GSM FRAME STRUCTURE
The FDMA/TDMA Scheme
Older standards of mobile systems use only FDMA, in which one specific frequency is allocated for every user during a call This leads to overload situations in cases of high demand GSM utilizes a combination of frequency division multiple access (FDMA) and time division multiple access (TDMA) on the Air-interface. That results in a two-dimensional channel structure In full rate configuration, eight time slots (TSs) are mapped on every frequency; in a half rate configuration there are 16 TSs per frequency
The FDMA/TDMA Scheme
In a TDMA system, each user sends an impulse like signal only periodically, while a user in a FDMA system sends the signal permanently. Frequency 1 (f1) in the figure represents a GSM frequency with one active TS, that is, where a signal is sent once per TDMA frame. That allows TDMA to simultaneously serve seven other channels on the same frequency and manifests the major advantage of TDMA over FDMA (f2)
Frame Hierarchy and Frame Numbers
In GSM, every impulse on frequency 1, as shown in Figure, is called a burst. Every burst corresponds to a TS. Eight bursts or TSs, numbered from 0 through 7, form a TDMA frame Every TDMA frame is assigned a fixed number, which repeats itself in a time period of 3 hours, 28 minutes, 53 seconds, and 760 milliseconds. This time period is referred to as hyper frame. Multi frame and super frame are layers of hierarchy that lie between the basic TDMA frame and the hyper frame. Figure ahead presents the various frame types, their periods, and other details, down to the level of a single burst as the smallest unit.
and ciphering. The frame hierarchy is used for synchronization between BTS and MS. with different lengths 26-multiframe. Each superframe consists of twenty-six 51-multiframes or fifty-one 26-multiframes. channel mapping. Purely arbitrary and does not reflect any physical constraint. which contains 51 TDMA frames with a duration of 235.8 ms and which carries signaling data exclusively.Frame Hierarchy and Frame Numbers
Two variants of multiframes. 51-multiframe. Every BTS permanently broadcasts the current frame number over the synchronization channel (SCH) and thereby forms an internal clock of the BTS
. which contains 26 TDMA frames with a duration of 120 ms and which carries only traffic channels and the associated control channels.
signalling data (required for internal working of GSM system) or control channel data (from MSC.Physical & Logical Channels
The combination of a TS number and an ARFCN constitutes a physical channel for both forward and reverse link Each physical channel can be mapped into different logical channels at different times So each specific TS or frame may be dedicated to either handling traffic data. BS or mobile user) GSM specification defines a wide variety of logical channels These logical channels efficiently transmit user data while simultaneously providing control of the network on each ARFCN
GSM Channel Types
Two types of GSM logical channels
Traffic channels.carry digitally encoded user speech or user data and have identical functions and formats on both fwd and rev link.carry signalling and synchronizing commands between the base station and the mobile station. six different types of TCHs provided for in GSM
Control channels. a large no of CCHs are provided for in GSM
two half-rate channel users would share the same time slot.GSM Traffic Channels
GSM traffic channels may be either full-rate or half-rate and may carry either digitized speech or user data When transmitted as a full-rate. user data is contained within one TS per frame. That is. user date is mapped onto the same time slot. When transmitted as a half-rate. but would alternately transmit during every other frame TCH data may not b sent in TS 0 within a TDMA frame on certain ARFCNs which serve as the broadcast station for each cell (since this time slot is reserved for control channel bursts in almost every frame)
. but is sent in alternate frames.
and contains SACCH data when half-rate TCHs are used
. Figure illustrates how the TCH data is transmitted in consecutive frames The twenty-sixth frame contains idle bits for the case when full-rate TCHs are used.GSM Traffic Channels
Frames of TCH data are broken up every thirteenth frame by either slow associated control channel data (SACCH) or idle frames.
The full-rate traffic data channel carries raw user data which is sent at 9600 bps.8kbps
Full-Rate data channel for 9600bps(TCH/F9.6).The full-rate speech channel carries user speech which is digitized at a raw data rate of 13kbps. With additional forward error correction coding applied by the GSM standard.8kbps
. With GSM channel coding added to the digitized speech. the full-rate speech channel carries 22.GSM Traffic Channels
Full-Rate Speech Channel (TCH/FS). the 9600 bps data is sent at 22.
Almost similar Half-Rate TCHs for speech and data with little variations
. the 4800 bps is sent at 22.The full-rate traffic data channel carries raw user data which is sent at 2400bps. With additional forward error correction coding applied by the GSM standard. With additional forward error connection coding applied by the GSM standard. Full-Rate Data Channel for 2400 bps (TCH/F2. the 2400 bps is sent at 22.GSM Traffic Channels
Full-Rate Data Channel for 4800bps (TCH/F4.8 kbps.8).The full-rate traffic data channel carries raw user which is sent at 4800bps.
GSM Control Channels
Three main types of control channels
ch (BCH) Common control ch (CCCH) Dedicated control ch (DCCH)
Each control channel comprises several logical chs which are distributed in time to provide necessary GSM control functions
GSM Control Channels
BCH and CCCH forward control chs are implemented only on certain ARFCNs and are allocated TSs in a specific fashion Normally allocated TS0 and are broadcast only during certain frames within repetitive 51 control ch MF sequence TS1 through TS7 carry regular TCH traffic So ARFCNs designated as CCH can still carry traffic on seven out of eight TSs GSM specs defines 34 ARFCNs as standard BCH For each BCH frame 51 is an idle frame However. rev channel CCCH still able to receive MS transmissions during TS0 of any frame (include idle frame) DCCH data may be sent during any TS and any frame and entire frames are specifically dedicated to certain DCCH transmissions
BROADCAST CONTROL CHANNEL
The three types of BCH are
Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH)—The BCCH is a forward control channel that is used to broadcast information such as cell and network identity. Frame 2 through frame 5 in a control MF (4 out of every 51 frames) contain BCCH data
. and operating characteristics of the cell (current control channel structure. Figure illustrates how the BCH is allocated frames. and congestion)
The BCCH also broadcast a list of channels that are currently in use within the cell.GSM Control Channels (BCH)
The BCH is defined by three separate channels which are given access to TS0 during various frames of the 51 fame sequence. channel availability.
GSM Control Channels
FCCH allows each subscriber unit to synchronize its internal frequency standard (local oscillator) to the exact frequency of the BS
.The FCCH is a special data burst which occupies TS0 for the very first GSM frame (frame 0) and is repeated every ten frames within a control channel MF.GSM Control Channels (BCH)
Frequency correction channel (FCCH).
715. it is often necessary to adjust the timing of a particular mobile user such that the received signal at the BS is synchronized with the BS clock The BS issues TA command to the mobile station over the SCH. which ranges from 0 to 2.647.SCH is broadcast in TS0 of the frame immediately following the FCCH frame and is used to identify the serving BS while allowing each mobile to frame synchronize with BS The frame number (FN).GSM Control Channels (BCH)
Synchronization Channel (SCH). The SCH transmitted once every ten frames within the control channel MF
. as well. is sent with the base station identity code (BSIC) during the SCH burst The BSIC is uniquely assigned to each BTS in a GSM system Since a mobile may be as far as 30 km away from a serving BS.
COMMON CONTROL CHANNEL
the CCCHs occupy TS 0 of every GSM frame that is not otherwise used by the BCH or the idle frame.and receive mobile requests for service
. which is a forward link channel CCCHs are the most commonly used channels and are used to page specific subscribers. which is a forward link channel The random access channel (RACH) which is a reverse link channel. CCCH consists of three different channels The paging channel (PCH). and The access grant channel (AGCH).On the broadcast (BCH) ARFCN.GSM Control Channels (CCCHs)
Common Control Channels (CCCHs). assign signalling channels to specific users .
as part of the SMS feature of GSM
.GSM Control Channels (CCCHs)
Paging Channel (PCH)-The PCH provides paging signals from the BS to all mobiles in the cell Notifies a specific mobile of an incoming call which originates from the PSTN PCH transmits the IMSI of the target subscriber. along with a request for acknowledgment from the mobile unit on the RACH Alternatively.text messages to all subscribers. the PCH may be used to provide cell broadcast .
GSM Control Channels (CCCHs)
Random Access Channel (RACH).The RACH is a reverse link channel used by a subscriber unit to acknowledge a page from the PCH Also used by mobiles to originate a call All mobiles must request access or respond to a PCH alert within TS0 In establishing service. the BS must respond to the RACH transmission by allocating a channel and assigning a stand-alone dedicated control channel (SDCCH) for signalling during a call This connection is confirmed by the BS over the AGCH
The AGCH is used by BS to provide forward link communication to the mobile Carries data which instructs mobile to to operate in a particular physical channel (TS and ARFCN) with a particular dedicated control channel AGCH is the final CCCH message sent by BS before a subscriber is moved off the control channel AGCH is used by BS to respond to a RACH sent by a mobile station in a previous CCCH frame
.GSM Control Channels (CCCHs)
Access Grant Channel (AGCH).
DEDICATED CONTROL CHANNEL
DCCHs may exist in any time slot and on any ARFCN except TS0 of the BCH ARFCN.
Stand-alone dedicated control channels (SDCCHs) are used for providing signalling services required by the users
Like TCHs.Associated Control Channel (SACCHs and FACCHs) are used for supervisory data transmission between the mobile station and the BS during a call
. they are bidirectional and have the same format and function on both the forward and reverse link.There are three types of dedicated control channels in GSM Like TCHs.GSM Control Channels (DCCHs)
Dedicated Control Channels (DCCHs).
GSM Control Channels (DCCHs)
Stand-alone Dedicated Control Channels (SDCCHs). SDCCHs may be assigned their own physical channel or may occupy TS0 of the BCH if there is low demand for BCH or CCCH traffic
. and just before a TCH is issued by BS SDCCH ensures that the mobile station and the BS remain connected while the BS and MSC verify the subscriber unit and allocate resources for the mobile SDCCH can be thought of as an intermediate and temporary channel which accepts a newly completed call from the BCH and holds the traffic while waiting for BS to allocate a TCH.SDCCH carries signalling data following the connection of the mobile with the BS.
The SACCH is always associated with TCH or a SDCCH and maps onto the same physical channel Thus. the SACCH is used to send slow but regularly changing control information to the mobile. as well as BCH measurement results from neighbouring cells The SACCH is transmitted during the thirteenth frame (and the twentysixth frame when half-rate traffic is used) of every speech/dedicated control channel MF (figure11.7) And within this frame.GSM Control Channels (DCCHs)
Slow Associated Control Channel (SACCH). each ARFCN systematically carries SACCH data for all of its current users On the forward link. such as transmit power level instruction and specific timing advance instructions for each user on the ARFCN The reverse SACCH carries information about the received signal strength and quality of the TCH. the eight TSs are dedicated to providing SACCH data to each of the eight users on the ARFCN
the time slot is known to contain FACCH data. not a TCH.GSM Control Channels (DCCHs)
Fast Associated Control Channels (FACCHs). and contains essentially the same type of information as the SDCCH A FACCH is assigned whenever a SDCCH has not been dedicated for a particular user and there is an urgent message (such as a handoff request) The FACCH gains access to a TS by “stealing” frames from the TCH to which it is assigned This is done by setting two special bits. for that frame
. in a TCH forward channel burst If the stealing bits are set.FACCHs carries urgent message.
GSM Control Channels
the subscriber unit must be synchronized to a nearby BS as it monitors the BCH. the subscriber would be locked onto the system and the appropriate BCH
. By receiving the FCCH. consider the case of a mobile call origination in GSM First. and BCCH message.Example of a GSM Call
To understand how the various traffic and control channels are used. SCH.
would receive its ARFCN and TS assignment from the AGCH and would immediately tune to the new ARFCN and TS This new ARFCN and TS assignment is physically the SDCCH (not the TCH)
.Example of a GSM Call
To originate a call . the user first dials the intended digit combination and presses the “send” button on the GSM phone The mobile transmits a burst of RACH data using the same ARFCN as the BS to which it is locked The BS responds with an AGCH message on the CCCH which assigns the mobile to a new channel for SDCCH connection The subscriber unit. which is monitoring TS0 of the BCH.
the subscriber is now able to transmit normal burst messages as required for speech traffic
. which informs the mobile of any TA and transmitter power command The BS is able to determine the proper TA(Timing advance) and signal level from mobile’s earlier RACH transmission and sends the proper value over the SAACH for the mobile to process
Upon receiving and processing the TA information in the SAACH. the subscriber unit first waits for the SAACH frame to be transmitted.Example of a GSM Call
Once tuned to the SDCCH.
the call is successfully underway and the SDCCH is vacated
.Example of a GSM Call
The SDCCH sends messages between the mobile unit and the BS. the mobile unit is commanded by the BS via SDCCH to return to a new ARFCN and new TS for TCH assignment Once returned to TCH. taking care of authentication and user validation. speech data is transferred on both forward and reverse links. while the PSTN connects the dialled party to the MSC and the MSC switches the speech path to the serving BS After a few seconds.
Example of a GSM Call
For calls from PSTN. and TCH assignment is made
. detects its page and replies with an RACH message acknowledging receipt of the page BS then uses the AGCH on the CCCH to assign the mobile unit to a new physical channel for connection to SDCCH and SACCH while the network and the serving BS are connected Once the subscriber estb TA and authentication on the SDCCH. BS broadcasts a PCH message during TS0 with in an appropriate frame on the BCH The mobile station. the BS issues a new physical ch assignment over the SDCCH. locked onto that same ARFCN.