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GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols
Training Document

6-64442 Issue 4.0

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GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols

The information in this document is subject to change without notice and describes only the product defined in the introduction of this documentation. This document is intended for the use of Nokia's customers only for the purposes of the agreement under which the document is submitted, and no part of it may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or means without the prior written permission of Nokia. The document has been prepared to be used by professional and properly trained personnel, and the customer assumes full responsibility when using it. Nokia welcomes customer comments as part of the process of continuous development and improvement of the documentation. The information or statements given in this document concerning the suitability, capacity, or performance of the mentioned hardware or software products cannot be considered binding but shall be defined in the agreement made between Nokia and the customer. However, Nokia has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the instructions contained in the document are adequate and free of material errors and omissions. Nokia will, if necessary, explain issues which may not be covered by the document. Nokia's liability for any errors in the document is limited to the documentary correction of errors. NOKIA WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE IN ANY EVENT FOR ERRORS IN THIS DOCUMENT OR FOR ANY DAMAGES, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL (INCLUDING MONETARY LOSSES), that might arise from the use of this document or the information in it. This document and the product it describes are considered protected by copyright according to the applicable laws. NOKIA logo is a registered trademark of Nokia Oyj. Other product names mentioned in this document may be trademarks of their respective companies, and they are mentioned for identification purposes only. Copyright © Nokia Oyj 2004. All rights reserved.

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1 2 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 4 5 6 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 7 7.1 7.2 8 9 Module objectives ..................................................................................4 Introduction ............................................................................................5 Network elements...................................................................................7 Packet Control Unit (PCU) .......................................................................8 Channel Codec Unit (CCU) ......................................................................8 Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) .....................................................8 Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN)...................................................9 GPRS MS...............................................................................................10 Domain Name Servers ...........................................................................12 Firewalls .................................................................................................12 Border Gateway .....................................................................................13 Charging Gateway..................................................................................13 GPRS interfaces ...................................................................................14 Transfer of packets between GSNs ....................................................16 Nokia GPRS solution ...........................................................................19 Nokia GPRS functionality .......................................................................19 Nokia Base Station Subsystem (BSS) ...................................................22 Nokia Core Network Subsystem (CNS) .................................................25 Nokia Network Management System (NMS)..........................................32 Key points .............................................................................................35 GPRS architecture: key points ...............................................................35 Nokia GPRS solution: key points ...........................................................36 Review questions .................................................................................38 Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols..............................40

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GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols


Module objectives
At the end of the module, the participant will be able to:
• • •

Name the GPRS specific network elements and their most important functions Name and explain five important open interfaces in the GPRS network Explain the principle of the GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP)

without using any references.

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GPRS provides mobile users access to value-added WAP services and different external packet switched networks. These networks can be, for example, the Internet or corporate intranets. The GSM-BSS provides the radio interface, and the GPRS core network handles mobility and access to external packet networks and services. This is shown in Figure 1.

Radio Resource & Radio Link Management

Switching/routing, mobility & connection management External Packet Networks


GSM (cs) Core Network

GPRS (ps) Core Network

Value-Added Services (WAP)

Figure 1.

GPRS access to packet switched networks

The GPRS network acts in parallel with the GSM network, providing packet switched connections to the external networks. The requirements of a GPRS network are the following:
• • • • • •

The GPRS network must use as much of the existing GSM infrastructure with the smallest number of modifications to it. Since a GPRS user may be on more than one data session, GPRS should be able to support one or more packet switched connections. To support the budgets of various GPRS users, it must be able to support different Quality of Service (QoS) subscriptions of the user. The GPRS network architecture has to be compatible with future 3rd and 4th generation mobile communication systems. It should be able to support both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint data connections. It should provide secure access to external networks.

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0 . Public Data Networks (PDN). The GPRS is expected to perform the functions of a traditional mobile communication network and a traditional packet switched computer network. intranets. allocation of radio resources to GPRS subscribers across the air interface Interfaces to Internet. that is. security data. and subscription information Mobility management as in GSM Location management as in GSM Handover as a GPRS subscriber moves within a coverage area Power control to minimise the transmitted power by the user Network management that facilitates GPRS network management Generation and collection of network performance statistics Generation and collection of charging or billing information Signalling links between the GPRS network elements Routing of packets to appropriate destination Protocol conversion between networks that may use different protocols Buffering of data at GPRS nodes Allocation of static or dynamic address for packets originating from MS Protection of the GPRS network from security threats Capability to monitor target subscriber by law enforcement agencies Translation between logical names and IP addresses using Domain Name System (DNS) Facilitation of roaming subscribers so that they can connect to home networks Delivery of SMS messages through the GPRS network Redundancy mechanisms if one or more network elements were to fail Translation between private and public addresses using NAT and NAPT Detection of faulty or stolen GPRS handsets 6 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. and other Public Land Mobile Networks (PLMN) Authenticate subscriber requests for packet switched resources Encrypt data transmitted on the air interface for security purposes Data compression for data transmitted over the air interface Interact with databases (HLR/VLR) containing subscriber information such as IMSI.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols A GPRS network must provide all of the functionality of a GSM network for packet switched networks and more. These functions are itemised below: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Capability to separate circuit switched and packet switched traffic from mobile station (MS) Radio resource management.

These elements are: • • • • • • • • • Packet Control Unit (PCU) Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN): the MSC of the GPRS network Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN): gateway to external networks Border Gateway (BG): a gateway to other PLMN Intra-PLMN backbone: an IP based network inter-connecting all the GPRS elements Charging Gateway (CG) Legal Interception Gateway (LIG) Domain Name System (DNS) Firewalls: used wherever a connection to an external network is required. BTS CCU BSS BSC PCU TRAU NSS MSC/VLR GMSC PSTN/ ISDN MS BTS CCU EIR BTS CCU HLR AC TRAU GPRS MS BTS CCU BSC PCU SGSN DNS IPbackbone LIG BG corp. The GPRS system brings some new network elements to an existing GSM network. Not all of the network elements are compulsory for every GPRS network.0 © Nokia Oyj 7 (55) .Network elements 3 Network elements Figure 2 shows the architecture of a GPRS network. GPRS architecture 6-64442 Issue 4. network GGSN F W PDN WAP BSS CG Billing Centre LEA Inter-PLMN Network Figure 2.

based on • load situation • priority.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 3. Frame Relay technology is being used at present to interconnect the PCU to the GPRS core. There is a coverage area associated with a SGSN.0 .1 Packet Control Unit (PCU) The PCU separates the circuit switched and packet switched traffic from the user and sends them to the GSM and GPRS networks respectively. The PCU can be either located in the BTS. There will be at least one PCU that serves a cell in which GPRS services will be available. It also performs most of the radio resource management functions of the GPRS network. power control and timing advance procedures.3 Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) The SGSN is the most important element of the GPRS network. Decides dynamically. The SGSN has the following functions: 8 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. There must at least one SGSN in a GPRS network. The SGSN of the GPRS network is equivalent to the MSC of the GSM network. As the network expands and the number of subscribers increases. BSC. which resources are allocated to cs and ps usage.2 Channel Codec Unit (CCU) The CCU is realised in the BTS to perform the Channel Coding (including the coding scheme algorithms). and • operator set rules PCU cs resources ps resources cs Radio Resource Management BSC ps Radio Resource Management PCU Figure 3. PCU – its position within the BSS 3. there may be more than one SGSN in a network. or some other point between the MS and the MSC. 3.

HLR. If it is. it first checks if the address is active. MSC/VLR. The functions of a GGSN are given below: • • • • • • Routing mobile-destined packets coming from external networks to the relevant SGSN Routing packets originating from a mobile to the correct external network Interfaces to external IP networks and deals with security issues Collects charging data and traffic statistics Allocates dynamic or static IP addresses to mobiles either by itself or with the help of a DHCP or a RADIUS server Involved in the establishment of tunnels with the SGSN and with other external networks and VPN. The GGSN also routes mobile originated packets to the correct external network. 6-64442 Issue 4. the GGSN forwards the data to the SGSN serving the mobile. From the external network's point of view. Hence. Every connection to a fixed external data network has to go through a GGSN. the concept of coverage area does not apply to GGSN.4 Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) The GGSN is the gateway to external networks. the data is discarded. The GGSN may accept connection request from SGSN that is in another PLMN. 3.Network elements • • • • • • • • • Protocol conversion (for example IP to FR) Ciphering of GPRS data between the MS and SGSN Data compression is used to minimise the size of transmitted data units Authentication of GPRS users Mobility management as the subscriber moves from one area to another. If the address is inactive. the GGSN is simply a router to an IP sub-network. and they back up each other up in case of failure. The GGSN acts as the anchor point in a GPRS data connection even when the subscriber moves to another SGSN during roaming. and possibly one SGSN to another Routing of data to the relevant GGSN when a connection to an external network is required Interaction with the NSS (that is. There are usually two or more GGSNs in a network for redundancy purposes.0 © Nokia Oyj 9 (55) . This is shown below. EIR) via the SS7 network in order to retrieve subscription information Collection of charging data pertaining to the use of GPRS users Traffic statistics collections for network management purposes. When the GGSN receives data addressed to a specific user in the mobile network.

44.15.0 .55 Corporate subnetwork 131.33. GPRS network as seen by another data network 10 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue Host 131.3 Router LAN Figure 4. class B class A class C simultaneous • attach • activation • monitor no simultaneous traffic simultaneous • attach • activation • monitor • invocation • traffic of GSM and GPRS pure GPRS or alternative use of GSM and GPRS only Figure Internet Router Host 155. The mobiles differ in their capabilities.222.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols GPRS subnetwork 155. GPRS network as seen by another data network 3.5 GPRS MS Different GPRS MS classes were introduced to cope with the different needs of future subscribers.

• • In GPRS and HSCSD. Class B: A class B mobile allows a simultaneous attach. A subscriber can get data from an active GPRS link while simultaneously making a phone call. In other words. but he can no longer originate or terminate GSM circuit switched calls.Network elements Three GPRS MS classes were defined: • Class A: With a class A mobile GSM circuit switched services and GSM GPRS services can be simultaneously activated. the individual GSM multislot MS classes are specified. a subscriber has established a GPRS data connection and receives data packets. A mobile terminating GSM circuit switched call is indicated. the mobile stations have a multislot capability. For instance. While he is making the voice call. the GPRS virtual connection is “held or busy”. activation and monitor of the circuit switched GSM and GPRS services. Multislot class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Maximum number of Minimum number of Type slots slots Rx Tx Sum Tta Ttb Tra Trb 1 1 2 3 2 4 2 1 2 1 3 3 2 3 1 1 2 2 3 3 2 3 1 1 3 1 4 3 1 3 1 1 2 2 4 3 1 3 1 1 3 2 4 3 1 3 1 1 3 3 4 3 1 3 1 1 4 1 5 3 1 2 1 1 3 2 5 3 1 2 1 1 4 2 5 3 1 2 1 1 4 3 5 3 1 2 1 1 4 4 5 2 1 2 1 1 3 3 NA NA a) 3 a) 2 6-64442 Issue 4. Channel bundling is the allocation of several timeslots to a MS. Class C: A class C mobile is either a pure GPRS MS or it supports both GSM circuit switched services and GPRS.02. Having terminated the voice call. but no packet data transfer is possible. If it supports both then it can be used only in one of the two modes. packet data can again be transmitted via the still existing GPRS virtual connection. he can originate or terminate GPRS calls. It does not allow a simultaneous transmission of user data on GSM and GPRS. activation and monitor of the classical GSM and GPRS services. In the specification 05. increased data rates can be achieved by channel bundling. The subscriber accepts the call. A class A mobile allows also a simultaneous attach. If a subscriber switches his mobile into GPRS mode.0 © Nokia Oyj 11 (55) .

3. c) = 1 with frequency hopping or change from Tx to Rx. for example. hackers from the mobile users or from the Internet). There is a primary DNS server and a secondary DNS server. Details of DNS were described in Introduction to TCP/IP module.5. 3.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 14 15 16 17 18 19 19 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 4 5 6 7 8 6 6 6 6 6 8 8 8 8 8 8 4 5 6 7 8 2 3 4 4 6 2 3 4 4 6 8 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 a) a) a) a) 0 b) b) b) b) b) b) b) b) b) b) b) 3 3 2 1 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 a) a) a) a) 0 c) c) c) c) c) c) c) c) c) c) c) 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 a) = 1 with frequency hopping = 0 without frequency hopping.15.0 .6 Domain Name Servers These devices convert IP names into IP addresses. b) = 1 with frequency hopping or change from Rx to Tx. the firewall might be configured to reject all packets that are not part of a GPRS subscriberinitiated connection. In the specifications. the main vendors have chosen to separate the DNS functions from the SGSN. 12 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. = 0 without frequency hopping and no change from Tx to Rx.44. server. see the Introduction to TCP/IP module. and information is also found in the IP CORE Course.7 Firewalls A firewall protects an IP network against external attack (for to 133. The firewall can also include NAT (Network Address Translation). the DNS functionality is included in the SGSN. = 0 without frequency hopping and no change from Rx to Tx. In the case of GPRS.

Charging has to be based on the volume. 3. In a GSM network. It is more secure to transfer data between two operators' PLMN networks through a direct connection rather than via the public Internet. 3. sorts them. QoS. One data session may generate a number of CDRs. However. Here the GPRS subscriber is billed for the data transaction. and time of call.8 Border Gateway The Border Gateway (BG) is a router that can provide a direct GPRS tunnel between different operators' GPRS networks.9 Charging Gateway GPRS users have to be charged for the use of the network. These GPRS charging data are generated by all the SGSNs and GGSNs in the network. and passes it on to the Billing System. It is however included here due to the fact that operators usually need to implement firewalls in their GPRS network (for security reasons). 6-64442 Issue 4. The Border Gateway will commence operation once the GPRS roaming agreements between various operators have been signed. the firewalls are not included. processes it. destination. This is referred to as an interPLMN data network. duration. so these need to be collected and processed. so it not possible to charge subscribers on the connection duration. GPRS offers connectionless service to users. This data is referred to as Charging Data Records or CDRs. charging is based on the destination. It will essentially allow a roaming subscriber to connect to company intranet through the Home GGSN via the visiting PLMN network.Network elements In the specifications for GPRS.0 © Nokia Oyj 13 (55) . All CDRs contain unique subscriber and connection identifiers to distinguish it. The Charging Gateway (CG) collects all of these records. A protocol called GTP' (pronounced GTP prime) is used for the transfer of data records between GSNs and the Charging Gateway. and other parameters of a connectionless data transfer.

MSC/ VLR EIR SMSGMSC HLR Signalling and data Signalling Gf Gs BSC Gd Gr Gc GGSN External packet network SGSN Gi CG Gn Ga Ga Gb Gn Air (Um) SGSN Gp BG Gp Inter-PLMN GPRS backbone Figure 6. Figure 6 illustrates the logical architecture with the interfaces and reference points of the combined GSM/GPRS network. GPRS interfaces Connections from the GPRS system to the NSS part of the GSM network are implemented through the SS7 network. or the external networks (Gi). Frame Relay based network services is used for this interface. The interfaces used by the GPRS system are described below: • Um between an MS and the GPRS fixed network part. The Um is the access interface the MS uses to access the GPRS network. The other interfaces are implemented through the intra-PLMN backbone network (Gn). • 14 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. the inter-PLMN backbone network (Gp). The important interfaces to the NSS are the SGSN-HLR (Gr). Gb between a SGSN and a BSS. and SGSN-MSC/VLR (Gs).0 .GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 4 GPRS interfaces The GPRS system introduces new interfaces to the GSM network. The Gb interface carries the GPRS traffic and signalling between the GSM radio network (BSS) and the GPRS network. The GPRS element interfacing with the NSS is SGSN. The radio interface to the BTS is the same interface used by the existing GSM network with some GPRS specific changes. SGSN-EIR (Gf).

but it also provides. • • • • • • • There are two different reference points in the GPRS network. The HLR can be located in a different PLMN than the SGSN (MAP). The physical R interface follows. Gp between two GSNs in various PLMNs. the ITU-T V. Gc between the GGSN and the HLR. routing. Gd between the SMS-GMSC and an SGSN.GPRS interfaces • Gn between two GSNs within the same PLMN. • 6-64442 Issue 4. The GPRS network is connected to an external data networks via this interface. Ga between the GSNs and the CG inside the same PLMN. Gr between an SGSN and the HLR. The interface can be used if the GGSN needs to forward packets to an MS that is not active. R between terminal equipment and mobile termination. This interface uses BSSAP+ protocol. the Gi is not a standard interface. together with the BG and the Firewall. Gs between a SGSN and a MSC. The Gd interface is available for more efficient use of the SMS services (MAP). and between SMS-IWMSC and an SGSN. but the R is common with the circuit switched GSM network: • Gi between a GGSN and an external network. a laptop-PC to transmit data over the GSM-phone. This reference point connects terminal equipment to mobile termination. thus allowing.0 © Nokia Oyj 15 (55) . The Gn provides a data and signalling interface in the Intra-PLMN backbone. security. grey list for mobiles under observation and white list for other mobiles (MAP).24/V. but merely a reference point. The GGSN may request the location of an MS via this optional interface. This interface is used for sending the charging data records generated by GSNs to the CG. an enhanced version of GTP. that is. Gf between an SGSN and the EIR.28 or the PCMCIA PC-Card standards. The Gi is GPRS specific. The GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP) is used in the Gn (and in the Gp) interface over the IP based backbone network. The protocol used is GTP'. The Gp interface provides the same functionality as the Gn interface. for example. The GPRS system will support a variety of data networks. The Gs interface will greatly improve the effectiveness of the radio and network resources in the combined GSM/GPRS network. all the functions needed for inter-PLMN networking. Because of that. The SGSN can send location data to the MSC or receive paging requests from the MSC via this optional interface. The EIR maintains three different lists of mobile equipment: black list for stolen mobiles. for example. The Gr gives the SGSN access to subscriber information in the HLR. etc. The Gf gives the SGSN access to GPRS user equipment information. The Ga provides a data and signalling interface.

The stream of containers inside the GPRS backbone network is totally transparent to the user: To the user. The GTP packet is carried over the GPRS backbone using IP and TCP or UDP (in the example. The GTP packet headers. In data communications. it is inserted in a container and sent to the SGSN. whose packets are inside the container. Over the GPRS backbone. The user packet. User packets over the GPRS backbone in ‘containers’ The protocol that performs the tunnelling in GPRS is called GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP). UDP). is carried inside a GTP packet. SGSN r Use et k pac User packet User packet GGSN Use pack r et Use pack r et The stream of containers forming a tunnel. We can say that we transport GTP packets between the SGSN and the GGSN. 16 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. this type of virtual stream of containers is called a tunnel. The GTP packets then contain the actual user packets.0 . Figure 7. The tunnel ID includes the user IMSI (and another user specific number). This is shown in Figure 8.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 5 Transfer of packets between GSNs User data packets are sent over the GPRS backbone in 'containers'. IP packets are used to carry the GTP packets. We say that the GSNs are performing tunnelling of user packets. a TCP/IP packet that carries some part of an e-mail. see Figure 7. When a packet coming from an external packet network arrives at the GGSN. including the tunnel ID (TID). for example. will tell the receiving GSN who the user is. it seems like he/she is connected directly via a router (the GGSN) to external networks. The TID is a label that tells the SGSN and the GGSN.

Transfer of packets between the GGSN and the MS 6-64442 Issue 4. All the network elements (the GSNs. for example. They are what we call private IP addresses. GTP container From the point of view of the user and the external network. The chosen technology for the GPRS backbone is IP. or Frame Relay. the user packets are carried in the GPRS core between the SGSN and the GGSN using the private IP addresses of the GPRSbackbone. the charging gateway. user data using 'public' IP addresses IP GTP IP Tunnel GTP IP backbone data using private IP addresses IP MS SGSN GGSN Figure 9. X. That is. Figure 10 shows the GTP tunnel related to the user payload.g.0 © Nokia Oyj 17 (55) .25. a TCP/IP packet carrying e-mail Who is the user? To which GSN? Figure 8. Figure 9 shows a close-up of the user and backbone IP address levels. ATM. etc. the GTP packets that contain the user packets could be transferred between the GSNs using any technology. and the relationship between the protocol stacks in the Gi and Gn interfaces.Transfer of packets between GSNs IP (+TCP/UDP) GSN IPaddress THE GTP PACKET Tunnel ID: IMSI… User packet E. This concept of tunnelling and hiding backbone addresses ('private') to the user level is illustrated in the following figures.) connected to the GPRS backbone must have an IP address. IP addresses used in the backbone are invisible to the MS and to the external networks.

18 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4.0 .GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols HLR BTS BSC SS7 SGSN MSC/ VLR GPRS Core Network GGSN Internet Server USER PAYLOAD GTP UDP IP L2 L1 Tunnelled payload APP TCP/UDP IP L2 L1 Figure 10. GTP tunnelling and user payload Note For additional information on the GPRS transmission protocols. see the Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols.

1. For class-A and class-B mobile terminals. there is cell reselection. SMS through GPRS is achieved by the Gd interface (SGSN to Gateway MSC). • • 6.1 SGSN to MSC/VLR interface (Gs) The Nokia solution includes the SGSN to MSC/VLR interface (Gs). a parameter in the HLR indicates if the SMS will be delivered via GPRS or via GSM channels. For each subscriber. 6-64442 Issue 4. 6.3 SMS through GPRS Nokia GPRS supports the sending of SMSs via the GPRS network. There is an option in the GPRS specifications to enable network controlled cell reselection. which is made autonomously by the mobile. This requires GPRS terminals to send measurement results to the BSS.Nokia GPRS solution 6 Nokia GPRS solution 6. This will give the following functions: • Class-A and B GPRS mobiles can receive paging for circuit switched calls via GPRS channels. Combined routing area and location area attaches and updates.2 Cell reselection There are no handovers as such in GPRS. an association is made in the VLR and SGSN to indicate that they refer to the same physical mobile.1.1 Nokia GPRS functionality This section describes the capabilities of the Nokia GPRS solution. The parameters used by the mobile for cell reselection are sent from the network and can be different for each cell.1. Instead. 6. Combined detaches from GPRS and circuit switched services.0 © Nokia Oyj 19 (55) . The GPRS is then suspended and the mobile moves to circuit switched mode to start the call. This is more efficient for GPRS mobiles using SMS since it frees up the GSM signalling channels for other purposes.

6.1. so implementing GPRS will not reduce the quality of service (QoS) given to speech.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 6.and circuit switched data subscribers. rather than connecting via the public Internet.5 Roaming A Border Gateway (see Figure 11) enables users to use a secure GPRStunnelled connection to their home network when roaming (via an inter-operator backbone network). Operator A (Home network) GGSN GPRS Backbone IP Network Border Gateway Internet GGSN Operator B Inter PLMN backbone network GPRS backbone IP network Border Gateway Roaming user Secure GPRS Tunnelled Connection Figure 11. Roaming via Border Gateway and Inter-PLMN network' 6.4 Charging Charging information is collected by the SGSN and GGSN.1. or 20 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. Circuit switched calls always have priority over GPRS traffic. because all services are provided by the GGSN itself.7 Access to Internet Direct Internet Connection (transparent access) access is the simplest way to connect to the Internet.1.1. the total circuit switched capacity is available for use by GPRS dynamically. 6.6 Quality of Service In each cell. where it is processed and forwarded to the billing system. If a guaranteed minimum quality of service for GPRS users is required. it is possible to reserve a number of timeslots per cell that can only be used for GPRS traffic.0 . and is then delivered to the Nokia Charging Gateway.

external ISP or corporate network. is defined in the subscriber data in the HLR.0 © Nokia Oyj 21 (55) . The RADIUS and DHCP clients included in the Nokia GGSN can retrieve IP addresses from corresponding servers located. DHCP and RADIUS server access The Nokia solution supports both static IP address allocation (defined in the HLR) and dynamic IP address allocation.Direct Internet connection The address and netmask of the AP will be dictated by the network configuration of the operator's ISP backbone. either from: • • RADIUS/DHCP servers within the operators network. Transparent access . The Internet ISP backbone sees the AP as a router. The Nokia GPRS solution includes features that allow offering of secure and reliable corporate access solutions. Multiple access points One Nokia GGSN can connect to many corporate intranets.Nokia GPRS solution to be more exact. in corporate networks. For each GPRS subscriber.1. GPRS backbone IP Network MS BTS BSC SGSN GGSN AP Ethernet ISP Backbone Figure 12. 6-64442 Issue 4.8 Corporate access solutions A key difference for an operator will be the ability to provide secure connections to corporate networks (and hence capture the corporate's complete mobile telecommunications business). the access point (AP) used (that is. which external network to connect the user to). or from The GGSN's internal address pool. the access point (AP). This is illustrated in Figure 12. the GGSN internal pool can be used to allocate IP addresses. 6. and the mobile stations (MSs) as nodes in the AP's subnet. Small corporate intranets may not have a RADIUS server. In this case. which is associated with the physical interface to the Internet. This also allows the subscriber to be authenticated against the corporate intranet server (non-transparent access). for example.

and FR 22 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. and accounting). When the GPRS and intranet operators sign an interworking agreement.RADIUS . MAC. part of the service is provided outside the GPRS operator’s network. In addition.2 Nokia Base Station Subsystem (BSS) The functions performed by the Nokia BSS elements to support GPRS include: • • • Communication with GPRS MS using CS 1-4 and MCS 1-9 (EGPRS) Separation of circuit switched (CS) and packet switched (PS) traffic and sending of the PS traffic to SGSN Support of GPRS protocols such as RLC. The AP must provide secure access to that external part.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Secure connections: Non-transparent access A dedicated and Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection or a nontransparent access to an intranet covers both corporate nets and independent ISPs. netmask and the default route can be exchanged when the agreement is made. Non-transparent access .0 .DNS Intranet Internet Service Figure 13. and cooperate with its infrastructure (for example authentication. BSSGP. it is regarded as a router and the MSs are part of its subnet. In this case. GPRS backbone IP Network MS BTS BSC SGSN GTP GGSN AP AP ISP Backbone Infra servers . they should also define RADIUS addresses and (if necessary) DHCP server addresses. address allocation.Dedicated and VPN connections Whether the AP is connected to a VPN device or an intranet. 6.

1 BTS All Nokia 2nd-generation. If needed. new plug-in units are required in the BSC.WCDMA networking for inter-system handover and hence seamless services to end-users MS location services. Automated radio network tuning with NetAct' OSS 3. and their numbering is fixed.1. Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE).2. Most operators will have an existing GSM network that may have to be upgraded for GPRS. These changes are discussed in this section. Tri Band . These units are stated below: • • One Packet Control Unit (PCU unit) must be installed into each BCSU signalling unit of the BSC (one slot is vacant). To support GPRS. which can significantly improve speech quality and provide more capacity even in low C/I conditions.Common BCCH for GSM 900 and GSM 1800 TRX in the same cell GSM . • • • • 6.Nokia GPRS solution • • • Allocation of channels and radio blocks to MS using the USF flag Multiplexing and demultiplexing of data transmission on a TS Controlled by the NMS (network management system). since there are new internal PCM links with GPRS. One Switching Unit (SW64) must be installed into each Group Switch (GSW). The features available in the Nokia GSM/EDGE BSS10 are: • • Adaptive Multirate Codec (AMR). New EDGE-capable TRX will be introduced for the UltraSite and MetroSite.2. new ET cartridges (ET5C) could also be installed. these might already be installed. In a fully configured BSC. which will enable location-based services to be offered.2 BSC Implementing GPRS has no effect on the capacity of the Nokia BSC to handle circuit switched calls. 6. Talk-family.0 © Nokia Oyj 23 (55) . which should increase the air interface throughput by a factor of 3. • 6-64442 Issue 4. Nokia PrimeSite and Nokia MetroSite BTSs support GPRS coding schemes CS1 and CS2 without any hardware changes.

TCHs of 32 TRXs. 24 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. each BCSU must have one PCU. FR) required for GPRS operation and handles GPRS channel allocation and radio resource management functions. The following specifications apply to the PCU: • • • • • BSC contains eight active and one redundant PCU in a n+1 configuration. that is.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Figure 14. The PCU also supports the new protocols (RLC. One PCU can handle 256 GPRS channels.0 . One PCU can be connected to a maximum of 64 BTSs and/or 64 cells. A BSC must be fully (hardware) equipped. The data processing capacity of one PCU is 2 Mbit/s. but the number of active PCUs is determined by software licence. that is. New plug-in units in BSC for GPRS Nokia PCU unit The PCU unit is a new plug-in unit of the BCSU. MAC. It takes care of switching GPRS traffic between Abis interface (TRAU frames) and Gb interfaces (FR) using the Group Switch (GSW).

The HLR supports procedures such as GPRS attach/detach and authentication.Nokia GPRS solution • Each PCU has a separate frame relay interface to the SGSN (Gb interface). and Equipment Identity Registry (EIR) is based on the DX200 switching platform. The interface is implemented using MAP v.3. 6-64442 Issue 4.3 Nokia Core Network Subsystem (CNS) 6. As for circuit switched services. from two to 31 PCM timeslots. It combines the functions of a digital switching platform with the functions necessary for interfacing between the GSM Base Station Subsystem (BSS) and IP backbone networks. To allow support for terminals attached to both GSM and GPRS services (A and B type). subscriber information for GPRS is stored in the Home Location Register (HLR). one new parameter per subscriber has been added in the HLR to indicate whether short messages should be delivered via the MSC or the SGSN.3 Nokia Serving GPRS Support Nodes The Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) of a GPRS network is equivalent to the MSC of a GSM network.3. 6.1 MSC/VLR The MSC/VLR is not involved in GPRS data transfer. This interface supports paging and combined LA and RA update procedures for class-A and B mobiles. This can be configured in 64 kbit/s steps. 6. For SMS support.2 HLR and EIR The Nokia-combined Home Location Register (HLRi).3. Nokia has implemented the Gs interface between the MSC/VLR and the SGSN.3. Authentication Centre (AC).0 © Nokia Oyj 25 (55) . Nokia has implemented interfaces between the HLR and SGSN (Gr) and the Equipment Identity Register (EIR) and SGSN (Gf). but supports signalling for class-A and class-B mobiles as well as SMS delivery. 6.

collects charging and statistical information. but communicate when and as necessary using a common message bus. This network is not directly accessible from the public Internet. and provides flexible network management interfaces.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Figure 15. The Nokia SGSN consists of a number of functional units. These functional units have independent tasks. The number of BSCs connected to a SGSN depends on the amount of data traffic expected. There must at least one SGSN in a GPRS network. it handles signalling interfaces with the MSC/VLR and HLR. One SGSN can support BSCs working under several different MSCs. as well as user data compression to and from the terminal. The SGSN consists 26 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. but only a simple overview of them to give an understanding. Additional functions performed by the Nokia SGSN include mobile terminal authentication and mobility management. The SGSN can be physically located at the MSC or BSC site. It is not the intention of this section to give a complete explanation of all the units in this section. The SGSN is connected to the GPRS network via the GPRS backbone. each with its own processor and back-up facility carrying out a number of tasks. The Nokia SGSN The SGSN is connected to one or several BSCs (Base Station Controllers) by the Gb interface.0 . The GPRS backbone is a private network that provides IP connectivity between the GPRS network elements in order to carry signalling. It then passes the data to the relevant GGSN when a connection to an external data network is required. traffic and charging data. The primary function of the Nokia SGSN is to convert the IP network protocol to the protocols used in the BSS and the mobile terminal. Finally.

Gd. Operation and Maintenance Unit IOMU) The OMU acts as an interface between the user and the exchange and takes automatic recovery measures. It supports the SMS delivering procedure forwarding the short messages either to SMS-GMSC through Gd interface or to the MS after checking related subscriber information on the visiting GPRS subscriber database. a Group Switch (GSW) used for semi-permanent connections between the SGSN and the BSS. Gs. and the SGSN and the NSS units to connect transmission systems to the GSW (Exchange Terminal. and Gf. the CDRs are saved and transferred off-line to Billing and Customer Care System (BCCS).Nokia GPRS solution • Packet Processing Unit (PAPU) The main purpose of the PAPU is to process user data and protocol conversion between the BSS and the GPRS backbone network and vice versa. and deactivation. system configuration administration. and system management. location management. If CG is not present in the GPRS network. It takes care of ciphering and compression between the MS and SGSN. and is responsible for establishing and releasing all connections. Up to 16 + 1 PAPUs can be found in a Nokia SGSN Signalling and Mobility Management Unit (SMMU) The main purpose of the SMMU is to support subscriber mobility management using SS7-based interfaces Gr. Up to 4 + 1 SMMU can be within a Nokia SGSN. as well as SMS delivery. ET). and GPRS detach. the SMMU handles all the combined GPRS/GSM mobility management for those GPRS and IMSI attached subscribers that have class A or B capabilities. similar to the VLR in a MSC. The tasks of the Operation and Maintenance Unit include traffic control functions. modification. If Gs interface is implemented. It has a temporary storage for GPRS subscriber data called visiting GPRS subscriber database.0 © Nokia Oyj 27 (55) . It is responsible for session management (SM) including PDP context activation. based on its collected fault data. and a high-speed Message Bus (MB) for interconnecting computer units • • • • • • 6-64442 Issue 4. Marker and Charging Unit (MCHU) The Charging Unit within the MCHUcollects and stores charging information. hunts free circuits. maintenance. generates call detail records (CDRs) and transfers them to Charging Gateway (CG) through the Ga interface. The Marker within the MCHU controls and supervises the group switch (GSW). as needed. It handles the GPRS mobility management (GMM) procedures such as GPRS attach.

and cause for record close. Unit (OMU) Packet Processing Unit (PAPU) Charging Figure 16. and access point name. whereas the MCHU.Gs. This relates to the network or services used. Logical architecture of the Nokia SGSN The main units supporting GPRS are PAPU and SMMU.3. Unit Sync. 28 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. Unit (SMMU) 2N WDU WDU Marker & Charging Unit (MCHU) 2N Operation & Maintain. PDP context active time.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Exchange Exchange Terminal Terminal (ET) (ET) Gb (to BSC) Gr. PDP IP address. data volume uplink or downlink. The SMMU and PAPU have N+1 redundancy. MB. for example. Charging in GGSN Various charging information is provided. Gd (to NSS) Clock and Clock and Sync.0 . OMU. 6. tariff change. GSW and CLS have 2N redundancy. static or dynamic IP address usage. The main functions of the GGSN are: • • • • • • Interfacing the GPRS backbone to external data networks GTP tunnelling to the SGSN Gathering of charging and statistics information Network management interfaces Dynamic IP address allocation to mobile station (MS) Protecting the GPRS backbone from external attacks. Unit (CLS) (CLS) Group Group Switch Switch (GSW) (GSWB) N+1 Gn (to GGSN) N+1 Signalling & Mobility Man.4 Nokia Gateway GPRS Support Nodes The Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) provides the interconnection between the GPRS network and external packet data networks such as the Internet. Each of the functional units is described in the following chapters.

Nokia GPRS solution GGSN interworking services The allocation of IP addresses can be carried out by one of the following: • • • GGSN allocates the address from an internal pool. Various connections between GPRS and external networks 6-64442 Issue 4. Internal RADIUS client can be used to access a RADIUS server in the intranet or ISP network. The virtual connections run between the VPN software in the GGSN and the VPN software in the accessed intranet. Figure 17. Indirect connection to an intranet employing a Virtual Private Network (VPN).0 © Nokia Oyj 29 (55) . Internal DHCP client can be used to access a DHCP server in the intranet or ISP network. The exact functions provided by interconnecting networks depend on which of the following three connection options is required (see Figure 17): • • • Direct Internet connection to an existing ISP infrastructure owned by the operator Dedicated connection to an intranet outside the operator's network.

as shown in Figure 18. The SGSN sends four CDR types: 30 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. The GGSN informs SGSN to which CG unit it sends CDRs. that is the G-CDR.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 6. If GSNs send CDRs to the CCB.3. • • When a subscriber switches the terminal on. This means more workload. In the Nokia GPRS solution. If CG is in GSNs. Why is that? • Better service for the operator: A separate mediation device is not needed. Implementation of the Nokia CG in the GPRS backbone GGSN has only one type of CDRs. is used to transfer CDRs to the CCB. GTP' SGSN Charging gateway Billing System Operator IP backbone GTP' GGSN Border Gateway Inter operator IP network Internet Figure 18. there are as many access points to the CCB as there are GSNs. the CG is a stand-alone network element. the PDP context is activated and the GGSN starts to send CDRs to the CG. ETSI gives the following two possibilities to implement the CG functionality: • • Stand-alone Integrated in GSNs (SGSN and GGSN).0 . GTP' (enhanced GPRS Tunnel Protocol). a mediation device is needed because GSNs are not able to send Charging Detailed Records (CDRs) to the Customer Care and Billing System (CCB).5 Nokia Charging Gateway (CG) CG and CDRs In the GPRS standardisation. An ETSI-specified real-time transfer protocol. Each CG has one access point to the CCB.

Nokia CG benefits CG offers the following major benefits: • • Reliable storage capability for CDRs. 2. M-CDR is for mobility management. If one CG is down. eliminating the need for costly and failure risk storage capabilities at the GSNs Fast transfer of CDRs from the GSNs and CG hot billing internal architecture are future-proof for hot billing and prepaid. The CG forms an intermediate storage for the CDRs. 3&4.0 © Nokia Oyj 31 (55) . S-CDR – The content is like G-CDR plus some other fields. FTP over TCP/IP and NFS are implemented in CG. CG functionality The Nokia Charging Gateway will consolidate and pre-process the CDRs before passing them to the billing system. In normal conditions all CDRs from the same PDP context are transferred to the same CG. SMS-CDR The GPRS Charging Gateway receives CDRs from GGSNs and SGSNs using a real-time transfer protocol (GTP’). The CG validates and consolidates CDRs. in case of customer complaints. Automated validation makes it easier to detect errors. Standard billing system interfaces FTAM.Nokia GPRS solution 1. The CG implementation enables the auditing and tracing of every phase of CDR processing. enabling credit control and fraud detection in an early phase. and produces them in a format suitable for the Customer Care and Billing System (CCBS). no long-term storing capabilities are required at GSNs. • • • An overview of the CG functions and management is shown in Figure 19. Therefore. a redundancy procedure built in the GTP' protocol allows the transfer of CDRs from the GSNs towards other CGs. for example. Reduction of the CCB processing load by pre-processing and consolidating The audit trail function enables tracing of CDR-processing phases and CDR contents. 6-64442 Issue 4.

4 Nokia Network Management System (NMS) The Nokia solution to support the operation of a network is known as the Nokia NetAct. CG functions 6. independent of technology. All the functions are brought together in a common framework and are connected to the physical network elements through a UMA (Unified Mediation and Adaptation) object. 32 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. NetAct provides a full-scale management capability for both packet data and traditional voice traffic. Nokia has launched the Nokia NetAct Framework in order to support the transition from 2G to 3G. it is possible to deploy new technologies with the same system that manages the current infrastructure. which allows NetAct to talk to Nokia elements and 3rd party systems. The following figure illustrates the different functions that the NetAct supports. The structure of the solution is not built around the technology but the functions and processes that an operator must perform to ensure the operation of the business.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Charging Gateway Management SGSN • Receiving CDRs from GSNs • Real-time transfer protocol • Fixed CDR format (Rel 1) GGSN • Configuration management • CDR transfer settings • backup/restore • tariff changes • Fault management • current alarms • alarm history • Performance management • KPIs • Time management • synchronising with other NEs • Security management • Interfaces towards Billing System / CCB Billing System • CDR transfer towards BS • password settings • Management methods • SNMP CG • Intermediate CDR storage • CDR consolidation • Pre-processing • Handling erroneous CDRs Figure 19. Thanks to this.0 . It also extends the multivendor integration capability of the Network Management System (NMS).

BTS) themselves provide the necessary functions on commissioning.Nokia GPRS solution Workflow Manager Workflow Manager Planner Planner Configurator & Configurator & Provisioning Provisioning Monitor Monitor Service Quality Service Quality Manager Manager Common network typology Common WEB GUI Reporter Reporter Administrator Administrator 3rd Party Tools 3rd Party Tools Rating & Rating & Charging Charging Unified Mediation Unified Mediation and Adaptation and Adaptation Network Network Figure 20. setting up. or troubleshooting the individual equipment.etc. MIS = management information system Figure 21.) functionality • monitor the functioning of the equipment • collect raw data (performance indicators) • local GUI provided for site engineers • mediate towards the NMS system Service Management Systems CCB Planning System Network Management Systems NMS Element Management Systems BTS BTS AXC NE y RNC NE x NE = network element. How the TMN is visualised in the Nokia GSM/UMTS solution 6-64442 Issue 4. Business Management Systems MIS Functions of Service management systems: • take care of subcriber data • provision services and subscribers • collect and rate. promote and monitor services Network management system (NMS): • collect information from the underlying networks and pre/post-process the raw data • analyse and distribute information • optimise network capacity and quality Element management systems (EM): • EMs are part of the NE (RNC. CCB = customer care and billing. BTS.0 © Nokia Oyj 33 (55) .g. Nokia NMS − sitting on top of the managed network elements − provides tools for making large-scale modifications at the network level. Nokia NetAct Framework The Nokia network elements (e. bill offered services • create. AXC. RNC. AXC.

This results in major savings. Element Management IP Core Development • IP Core Planning • IP Core Implementation • IP Core Analysis Management Data Nokia NMS for UMTS • Shared Applications • Common Resources • Shared Processes Internet / Intranet Figure 22. The tasks include capacity planning and IP routing set-up in order to ensure proper functionality of this transport network.1 IP configuration management In the Nokia NMS solution. so the needed configurations of the IP elements are always visible to O&M personnel from any O&M screen. Management of the IP backbone in the Nokia NetAct 34 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. both in time and O&M resources. so shared management methods can be used.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 6.4. Special emphasis has been placed on security management applications. IP core network planning can be integrated into the operator's general network planning process. the technology differences between IP and other subnetworks have been scaled down.0 . access to the actual element can be supported by web-based applications. In the element management layer.

CG. GGSN.1 GPRS architecture: key points • • A GPRS network is expected to perform the functions of GSM network and data network. The functions of the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN)are the following: − − − − − • Routing mobile-destined packets from external networks to relevant SGSN Routing packets originating from an MS to the correct external network Interfacing to external IP networks Collecting charging data and traffic statistics Allocating dynamic IP addresses to mobiles either by itself or with the help of a DHCP or a RADIUS server. The new elements of the GPRS network are the PCU.0 © Nokia Oyj 35 (55) . • The functions of the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) are the following: − − − − − Converting protocols used in IP backbone to protocols used in the BSS and MS Handling of authentication and mobility management Routing data to relevant GGSN when connecting to an external network Collecting charging data and traffic statistics Handling of ciphering and data compression. BG. • The interfaces in the GPRS network are the following: − − − − Gb SGSN to BSS Gn between GSNs (GTP) Gr between SGSN and HLR (MAP) Gs SGSN to MSC (BSSAP+) 6-64442 Issue 4. SGSN. DNS. and Firewalls.Key points 7 Key points 7.

7. Capacity Estimation Tool. and produces them in a format suitable for the Customer Care and Billing System (CCBS). Automated radio network tuning. Multivendor Integration ( Corba Integration Kit. The CG validates and consolidated CDRs. Service Access Control. The tunnelling protocol in GPRS is called the GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP) over the GPRS backbone. NMS backup.2 Nokia GPRS solution: key points • The components of the Nokia GPRS solution are: the Nokia SGSN. the Nokia GGSN. MS location services. Radio Network Management (Automatic Picocell Planning. The new features in T12 are Capacity Indication Tool. The capacity of the Nokia SGSN: − − − − • • Maximum attached subscriber capacity 120 000 (SG1)/ 240 000 (SG2) Up to 300 000 short messages in the busy hour Mean switching capacity of 48 Mbit/s (SG1) and 100 Mbit/sec (SG2) Capacity can be configured in steps of 25% of maximum capacity. • The Nokia CG is a stand-alone element.Common BCCH.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols − − − − • • • Gi Gf GGSN to external data networks SGSN and the EIR (MAP) Gd between SGSN and the GMSC (SMSC) Ga between GSNs and CG. ASCII Alarm Forwarding feature). GSM-WCDMA networking. Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE). Nokia Charging Gateway (CG). Tri Band . Nokia BSC. the packets with private IP addresses have to transmitted through a public network packets of one protocols have to be sent through a network that does not understand it for security reasons. The features available in the Nokia GSM/EDGE BSS10 are adaptive multirate codec (AMR). b. the Nokia NMS for GPRS and the Nokia BTSs. the Nokia LIG.0 . which collects CDRs from GSNs. c. The backbone is an IP network. Tunnelling is the process by which user packets are transported encapsulated in containers and transported through a network. Tunnelling is used when: a. Channel • 36 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4.

6-64442 Issue 4. Backbone Name and Address Management). Basic Report Set) and Routing Area IP manager.Key points Finder). Firewall and VPN Management. GPRS backbone management (Configuration. GPRS Performance Management (ASCII Interface for GPRS Measurement Data.0 © Nokia Oyj 37 (55) .

4.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 8 Review questions 1. 2. Draw the GPRS architecture including the main GPRS network elements. 6. 5. 3. 7. What are the functions of SGSN? What are the functions of GGSN? Which interfaces exist in GPRS (draw into sketch in Question 1)? Which protocol is used on each of the interfaces? What is GTP? Why is GTP used? What modifications need to be performed to Nokia BTS? 38 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4.0 . 8.

Review questions 9.0 © Nokia Oyj 39 (55) . What are the important specifications for the Nokia PCU solution? 6-64442 Issue 4.

and it has to be transmitted from the GGSN to the external PDN. and the SGSN. how user data is exchanged • • • 40 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. which is interfacing the BSS and locally serving the GPRS Ms. This is done with the protocols SNDCP and LLC (see figure below). peer-topeer level. The user data transfer is organised via the interface Gi. The user data transfer can be decomposed into several steps: • The user data has to be transmitted from the external PDN to the GGSN. which is interfacing the external PDN. PCU/BSC. The signalling plane contains many protocols that are already employed in existing GSM network elements. Overview of protocols used in GPRS A GPRS network introduces many new protocols designed to convey user data in a reliable and secure way. BTS/CCU are now responsible for the user data transfer.0 . The transmission is organised on a logical level peer-to-peer between the SGSN and GPRS MS. Signalling plane protocols are used to convey signalling information that controls and supports the transmission plane functions. Information is passed between the existing GSM network and the GPRS network by employing protocols on two separate planes: • • Transmission plane protocols are used for the transmission of user data and control functions. such as the Internet or corporate data networks.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 9 Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols 1. The subscriber’s packets (PDU) have to be exchanged between the GGSN. that a connection between the MS and the external PDN has been established. 2 GPRS transmission plane protocols When looking at the transmission protocols. User data has to be transmitted in a well defined way between the SGSN and the MS. The transmission plane protocols convey user data in the form of IP datagrams from the mobile station to external networks. Lower layer protocols define. SGSN. The user data transfer between the two network entities is organised based on the Gninterface specification. The network elements GGSN. The SNDCP and LLC protocol are used to specify the user data exchange between the GPRS MS and the SGSN on a logical. we can assume.

(Note: the subject is easier to understand for a beginner. while • the protocols RLC. Transmission plane protocols 2.1 Transmission protocols in the Gn interface The Gn interface forms the GPRS backbone network. and GSM RF (Radio Frequency Layer and Physical Link Layer) organise the user data transport between PCU + CCU and the GPRS MS. MAC. (see figure below).25 Relay SND GTP CP LLC Relay RLC BSS GP MAC GSM RF NS L1bis LLC: MAC: RLC: IP/ X. if he assumes the PCU and CCU to be realised at the BSC site. L2.) MS Relay Um BSS Gb SGSN Gn GGSN Relay IP/ X. Only the highest layer protocol. IP.25 IP/ X.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols between the BSS network elements and SGSN and GPRS MS. The protocols BSSAP and NS are responsible for user data transmission between SGSN and PCU. and TCP/UDP form a transmission network solution. The protocol layers L1.25 Gi Router Application/ Higher level protocols IP/ X. the GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP) is GPRS specific. 6-64442 Issue 4. based on standard Internet protocols or standard layer 1 and 2 link protocols.0 © Nokia Oyj 41 (55) .25 SND CP LLC RLC GTP IP/ X.25 UDP / TCP IP L2 L1 UDP / TCP IP L2 L1 L2‘ L1‘ L2‘ L1‘ BSS GP NS L1bis L2‘ L1‘ BSSGP: NS: GTP: IP: MAC GSM RF BSS GPRS Protocol Network Service GPRS Tunnelling Protocol Internet Protocol Logical Link Control Medium Access Control Radio Link Control SNDCP: SubNetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol TCP: Transmission Control Protocol UDP: User Datagram Protocol Figure 23.

25 IP / X. TCP or UDP are used to carry the GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP) PDUs across the GPRS backbone network.25 data and UDP is used for user IP data and signalling in the Gn interface.1. GPRS Tunnelling Protocol principle 2. The relay function in the SGSN relays the user PDP (Packet Data Protocol) PDUs (IP or X. The GPRS backbone network carries the subscriber IP or X. This makes the GPRS backbone IP network invisible to the subscribers and vice versa. • depends on agreement Figure 24.25 traffic in a secure GPRS tunnel.25 GTP Gi PDN (z.0 .1. All data from the mobile subscribers or external networks is tunnelled in the GPRS backbone. The GTP can have proprietary extensions to allow proprietary features.25) between the Gb and the Gn interfaces.2 GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP) The GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP) allows multi-protocol packets to be tunnelled through the GPRS backbone between GPRS Support Nodes (GSNs). TCP is used for user X. This is illustrated above.25 TCP Transmission Control Protocol TCP Transmission Control Protocol IP Internet Protocol IP Internet Protocol L2 Link Layer L2 Link Layer L2‘ Link Layer L2‘ Link Layer L1 Physical Layer L1 Physical Layer L1‘ Physical Layer L1‘ Physical Layer • outside the scope of the Rec. Transport The L1 and the L2 protocols are vendor dependent OSI layer 1 and 2 protocols that carry the IP datagrams for the GPRS backbone network between the SGSN and the GGSN. SGSN • PDU en-/decapsulation • Tunnelling protocol between GSNs • Signalling between GSNs • TCP: reliable • UDP: unreliable but fast • UDP = minimum solution in NSS • IPv4 or IPv6 • path selection (next hop) • datagram format adjustment • outside the scope of the Rec.25.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 2. • operator dependent Gn GGSN Relay IP/X.1. The Internet Protocol (IP) datagram in the Gn interface is internally used in the GPRS backbone network. . IP) GTP UDP User Datagram Protocol GPRS Tunnelling Protocol UDP User Datagram Protocol IP / X. X. The GPRS backbone (core) network and the GPRS subscribers use different IP addresses.B. 42 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4.

Two modes of operation of the GTP layer are therefore supported for information transfer between the GGSN and SGSN. A GTP tunnel is necessary for forwarding packets between an external packet data network and an MS.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols GTP is defined both for the Gn interface. In the transmission plane.25. The GTP layer supports both modes simultaneously. A TCP/IP path is used when the user data is based on connectionoriented protocols. The UDP/IP and TCP/IP are examples of paths that may be used to multiplex GTP tunnels. The NSAPI (Network Service Access Point Identifier) is a fixed value between 0 and 15 that identifies a certain PDP context. such as the SGSNs and GGSNs. • • unacknowledged (UDP/IP) acknowledged (TCP/IP).0 © Nokia Oyj 43 (55) . 6-64442 Issue 4. A UDP/IP path is used when the user data is based on connectionless protocols. such as X. The GTP protocol header being added to user data A GTP tunnel is defined by two associated PDP contexts in different GSN nodes and is identified by a Tunnel ID (TID). The choice of path is dependent on whether the user data to be tunnelled requires a reliable link or not. user IP Data GTP Layer GTP GTP Header Header User Data Payload (T-PDU) User Data Payload (T-PDU) (user IP Data) (user IP Data) UDP Layer UDP UDP Header Header GTP GTP Header Header User Data Payload (T-PDU) User Data Payload (T-PDU) (user IP Datagram) (user IP Datagram) Backbone IP Layer GPRS GPRS Backbone IP Backbone IP Header Header UDP UDP Header Header GTP GTP Header Header User Data Payload (T-PDU) User Data Payload (T-PDU) (user IP Datagram) (user IP Datagram) Figure 25. and the Gp interface between GSNs in different PLMNs. the tunnel created by the signalling plane is used to carry user data packets between network elements connected to the GPRS backbone network. for example. It identifies a PDP context belonging to a specific MM context ID. The Tunnel ID identifies the MM and PDP contexts (MM Context ID and a NSAPI). that is. No other systems need to be aware of GTP. the MSs are connected to a SGSN without being aware of GTP. the interface between GSNs within the same PLMN. such as IP.

0 . • • • The content of the GTP header differs depending on whether the header is used for signalling messages or user data (T-PDUs). Higher layer peer-to-peer transmission between SGSN and MS The protocols are responsible for a peer-to-peer user data transmission between MS and SGSN: • • Subnetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol Layer (SNDCP) Logical Link Control Layer (LLC). A TID (Tunnel Identifier) that points out MM and PDP contexts. A Sequence Number to provide a transaction identity for signalling messages and a growing sequence number for tunnelled T-PDUs.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols The GTP header The GTP header contains 16 octets and is used for all GTP messages. The T-PDU is the payload that is tunnelled in the GTP tunnel). Tunnel ID (TID) format The Tunnel Identifier (TID) consists of the following: • • • • Mobile Country Code (MCC) Mobile Network Code (MNC) Mobile Subscriber Identification Number (MSIN) Network Service Access Point Identifier (NSAPI) These represent the MM and PDP contexts. The information contained in the GTP header includes the following: • • • The type of GTP message (signalling messages = 1-52. (A T-PDU is an IP datagram from an MS or a network node in an external packet data network. 2. but when used for data transmission the GTP message type = 255). The length of the GTP message (G-PDU) in octets.2. An LLC frame number that is used for the Inter SGSN Routing Update procedure to co-ordinate the data transmission on the link layer between the MS and the SGSN. A flag to indicate whether an LLC frame number is included or not. 44 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4.

It also performs segmentation. there is no confirmation required for LLU-PDUs. It is independent of lower layers.25 packets) and the lower layers. The LLC layer retransmits LLC-PDUs if confirmation has not been received within a certain timeout period. SMS) LLC Relay RLC Radio Link Control LLC Logical Link Control BSSGP RLC BSS GP BSS GPRS Protocol MAC Medium Access Control MAC GSM RF FR L1bis FR Frame Relay L1bis Physical Layer GSM RF Figure 26.25 • compression • multiplexing/de-multiplexing • segmentation & re-assembly Um Gb SGSN SNDCP SNDCP SubNetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol • logical connection • acknowledge/ unacknowledged peer-to-peer operation • ciphering • SAPs to higher layer (SNDCP. Higher Layer peer-to-peer user data transport 2. Two modes of operation of the LLC layer are defined for information transfer: unacknowledged and acknowledged. The LLC layer is responsible to transmit • • • signalling and control information. In unacknowledged mode. and Subnetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol (SNDCP) packets. 6-64442 Issue 4. SNDCP provides a mapping and compression function between the network layer (IP or X. GMM.0 © Nokia Oyj 45 (55) . and multiplexing. reassembly. the receipt of LLC-PDUs is confirmed.2. SMS.1 Logical Link Control (LLC) The Logical Link Control (LLC) layer offers a secure and reliable logical link between the MS and the SGSN for upper layer protocols. In acknowledged mode.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols MS IP / X. The LLC layer can support both modes simultaneously.

the LLC layer offers he following two options: • • Transport of "protected" information means that if errors occur within the LLC information field. Multiplexing of network protocols LLC provides the services necessary to maintain a ciphered data link between an MS and an SGSN. TLLI is used for addressing at the LLC layer. The LLC layer supports several different QoS delay classes with different transfer delay characteristics. • Figure 27. which is used to identify the points where the LLC provides a service to a higher layer. the frame will be discarded. TLLI is the Temporary Logical Link Identity. and user data are multiplexed to the lower layers in the following way : • SAPI is the Service Access Point Identifier. The network layer protocols for signalling. Transport of "unprotected" information means that if errors occur within the LLC information field. which unambiguously identifies the logical link between the MS and SGSN. In unacknowledged mode. the frame will not be discarded.0 . 46 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. SAPIs have different priorities. SMS.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Signalling and SMS is transferred in unacknowledged mode.

the maximum LLC PDU length and the LLC protocol timer values. The set of protocol entities above the SNDCP consists of commonly used network protocols. More than one NSAPIs may be associated with the same SAPI. the existing connection is released and a new logical connection is established with the new SGSN. This is achieved by means of compression techniques. In order to allow LLC to operate with a variety of different radio interface protocols. In the LLC header.2 SNDCP (Subnetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol) Network layer protocols are intended to be capable of operating over a wide variety of subnetworks and data links. GPRS supports several network layer protocols providing protocol transparency for the users of the service. The maximum length of an LLC PDU shall not be greater than 1600 octets minus the BSSGP protocol control information. 6-64442 Issue 4. The LLC protocol link is established between the MS and the SGSN upon GPRS attach. To enable the introduction of new network layer protocols to be transferred over GPRS without any changes to GPRS. 2. LLC is independent of the underlying radio interface protocols. all functions related to the transfer of Network layer Protocol Data Units (N-PDUs) are carried out in a transparent way by the GPRS network. One subscriber may have several PDP contexts and NSAPIs. The GPRS Tunnelling Protocol (GTP) establishes a tunnel between the SGSN and the GGSN at PDP context activation. for example. the NSAPI (Network layer Service Access Point Identifier) identifies which application inside the MS the packet belongs to.2. When the MS moves to a cell being served by a different SGSN. it may be necessary to adjust. The Network Service Access Point Identifier (NSAPI) is an index to the PDP context of the PDP that is using the services provided by the SNDCP (see Figure 4).0 © Nokia Oyj 47 (55) . Each active NSAPI uses the services provided by the Service Access Point Identifier (SAPI) in the LLC layer.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols The LLC connection is maintained as the MS moves between cells served by the same SGSN. A logical communication pipe is established between the GGSN and the MS through a SGSN. and to ensure optimum performance. Another requirement of the SNDCP is to provide functions that help to improve channel efficiency. They all use the same SNDCP entity. This is one of the requirements of SNDCP. which then performs multiplexing of data coming from different sources to be transferred using the service provided by the LLC layer. Such adjustments can be made through negotiation between the MS and the SGSN.

NS. and L1bis 48 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4.0 .3 Transmission protocols in the Gb interface (BSS layers) BSS (PCU) Gb SGSN SNDCP SubNetwork Dependent Convergence Protocol LLC Logical Link Control • LLC frame transmission (transparent) • routing information • QoS information • no error correction unreliable BSSGP PDU transport E1/T1 (PCM30/PCM24) BSSGP BSS GPRS Protocol BSSGP BSS GPRS Protocol FR Frame Relay FR Frame Relay L1bis Physical Layer L1bis Physical Layer Figure 29.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Figure 28. BSSAP. SNDCP used to multiplex different protocols 2.

GPRS signalling and user data are sent in the same transmission plane and therefore no separate dedicated physical resources are required to be allocated for signalling purposes. The following characteristics apply for the Frame Relay connection: • • • • • The maximum Frame Relay information field size is 1600 octets. or may just be provided on a point to point link between the PCU and the SGSN (if the PCU and SGSN are co-located). The Frame Relay layer offers detection of errors. Frame Relay virtual circuits are established between the SGSN and BSS. These virtual circuits may traverse a network of Frame Relay switching nodes.1 Physical Layer Protocol Several physical layer configurations and protocols are possible at the Gb interface and the physical resources are allocated by Operation & Maintenance (O&M) procedures. LLC PDUs from many users are statistically multiplexed onto these virtual circuits. in contrast to the A interface. from zero data to the maximum possible line rate (for example 1984 kbit/s. 2. Normally a G703/704 2Mbit/s connection is provided. Frame Relay is used for signalling and data transmission over the Gb interface. Bandwidth is allocated to a user upon activity (when data is sent or received) and is reallocated immediately thereafter. 6-64442 Issue 4. where a single user has the exclusive use of a dedicated physical resource throughout the lifetime of a call irrespective of activity. This is. The Frame Relay address length is two octets. 2.2 Network Services layer The Gb interface Network Services layer is based on Frame Relay. but no recovery from errors. Data rates over the Frame Relay Gb interface may vary for each user without restriction. which is the maximum available bit rate of a 2Mbit/s (E1) link).0 © Nokia Oyj 49 (55) . Frame Relay Permanent Virtual Circuits (PVC) are used. One or more Frame Relay PVCs are used between an SGSN and a BSS to transport BSSGP PDUs.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols The Gb interface allows many users to be multiplexed over the same physical link using Frame Relay (FR).3.3.

2. RLC. The main functions for the BSSGP protocol are to: • • • • • • provide a connectionless link between the SGSN and the BSS transfer data in an unconfirmed way between the SGSN and the BSS provide for bi-directional control of the data flow between the SGSN and the BSS handle paging requests from the SGSN to the BSS give support for deleting old messages in the BSS. The primary function of BSSGP is to provide Quality of Service (QoS). Link & RF Figure 30. A secondary function is to enable two physically distinct nodes.3. Link & RF GSM RF phy. If one SGSN handles multiple BSSs/PCUs. MAC. the SGSN and PCU.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 2. There is a one-to-one relationship between the BSSGP protocol in the SGSN and in the BSS/PCU.4 Transmission protocols in the Um interface (BSS protocols) MS IP / X. for example when an MS changes BSSs support multiple layer 2 links between the SGSN and the BSS. and routing information that is required to transmit user data between a BSS and an SGSN.3 Base Station System GPRS Protocol (BSSGP) The Base Station System GPRS Protocol (BSSGP) transfers control and signalling information and user data between a BSS and the SGSN over the Gb interface. the SGSN has to have one BSSGP protocol device for each BSS/PCU.25 Um BSS (PCU. CCU) SNDCP LLC • LLC segmentation/ re-assembly • acknowledged/ unacknowledged mode • Backward Error Correction BEC RLC Radio Link Control RLC Radio Link Control MAC Medium Access Control MAC Medium Access Control • Access signalling procedures • physical channel bundling • sub-multiplexing • physical channel organisation • channel coding • GSMK GSM RF phy.0 . and physical layers 50 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. to operate node management control functions.

scheduling of access attempts. Network controlled handovers are not used in the GPRS service. in response to a service request). Among other things the RF layer specifies: • • • the carrier frequency characteristics and GSM radio channel structures the radio modulation scheme used for the data the radio transmitter and receiver characteristics as well as performance requirements.4.0 © Nokia Oyj 51 (55) .4. Mobile terminated channel access. multiplexing is controlled by medium allocation to individual users (for example.1 Physical layer The physical layer can be divided into the Radio Frequency (RF) layer and the Physical Link layer. • 2. that is. the use of physical layer functions. This process is controlled by the network. On the downlink. multiplexing is controlled by a scheduling mechanism. routing area updates and cell updates are used. The Physical Link layer supports multiple MSs sharing a single physical channel and provides communication between the MSs and the network. allowing the detection and correction of transmitted code words and the indication of incorrectable code words the interleaving of one RLC Radio Block over four bursts in consecutive TDMA frames.2 Medium Access Control (MAC) The Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol handles the channel allocation and the multiplexing.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols 2. The GPRS MAC function is responsible for: • Providing efficient multiplexing of data and control signalling on both the uplink and downlink. contention resolution between channel access attempts. • • • 6-64442 Issue 4. Mobile originated channel access. The GSM RF physical layer is used for GPRS with the possibility for future modifications. including queuing of packet accesses. The Physical Link layer is responsible for: • Forward Error Correction (FEC) coding. The Radio Frequency (RF) is the normal GSM physical radio layer. Instead. On the uplink. Priority handling. including collision detection and recovery.

Segmentation of LLC-PDUs into RLC data blocks 52 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. Two modes of operation of the RLC layer are defined for information transfer: unacknowledged and acknowledged. Segmentation and reassembly of LLC-PDUs into RLC Data Blocks.0 .GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols 2. The RLC layer can support both modes simultaneously. Backward Error Correction (BEC) procedures enabling the selective retransmission of uncorrectable code words. This process is generally known as Automatic Request for Retransmission (ARQ). The RLC function is responsible for: • • • Providing transfer of Logical Link Control layer PDUs (LLC-PDU) between the LLC layer and the MAC function. Note The Block Check Sequence for error detection is provided by the Physical Link layer. LLC Frame Information Field FH FCS LLC Layer BH Information Field BCS BH Information Field RLC Block BCS BH Information Field BCS RLC/MAC Layer Normal TDMA Burst Normal TDMA Burst Normal TDMA Burst Normal TDMA Burst Physical Layer FH = Frame Header FCS = Frame Check Sequence BH = Block Header BCS = Block Check Sequence (When SDCCH coding is used.3 The Radio Link Control (RLC) The Radio Link Control (RLC) protocol offers a reliable radio link to the upper layers. BCS corresponds to the Fire code) Figure 31. See Figure 2.4.

L2. IP. Between the MS and the SGSN. The underlying protocols TCP/UDP. Signalling is used to create. the GTP specifies a tunnel control and management protocol which allows the SGSN to provide GPRS network access for an MS. modification & deactivation • logical connection • acknowledge/ unacknowledged peer-to-peer operation • ciphering • SAPs to higher layer (SNDCP. L1 are used as transport solution for GTP signalling transport. SMS) Um Gb SGSN GMM/SM GPRS Mobility Management and Session Management GMM/SM GPRS Mobility Management and Session Management LLC Logical Link Control LLC Logical Link Control Relay RLC Radio Link Control BSSGP RLC BSS GP BSS GPRS Protocol MAC Medium Access Control NS MAC GSM RF NS L1bis Network Service L1bis Physical Layer GSM RF Figure 32. Signalling plane over BSS 6-64442 Issue 4. modify and delete tunnels. GMM. location update • PDP context activation. SGSN and MS are used for signalling transport. MS IP / X. The protocols below MM in the BSS. The signalling plane also handles path management and location management. GPRS Mobility Management and Session Management Information are exchanged. Signalling plane In the signalling plane.0 © Nokia Oyj 53 (55) .25 • GPRS attach / detach • security • routing area update.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols 3.

SGSN Gr. and Gr is based on the modified mobile specific SS7 protocols MAP and BSSAP.f. Signalling to registers and SMSC 54 (55) © Nokia Oyj 6-64442 Issue 4. Gd.d GGSN GPRSspecific MAP extension Gc HLR SGSN Gs MSC/VLR BSSAP+ BSS Application Part + MAP Mobile Application Part MAP Mobile Application Part BSSAP+ Subset of BSSAP functionalities TCAP Transaction Capabilities Application Part TCAP SCCP SCCP Signalling Connection Control Part SCCP MTP L3 MTP L2 L1 SCCP MTP L3 MTP L2 L1 MTP L3 MTP L2 L1 MTP L3 MTP L2 L1 Figure 33.GPRS Architecture: Interfaces and Protocols Signalling via the interfaces Gc. Gf.0 .

060 3GPP Specification 23.011 3GPP Specification 24.008 3GPP Specification 24.060 3GPP Specification 27.Appendix – GPRS transmission plane protocols References Nokia DX200 SGSN Product Description Nokia GPRS Charging Gateway Product Description Nokia GGSN Product Description Nokia GPRS Solution Description Nokia GPRS System Description 3GPP Specification 23.064 3GPP Specification 24.065 3GPP Specification 27.016 3GPP Specification 28.064 3GPP Specification 24.014 3GPP Specification 28.018 3GPP Specification 29.002 3GPP Specification 29.060 6-64442 Issue 4.016 3GPP Specification 29.018 3GPP Specification 29.070 3GPP Specification 28.0 © Nokia Oyj 55 (55) .