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Global System for Mobile communication

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GSM is a digital mobile telephony system that is widely used in Europe and other parts of the world. GSM uses a variation of time division multiple access (TDMA) and is the most widely used of the three digital wireless telephony technologies (TDMA, GSM, and CDMA). GSM digitizes and compresses data, then sends it down a channel with two other streams of user data, each in its own time slot. It operates at either the 900 Mhz or 1800 Mhz frequency band. A GSM network consists of the following components:

A Mobile Station: It is the mobile phone which consists of the transceiver, the display and the processor and is controlled by a SIM card operating over the network.

Base Station Subsystem: It acts as an interface between the mobile station and the network subsystem. It consists of the Base Transceiver Station which contains the radio transceivers and handles the protocols for communication with mobiles. It also consists of the Base Station Controller which controls the Base Transceiver station and acts as a interface between the mobile station and mobile switching centre.

Network Subsystem: It provides the basic network connection to the mobile stations. The basic part of the Network Subsystem is the Mobile Service Switching Centre which provides access to different networks like ISDN, PSTN etc. It also consists of the Home Location Register and the Visitor Location Register which provides the call routing and roaming capabilities of GSM. It also contains the Equipment Identity Register which maintains an account of all the mobile equipments wherein each mobile is identified by its own IMEI number. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity.

Features of GSM Module:

  • Improved spectrum efficiency
  • International roaming
  • Compatibility with integrated services digital network (ISDN)
  • Support for new services.
  • SIM phonebook management
  • Fixed dialing number (FDN)
  • Real time clock with alarm management
  • High-quality speech
  • Uses encryption to make phone calls more secure
  • Short message service (SMS)

Base Station Subsystem (BSS) The Base Station Subsystem (BSS) section of the GSM network architecture that is fundamentally associated with communicating with the mobiles on the network. It consists of two elements:

Base Transceiver Station (BTS): The BTS used in a GSM network comprises the radio transmitter receivers, and their associated antennas that transmit and receive to directly communicate with the mobiles. The BTS is the defining element for each cell. The BTS communicates with the mobiles and the interface between the two is known as the Um interface with its associated protocols.

Base Station Controller (BSC): The BSC forms the next stage back into the GSM network. It controls a group of BTSs, and is often co-located with one of the BTSs in its group. It manages the radio resources and controls items such as handover within the group of BTSs, allocates channels and the like. It communicates with the BTSs over what is termed the Abis interface.

Network Switching Subsystem (NSS) The GSM system architecture contains a variety of different elements, and is often termed the core network. It provides the main control and interfacing for the whole mobile network. The major elements within the core network include: Mobile Services Switching Centre (MSC): The main element within the core network area of the overall GSM network architecture is the Mobile switching Services Centre (MSC). The MSC acts like a normal switching node within a PSTN or ISDN, but also provides additional functionality to enable the requirements of a mobile user to be supported. These include registration, authentication, call location, inter-MSC handovers and call routing to a mobile subscriber. It also provides an interface to the PSTN so that calls can be routed from the mobile network to a phone connected to a landline. Interfaces to other MSCs are provided to enable calls to be made to mobiles on different networks.

Home Location Register (HLR): This database contains all the administrative information about each subscriber along with their last known location. In this way, the GSM network is able to route calls to the relevant base station for the MS. When a user switches on their phone, the phone registers with the network and from this it is possible to determine which BTS it communicates with so that incoming calls can be routed appropriately. Even when the phone is not active (but switched on) it re-registers periodically to ensure that the network (HLR) is aware of its latest position. There is one HLR per network, although it may be distributed across various sub-centres to for operational reasons.

Visitor Location Register (VLR): This contains selected information from the HLR that enables the selected services for the individual subscriber to be provided. The VLR can be implemented as a separate entity, but it is commonly realised as an integral part of the MSC, rather than a separate entity. In this way access is made faster and more convenient. SERVICES PROVIDED BY GSM: Barring of Outgoing Calls. Barring of Incoming Calls. Advice of Charge (AoC). (This GSM service estimates the call cost for display on the user’s mobile phone). Call Hold. Call Waiting. Multiparty service. Call forwarding.

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