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Within the BSS, the user- and signalling data is transported over a series of interfaces The A interface connects the Mobile Services Switching Center (MSC) with the Transcoder TC The A-ter interface connects the Transcoder with the Base Station Controller (BSC) The A-bis interface connects the BSC with the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) Finally, the data is transmitted to the mobile station via the air interface Um
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Let's consider the PCM30 configuration as an example for the frame structure of data transmission between the MSC and the mobile station, to understand the dataflow at the A interface, the A-ter, A-bis and Um interfaces We see that the 4 A-links are mapped onto one A-ter link 4 A-channels of 64 kbps each are mapped onto an A-ter channel consisting of 4 subchannels of 16 kbps each In total, the 128 channels of 4 A-links are reduced to the 32 channels of one A-ter link, which are numbered consecutively from 0 to 31 The SS7 signalling, which in our example is to be found in timeslot No 16, is transmitted from A to A-ter transparently, i.e. unchanged
as well as signalling and voice data Finally. . known as O&M alarms. and can be assigned to one TRX. which we will discuss in more detail later in the course. the remaining 31 channels transmit warning information for operation and maintenance of the BTS. the radio transceivers of the BTS Two A-bis channels of 4 subchannels each correspond exactly to the eight timeslots of a TDMA frame. which carries the data to the mobile station. the information from A-bis is transmitted to the air interface Um via the TRXs.• • • • • The frame structure consisting of 32 channels is also found at the A-bis interface Channel 0 is used for synchronization. A TDMA frame. portions the stream of physical channels or timeslots on a particular carrier frequency into periods Its timeslots are numbered consecutively from 0 to 7.
or SS7. As an open interface it is not tied to a specific producer The A-interface is an ISDN-S2M interface that has been adjusted to GSM with a data rate of 64 kbps per timeslot In the PCM30 configuration. uses 24 traffic channels In both configurations.• • • • • • • The A-interface transmits user and signalling data between the MSC and the transcoder It's the second completely standardized interface in GSM after the air interface. The PCM24 configuration. the A interface contains 30 traffic channels Timeslot number 0 takes over synchronization tasks. each frame has clearly defined channels for signalling and synchronisation information. . Thus the air interface has an overall bit rate of 2048 kbps. and timeslot number 16 contains signalling information in the No 7 signalling system format. which is generally used in the USA.
which is the bit rate typically used in fixed networks Signalling channels are not transcoded At the A-ter interface. 120 speech channels of 16 kbps each form a 2 Mbit/s multiplex connection Four times as many A links as A-ter links are necessary to transmit the same amount of voice data .• • • • • 4 traffic channels of the A interface are bundled into four A-ter channels of 16 kbps each. signals coming from the BSC are transcoded from 16 to 64 kbps. which are subsequently transmittted to the BSC in a 64 kbps physical A-ter timeslot Conversely.
which lasted until 1995. that is the volume. and the tone. that is to say the calculability of speech. are extracted in 20 ms segments from the 64 kbps signal so that descriptive parameters in 16 kbps signals are generated • The prediction algorithms. make the data less sensitive to the interference a signal meets on its way from and to the mobile station at the air interface . a speech codec in the MS and in the transcoder was specified as the Full-Rate Codec • The basic characteristics of speech. and generates the speech description parameters in the TC • During the first phase of GSM.• Now let's turn to a procedure which takes the original speech. the base frequency.
This has two fundamental disadvantages: – – Since the mobile station must send for the whole duration of the call. and also the pauses between and within the sentences. .• • In GSM. all voice signals are transmitted the same way and in a continuous data stream The channel is occupied even during silence intervals.e. Discontinuous Transmission (DTX) is a remedy to this problem. transmitting power is used even in silence intervals. i. when the subscriber is only listening. This wastes the mobile station's battery power Other subscribers using the same frequency in distant cells could be disturbed more than necessary • • Therefore it is logical to switch off the sender whenever the subscriber is not actively transmitting information. we will find that the average occupation of the radio link is less than 40%. Considering the pauses in the dialogue.
by the mobile station transmitting relevant information to the TC . re-generated by the TC The comfort noise is even updated during a speech pause.• • • • In DTX. must simulate a functioning channel for the user In GSM this is called "comfort noise". a function known as voice activity detection switches off the sender of a mobile station whenever there is no data to be transmitted During speech pauses. which in the uplink is the corresponding transcoder element in the TC. a "stopgap" in the receiver. It is the background noise analysed before the MS is switched off.
known as O&M alarms . and are easily configured by the network operator. but they are more sensitive to interference 4 types of information can be transmitted over the A-bis interface: – – – – user information synchronisation data signalling information and data for the operation and maintenance of the BTS.• • • • • The A-bis interface connects the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) with the Base Station Controller (BSC) In the PCM30 configuration. the data at this interface is transmitted via cable or via microwave transmission at a bit rate of 2 Mbit/s A cable connection is more resistent to interference. but a network operator must lease it from a fixed network operator The microwave links can be operated independently.
the channels of the A-bis interface are directly connected to the timeslots of the radio transmission at the air interface The physical data rate is 64 kbps. according to the current traffic situation . from the BSC to the transceivers of the BTS Today's BSC .• • • • • • In the basic configuration. timeslot 0 of the A-bis interface is used for synchronization The remaining 31 timeslots of the PCM30 configuration carry data from and to the transceivers of the BTS.e. 4 traffic channels of 16 kbps each are sub-multiplexed and transmitted from the BTS to the BSC in a physical A-bis time slot The same happens in the downlink.BTS connection can also be configured as a dynamic link with variable signaling and traffic time slots. i. only in the opposite direction. In PCM30. as well as signalling information and O&M alarms In the uplink.
the signalling information is carried in specific A-bis timeslots of 64 kbps each. producer-. the entire TDMA frame of the TRX would theoretically be available for the transmission of payload data But then there wouldn't be enough space left for the necessary signalling traffic from and to the mobile stations According to a fixed. to at least 1 TRX per cell. by mapping 8 PCM30 sub-timeslots onto one TDMA frame consisting of timeslots 0 to 7.• • • • • Two PCM30 channels can be assigned to one TRX These channels consist of 4 sub-timeslots each. or in 16 kbps sub-timeslots. and configuration-specific pattern. Each PCM30-subtimeslot corresponds to a timeslot in the TRX Thus. where it uses timeslot 0 to be transmitted over the air interface .
and O&M information from and to up to 15 transceivers In the PCM24 configuration. not transmitted over the air interface.• • • • • Special timeslots carry the O&M alarm traffic between the OMC and the BTS over the BSC The information is. each A-bis connection in the PCM30 configuration may transport user information. each 16 kbps of a traffic channel consist of 13 kbps of payload and 3 of inband signalling between the BTS and the transcoder Only the 13 kbps of payload data may be transmitted over the air interface Depending on the producer. As we could see at the A-ter interface. and on the configuration. signalling information. 24 channels achieve an overall bit rate of 1536 kbps at the A-bis interface. of course. Up to 10 transceivers can be assigned to a connection .
• Let's summarize what we have learned about the three terrestrial interfaces A. or forwards the alarms from the BTS or TC to it . depending on the producer O&M alarms from the transcoder are transmitted to the BSC over the A-ter interface at 16 kbps. or as inband signals through a normal traffic channel O&M alarms from the BTS are transmitted to the BSC. for example in timeslot 16 The TRX-related signalling between the BSC and the BTS is transmitted over the A-bis interface at 16. at a bit rate of 64 kbps. at a data rate of 64 kbps. 32 or 64 kbps. A-ter and Abis: – – – – – – – Each of these three interfaces transmits information for the synchronization of the individual network elements point-to-point. and using timeslot 0 The transcoder merely forwards the SS7 signalling between the MSC and the BSC This is done transparently. or if it detects an error within itself. it informs the OMC directly. both over the A and over the A-ter interface. which is also the O&M master for the entire BSS. over the A-bis interface at 16 or at 64 kbps If the BSC is unable to correct the errors that caused the alarms.
at 16 kbps over the A-ter interface .and also at 16 kbps per subchannel over the A-bis interface SMS messages are transmitted via signalling channels The number of physical timeslots that's available for the transmission of signalling information over the air interface depends on the configuration. .after being turned into transcoded speech or rate adapted data .• • • Let's consider the transmission of speech and user data. which is transmitted at a data rate of 64 kbps over the A interface. and is up to the manufacturer or to the operator.
• Within mobile radio networks. security. and the information transmitted over the air interface must be adjusted to the PCM lines so it can pass through the rest of the network • The air interface. and reliability . data is transmitted over PCM lines at a bit rate of 2 Mbit/s • Air transmission is used between the mobile station and the BTS. or Um. In GSM. a lot is done to ensure high quality. is the weakest part of a radio link.
the duplex frequency is 45 MHz. is assigned to a frequency range of 935 to 960 MHz in the downlink In GSM 1800. the duplex frequency is 95 MHz. the downlink frequency range between 1805 and 1880 MHz In GSM 1900. Accordingly. The difference between the frequency pair is fixed and is called "duplex frequency“ In GSM 900. The uplink frequency lies between 1850 and 1910 MHz. the uplink frequency range 890 to 915 MHz.• • • • • • • At the air interface. and the downlink signal goes in the opposite direction .from the base station to the mobile The arrangement in pairs is what actually enables simultaneous communication. the duplex frequency is 80 MHz. and the downlink frequency between 1930 and 1990 MHz . the frequencies are arranged in pairs Each uplink frequency has a downlink frequency permanently assigned to it The uplink signal goes from the mobile station to the base station. The uplink frequency range lies between 1710 and 1785 MHz.
the transmission over the air interface is digital.• • • • • The BTS elements which send and receive radio signals in the downlink and uplink channels.124 in GSM 900. or transceivers (TRX) for short In GSM networks. and 299 in GSM 1900 . Digital transmission in GSM is based on a combination of the FDMA. 374 in GSM 1800. but occupy different frequencies The FDMA method uses different carrier frequencies . are known as transmitter & receivers. which already have been introduced In Frequency Division Multiple Access .different frequency channels are assigned to each BTS Mobile phones in neighbouring cells .or within the same cell .can be used simultaneously.and the TDMA methods.or FDMA .
each subscriber is assigned its own time unit.• Time Division Multiple Access. each mobile station sends and receives information only on the timeslot it has been assigned • These timeslots are either used to transmit voice data. or TDMA. on the other hand. which is known as a timeslot • In analog mobile systems. is a method where several subscribers share one frequency . or information on signalling and synchronization . a frequency is occupied by one subscriber for the duration of the call • In TDMA systems.
the transmission of digital information to the air interface . the analog radio signals must be interpreted as bit signals This process . and changes them in a certain way. or their phase GSM uses a specific phase modulation known as the Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying. depending whether the digital value to be transmitted is 1 or 0 Signals can be modulated on the basis of their amplitude. or GMSK .is called modulation Modulation takes advantage of the physical characteristics of analog signals. their frequency.• • • • • To send digital information over the air interface.
splits a radio frequency into consecutive periods known as TDMA frames A TDMA frame. which are referred to as time slots These time slots represent the physical basis for data transmission Therefore they are also called physical channels The radio signal between the mobile station and the BTS consists of a continuous stream of time slots. organized in TDMA frames. Each connection is always assigned one timeslot Thus. in turn.• • • • • • • • Time Division Multiple Access. the physical channels provide the resources used to transmit specific types of information The types of information and the functions define the logical channels The logical channels differ according to the function they fulfil in data transmission . or TDMA. consists of 8 short time units.
62 ms each. which is 6. time slots 0 to 7 in a basic TRX configuration. or 51 of the "short" 26-multiframes form a superframe. and 760 ms long TDMA frames.• • • • • • • • • To organize the radio transmission. The numbered timeslots are continuously numbered off by the mobile station A simple TDMA frame consists of eight physical channels. i.048 superframes and is 3 hours. which makes 235 ms altogether. A timeslot is 0. is organised in 51 TDMA periods of 4. which contains 2. or timeslots. multiframes.e. 26 of these "long" 51-multiframes. contain their information organised in 26 TDMA periods of time known as a multi-frame This is 26 x 4.557 ms long Thus a simple TDMA frame is 4.62 ms long The length of a timeslot is also referred to as the burst period. normally provided in time slot 0. various frame types consisting of numbered timeslots are specified in GSM. Signaling information.12 seconds The largest transmission unit defined is the hyperframe.62 ms = 120 ms long. and to support cyphering at the air interface . superframes and the hyperframe can be considered as counters to organize user and signalling information within the TRX. 28 minutes. 53 seconds. A burst is the content of a physical channel Information is transmitted as bursts each TDMA frame period Traffic channels.
. in order to avoid collisions at the timeslots of the air interface. The content of such a channel is also known as a burst Bursts consist of different data blocks containing payload. using a different timeslot to the other mobile stations within the same cell The medium for this transmission process is the timeslots. or physical channels.as well as security information. which would destroy the transmitted information Therefore. each mobile station sends its digital voice data at regular periodic intervals. which connects the BTS and the BSC as the A-bis interface It is very important that all mobile stations within a cell send their digital information at the right moment. to guarantee high data reliability and transmission quality.• • • • • The information which is physically transmitted over the air interface Um via the physical channels must be converted into a 16 kbps signal within a 2 Mbit/s Frame.
there are two types of logical channels: – – the dedicated channels. and are not directed to a specific target They are used to broadcast information area-wide to all the mobile stations within the service area of a BTS This is general signaling information.• • • • • • • • • • • • • In GSM. and the common channels Let's explain the difference between the two with a metaphor from gardening If we want to water a whole area. we use a jet of water This metaphor corresponds to the Dedicated Channels These are always directed to a particular addressee Various types of signalling channels. on the other hand. we will now look at how a mobile station logs on to the network . for example to log onto the network and cell-broadcast SMS If. This metaphor describes the common channels These supply their data according to the principle of "equal shares for all". known as the dedicated control channels. of course. we use a watering can. and not a particular plant in it. we only want to water a specific plant and deliberately leave out the neighbouring ones. traffic channels that carry user speech and data also belong to this category To understand the tasks of the individual logical channels. facilitate communication between the mobile station and the mobile radio network And.
the mobile station searches for a network But how does it log on to the network the subscriber is registered with? For this purpose. it starts the same procedure again trying with the second strongest FCCH received While the mobile station uses the FCCH to adjust its frequency. and the SCH for synchronization and network identification. it picks out the strongest received signal The Synchronization Channel (SCH) then helps the mobile station to synchronize itself to timeslot 0 sent out by the BTS This means the mobile station must adjust to the rhythm given by the BTS The SCH contains the TDMA frame number as well as the Base Station Identity Code. which is also sent by the BTS. additional information has to be transmitted from the BTS to the mobile The Cell Broadcast Channel CBCH is used for this purpose to transmit geographical parameters. the BTS sends out the Frequency Correction Channel (FCCH) at short regular intervals.• • • • • • • • • • • • • After the subscriber has switched on his mobile station and typed in his PIN code. If not. for example Gauss-Krueger-Coordinates of the BTS. SCH. containing basic information about the network operator that can be compared with the info stored on the SIM card After this step. the mobile is able to decide whether it has chosen the proper network. BCCH and CBCH are Broadcast Channels. . the Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH). and exist only in the downlink They are the first logical channels belonging to the Common Channels. for example for ciphering For some Value Added Services. supplies the mobile station with additional information about the selected cell. to the mobile The FCCH. to help the mobile station find a frequency for downlink reception and adjust its frequency oscillator for the uplink transmission To do so. for example location-dependent services.
to assign resources to the mobile station.• • • • • • • • The mobile station has now adjusted its frequency and synchronized its TDMAs. or initiate a call. for example for registration. For this purpose. by granting it a Stand-Alone Dedicated Control Channel. Common Control Channels are required Common Control Channels are "point-to-multipoint" channels. The PCH. and before it can initiate calls. which exist either only in the uplink. SDCCH. the network sends the Access Grant Channel (AGCH) in the downlink direction. and has picked out the best cell available But before it can be reached by other subscribers. the Paging Channel (PCH) is broadcast in the downlink by all base stations within a Location Area. so that the mobile station concerned can react To initiate a call. or only in the downlink When a subscriber is called. In return. the mobile station sends out a Random Access Channel (RACH). a Location Update and authentication procedure are necessary Only after that is the mobile station logged on to the network and has radio coverage It can now be reached by other mobile stations. which carries its identification and request. . to the network This channel only exists in the uplink. RACH and AGCH form the group of the Common Control Channels belonging also to the Common Channels.
FACCH data is transported over the Traffic Channel assigned The Dedicated Control Channels are bidirectional point-to-point channels and belong to the group of Dedicated Channels . Also. for example authentication. the handover command needed is transmitted over the FACCH. This channel is also used for every call release. ciphering or call set-up. During the call. It sends measurement reports to the network. and is used for power control and to handle the exact temporal alignment of the channels. and it transmits short messages The SACCH is always linked with an SDCCH or a traffic channel. it assigns a traffic channel. the so-called Timing Advance If the subscriber moves into the service area of another BTS.• • • • A Stand-alone Dedicated Control Channel (SDCCH) has to be assigned to the mobile station to exchange the requested signaling with the network.
It is used for speech encoded by a Full Rate or Enhanced Full Rate codec as well as for user data encapsulating a net bit rate of 9. Traffic channels are bidirectional.6 kbps for standard bearer services. 14. and also belong to the group of dedicated channels There are two different channel types supporting different gross bit rates The Traffic Channel Full rate (TCH/F) has a gross bit rate of 22.8 kbps. or up to 21.• • • • User speech and data are transmitted over the traffic channels we have already spoken about. .4 kbps and is only used for Half Rate codec speech.4 kbps per timeslot in the case of HSCSD.4 kbps with GPRS The Traffic Channel Half rate (TCH/H) supports 11.
SCH. finally.• Let us sum up what we just learned about the classification of logical channels. PCH. AGCH and. CBCH. or traffic. • Dedicated Channels contain point-to-point signalling. RACH. BCCH. All contain point-tomultipoint signaling information. Common channels include FCCH. SACCH and FACCH. such as SDCCH. such as TCH/F and TCH/H. .
the parameters describing the speech data are first subdivided into three classes. With convolutional coding. which define if the data is important. the information relevant to speech intelligibility is doubled with an arithmetical operation.5 % in the secured relevant data. . This procedure allows to fully compensate bit error rates of up to 12. Channel coding increases the bit rate necessary at the air interface from 13 to 22. GSM performs channel coding. This procedure is organized in two consecutive processes: block coding and convolutional coding. In block coding. required or unimportant for speech intelligibility.8 kbps. That means a copy of the data is made so the data can be restored if necessary.• • • To be able to detect and correct bit errors at the air interface.