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Global System for Mobile Communications

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is an international standard for voice and data transmission over a wireless phone. Utilizing three separate components of the GSM network, this type of communication is truly portable.A user can place an identification card called a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) in the wireless device, and the device will take on the personal configurations and information of that user. This includes telephone number, home system, and billing information. Although the United States has migrated toward the PCS mode of wireless communication, in large part the rest of the world uses GSM. The architecture used by GSM consists of three main components: a mobile station, a base station subsystem, and a network subsystem.These components work in tandem to allow a user to travel seamlessly without interruption of service, while offering the flexibility of having any device used permanently or temporarily by any user. The mobile station has two components: mobile equipment and a SIM.The SIM, as mentioned, is a small removable card that contains identification and connection information, and the mobile equipment is the GSM wireless device.The SIM is the component within the mobile station that provides the ultimate in mobility.This is achieved because you can insert it into any GSM compatible device and, using the identification information it contains, you can make and receive calls and use other subscribed services.This means that if you travel from one country to another with a SIM, and take the SIM and place it into a rented mobile equipment device, the SIM will provide the subscriber intelligence

back to the network via the mobile GSM compatible device.All services to which you have subscribed will continue through this new device, based on the information contained on the SIM. For security and billing purposes, SIM and the terminal each have internationally unique identification numbers for independence and identification on the network.The SIMs identifier is called the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI).The mobile unit has what is called an International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI). In this way a users identity is matched with the SIM via the IMSI, and the position of the mobile unit is matched with the IMEI.This offers some security, in that a suspected stolen SIM card can be identified and flagged within a database for services to be stopped and to prevent charges by unauthorized individuals. The base station subsystem, like the mobile station, also has two components: the base transceiver station and the base station controller.The base transceiver station contains the necessary components that define a cell and the protocols associated with the communication to the mobile units.The base station controller is the part of the base station subsystem that manages resources for the transceiver units, as well as the communication with the mobile switching center (MSC).These two components integrate to provide service from the mobile station to the MSC. The network subsystem is, in effect, the networking component of the mobile communications portion of the GSM network. It acts as a typical class 5 switching central office. It combines the switching services of the core network with added functionality and services as requested by the customer.The main component of this subsystem is the MSC. The MSC coordinates the access to the POTS network, and acts similarly to any other switching node on a POTS network. It has the added

ability to support authentication and user registration. It coordinates call hand-off with the Base Station Controller, call routing, as well as coordination with other subscribed services. It utilizes Signaling System 7 (SS7) network architecture to take advantage of the efficient switching methods.There are other components to the network subsystem called registers: visitor location register (VLR) and home location register (HLR). Each of these registers handles call routing and services for mobility when a mobile customer is in their local or roaming calling state.The VLR is a database consisting of visitor devices in a given systems area of operation.The HLR is the database of registered users to the home network system.

General Packet Radio Service

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), also called GSM-IP, sits on top of the GSM networking architecture offering speeds between 56 and 170 Kbps. GPRS describes the bursty packet-type transmissions that will allow users to connect to the Internet from their mobile devices. GPRS is nonvoice. It offers the transport of information across the mobile telephone network. Although the users are always on like many broadband communications methodologies in use today, users pay only for usage. This provides a great deal of flexibility and efficiency.This type of connection, coupled with the nature of packet-switched delivery methods, truly offers efficient uses of network resources along with the speeds consumers are looking for.The data rates offered by GPRS will make it possible for users to partake in streaming video applications and interact with Web sites that offer multimedia, using compatible mobile handheld devices. GPRS is based on Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication

and as such will augment existing services such as circuit-switched wireless phone connections and the Short Message Service (SMS).

Short Message Service

Short Message Service (SMS) is a wireless service that allows users to send and receive short (usually 160 characters or less) messages to SMScompatible phones. SMS, as noted earlier, is integrated with the GSM standard. SMS is used either from a computer by browsing to an SMS site, entering the message and the recipients number, and clicking Send, or directly from a wireless phone.