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GSM uses Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) where the uplink and downlink of each channel operates on a different


There are two types of multiframe. They are:

26-TDMA frame multiframe which is used to carry TCH,SACCH and FACCH 51-TDMA frame multiframe which is used to carry BCCH,CCCH, SDCCH and SACCH A superframe consists of 51 or 26 multiframes and a hyperframe consists of 2048 superframes. The information contained in one time slot on the TDMA frame is called a burst. There are five different types of bursts:

The access burst always starts with the bit sequence 00111010 followed by 41 bit synchronization sequence

The 26 frame multi-frame lasts 120ms and the traffic channels for the downlink and uplink are separated by three bursts. As a consequence the mobiles will not need to transmit and receive at the same time which simplifies considerably the electronics of the system ( single synthesizer chip in MS) and preventing high level transmitted power leakage back to the sensitive receiver. Half rate traffic (TCH/H) double the capacity of the system are also grouped in a 26 frame multi-frame. The net bit rate, block length, block recurrence for full rate and half rate traffic channels are 13Kbps, 260 bits, 20ms and 6.5Kbps, 112 bits, 20 ms. For full rate speech the block is divided into two classes according to the importance of the bits (182 bits for class I and 78 bits for class II). For half rate speech, the block is divided into two classes as 95 bits for Class I and 17 bits for class II. The TCH/F consists of one time slot in each TDMA frame i.e. one slot every 4.615ms. CBCH is used only on the downlink to carry short massage service cell broadcast (SMSCB). CBCH uses the same physical channel as the SDCCH.

As we have already seen, GSM uses eight time slots per carrier frequency. If an MS transmits data with the classical GSM circuit switched data (CSD), then one of these time slots is allocated to the MS for the whole duration of the data connection. Each time slot offers a gross data rate of 22.8 kbit s1 but not all of this bandwidth is available to transfer user data. To ensure that the data is transmitted reliably, a copy of the data is made and sent separately across the air interface, i.e. each time slot contains both original data and a back-up copy of data from other time slots. As a result of this built-in redundancy, the net rate of a CSD connection is 9.6 kbit s1 (or less if the quality of the air interface is poor).

If the call is for another network, the originating MSC will route it to the gateway (GMSC) where it will be passed to the other networks gateway.

Mobile-Terminated Call
IMSI or TMSI, the paging group, TRU identity, the channel type and the time slot number.



access delay is registered.

time slot number, SDCCH, TA

access delay value


selects an idle SDCCH

Set Asynchronous Balance Mode (SABM) is used in order to establish a multiple frame operation. This is a type of LAPDm signaling. Unnumbered Acknowledged (UA) is used to acknowledge SABM.

the IMSI or TMSI and the MS classmark. The BSC adds the CGI and F/W to MSC/VLR



The MS uses RAND together with its own Ki, which is stored in the SIM card, to calculate the Kc and SRES

Procedure triggered by: A change in subscriber profile data at the HLR/VLR Accessing a service activation or deactivation of a supplementary service First network access after MSC/VLR restart Cipher key sequence number mismatch


A request for Authentication can be initiated by the MS or the network.

Call initiation is started when the MSC sends the Setup message to the MS. This message contains bearer service information for this call, that is, if it is a speech, data or fax, call. If the MS can handle the requested service, it will send a Call confirm message to the MSC/VLR.

Cell selection


The hysteresis term prevents unnecessary re-selection on a location area boundary which would require extra signaling to perform the location update

1. MS receives and measures SS on serving cell, TS2. 2. MS transmits. 3. MS measures SS for at least one of the surrounding cells. 4. MS reads BSIC on SCH (TS0) for one of the surrounding cells. during the idle frame on the TCH, BSICs for neighboring BTSs are read there is a gap of 3 Time slot between the reception & transmission at MS this is called 3 Time slot offset

MEASUREMENT REPORT The MS measures the signal strength of neighboring cells on the BCCH carrier. The MS reads the SCH of each neighboring cell. On the SCH the MS receives the BSIC. When power is turned on or when the MS enters a new cell, the MS is provided with a list of neighboring cells to measure. This list is stored in both the MS and in the BSC. In the MS, there is a list with 124, 374 or 299 multiple positions which are equal to the number of carrier frequencies depending on the system (GSM 900/1800/1900). Each neighboring cell the MS is told to measure is noted by setting a flag on the list. The MS sends complete measurement reports to the BSC, on SACCH every 480ms (4 SACCHs x 4.615ms x 26 TCHs). One measurement report contains the signal strength and quality measured on the downlink for the serving cell and the measured signal strength for a maximum of six neighboring cells. These measurement reports are received at the BTS, where the BTS adds the signal strength and quality of this connection on the uplink. The reports are then received at the BSC where they are used as an input to the locating algorithm. After processing the reports, the locating algorithm result is a list of possible handover candidates called the PO-cell list. Each neighboring cell is ranked using the reported signal strength. If the serving cell is at the top of the list (that is, has the strongest signal strength) then no handover takes place.


The purpose of this function is to supply the BTS with system information messages. System information messages are continuously sent by the BTS to all MSs in a cell on a BCCH (idle MS) or SACCH (busy MS). The parameters sent in these messages are either controlled internally in the BSC or are set externally via commands by the operator. In a GSM system, eight different System Information message types are used, as follows: Type 1 (optional) messages are used for frequency hopping Types 2, 3 and 4 are broadcast on the BCCH Types 5 and 6 are broadcast on an SACCH Types 7 and 8 (optional) are an extension to type 4 and broadcast on the BCCH



Cell Identity CI Cell Options DTX PWRC RLINKT Discontinuous transmission indicator. Power control indicator. Radio link time-out is the time before an MS disconnects due to failure in decoding SACCH messages Cell Identity within a LA

Cell Selection Parameters

ACCMIN CCHPWR CRH This is the minimum permitted received signal strength for the MS to access the system. Maximum transmission power an MS may use when accessing the system. This is the Cell Reselect Hysteresis. If the neighboring cell belongs to a new LA, the measured signal strength of the serving cell is artificially increased to make handover to the neighboring cell more difficult

CBCH Description (Optional)

CHN TSC CBCHNO MAC This is the channel number for CBCH. It is controlled internally in BSC. Training Sequence Code, BCC part of BSIC is used. Absolute RF channel number for CBCH. Mobile Allocation in the cell, describes the frequencies to be used in the hopping.

Neighbor Cells Description CANO ARFCN Cell Allocation Number. Band 0 for GSM. This indicates which neighboring BCCH frequencies the SS should be measured on.

SYSTEM INFORMATION TYPE 1 When frequency hopping is used in a cell, the MS needs to know which frequency band and what frequencies within the band it should use in the hopping algorithm. This information is given in the Cell Channel Description in System Information Type 1. The BSC is adapted to handle more than one system type at the same time, e.g. GSM 900 and GSM 1800 cells can be supported by the same BSC. Cell Channel Description RACH Control Parameters SYSTEM INFORMATION TYPE 2 Neighboring Cells Description PLMN Permitted RACH Control Parameters SYSTEM INFORMATION TYPE 3 Cell Identity Location Area Identity (LAI) Control Channel Description Cell Options Cell Selection Parameters RACH Control Parameters

SYSTEM INFORMATION TYPE 4 CBCH Description (Optional) Location Area Identity Cell Selection Parameters RACH Parameters SYSTEM INFORMATION TYPE 5 Neighbor Cells Description SYSTEM INFORMATION TYPE 6 Location Area Identity Cell Identity Cell Options PLMN Permitted SYSTEM INFORMATION TYPE 7/TYPE 8 (OPTIONAL) System Information Types 7 and 8 contain Cell Reselect parameters. Their function is to supplement System Information Type 4.


GSM/DCS MS power output is controlled in levels, each level is separated by 2dBm as shown in the table below. However, individual adjustments can be made in 2,4 or 6dB steps. 6dB adjustments are only possible with power increases. The levels are shown in the table below: When first accessing a cell on the RACH and before receiving the first power command an MS adopts the power level defined by the M_TXPWR_MAX_CCH parameter broadcast on the BCCH of the cell. The MS then periodically measures the received power level (RXLEV) and reports this back to the BTS in the form of a measurement report which is forwarded to the BSC. It also monitors the RxLev on adjacent cells but only the BCH of these cells. The BTS commands the power level changes at the MS using the SACCH

Mobile-Terminated Call