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Evolution Data service in GSM

Ali Nabeel Ibraheem



Enabling wireless internet access at data rates comparable to Commercial mobile network were launched in the mid-1980s.
wired network, is a growing concern in recent years. As Since then the mobile communication world has been
technology improved, it become very costly for the service witnessing rapid changes marked by significant improvement
providers to replace the whole infrastructure. Therefore, in the services being offered. Satisfying consumer demands for
incremental improvement to existing networks provided an better and improved services, and generating more revenue for
interim step with significant benefit to users. Global System for the operator have been the area focus. On the other hand, the
Mobile (GSM) is a second generation cellular system standard communication world has witness an equally significant
that was developed to solve the fragmentation problems of the growth in the internet arena. Internet popularity has grown
first cellular systems in Europe. GSM services follow ISDN manifold over the same period, and therefore it comes as no
guidelines and are classified as either teleservices or data surprise that these technological marvels-the internet and
services. But the GSM are circuit switched- at air interface, a mobile network-are witnessing a merger of sorts. Evolution of
complete traffic channel is allocated to a user for the entire GSM network to GSM/GPRS network is a means to provide
duration of a call. It will remain idle, in case there is no data to mobile communication network. The General Packet Radio
be transmitted in certain intervals during call. This limits both service (GPRS) network does not exist in isolation but
the data rates and the number oh users that can be supported by conjunction with a GSM network. While the GSM network
circuit switched systems. Also the connection setup can take up provide the conventional circuit-switch services (voice and
to several seconds, and data rates are restricted to 9.6 Kbit/s. circuit switched data services), GPRS network provides an
the search for a more efficient handling of the air-interface efficient means to support packet-data services. The GPRS
leads us to GPRS. GPRS provided a data delivery mechanism network can therefore be used to provide an existing GSM
on the GSM network with higher bandwidth. Regarded as a subscriber an efficient mechanism to access the internet.
subsystem within the GSM standard, GPRS has introduced Since the GPRS network is built over an existing GSM
packet-switched data into GSM networks. Many new protocols network, understanding how GSM network operates really help
and new nodes have been introduced to make this possible. the interpret the deeper principle associated a GPRS network
GPRS allows data rates of 115 kbps and, theoretically, of up to Enhanced Data Rates for Global evolution (EDGE) is a high-
160 kbps on the physical layer. Enhanced Data-rate for Global speed mobile data standard that can be introduced in the GSM
Evolution, (EDGE) is the next step in the evolution of GSM and the GPRS system. EDGE is considered as a 2.5 G standard,
and IS- 136. The objective of the new technology is to increase a transition between 2G and 3G. The evolution of GPRS
data transmission rates and spectrum efficiency and to facilitate toward EDGE is known as Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS). It is also
new applications and increased capacity for mobile use. With known as EDGE classic. GPRS allows data rates of 115 kbps
the introduction of EDGE in GSM phase 2+, existing services and, theoretically, of up to 160 kbps on the physical layer.
such as GPRS and high-speed circuit switched data (HSCSD) EGPRS is capable of offering data rates of 384 kbps and,
are enhanced by offering a new physical layer. EDGE is theoretically, of up to 473.6 kbps. A new modulation technique
introduced within existing specifications and descriptions and error-tolerant transmission methods, combined with
rather than by creating new ones. EDGE is a method to improved link adaptation mechanisms, make these EGPRS
increase the data rates on the radio link for GSM. Basically, rates possible. This is the key to increased spectrum efficiency
EDGE only introduces a new modulation technique and new and enhanced applications, such as wireless Internet access, e-
channel coding that can be used to transmit both packet- mail and file transfers. EDGE is therefore an add-on to GPRS
switched and circuit-switched voice and data services. In this and cannot work alone.
project will focuses on the packet-switched GPRS and GSM
introduce the new technique that used in enhanced GPRS The GSM standard was developed by the Group Special
which called EGPRS. Mobile, which was an initiative of the Conference of European
KEYWORDS Post and Telecommunications (CEPT) administrations. The
underlying aim was to design a uniform pan-European mobile
ETSI, GMSK, GSM, GSN , GPRS, SGSN, BSC, BSS, BTS, system to replace the existing incompatible analog systems.
MS, PCU, HLR,VLR,MSC,AUC, USF, TBF,MAC, RLC, LLC Work on standard was started in 1982, and the first full set of
specifications (phase 1) became available in 1990. The
responsibility for GSM standardization now resides with
special mobile group (SMG) under the European
telecommunication standards institute (ETSI), and
revisions/enhancements to various aspects of GSM standard are
being carried out in SMG technical subcommittees.
The characteristics of the initial GSM standard include the
 Fully digital system utilizing the 900 MHZ frequency
 TDMA over radio carrier (200 KHZ carrier spacing)
 8 full-rate or 16 half-rate TDMA channel per carrier
 User/terminal authentication for fraud control
 Encryption of speech and data transmissions over the
radio path
 Full international roaming capability
 Low speed data services (up to 9.6 Kb/s)
 Compatibility with ISDN for supplementary services
The home location registers (HLR): A database used for
 Support of short message service (SMS)
management of mobile subscribers. It stores the international
mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), mobile station ISDN number
GSM Architecture
(MSISDN) and current visitor location register (VLR) address.
The main information stored there concerns the location of
A GSM system consists of a fixed installation infrastructure
each mobile station in order to be able to route calls to the
and the mobile subscribers. The fixed installation GSM
mobile subscribers managed by each HLR. The HLR also
network can be subdivided into three subsystems. The three
maintains the services associated with each MS. One HLR can
subsystems are the Base Station Subsystem, (BSS), the
serve several MSCs.
Network and Switching Subsystem, (NSS), and the Operation
The visitor location register (VLR): Contains the current
and Support System, (OSS).
location of the MS and selected administrative information
The base station subsystem (BSS) is made up of the base
from the HLR, necessary for call control and provision of the
station controller (BSC) and the base transceiver station (BTS).
subscribed services, for each mobile currently located in the
The base transceiver station (BTS): GSM uses a series of radio
geographical area controlled by the VLR. A VLR is connected
transmitters called BTSs to connect the mobiles to a cellular
to one MSC and is normally integrated into the MSC's
network. Their tasks include channel coding/decoding and
encryption/decryption. A BTS is comprised of radio
The authentication center (AUC): A protected database that
transmitters and receivers, antennas, the interface to the PCM
holds a copy of the secret key stored in each subscriber's SIM
facility, etc. The BTS may contain one or more transceivers to
card, which is used for authentication and encryption over the
provide the required call handling capacity. A cell site may be
radio channel. The AUC provides additional security against
omnidirectional or split into typically three directional cells.
fraud. It is normally located close to each HLR within a GSM
. The base station controller (BSC): A group of BTSs are
connected to a particular BSC which manages the radio
The equipment identity register (EIR): The EIR is a database
resources for them. Today's new and intelligent BTSs have
that contains a list of all valid mobile station equipment within
taken over many tasks that were previously handled by the
the network, where each mobile station is identified by its
BSCs. The primary function of the BSC is call maintenance.
international mobile equipment identity (IMEI). The EIR has
The mobile stations normally send a report of their received
three databases:
signal strength to the BSC every 480 ms. With this information
the BSC decides to initiate handovers to other cells, change the White list: for all known, good IMEIs
BTS transmitter power, etc. Network Subsystem which consist Black list: for bad or stolen handsets
The mobile switching center (MSC): An act like a standard Grey list: for handsets/IMEIs that are uncertain.
exchange in a fixed network and additionally provides all the The Operation and Maintenance Subsystem (OMS) is a
functionality needed to handle a mobile subscriber. The main management system that oversees the GSM functional blocks.
functions are registration, authentication, location updating, The OMC assists the network operator in maintaining
and handovers and call routing to a roaming subscriber. The satisfactory operation of the GSM network. Hardware
signaling between functional entities (registers) in the network redundancy and intelligent error detection mechanisms help
subsystem uses Signaling System 7 (SS7). If the MSC also has prevent network down-time. The OMC is responsible for
a gateway function for communicating with other networks, it controlling and maintaining the MSC, BSC and BTS. It can be
is called Gateway MSC (GMSC). in charge of an entire public land mobile network (PLMN) or
just some parts of the PLMN.

The figure below depicted the sequence of operations from

speech to radio waves and from radio waves to speech. Where Q(t) is Q-function

Bb is the bandwidth of the low pass filter having a Gaussian

shaped spectrum. T is the bit period.

The relationship between the premodulation filter bandwidth, B

and the bit period, T defines the bandwidth of the system. GSM
designers used a BT = 0.3 with a channel data rate of 270.8
The full rate speech codec in GSM is described as Regular kbs. This compromises between a bit error rate and an out-of-
Pulse Excitation with Long Term Prediction (GSM RPE-LTP). band interference since the narrow filter increases the inter-
Basically, the encoder divides the speech into short-term symbol interference and reduces the signal power.
predictable parts, long-term predictable part and the remaining
residual pulse. Then, it encodes that pulse and parameters for GPRS
the two predictors. The General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), like the name
The decoder reconstructs the speech by passing the residual suggests is a mobile communication standard based on packet
pulse _first through the long-term prediction filter, and then switched radio transmission. The main feature that gives it an
through the short-term predictor. then will follow to Channel edge over the existing circuit switched technology like GSM is
coding which adds redundancy bits to the original information its handling of the radio resource. Traffic channels is allotted
in order to detect and correct, if possible, errors occurred only when needed and is released immediately after the
during the transmission. transmission of packet is over. GPRS also allow for a user to be
An interleaving rearranges a group of bits in a particular way. It allotted multiple channels, leading to higher data rates. The
is used in combination with FEC codes in order to improve the data rate up to 180 K bit/s can thus achieved. GPRS call set up
performance of the error correction mechanisms. The times are typically less than a second. Billing is based on the
interleaving decreases the possibility of losing whole bursts volume of traffic rather than connectivity and the users can thus
during the transmission, by dispersing the errors. Being the be connected throughout.
errors less concentrated, it is then easier to correct them.
The modulation chosen for the GSM system is the Gaussian GPRS Architecture
Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK).it is derived from MSK. GPRS maintain the core GSM radio access technology and
Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) is derived from OQPSK by provides packet data services by introducing two new network
replacing the rectangular pulse in amplitude with a half-cycle elements called GPRS support node (GSN) and gateway GPRS
sinusoidal pulse Because of the effect of the linear phase support node (GGSN). In addition, the GPRS register, which
change, the power spectral density has low side lobes that help may be integrated with the GSM HLR, maintain the GPRS
to control adjacent-channel interference. However the main subscriber data and routing information
lobe becomes wider than the quadrature shift keying. The SGSN is responsible for keeping track of a MS in the
Obviously other pulse shapes are possible. A Gaussian-shaped system. Therefore it also handles packet routing inside and
impulse response filter generates a signal with low side lobes between PLMNs (Public Land Mobile System, i.e. one
and narrower main lobe than the rectangular pulse. operator‟s GSM system is a PLMN). Security functions are
also implemented here.
The Gaussian low-pass filter has an impulse response given by
The GGSN provides an interface with the PDN. It converts the
the following equation
GPRS packets received from SGSN into the appropriate format
of the external network (typically internet protocol IP network).
In the reverse path, the GGSN converts the incoming packet to
the GPRS packet and delivers it to the destined MS using PDP
context stored by it. A GPRS cell phone will transmit data in a
packet switched mode, but voice will be transmitted as circuit 2. How is the right path found for the IP packets inside the
switched calls. This means that there has to be a network GPRS network? A connection between the MS and the GGSN
element that distinguishes between the two different kinds of must be set up, We speak of the activation of a PDP context.
transfer and diverts each to the correct core network, i.e. After that procedure each node in the GPRS network knows
towards the MSC or towards the SGSN. This is one of the main how it has to forward the IP packets of this MS.
functions of the packet control unit (PCU). Other PCU 3. The path between the MS and the external data network is
functions include: prepared, so IP packets can be sent through the GPRS network
Packet segmentation and reassembly, on the downlink towards the destination address.
and uplink respectively,
Access control,
scheduling for all active transmissions including radio
channel management,
Transmission control (checking, buffering,
The PCU can be placed at various different positions in the
network: at the BTS site, in the BSC or right before the switch,
the preferred location being at the BSC. the PCU is located in
the Packet Control Unit Support Node (PCUSN), which resides
between the BSC and the Serving GPRS Support Node
(SGSN).When implementing GPRS in an existing GSM
network, every BTS requires a software upgrade so as to be The GGSN connect with SGSN through IP backbone over
capable of performing GPRS specific functions such as the use which the packets are tunneled. Using GPRS tunneling
of CS-1 to CS-4, support of the GPRS radio channel protocol (GTP).
measurements. This software upgrade is specified as the The user payload carried as an IP packet is encapsulated within
channel codec unit (CCU) and is always located in the BTS. It the GPRS network. In other word, the source and destination
can be necessary that the CCU takes over some of the PCU address of the user IP packet is not relevant for packet routing.
radio management functions if the latter is not located in the The IP packet is just like an application payload and is carried
BTS itself. transparently between the Ms and GGSN. frame relay is used
as network service layer to carry RLC/MAC between the PCU
and the SGSN. Over the network service layer is the BSS
GPRS protocol (BSSGP) that uses the frame relay to provide
virtual connections between the BSS and the SGSN. The
BSSGP also convey routing and Qos-related information
between the BSS and the SGSN.

The messages concerning the GPRS attach procedure between

the MS and the SGSN belong to the protocol GPRS Mobility
GPRS Procedures Management GMM. Other examples of GMM are the update of
Before data can be transferred between the MS and the external the MS‟s position (routing area update), switching off of the
data network, some preparation is necessary to enable the mobile device (GPRS detach), authentication, and GPRS
transfer of IP packets through the GPRS network to take place. paging. Another important protocol between the MS and the
There are three important steps involved : SGSN is the Logical Link Control LLC which provides a
1. The MS must be attached in the GPRS network. The logical connection between the MS and the SGSN. It is defined
procedure for this is called „GPRS attach‟. This is a logical by the Data Link Connection Identifier DLCI which consists of
procedure between the MS and the SGSN which takes note of the Temporary Logical ink Identifier TLLI and the Service
the position (i.e. the „routing area‟) of the MS. Storing and Access Point Identifier (SAPI). The TLLI identifies the specific
updating the position of the MS is particularly important for MS and the SAPI identifies the service access point (SNDCP,
DL transmissions because this information enables the GPRS GMM/SM or SMS) – i.e. whether the data in the packet‟s
network to locate the MS. payload concerns user data, signaling or SMS. In the case of a
GPRS attach procedure the SAPI shows that it concerns to transfer data. A brief description of two of them is listed in
GMM/SM (SM = Session Management). the following section.
A subscriber requests the activation of a PDP context (PDP = Temporary Block Flow Used to identify a series of
Packet Data Protocol) when he wants to start a GPRS service. RLC/MAC blocks to/from a specific mobile station. The TBF
Using a play on the PDP context activation, a mobile station is unique for a given direction (uplink/downlink). Each
has attached itself to a SGSN in the GPRS Public Land Mobile mobile station occupying a radio resource is assigned a TBF
Network (PLMN). The mobile station has been assigned a for the duration of the data transfer. Because data transfers
TLLI that the wireless network knows. However, the external are typically bursts of data followed by idle time, the TBF is
network nodes (IP or X.25) do not yet know of the mobile temporary; it only lasts until all RLC/MAC blocks have been
station. Therefore, the mobile station must initiate a PDP transferred and acknowledged.
context with the GGSN. Both the SGSN and the GGSN are Temporary Flow Identity Uniquely identifies each
identified by IP addresses. A many-to- many relationship exists TBF for a given direction. The TBF, TFI, and direction
between the SGSN and the GGSN. Multiple tunnels (used for uniquely identify a RLC data block. The message type
secure data transfer between the SGSN and the GGSN) may together with the TBF, TFI, and the direction designates the
exist between a pair of GGSNs, each with a specific tunnel RLC/MAC control message.
identifier (TID). Four steps are involved in the activation Data Burst 1 The MAC layer in the mobile station
process: receives an LLC frame that is ready for transfer. The mobile
1. The mobile station first sends an Activate PDP Context station communicates with the network and ultimately
Request message that contains the following: receives a TFI that will be used to identify all consecutive
NSAPI (that is, one data burst) RLC blocks that are transferred. The
PDP type MAC layer then segments the LLC frame and encapsulates it
PDP address, whether it is a static or dynamic address with an RLC header containing the TFI. Once all RLC blocks
(IP address) have been transferred and acknowledged (in the ACK mode),
Requested QoS (best effort is all that is currently the TFI is released. At this point, the radio resources are not
available, but will get to specific QoS in the future) required; the TBF no longer exists.
Access Point Name (APN) (optional) to select a Idle The mobile station has no data to transfer even
certain GGSN, either the IP address or logical name is though GPRS data services remain active.
used Data Burst 2 The mobile station has additional data to
PDP configuration options. transfer. It notifies the network in order to establish another
2. The SGSN chooses the GGSN based on information TBF. The TFI corresponding to this TBF will most likely be
provided by the mobile station and other configurations and different from that corresponding to the first TBF. Again,
requests the GGSN to create a context for the mobile station. once all RLC blocks have been transferred and
The SGSN will select a GGSN that serves the particular type of acknowledged, the TFI is released and the TBF disappears.
context needed (such as one for IP network access and one for The RLC layer is primarily responsible for segmenting and
X.25 access). reassembling data sent over the air interface. The frames used
3. The GGSN replies to the SGSN with the TID information. It in the LLC layer are much too big to send over the air. Thus,
also updates its tables wherein it maps the TID and the SGSN the RLC layer segments or breaks the LLC frame into blocks,
IP addresses with the particular mobile associated with them. and encapsulates each block forming an RLC block. A BSN
4. The SGSN sends a message to the mobile station informing designates each RLC block. The BSN is contained in a field
it that a context has been activated for that particular mobile. of the block header. Upon receipt of an RLC block, the RLC
The SGSN also updates its tables with the TID and the GGSN layer reverses the action required to send the data. First, the
IP address with which it has established the tunnel for the BSN is used to arrange the RLC block in sequential order.
mobile. Then the header is stripped off the block and the blocks are
RLC/MAC Block reassembled into LLC frames.
Network Layer Protocol Data Units (NL-PDU) are transmitted This layer supports two modes of operation: acknowledged and
over the air interface by using the Logical Link Control (LLC) unacknowledged. The acknowledged mode enables selective
and the RLC/MAC protocols. The Sub-network-Dependent retransmission. In this mode, the BSN is also used to request
Convergence Protocol (SNDPC) transforms packets into LLC the retransmission of a missing or undelivered block. The
frames. LLC frames (currently variable up to a maximum of unacknowledged mode of operation does not guarantee the
1,600 octets) are then segmented into RLC data blocks (or arrival of the transmitted RLC blocks. This mode is important
RLC/MAC control blocks), which are formatted by the to applications that require a constant delay. The RLC layer
physical layer into blocks of four successive time slots on the increases the reliability of the air interface by providing BEC,
same physical channel (one per frame). The rate of RLC/MAC which enables selective transmission.
data blocks is one block every 20 ms. The RLC data block consists of the RLC header, RLC data
The MAC layer provides capability for multiple mobile stations field, and spare bits. Each RLC data block may be encoded
to share a common transmission medium. It interfaces directly using any of the available coding schemes (CS-1, CS-2, CS-3,
with the physical layer. The MAC layer uses several identifiers or CS-4) and will affect the degree of segmentation and
reassembly released.
Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution Link Quality Control (LQC) is a term used for techniques to
EDGE is the next step in the evolution of GSM and IS- adapt the channel coding of the radio link to the varying
136. The objective of the new technology is to increase data channel quality. Different modulation and coding schemes are
transmission rates and spectrum efficiency and to facilitate new optimal during different situations, depending on the link
applications and increased capacity for mobile use. quality. The LQC used for EDGE is performed through the
With the introduction of EDGE in GSM phase 2+, existing techniques of
services such as GPRS and high-speed circuit switched data 1. Link Adaptation (LA)
(HSCSD) are enhanced by offering a new physical layer. 2.Incremental Redundancy (IR)
EGPRS is capable of offering data rates of 384 kbps and, LA provides a dynamic switching between coding and
theoretically, of up to 473.6 kbps. A new modulation technique modulation schemes, so that the highest throughput (e.g.,
and error-tolerant transmission methods, combined with maximum user bit rate) according to the time-varying link
improved link adaptation mechanisms, make these EGPRS quality (e.g. C/I) is achieved. With IR, information is first sent
rates possible. This is the key to increased spectrum efficiency with very little coding. If decoding is successful, this will yield
and enhanced applications, such as wireless Internet access, e- a very high user bit rate or throughput. However, if decoding is
mail and file transfers. EDGE leverages the knowledge gained unsuccessful, then additional coded bits are sent until decoding
through use of the existing GPRS standard to deliver is successful. The more coding bits that have to be sent, the less
significant technical improvements. the resulting bit rate and the higher the delay. As a result of the
link quality control, a low radio link quality will not cause a
dropped data transfer, but only give a reduced bit rate for the
GPRS will promote and seamless advanced services and enable
mobile operators to combine wireless networks with public and
private/corporate networks. GPRS paves the way for migration
to 3G that will enable high speed, universal communication
services regardless of the terminal, network, or location .GPRS
maintain the core GSM radio access technology and provides
packet data services by introducing two new network elements
called GPRS support node (GSN) and gateway GPRS support
The modulation type that is used in GSM is the Gaussian node (GGSN). In addition, the GPRS register, which may be
minimum shift keying (GMSK), which is a kind of phase integrated with the GSM HLR, maintain the GPRS subscriber
modulation. This can be visualized in an I/Q diagram that data and routing information. GPRS will operates at
shows the real (I) and imaginary (Q) components of the transmission data rates from 14.4 to 115 kb/s by using from one
transmitted signal as shown in figure below. Transmitting a to eight time slots in GSM TDMA structure.
zero bit or one bit is then represented by changing the phase by Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) is a further
increments of + _ p. Every symbol that is transmitted development of the GSM data services High-Speed Circuit-
represents one bit; that is, each shift in the phase represents one Switched Data (HSCSD) and GPRS and is suitable for circuit-
bit. and packet-switched services. Applying modified modulation
and coding schemes EDGE reaches very high raw bit rates of
up to 69 kbit/s per GSM physical channel.
The modifications mostly concern the RLC/MAC layer and the
physical layer. Since these protocols are implemented in the
MS and the Base Station (BS), both have to be modified.
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systems and services”
[2] Vijay K. Garg, Joseph E. Wilkes, “Principles &
Applications of GSM”
[3] Wayne Tomasi , “Electronic Communications Systems”
[4] T.S. Rappaport, Wireless Communications : Principles and
To achieve higher bit rates per time slot than those available in Practice , 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall
GSM/GPRS, the modulation method requires change. EDGE is [5] Timo Halonen,Javier Romero and Juan Melero, GSM,
specified to reuse the channel structure, channel width, channel GPRS, AND EDGE Performance
coding and the existing mechanisms and functionality of GPRS [6] REGIS J.”BUD” BATES, GPRS
and HSCSD. The modulation standard selected for EDGE, 8- [7] Sumit Kasera, Nishit, A P Priyanka.”2.5G Mobile
phase shift keying (8PSK), fulfills all of those requirements. Networks: GPRS and EDGE”
8PSK modulation has the same qualities in terms of generating
interference on adjacent channels as GMSK.