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GSM Call Flow

GSM Call Flow

Call processing means all steps which set up, maintain, and then end a call. According to the Telecom Glossary put out by the American ational Standard !or Telecommunications, call processing means" 1. The se#uence o! operations per!ormed by a switching system !rom the acceptance o! an incoming call through the !inal disposition o! the call. 2. The end$to$end se#uence o! operations per!ormed by a networ% !rom the instant a call attempt is initiated until the instant the call release is completed. . . .

GSM Call Flow contd..,

The !irst part to mobile call processing is initiali'ation. (t)s what happens when you !irst turn on your phone. *ou get a connection to a nearby cell site, then the cellular networ% chec%s your account. (! you ha+e a +alid telephone number and your account is good then your call proceeds. ,et)s ta%e this step by step.

GSM Call Flow contd..,

*ou turn on your phone. Assume that you)re in your home location. First o! all a connection is to be established with near by .TS. (t is not possible to ma%e a call unless your mobile has a lin% to a cell site. So a connection to cellular system is to be established which means that a !re#uency is needed to transmit on.

GSM Call Flow contd..,

So the mobile tries to !ind out broadcast channels. Again, the .CC0 is not a dedicated radio !re#uency. (t is rather a channel within the bit stream carried by any o! the !re#uencies in a cell. A base station)s .roadcast Control Channel continuously sends out identi!ying in!ormation about its cell site and helps the mobile to get some in!ormation about the cell site. For the initial period mobile acts as a recei+er chec%ing !or a signal !rom any base station with in the range. /

GSM Call Flow contd..,

The mobile scans the a+ailable !re#uencies and measures the recei+ed le+el on each channel. Finally the GSM system decides which cell has to handle the mobile station which is usually the cell site deli+ering the highest signal strength to the mobile. As a ne2t step, the mobile recei+es corresponding bursts on FCC0 and SC0 and synchroni'es with the cell site.

,ocation Management

(n+ol+es two basic operations


Search by system to trac% the mobile MSC broadcasts message Target replies in the uplin% channel Mobile sends update message on the uplin% channel when it changes its location


Location management in GSM is handled by Mobility Management layer in the GSM protocol architecture. A powered-on mobile is informed of an incoming call by a paging message. If the paging is done exactly for one cell, then networ re!uires updating each time it changes the cell which increase the burden on the system

.ecause o! that a compromise solution used in GSM is to group cells into Location areas 5pdating messages are re#uired when the mobile station mo+es between location areas. Also mobile stations are paged in the cells o! their current location area.

MS States
An MS can be in one o! the !ollowing states"

Detached: MS is powered o!! Attached: MS power is on An attached MS can be" Idle: MS has no dedicated channel allocated and listens to .CC0 and 4C0 Active: MS has a dedicated connection to the networ% Changing !rom idle to acti+e mode can be a result o! location updating, call setup, short message trans!er etc.,

Location updating 9hen mobile powered ON 4er!orms update indicating it:s IMSI( International Mobile Subscription Id ) The abo+e procedure called ; IMSI Attach Procedure ; 9hen mo+es to new ,ocation Area or a <i!!erent 4,M 5pdate message sent to new MSC/VLR (! MS authori'ed in the new MSC/VLR then

subscriber:s 0,= updates the current location 11 sends a message to the old MSC/VLR to

9hen a mobile station is power o!! it per!orms an (MS( detach procedure in order to tell the networ% that it is no longer a+ailable. Re i!tratio": This is the process in which an MS in!orms a networ% that it is attached.


(MS( Attach

9hen an MS is switched on, the (MS( attach procedure is e2ecuted. This in+ol+es the !ollowing steps" 1. The MS sends an (MS( attach message to the networ% indicating that it has changed state to idle. 2. The >,= determines whether there is a record !or the subscriber already present. (! not, the >,= contacts the subscriber:s 0,= !or a copy o! the subscription in!ormation.


(MS( Attach contd..,

&. The >,= updates the MS status to idle. -. Ac%nowledgement is sent to the MS.


Mobile ?riginated Call @M?CA

1. The MS uses =AC0 to as% !or a signaling channel. 2. The .SC allocates a signaling channel, using AGC0. &. 9hen the channel is allocated, it sends its (MS( and >,= is signed as busy. -. The MS sends a call set$up re#uest +ia S<CC0 to the MSCB>,=. ?+er S<CC0 all signaling preceding a call ta%es place. This includes"

Mar%ing the MS as ;acti+eC in the >,= The authentication procedure Start ciphering D#uipment identi!ication


Sending the called party:s number to the networ% Chec%ing i! the subscriber has the ser+ice ;.arring o! outgoing callsC acti+ated

/. The MSCB>,= instructs the .SC to allocate an idle TC0. The .TS and MS are told to tune to the TC0. 1. The MSCB>,= !orwards the called party number to an e2change in the 4ST , which establishes a connection to the subscriber. 3. (! the called subscriber answers, the connection is established. 11

M?C @Call set$up MS to 4ST A


Mobile Terminated Call @MTCA

The maEor di!!erence between an MTC and M?C is that in a call to an MS the e2act location o! the mobile subscriber is un%nown. There!ore, the MS must be located using paging be!ore a connection can be established. .elow is the description o! the call set$ up procedure !or a call !rom a 4ST subscriber to a mobile subscriber.


MTC contd..,

1. The 4ST subscriber %eys in the MS:s telephone number @MS(S< A. The MS(S< is analy'ed in the 4ST , which identi!ies that this is a call to a mobile networ% subscriber. A connection is established to the MS:s home GMSC. ow the call has entered the dialled party:s networ% 2. The GMSC analy'es the MS(S< and #ueries the 0,= !or in!ormation about how to route the call to the ser+ing MSCB>,=.

MTC contd..,

&. The 0,= translates MS(S< into (MS(, and determines which MSCB>,= is currently ser+ing the MS. The 0,= also chec%s i! the ser+ice, ;Call !orwarding to CFnumberC is acti+ated, i! so, the call is rerouted by the GMSC to that number. -. The 0,= re#uests an MS= !rom the ser+ing MSCB>,=.

MTC contd..,

/. The MSCB>,= returns an MS= +ia 0,= to the GMSC. 1. The GMSC analyses the MS= and routes the call to the MSCB>,=. 3. The MSCB>,= %nows which ,A the MS is located in. A paging message is sent to the corresponding .SC.


MTC contd..,

6. The .SC:s distribute the paging message to the .TS in the desired ,A. 7. 9hen the MS detects the paging message, it sends a re#uest on =AC0 !or a S<CC0. 18. The .SC pro+ides a S<CC0, using AGC0. 11. S<CC0 is used !or the call set$up procedures.

MTC contd..,

?+er S<CC0 all signaling preceding a call ta%es place. This includes" Mar%ing the MS as ;acti+eC in the >,= The authentication procedure Start ciphering D#uipment identi!ication 12. The MSCB>,= instructs the .SC to allocate a TC0.

MTC contd..,

The .TS and MS are told to tune to the TC0. The mobile phone rings. (! the subscriber answers, the connection is established.


Call to MS !rom 4ST @MTCA


Mobile ?riginated Call @M?CA

1, 2" connection re#uest &, -" security chec% /$6" chec% resources @!ree circuitA 7$18" set up call


3 4 6

5 8



2 9 1 10


Mobile Terminated Call @MTCA

1" calling a GSM subscriber 2" !orwarding call to GMSC &" signal call setup to 0,= calling station -, /" re#uest MS= !rom >,= 1" !orward responsible MSC to GMSC 3" !orward call to current MSC 6, 7" get current status o! MS 18, 11" paging o! MS 12, 1&" MS answers 1-, 1/" security chec%s 11, 13" set up connection

4 5 7


3 6 1

8 9 14 15



10 13 16



11 11 12 17




paging request channel request immediate assignment paging response authentication request



channel request immediate assignment ser$ice request authentication request


authentication response ciphering command ciphering complete setup call confirmed assignment command assignment complete alerting connect connect ac no!ledge data"speech e#change

authentication response ciphering command ciphering complete setup call confirmed assignment command assignment complete alerting connect connect ac no!ledge data"speech e#change 26

Se#uence o! ?perations !or an (ncoming Call

1 8 6 7 9

5 2 3






VLR MSC/VLR where MS &" '(rre $)* )o'+$e,

GMSC/HLR o MS!" ho#e e$wor%

-&.(re 6 Se/(e 'e o0 12er+$&o " 0or + I 'o#& . C3))


Call !low when MS is in roaming


.illing 4rocedures

GSM uses Time <i+ision Multiple Access @T<MAA technology to di+ide all channels to eight time slots !or carrying data. 6 time slots pro+ides 6 calls simultaneously. .ut one slot is dedicated to controlling. At the end o! each call MSC produces a C<= and they are stored in a !ile and this !ile is sent to .illing Gateway @.G9A. .G9 con+erts the data into standarti'ed !ormat and route them to the .SCS. &1

.illing 4rocedures @Cont:dA

.SCs produces the bill related to the in!ormation stored in C<=. These in!ormations areG (! the target number is a constant or a mobile phone (! it is a mobile phone, its 'one location The duration o! the call (! there is a special campaign applied to target number .y considering all these things, .SCs prepares a bill.

=oaming in the
Cha" i"


Cell! #ithi" a" LA:

MS:s are constantly mo+ing around in the cellular networ%. The MS location in!ormation stored in the >,= is the ,A. (! an MS changes cells within a ,A, the networ% is not updated.


The MS %nows that the new cell belongs to the same ,A by listening to the .CC0 in the new cell. The .CC0 broadcasts the cell:s ,A(. The MS compares the last ,A( recei+ed with the new ,A(. (! they are the same, it means that the MS has not changed ,A)s and does not need to in!orm the networ%.

,ocation 5pdating @Same MSCB>,=A

(! an MS detects a change in ,A( on the .CC0, it in!orms the networ%. 9hen the MS sends the ,ocation 5pdating message, the MSCB>,= determines whether it is an MS, which is already registered, or i! it is an MS +isiting !rom another MSCB>,=.

,ocation 5pdating @same MSCB>,=A

MS .TS ,ocation 5pdate =e#uest Authenticati on Ciphering ,ocation 5pdate Accept .SC MSCB>,=


,ocation 5pdating contd..,

1. The MS listens to .CC0 in the new cell to determine the ,A(. The recei+ed ,A( in!ormation is compared to the old one. (! they di!!er, a location update is necessary. 2. The MS establishes a connection with the networ% +ia S<CC0. Authentication is per!ormed. &. (! authentication is success!ul, the MS sends a ,ocation 5pdating =e#uest to the system. -. The system ac%nowledges ,ocation 5pdating and re#uests .TS and MS to release the signaling channel.

,ocation 5pdating @ ew MSCB>,=A

9hen an MS roams into a new ,A, location updating is per!ormed. Also the ,A may belong to a new MSCB>,=. (! so the ,ocation 5pdate =e#uest is recei+ed by the new >,= and it e2ecutes the procedure below.


,ocation 5pdating @ ew MSCB>,=A contd..,

1. Authentication is per!ormed when it is success!ul, the >,= chec%s its database to determine whether or not it has a record !or this MS$subscription. 2. 9hen the >,= !inds no record !or the MS, it sends a re#uest to the subscriber:s 0,= !or a copy o! the MS$ subscription. &. The 0,= passes the in!ormation to the >,= and updates its location in!ormation !or the subscriber. The 0,= instructs the old >,= to delete the in!ormation it has about the MS subscription. -. The >,= stores its subscription in!ormation !or the MS including the latest location and status @idleA. The >,= sends ac%nowledgement to the MS.


,ocation 5pdate
MS Lo'+$&o 42,+$e Re/(e"$ 42,+$e Lo'+$&o 3re+ 42,+$e Lo'+$&o C+ 'e) Lo'+$&o C+ 'e) Lo'+$&o I "er$ S( "'r&5er D+$+ I "er$ S( "'r&5er D+$+ 3'% 42,+$e Lo'+$&o 42,+$e Lo'+$&o 3re+ 3'% Lo'+$&o 42,+$e 3''e2$ 3'% 3'% New MSC New VLR HLR 1), VLR

-&.(re 5 Lo'+$&o 42,+$e 12er+$&o


,ocation 5pdating, type 4eriodic =egistration

4eriodic registration is a !eature which !orces MS:s to send a registration message to the networ% at prede!ined inter+als. (! an MS should miss such a registration, the networ% will mar% the MS as detached. This may occur i! an MS is out o! the area o! co+erage and ensures that needless paging is not per!ormed.


,ocation 5pdating, type 4eriodic =egistration contd..,

(! the networ% uses periodic registration, the MS will be in!ormed, on the .CC0 o! how o!ten periodic registration must be per!ormed. 4eriodic registration has an ac%nowledgment message. The MS tries to register until it recei+es this message.


<etaching !rom the


IMSI Detach: (MS( detach enables the MS to indicate to the networ% that it is switched o!!. At power o!!, the MS sends an (MS( detach message to the networ%. ?n reception, the 0,= mar%s the corresponding (MS( as detached. o ac%nowledgement is sent to the MS.


(mplicit <etach

(! the MS sends an (MS( detach message to the system and the radio lin% #uality is poor, the system might not be able to decode the in!ormation. .ecause no ac%nowledgment is sent to the MS, no !urther attempt is made. (n this case, the system still regards the MS as attached. (! periodic registration is in use, the system will soon determine that the MS is detached. The >,= then per!orms an implicit detach, mar%ing the MS as detached.

MS 4urging

MS purging is used to in!orm the 0,= that the >,= is about to remo+e a subscriber record !rom the >,=.



An MS continuously measures signal strength and #uality on it:s own cell and signal strength on the .CC0 carriers o! the neighboring cells. The measurements are carried out on the downlin% while MS is in acti+e mode. The measurement results are sent to the .TS on SACC0 at regular inter+als. The ser+ing .TS measures signal strength and #uality on the uplin%.

,ocating contd..,

The measurements !rom the .TS and MS are sent to the .SC in the !orm o! measurement reports. .ased on these reports, the .SC decides i! a hando+er is necessary and to which cell. This is called locating. As soon as a neighboring cell is considered to be better than the ser+ing cell, a hando+er is attempted.


Types o! 0ando!! contd..,

There are se+eral types o! hando+er, including" (ntra$.TS hando+er 0ando+er between cells controlled by the same .SC @(nter .TSB(ntra .SCA 0ando+er between cells controlled by di!!erent .SC:s, but the same MSCB>,= @(ntra MSCA 0ando+er between cells controlled by di!!erent MSCB>,=s @(nter MSCA

(ntra$Cell 0ando+er

A special type o! hando+er is the intra$ cell hando+er. (t is per!ormed when the .SC considers the #uality o! the connection too low, but recei+es no indication !rom the measurements that another cell would be better. (n that case the .SC identi!ies another channel in the same cell which may o!!er a better #uality, and the MS is ordered to retune to it.

0ando+er between Cells controlled by Same .SC

9hen per!orming a hando+er between two cells controlled by the same .SC, the MSCB>,= is not in+ol+ed. 0owe+er, the MSCB>,= will be in!ormed when a hando+er has ta%en place.


(ntra .SC 0ando+er

MS BTSold BSC %&measurement %&measurement report result H) decision %&ch& acti$ation %& ch& acti$ation ac *&H) command *&H) command -& H) .ccess '&Lin esta(lishment +&H) complete +&H) complete ,&Release TCH /2 BTSne!

(ntra .SC 0ando!! contd..,

1. The .SC orders the new .TS to acti+ate a TC0. 2. The .SC sends a message to the MS, +ia the old .TS, containing in!ormation about the !re#uency and time slot to change to and also the output power to use. This in!ormation is sent to the MS using FACC0. &. The MS tunes to the new !re#uency, and transmits hando+er access in!ormation to new .TS.


(ntra .SC 0ando!! contd..,

-. 9hen the new .TS detects the hando+er bursts, it sends in!ormation about TA. This is also sent +ia FACC0. /. The MS sends a 0ando+er Complete message to the .SC +ia the new .TS. 1. The .SC tells the old .TS to release the old TC0.


(ntra MSC 0ando+er

9hen another .SC is in+ol+ed in a hando+er, the MSCB>,= must also be in+ol+ed to establish the connection between the two .SC:s.


(ntra MSC 0ando+er

MS BTSold BSCold %& measurement %& measurement report result H) decision %& H) required *& H) request resource allocation -& ch& acti$ation '& H) command '&H) request ac '& H) command '& H) command -& ch& acti$ation ac MSC BSCne! BTSne!

+& H) access

,& Lin esta(lishment 1& Release TCH 0& Release TCH Release complete Release complete /1 /& H) complete /& H) complete

(ntra MSC 0ando+er contd..,

1. The ser+ing @oldA .SC sends a 0ando+er =e#uired message to the MSC containing the identity o! the target cell. 2. The MSC %nows which .SC controls this cell and sends a 0ando+er =e#uest to this .SC. &. The new .SC orders the target .TS to acti+ate a TC0. -. The new .SC sends a message to the MS +ia the MSC and the old .TS.

(ntra MSC 0ando+er contd..,

/. MS tunes to the new !re#uency and transmits hando+er access bursts in the correct time slot. 1. The new .TS sends in!ormation about TA. 3. MS sends a 0ando+er Complete message to MSC +ia the new .SC. 6. MSC sends the old .SC an order to release the old TC0. 7. The old .SC tells the old .TS to release the TC0.