September 2000

Paper A White Paper from

Hughes Software Systems Plot 31, Electronic City, Sector 18, Gurgaon 122 015, INDIA Website: www.hssworld.com E-mail: info@hssworld.com

Adax Europe Ltd 1 Southview Park, Caversham, Reading RG4 5AF , UK Website: www.adax.co.uk E-mail: sales@adax.co.uk

GSM TO 3G: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION?

With the finalisation of 3G licences, and the massive investments made by the successful bidders, there is now a race to generate a return on investment. Operators must strike a balance between cost of infrastructure, value of services and time to market, or face failure. Operators without a licence have alternative opportunities to deliver services, albeit at potentially reduced bandwidth. This paper examines the technical options open to operators, with or without 3G licences, to evolve or replace existing infrastructures.

Introduction
Network operators have been spending mind-numbing amounts to acquire 3G licenses, with more than 80 operators throughout the world forecast to be committed to 3G by the end of 2000. In the UK, for instance, licenses of $35 Billion have been sold. To this must be added the estimated $7 Billion cost of rolling out a national 3G infrastructure. Given that any particular network is never finished, because it is continually upgraded, no one can accurately peg the “final” cost of new 3G infrastructure. Many industry commentators have voiced doubts over the viability of the major players. “There are significant concerns emerging over the future performance of telecommunications companies BT and Vodafone,” says Paul Donovan, analyst at UBS Warburg. “Markets are getting worried about the costs of investment that these companies are going to have to make – and also about just how high future revenue streams are going to be.” Other analysts are more optimistic about the revenue streams, but remain downbeat about the timescales – this is not an overnight technology. For example, it has been suggested that although 3G revenues will grow rapidly, GSM will remain the basis of carrier technology for at least the next five years. There is little doubt that 3G revenues will be big, forecast to pass the $500 Billion mark by 2010. But as always, the player that hits the market soonest and hardest will emerge the victor. The ability of 3G licence holders to implement an infrastructure quickly becomes vital in this scenario.

Subscriber growth figures for GSM and 3G 1999
GSM 3G 125.6 0.0

2000
170.9 0.1

2001
192.4 1.6

2002
213.8 3.4

2003
224.1 7.0

2004
254.2 12.8

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What’s What ’s wrong with GSM?
First introduced in 1992, and now standard across Europe and Asia, GSM is running out of bandwidth. Within GSM networks the data traffic is increasing enormously, and is expected to grow 4050 per cent this year. This growth in demand for Internet access and services has paralleled the explosion in demand for mobile data communications. Users want access to the Internet while they are away from their offices and homes. The success of I-mode, NTT DoCoMo’s mobile Internet service, demonstrates there is a market for wireless Internet access and increased demand for services, and thus bandwidth, promised by 3G. One million subscribers sign up to I-mode every month, drawn to services such as email, online banking and Internet browsing capabilities. So what choices are available, right now, to operators wanting to introduce new data services?

“2.5G” GPRS “2.5G”
The General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a new packet-based bearer that is already being introduced on many GSM and TDMA mobile networks. It is an exciting new bearer because it is

immediate (there is no dial up connection), relatively fast (up to 115 kbps in the very best theoretical extreme) and supports virtual connectivity, allowing relevant information to be sent from the network as and when it is generated. GPRS technology is part of a first step toward 3G. Primarily a software upgrade to the GSM wireless networks that provide mobile phone service in much of the world, GPRS provides mobile users with access to Internet information. It is a natural part of the migration path to 3G and uses the same base stations as GSM with a modification of software and the addition of support nodes, plus a link to a packet data network. Cellular operators will have to add at least two new types of nodes to their existing cellular networks to provide packet-based services. The nodes are: 1. SGSN – Serving GPRS support node 2. GGSN – Gateway GPRS support node The cost of these nodes will be significant but operators can roll out these nodes in phases. The operators will also need to upgrade their existing BSS software to support GPRS. GPRS will enable the network up-to 21.4KBPS data rate per time slot.

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GSM TO 3G: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION?

GPRS Limitations
While GPRS indeed is an evolutionary technology, field trials also have demonstrated some limitations. There are signals that the early versions will provide mobile users a nominal 64Kbits/sec wireless link – a speed that in fact may be as low as 14Kbits/ sec as users compete for bandwidth. GPRS impacts a network’s existing cell capacity. There are only limited radio resources that can be deployed for different uses- use for one purpose precludes simultaneous use for another. For example, voice and GPRS calls both use the same network resources. The extent of the impact depends upon the number of timeslots, if any, that are reserved for exclusive use of GPRS. However, GPRS dynamically manages channel allocation and allows a reduction in peak time signalling channel loading by sending short messages over GPRS channels instead. Achieving the theoretical maximum GPRS data transmission speed of 115 kbps would require a single user taking over all eight timeslots, without error protection. Clearly, it is unlikely that a network operator will allow all timeslots to be used by a single GPRS user. Additionally, the initial GPRS terminals are expected be severely limited- supporting only one, two or three timeslots. The bandwidth available to a GPRS user will therefore be severely limited. The reality is that mobile networks are always likely to have lower data transmission speeds than fixed networks. Relatively high mobile data speeds may not be available to individual mobile users until Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) or Universal Mobile Telephone System (UMTS) are introduced.

EDGE “2.5G+” – End of the line for GSM?
EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution), which is currently being standardised within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), represents the final evolution of data communications within the GSM and IS-136 standards. EDGE uses a new modulation schema to enable theoretical data throughput of up to 384kbit/s using existing GSM infrastructure. Clearly, this surpasses GPRS and could offer an alternative route for GSM operators who will not have third generation licences. To support EDGE the operator has to upgrade its transceivers as the modulation scheme changes along with software upgrade. EDGE uses 8PSK modulation at higher data rates and standard GMSK modulation at lower data rates. Operators can roll out EDGE in networks in phases. Since 8 PSK will also be used for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), network operators will need to incorporate it at some stage to make the transition to 3G mobile phone systems.

3G – The Holy Grail
To date, the main driver for mobile communications has been voice telephony. However, the introduction of new high-speed data capabilities, including GPRS and EDGE, and the evolution to UMTS, will give new and existing GSM operators the potential for a whole range of mobile multimedia services. Electronic postcards, web surfing, access to corporate LANs and Intranets, and e-mail from a mobile terminal, to name but a few. UMTS is the standard for delivering 3G services being developed under the auspices of ETSI. It builds on the world’s most widely deployed mobile technology – GSM – and offers the prospect of a truly global wireless standard for personal multimedia communications. To introduce 3G in existing networks the cost is

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going to be enormous. Many new nodes are to be introduced in the existing networks like NODE-B, Radio Network Controller (RNC) and Core Network (CN) consisting of the SGSN, GGSN and the MSC/ VLR. The MSC/ VLR would also need to be modified to be able to communicate with the 3G Radio Network over ATM. These nodes have to inter operate with existing 2G or “2.5G” nodes. The mobile phones also have to inter operate with 3G and 2G modes.

services of today. The two networks will co-exist and inter-operate for much of the next decade. It is essential therefore to support seamless mobility between the two.

Evolution, Not Revolution
All operators agree the path to 3G is evolution, not revolution, with GPRS being Step One. Like the GSM standard itself, GPRS will be introduced in phases. Phase 1 is expected to be available commercially in the next year. Point to Point GPRS (sending information to a single GPRS user) will be supported, but not Point to Multipoint (sending the same information to several GPRS users at the same time). GPRS Phase 2 is not yet fully defined, but is expected to support higher data rates in addition to Point-to-Multipoint support. The existing operators who have not got 3G license must follow the EDGE path to its conclusion to provide 3G services like Video conferencing, Multimedia, fast data transfer etc. Operators who have 3G licenses will start introducing these new nodes in their network to provide the 3G services. With 3G data rates per channel being up to 1.920 MBPS, EDGE-based network operators will need to support multi-slot terminals to compete.

The challenge – “Managing ROI”
It is clear from the subscriber projections for 3G that the return is not going to be fast enough on their investments. In other words there has to be a significant services pull factor to attract new subscribers and grow services revenue from existing ones. The value added services like faster email browsing, video conferences on the move, internet browsing and extending corporate intranet applications will attract the business subscribers. There is a possibility that 3G networks also may support Voice over Packet and this should only help its better penetration. Much of the revenue required to build the networks of tomorrow must come from GSM / GPRS

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GSM TO 3G: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION?

Conclusion
Availability of services and early subscriber takeup will be the key to survival for operators. Vendors who build these into their 2G/3G equipment offerings will be well placed to lead the market at the end of the decade. Lower infrastructure costs will further help in early break even and profitability for network operators. Equipment vendors should therefore focus on making available cost-effective solutions for providing a wide range of services to attract both business and non-business users. Evolution, not revolution, is the only way to get to market early, with the lowest cost. Operators must strive to implement technical solutions that can be migrated to new standards easily and quickly.

HSS and Adax – P roviding a Migration Route
HSS has extensive experience in engineering solutions for Wireless network equipment vendors. Utilizing this rich experience set, HSS is building components and software frameworks for SGSN and GGSN for both GPRS and 3G networks. HSS additionally provides components for the RNC and the MSC for the 3G networks to help the equipment vendors build carrier class solutions. HSS is also a recognized player in Voice over IP domain and is leveraging this strength to spearhead the convergence of the 3G Wireless and Voice over Packet domains. HSS is working with leading equipment vendors in this space and helping them reduce their time to market. HSS offers ready-to-use software frameworks for equipment vendors and assists in porting / customisation to reduce overall time to market. HSS builds the stack components (which are integrated within the framework) as per the current (and rapidly changing) versions of the ETSI / 3GPP specifications so that the offering remains competitive at

all times. Additionally the HSS frameworks provide a Network Management subsystem, a Fault Management subsystem and an Initialisation and Platform Services subsystem as optional components. Equipment vendors can thus focus on building advanced services/applications on their Network Equipment, which are the key differentiators from Operators perspective. The HSS framework for GPRS is engineered as a scalable solution that can be configured as an SGSN, GGSN or a combined GSN and has interfaces to the HLR, Charging Gateway, MSC/VLR and the PDN. The framework is also being extended to incorporate support for 3G specifications for SGSN and GGSN. The HSS 3G Core Network and RNC Frameworks enable building of carrier class 3G network solutions. The Core Network Framework consists of components for the SGSN, GGSN or an MSC, and has standard interfaces to the RNC, HLR, other SGSNs and the PDN. The RNC framework consists of pre-integrated transport layers for transporting the user signalling and data to and from the SGSN and MSC. HSS has an ideal set of solutions for High Speed wireless infrastructure today that are based on open systems standards, modular design and a common look and feel APIs. HSS has the solution whether you want to migrate existing systems to GPRS and then to 3G or leapfrog to 3G directly. Using HSS’s 2.5G components, customers can be assured of migration to 3G using other components from HSS, thereby maximizing the return on investments, with solutions from a single vendor from GPRS to UMTS. The immense signaling requirements of the modern wireless system means the effective protocol control and bandwidth management at the foundation of the wireless network is crucial to its performance. With an in-depth knowl-

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edge of these protocol requirements and necessary performance, Adax has the products to enable manufacturers and operators to build efficient and effective networks for GSM, GPRS, 3G and beyond. As specialists in the foundation layers of network infrastructure, Adax understands the protocol requirements needed in the rapidly evolving telecommunications environment. Adax products provide the ability to reduce the cost of ownership of mobile applications, whilst delivering high performance and efficiency without burdening the main system CPU. Adax solutions ensure ease of integration, smooth migration and total scalability for telecommunications companies, network operators and manufacturers. . The Adax HDC card is the ideal product to facilitate the development of the new class of Signaling Transfer Points, Base Station Controllers, Mobile Switching Centers, Next Generation Network Gateways and Base Transceiver Stations demanded by today’s wireless networks. The HDC is a high density, fully channelized, multiple protocol platform that provides a powerful and flexible single slot solution for next generation IN systems. Multiple HDC cards can be installed together for a totally scaleable and cost effective foundation for X.25, Frame Relay, SS7, HDLC, LAPD and V5. It was de-

signed with more capabilities than the market requires today, allowing for the addition of new functionality without being removed from service and to allow for the increasing growth in signaling requirements for SS7/IP integration such as VoIP and VoATM. Therefore the HDC is the ideal solution for the increasing demands as networks evolve to 3G, which will protect the investment cost for network operators and manufacturers. For smooth product migration from narrowband (SS7) to broadband (ATM) signaling networks, the Adax ATM product is compatible with the Adax SS7 products, protecting the current investment in signaling infrastructure and ensuring effective narrowband and broadband signaling interaction. Adax provides network interface cards for TI/El and 0C3/STM-I, ATM protocol controllers and SSCOP/ SSCF/SSCS software to provide a complete foundation for broadband signaling networks, used within GPRS and 3G network infrastructure. Adax has a complete set of products for wireless technology infrastructure today that are based on open systems standards, modular design and a common API. The combination of HSS together with Adax offers wireless network developers and operators high performing and cost effective solutions, whether your product is for GSM, GPRS, 3G or beyond.

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GSM TO 3G: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION?

The comprehensive set of software building blocks from Hughes Software Systems consists of both frameworks and protocol stacks for the high-speed mobile data domain.
Frameworks 3G Core Network Framework 3G RNC Framework 2.5G-GPRS Framework Stacks BSSGP BSSAP+, RANAP GMM/SM, , , MM/CC, SCCP GTP-U/C/PRIME, , M3UA, MTP-3B, MAP SCTP ALCAP , , , SAAL-NNI

For nearly 20 years, Adax SS7, ATM, X.25, Frame Relay, HDLC, LAPD and V5 products have been providing the foundation for the world’s leading fixed and mobile networks.
Products Adax Protocol Controllers (APC) Adax Network Controllers (ANC) Adax Protocol Software (APS)

Hughes Software Systems is a key supplier of communication technologies for Voice over Packet, Intelligent Networks and Highspeed Mobile Networks, and is fully focussed on the needs of its customers to build Next Generation Networks.
For clarifications, answers to queries or more information, please contact

Specializing in layers 1, 2 and 3 of the OSI model, Adax provides high performance, industry standard communication controller products and associated software, which meet and exceed the current and future wide area networking needs of the modern telecom company. The products are based on open systems standards, modular design and have a common set of APIs.
For clarifications, answers to queries or more information, please contact

Hughes Software Systems Plot 31, Electronic City, Sector 18, Gurgaon 122 015, INDIA Tel: +91 (0) 124 634 6666 Fax: +91 (0) 124 634 2925 Website: www.hssworld.com E-mail: info@hssworld.com

Adax Europe Ltd 1 Southview Park, Caversham, Reading RG4 5AF, UK Tel: +44 (0) 118 948 4444 Fax: +44 (0) 118 946 4922 Website: www.adax.co.uk E-mail: sales@adax.co.uk

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