GSM Call Flow

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GSM Call Flow
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Call processing means all steps which set up, maintain, and then end a call. According to the Telecom Glossary put out by the American National Standard for Telecommunications, call processing means: 1. The sequence of operations performed by a switching system from the acceptance of an incoming call through the final disposition of the call. 2. The end-to-end sequence of operations performed by a network from the instant a call attempt is initiated until the instant the call release is completed. . . .
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GSM Call Flow contd..,

The first part to mobile call processing is initialization. It's what happens when you first turn on your phone. You get a connection to a nearby cell site, then the cellular network checks your account. If you have a valid telephone number and your account is good then your call proceeds. Let's take this step by step.
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GSM Call Flow contd..,

You turn on your phone. Assume that you're in your home location. First of all a connection is to be established with near by BTS. It is not possible to make a call unless your mobile has a link to a cell site. So a connection to cellular system is to be established which means that a frequency is needed to transmit on.
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GSM Call Flow contd..,

So the mobile tries to find out broadcast channels. Again, the BCCH is not a dedicated radio frequency. It is rather a channel within the bit stream carried by any of the frequencies in a cell. A base station's Broadcast Control Channel continuously sends out identifying information about its cell site and helps the mobile to get some information about the cell site. For the initial period mobile acts as a receiver checking for a signal from any base station with in the range.
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the mobile receives corresponding bursts on FCCH and SCH and synchronizes with the cell site.    The mobile scans the available frequencies and measures the received level on each channel. Finally the GSM system decides which cell has to handle the mobile station which is usually the cell site delivering the highest signal strength to the mobile. As a next step.GSM Call Flow contd.. 6 ..

Location Management  Involves two basic operations  Paging    Search by system to track the mobile MSC broadcasts message Target replies in the uplink channel Mobile sends update message on the uplink channel when it changes its location 7  Update  .

A powered-on mobile is informed of an incoming call by a paging message. If the paging is done exactly for one cell. then network requires updating each time it changes the cell which increase the burden on the system 8 .   Location management in GSM is handled by Mobility Management layer in the GSM protocol architecture.

 Because of that a compromise solution used in GSM is to group cells into “Location areas”   Updating messages are required when the mobile station moves between location areas. Also mobile stations are paged in the cells of their current location area. 9 .

call setup. short message transfer etc. 10 ..MS States An MS can be in one of the following states:       Detached: MS is powered off Attached: MS power is on An attached MS can be: Idle: MS has no dedicated channel allocated and listens to BCCH and PCH Active: MS has a dedicated connection to the network Changing from idle to active mode can be a result of location updating.

 Location updating  When mobile powered ‘ON’  Performs update indicating it’s IMSI( International Mobile Subscription Id )  The above procedure called “ IMSI Attach Procedure “  When moves to new Location Area or a Different PLMN  Update message sent to new MSC/VLR  If MS authorized in the new MSC/VLR then   subscriber’s HLR updates the current location sends a message to the old MSC/VLR to cancel it’s VLR entry 11 .

12 .   When a mobile station is power off it performs an IMSI detach procedure in order to tell the network that it is no longer available. Registration: This is the process in which an MS informs a network that it is attached.

13 . the IMSI attach procedure is executed. If not. This involves the following steps: 1. the VLR contacts the subscriber’s HLR for a copy of the subscription information. The VLR determines whether there is a record for the subscriber already present. 2. The MS sends an IMSI attach message to the network indicating that it has changed state to idle.IMSI Attach    When an MS is switched on.

IMSI Attach contd. The VLR updates the MS status to idle.   3... Acknowledgement is sent to the MS. 14 . 4.

it sends its IMSI and VLR is signed as busy.Mobile Originated Call (MOC) 1. 4. using AGCH. 2. 3. When the channel is allocated. The MS sends a call set-up request via SDCCH to the MSC/VLR. The BSC allocates a signaling channel. The MS uses RACH to ask for a signaling channel. This includes:     Marking the MS as “active” in the VLR The authentication procedure Start ciphering Equipment identification 15 . Over SDCCH all signaling preceding a call takes place.

6. 16 Sending the called party’s number to the network Checking if the subscriber has the service “Barring of outgoing calls” activated . the connection is established. 7. which establishes a connection to the subscriber.  5. The MSC/VLR forwards the called party number to an exchange in the PSTN. If the called subscriber answers. The MSC/VLR instructs the BSC to allocate an idle TCH. The BTS and MS are told to tune to the TCH.

MOC (Call set-up MS to PSTN) 17 .

Therefore. 18 . the MS must be located using paging before a connection can be established.Mobile Terminated Call (MTC)    The major difference between an MTC and MOC is that in a call to an MS the exact location of the mobile subscriber is unknown. Below is the description of the call set-up procedure for a call from a PSTN subscriber to a mobile subscriber.

Now the call has entered the dialled party’s network 2. A connection is established to the MS’s home GMSC. The MSISDN is analyzed in the PSTN. The PSTN subscriber keys in the MS’s telephone number (MSISDN). The GMSC analyzes the MSISDN and queries the HLR for information about how to route the call to the serving MSC/VLR.MTC contd. 19 ...      1. which identifies that this is a call to a mobile network subscriber.

“Call forwarding to C–number” is activated.    3. The HLR requests an MSRN from the serving MSC/VLR. The HLR also checks if the service.. and determines which MSC/VLR is currently serving the MS.. the call is rerouted by the GMSC to that number. 4.MTC contd. 20 . The HLR translates MSISDN into IMSI. if so.

7. The GMSC analyses the MSRN and routes the call to the MSC/VLR. 6.MTC contd.. A paging message is sent to the corresponding BSC. 21 .    5. The MSC/VLR returns an MSRN via HLR to the GMSC.. The MSC/VLR knows which LA the MS is located in.

22 . 9..     8. 10. SDCCH is used for the call set-up procedures. 11. The BSC provides a SDCCH. using AGCH.. When the MS detects the paging message.MTC contd. The BSC’s distribute the paging message to the BTS in the desired LA. it sends a request on RACH for a SDCCH.

23 .   Over SDCCH all signaling preceding a call takes place. This includes:  Marking the MS as “active” in the VLR  The authentication procedure  Start ciphering  Equipment identification 12...MTC contd. The MSC/VLR instructs the BSC to allocate a TCH.

 The BTS and MS are told to tune to the TCH. the connection is established. 24 ..MTC contd. If the subscriber answers.. The mobile phone rings.

Call to MS from PSTN (MTC) 25 .

Mobile Originated Call (MOC)     1. 2: connection request 3. 4: security check 5-8: check resources (free circuit) 9-10: set up call VLR 3 4 6 PSTN GMSC 5 MSC 7 8 2 9 MS 1 10 BSS 26 .

15: security checks 16.Mobile Terminated Call (MTC) 1: calling a GSM subscriber 2: forwarding call to GMSC 3: signal call setup to HLR 4. 17: set up connection HLR 4 5 7 VLR 3 6 calling station 1 PSTN 8 9 14 15 MSC 2 GMSC 10 BSS 10 13 16 BSS 10 BSS 11 11 11 12 17 MS 11 27 . 9: get current status of MS 10. 11: paging of MS 12. 5: request MSRN from VLR 6: forward responsible MSC to GMSC 7: forward call to current MSC 8. 13: MS answers 14.

MTC/MOC MS MTC paging request channel request immediate assignment paging response authentication request BTS MS MOC channel request immediate assignment service request authentication request BTS authentication response ciphering command ciphering complete setup call confirmed assignment command assignment complete authentication response ciphering command ciphering complete setup call confirmed assignment command assignment complete alerting connect connect acknowledge data/speech exchange alerting connect connect acknowledge data/speech exchange 28 .

Sequence of Operations for an Incoming Call PSTN/ISDN 1 8 6 7 9 GMSC 5 2 3 MSC BS 10 MS HLR 4 VLR GMSC/HLR on MS's home network MSC/VLR where MS is currently located Figure 6 Sequence of Operations for an Incoming CAll 29 .

Call flow when MS is in roaming 30 .

8 time slots provides 8 calls simultaneously. BGW converts the data into standartized format and route them to the BSCS. At the end of each call MSC produces a CDR and they are stored in a file and this file is sent to Billing Gateway (BGW). 31 . BSCs produces a bill in billcycle.Billing Procedures     GSM uses Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technology to divide all channels to eight time slots for carrying data. But one slot is dedicated to controlling.

These informations are. 32 . its zone location The duration of the call If there is a special campaign applied to target number By considering all these things. If the target number is a constant or a mobile phone If it is a mobile phone.Billing Procedures (Cont’d)      BSCs produces the bill related to the information stored in CDR. BSCs prepares a bill.

the network is not updated. If an MS changes cells within a LA. The MS location information stored in the VLR is the LA.Roaming in the Network Changing Cells within an LA:    MS’s are constantly moving around in the cellular network. 33 .

it means that the MS has not changed LA's and does not need to inform the network. 34 .    The MS knows that the new cell belongs to the same LA by listening to the BCCH in the new cell. The BCCH broadcasts the cell’s LAI. The MS compares the last LAI received with the new LAI. If they are the same.

Location Updating (Same MSC/VLR)   If an MS detects a change in LAI on the BCCH. which is already registered. the MSC/VLR determines whether it is an MS. or if it is an MS visiting from another MSC/VLR. When the MS sends the Location Updating message. it informs the network. 35 .

Location Updating (same MSC/VLR) MS BTS Location Update Request BSC MSC/VLR Authentication Ciphering Location Update Accept 36 .

4.. 2. a location update is necessary. The MS listens to BCCH in the new cell to determine the LAI.. 37 . the MS sends a Location Updating Request to the system. The received LAI information is compared to the old one.Location Updating contd.     1. If authentication is successful. The system acknowledges Location Updating and requests BTS and MS to release the signaling channel. If they differ. 3. The MS establishes a connection with the network via SDCCH. Authentication is performed.

location updating is performed.Location Updating (New MSC/VLR)    When an MS roams into a new LA. If so the Location Update Request is received by the new VLR and it executes the procedure below. Also the LA may belong to a new MSC/VLR. 38 .

4.. The VLR sends acknowledgement to the MS. it sends a request to the subscriber’s HLR for a copy of the MS-subscription. the VLR checks its database to determine whether or not it has a record for this MS-subscription. The HLR instructs the old VLR to delete the information it has about the MS subscription. 3.. Authentication is performed when it is successful. When the VLR finds no record for the MS. The HLR passes the information to the VLR and updates its location information for the subscriber. 39 .Location Updating (New MSC/VLR) contd.     1. The VLR stores its subscription information for the MS including the latest location and status (idle). 2.

Location Update MS Location Update Request Update Location Area Update Location Cancel Location Cancel Location Insert Sunscriber Data Insert Sunscriber Data Ack Update Location Ack Update Location Area Ack Location Update Accept Ack New MSC New VLR HLR Old VLR Figure 5 Location Update Operation 40 .

the network will mark the MS as detached.Location Updating. If an MS should miss such a registration. type Periodic Registration    Periodic registration is a feature which forces MS’s to send a registration message to the network at predefined intervals. 41 . This may occur if an MS is out of the area of coverage and ensures that needless paging is not performed.

42 .    If the network uses periodic registration.. type Periodic Registration contd.Location Updating. Periodic registration has an acknowledgment message. the MS will be informed. The MS tries to register until it receives this message.. on the BCCH of how often periodic registration must be performed.

At power off.Detaching from the Network     IMSI Detach: IMSI detach enables the MS to indicate to the network that it is switched off. 43 . the HLR marks the corresponding IMSI as detached. the MS sends an IMSI detach message to the network. No acknowledgement is sent to the MS. On reception.

Because no acknowledgment is sent to the MS. In this case. no further attempt is made. marking the MS as detached.Implicit Detach      If the MS sends an IMSI detach message to the system and the radio link quality is poor. If periodic registration is in use. the system still regards the MS as attached. the system might not be able to decode the information. The VLR then performs an implicit detach. 44 . the system will soon determine that the MS is detached.

45 .MS Purging  MS purging is used to inform the HLR that the VLR is about to remove a subscriber record from the VLR.

The measurements are carried out on the downlink while MS is in active mode. The serving BTS measures signal strength and quality on the uplink. The measurement results are sent to the BTS on SACCH at regular intervals. 46 .Locating     An MS continuously measures signal strength and quality on it’s own cell and signal strength on the BCCH carriers of the neighboring cells.

a handover is attempted.     The measurements from the BTS and MS are sent to the BSC in the form of measurement reports. As soon as a neighboring cell is considered to be better than the serving cell.. 47 . the BSC decides if a handover is necessary and to which cell.. This is called locating.Locating contd. Based on these reports.

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. including: Intra-BTS handover Handover between cells controlled by the same BSC (Inter BTS/Intra BSC) Handover between cells controlled by different BSC’s.. but the same MSC/VLR (Intra MSC) Handover between cells controlled by different MSC/VLRs (Inter MSC) 49 .      There are several types of handover.Types of Handoff contd.

and the MS is ordered to retune to it. but receives no indication from the measurements that another cell would be better.Intra-Cell Handover    A special type of handover is the intra-cell handover. In that case the BSC identifies another channel in the same cell which may offer a better quality. It is performed when the BSC considers the quality of the connection too low. 50 .

Handover between Cells controlled by Same BSC   When performing a handover between two cells controlled by the same BSC. the MSC/VLR will be informed when a handover has taken place. the MSC/VLR is not involved. 51 . However.

activation ack 2.HO complete 5.HO command 3. activation 1.Intra BSC Handover MS BTSold BSC 1.HO command 2.measurement report result BTSnew HO decision 1.Release TCH 52 . HO Access 4. ch.HO complete 6.measurement 1.Link establishment 5.ch.

Intra BSC Handoff contd. The MS tunes to the new frequency.. via the old BTS. and transmits handover access information to new BTS.. The BSC orders the new BTS to activate a TCH. 2.    1. 53 . This information is sent to the MS using FACCH. The BSC sends a message to the MS. containing information about the frequency and time slot to change to and also the output power to use. 3.

This is also sent via FACCH. The BSC tells the old BTS to release the old TCH. it sends information about TA. When the new BTS detects the handover bursts. 5..Intra BSC Handoff contd. 54 .    4. The MS sends a Handover Complete message to the BSC via the new BTS.. 6.

Intra MSC Handover  When another BSC is involved in a handover. the MSC/VLR must also be involved to establish the connection between the two BSC’s. 55 .

Intra MSC Handover MS BTSold BSCold 1. HO command 4.HO request ack 4. activation ack 4. HO access 6. HO complete . HO required 2. HO complete 7. measurement report result MSC BSCnew BTSnew HO decision 1. HO command 4. Release TCH 8. activation 3. HO command 5. ch. HO request resource allocation 3. Link establishment 9. Release TCH Release complete Release complete 56 7. ch. measurement 1.

2.. The MSC knows which BSC controls this cell and sends a Handover Request to this BSC. 4.Intra MSC Handover contd. 57 . 3.     1. The serving (old) BSC sends a Handover Required message to the MSC containing the identity of the target cell. The new BSC sends a message to the MS via the MSC and the old BTS. The new BSC orders the target BTS to activate a TCH..

58 . MS tunes to the new frequency and transmits handover access bursts in the correct time slot. MSC sends the old BSC an order to release the old TCH. 7. The old BSC tells the old BTS to release the TCH. 8. MS sends a Handover Complete message to MSC via the new BSC..      5.Intra MSC Handover contd.. 9. The new BTS sends information about TA. 6.

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