is the class II. hich contains the remaining ,/ bits. The different classes are coded differently. >irst of all. the class Ia bits are bloc4%coded. Three !arity bits. used for error detection. are added to the <0 class Ia bits. The resultant <A bits are added to the class Ib bits. >our 8ero bits are added to this bloc4 of 1/< bits (<0HAH1A7*. A convolution code. ith r G 1@7 and 1 G <. is then a!!lied. obtaining an out!ut bloc4 of A,/ bits. The class II bits are added. ithout any !rotection. to the out!ut bloc4 of the convolution coder. An out!ut bloc4 of B<= bits is finally obtained. &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ 17

Version 1 Revision 0 A.<.7.7.A 5hannel coding for the GSM control channels

GSM Architecture

In GSM the signaling information is 9ust contained in 1/B bits. >orty !arity bits. obtained using a fire code. and four 8ero bits are added to the 1/B bits before a!!lying the convolution code (r G 1@7 and 1 G <*. The out!ut of the convolution code is then a bloc4 of B<= bits. hich does not need to be !unctured. Interlea$in' An interleaving rearranges a grou! of bits in a !articular ay. It is used in combination ith >"5 codes in order to im!rove the !erformance of the error correction mechanisms. The interleaving decreases the !ossibility of losing hole bursts during the transmission. by dis!ersing the errors. &eing the errors less concentrated. it is then easier to correct them. A.<.7.A.1 Interleaving for the GSM control channels A burst in GSM transmits t o bloc4s of <, data bits each. Therefore the B<= bits corres!onding to the out!ut of the channel coder fit into four bursts (BI11B G B<=*. The B<= bits are divided into eight bloc4s of <, bits. The first bloc4 of <, bits contains the bit numbers (0. /. 1=.BB/*. the second one the bit numbers (1. +. 1,.B<<*. The first four bloc4s of <, bits are !laced in the even%numbered bits of four bursts. The other four bloc4s of <, bits are !laced in the odd%numbered bits of the same four bursts. Therefore the interleaving de!th of the GSM interleaving for control channels is four and a ne data bloc4 starts every four bursts. The interleaver for control channels is called a bloc4 rectangular interleaver. A.<.7.A.7 Interleaving for the GSM s!eech channels The bloc4 of B<= bits. obtained after the channel coding. is then divided in eight bloc4s of <, bits in the same ay as it is e0!lained in the !revious !aragra!h. &ut these eight bloc4s of <, bits are distributed differently. The first four bloc4s of <, bits are !laced in the even% numbered bits of four consecutive bursts. The other four bloc4s of <, bits are !laced in the odd%numbered bits of the ne0t four bursts. The interleaving de!th of the GSM interleaving for s!eech channels is then eight. A ne data bloc4 also starts every four bursts. The interleaver for s!eech channels is called a bloc4 diagonal interleaver.

A.<.7.A.A Interleaving for the GSM data T5- channels A !articular interleaving scheme. ith an interleaving de!th e3ual to 77. is a!!lied to the bloc4 of B<= bits obtained after the channel coding. The bloc4 is divided into 1= bloc4s of 7B bits each. 7 bloc4s of 1/ bits each. 7 bloc4s of 17 bits each and 7 bloc4s of = bits each. It is s!read over 77 bursts in the follo ing ay2

the first and the t enty%second bursts carry one bloc4 of = bits each the second and the t enty%first bursts carry one bloc4 of 17 bits each the third and the t entieth bursts carry one bloc4 of 1/ bits each

from the fourth to the nineteenth burst. a bloc4 of 7B bits is !laced in each burst &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ 1A

Version 1 Revision 0 GSM Architecture A burst ill then carry information from five or si0 consecutive data bloc4s. The data bloc4s are said to be interleaved diagonally. A ne data bloc4 starts every four bursts. 3.0.2.% 5urst asse blin' The burst assembling !rocedure is in charge of grou!ing the bits into bursts. Section <.7.A !resents the different bursts structures and describes in detail the structure of the normal burst Ci"herin' 5i!hering is used to !rotect signaling and user data. >irst of all. a ci!hering 4ey is com!uted using the algorithm A/ stored on the SIM card. the subscriber 4ey and a random number delivered by the net or4 (this random number is the same as the one used for the authentication !rocedure*. Secondly. a 11B bit se3uence is !roduced using the ci!hering 4ey. an algorithm called A< and the burst numbers. This bit se3uence is then JCRed ith the t o <, bit bloc4s of data included in a normal burst. In order to deci!her correctly. the receiver has to use the same algorithm A< for the deci!hering !rocedure. Modulation The modulation chosen for the GSM system is the Gaussian Modulation Shift 1eying (GMS1*. The aim of this section is not to describe !recisely the GMS1 modulation as it is too long and it im!lies the !resentation of too many mathematical conce!ts. Therefore. only brief as!ects of the GMS1 modulation are !resented in this section. The GMS1 modulation has been chosen as a com!romise bet een s!ectrum efficiency. com!le0ity and lo s!urious radiations (that reduce the !ossibilities of ad9acent channel interference*. The GMS1 modulation has a rate of 7,0 <@= 4bauds and a &T !roduct e3ual to 0.A. >igure < !resents the !rinci!le of a GMS1 modulator.


&i' - % GMS1 modulator (ISC#*TI*U#US TRA*SMISSI#* .(T7/

This is another as!ect of GSM that could have been included as one of the re3uirements of the GSM s!eech codec. The function of the #TJ is to sus!end the radio transmission during the silence !eriods. This can become 3uite interesting if e ta4e into consideration the fact that a !erson s!ea4s less than B0 or <0 !ercent during a conversation. The #TJ hel!s then to reduce interference bet een different cells and to increase the ca!acity of the system. It also &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ 1B

Version 1 Revision 0 GSM Architecture e0tends the life of a mobileDs battery. The #TJ function is !erformed than4s to t o main features2

The Voice Activity #etection (VA#*. hich has to determine hether the sound re!resents s!eech or noise. even if the bac4ground noise is very im!ortant. If the voice signal is considered as noise. the transmitter is turned off !roducing then. an un!leasant effect called cli!!ing. The comfort noise. An inconvenient of the #TJ function is that hen the signal is considered as noise. the transmitter is turned off and therefore. a total silence is heard at the receiver. This can be very annoying to the user at the rece!tion because it seems that the connection is dead. In order to overcome this !roblem. the receiver creates a minimum of bac4ground noise called comfort noise. The comfort noise eliminates the im!ression that the connection is dead.



The timing of the bursts transmissions is very im!ortant. Mobiles are at different distances from the base stations. Their delay de!ends. conse3uently. on their distance. The aim of the timing advance is that the signals coming from the different mobile stations arrive to the base station at the right time. The base station measures the timing delay of the mobile stations. If the bursts corres!onding to a mobile station arrive too late and overla! ith other bursts. the base station tells. this mobile. to advance the transmission of its bursts.


8o)er Control

At the same time the base stations !erform the timing measurements. they also !erform measurements on the !o er level of the different mobile stations. These !o er levels are ad9usted so that the !o er is nearly the same for each burst. A base station also controls its !o er level. The mobile station measures the strength and the 3uality of the signal bet een itself and the base station. If the mobile station does not receive correctly the signal. the base station changes its !o er level.


(is!ontinuous Re!e"tion

It is a method used to conserve the mobile stationDs !o er. The !aging channel is divided into sub channels corres!onding to single mobile stations. "ach mobile station ill then only DlistenD to its sub channel and ill stay in the slee! mode during the other sub channels of the !aging channel.


Multi"ath and E2ualisation

At the GSM fre3uency bands. radio aves reflect from buildings. cars. hills. etc. So not only the DrightD signal (the out!ut signal of the emitter* is received by an antenna. but also many reflected signals. hich corru!t the information. ith different !hases. An e3uali8er is in charge of e0tracting the DrightD signal from the received signal. It estimates the channel im!ulse res!onse of the GSM system and then constructs an inverse filter. The receiver 4no s hich training se3uence it must ait for. The e3uali8er ill then. com!aring the received training se3uence ith the training se3uence it as e0!ecting. com!ute the coefficients of the channel im!ulse res!onse. In order to e0tract the DrightD signal. the received signal is !assed through the inverse filter. &R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/ 1<

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GSM Architecture




The GSM system entities re!resent grou!ings of s!ecific ireless functionality. The follo ing figure sho s the GSM reference Model.

G CM5 ) M M MS M M M M M M &
&SS &TS &S5

V'R # 5 -'R >

Cther MS5s V'Rs

MS5 " Cther MS5s Cther $et or4s




&i' - 0
A 6ublic 'and Mobile $et or4 (6'M$*. as re!resented by the GSM reference model on the o!!osite !age. includes the follo ing system entities2

&R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/


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GSM Architecture


MA88I*G M#(E: T# *ET3#R<

E=a "le of a GSM net or4 is sho n.

&i' - 6


of the GSM system and not to !rovide a

The aim of this !a!er as to give an overvie com!lete and e0haustive guide.

As it is sho n in this cha!ter. GSM is a very com!le0 standard. It can be considered as the first serious attem!t to fulfill the re3uirements for a universal !ersonal communication system. GSM is then used as a basis for the develo!ment of the )niversal Mobile Telecommunication System ()MTS*.

&R&RAITT. :abal!ur. Issued in A!ril%700/