What Is GSM Architecture in Mobile Communication?

Digital mobile phone technology is known as the “Global System for Mobile Communication” (GSM). It is popular throughout Europe and beyond. GSM units allow mobile phones to send calls, data, and SMS to the cellular network. GSM architecture in mobile communication includes the MS, BSS, NSS, and OSS. BSS covers BTS and BSC; MS includes mobile devices and SIM cards. NSS includes MSC, VLR, and HLR. OSS handles networks. SMS, GPRS, and 3G internet services link mobile devices seamlessly.

What Are The 3 Different Types of GSM?

The Global System for Mobile Networks is divided into three different types, such as Switching System (SS), Base Station System (BSS), and Operation Support System (OSS). In contrast to many others The Global System for Mobile Communication’s underlying technology—as opposed to any of the various GSM variants.

But what does “GSM” usually refer to? GSM has evolved through many generations, from 2G to 3G to 4G. These generations are distinct from one another with regard to the scope and depth of the features and capabilities that they provide. In addition, the frequency bands that are used for GSM communications vary significantly from one region of the globe to another.

What Is the Introduction of the Global System for Mobile Communication?

The term “introduction of Global System for Mobile communication” refers to the work done to create and deploy GSM. It is the global standard for digital cellular communication. This radio standard supports voice, data, and SMS.

GSM architecture in mobile communication dominated mobile phone technology in Europe and other nations in the 1990s. It outperformed analog phones in call quality, data transfer, and safety, and increased speed. A billion users may now use 3G and 4G, and 5G. Global System for Mobile provides voice and data.

How Does GSM Work?

The GSM architecture in mobile communication protocol for operation makes use of a number of distinct methods, which include, but are not limited to, Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA), and a few others. These techniques are used in conjunction with one another. The acronym “BTS” stands for “Base Transceiver Station,” while “BSC” refers to “Base Station Controller”.

GSM networks use base stations that consist of both of these components. These two subcomponents collaborate with one another to provide service to the network’s individual hexagonal cells. The GSM network will segment the service area into smaller areas referred to as cells. When a mobile device makes or receives a call, it must first establish a connection with the BTS, which then begins communication with the BSC.

Only after these two steps have been completed can the call be considered made or received. This loop will continue to iterate over and over again until the call has been terminated. The Base Station Controller (BSC) is responsible for managing the flow of calls between mobile devices.

It is responsible for managing the flow of calls between mobile devices. The Mobile Services Switching Center (MSC), is in charge of redirecting calls to their proper destination. MSC is responsible for managing the flow of calls between mobile devices and the Base Station Controller (MSC).

The Mobile Switching Center (MSC) is in constant communication with the Visitor Location Register (VLR). VLR is responsible for monitoring the location and status of mobile devices within the service area. Home Location Register (HLR) is responsible for storing subscriber information such as the identity of the subscriber. The services that the subscriber is subscribed to, as well as location information. Both of these registers are responsible for monitoring the location and status of mobile devices within the service area.

The monitoring of the status and location of mobile devices that are inside the service area falls within the purview of both of these registers. Both speech and data are first subjected to compression, and then digitally encoded, before being compressed into small packets and sent over radio frequencies that are allocated for use by the GSM network. In addition, GSM makes use of a variety of different security methods, including authentication and encryption, to make certain that the connection is kept private and to stop unauthorized access.

What Are The 4 Components of GSM?

The four main parts of the Global System for Mobile Communication system are:

  • Mobile Station (MS)
  • Base Station Subsystem (BSS)
  • Network Switching Subsystem (NSS)
  • Operation Support Subsystem (OSS)

Mobile devices and SIM cards compose MS. Base Station System comprise BTS and BSC. MSC, VLR, and HLR are part of the Network Support Systems (NSS). Operations Support Systems (OSS) manage networks and invoices.

What Are Some Limitations of GSM?

The Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) has been criticized for a number of reasons. One of which is electromagnetic interference, which occurs when several users use the same bandwidth. Some websites and scholarly publications highlight this issue as a system vulnerability. However, there are some limitations of GSM, such as

  • Electronic interference
  • Bandwidth lag
  • Limited rate of data transfer

Multiple users sharing bandwidth might cause electromagnetic interference. Qualcomm patents several GSM technology, thus licenses must be obtained from Qualcomm to use them, which may be a drawback. GSM provides a worldwide connection, powerful features, and no international roaming costs, the poll concluded.

What Are the Different Types of GSM Channels?

Logical channels help mobile devices and networks exchange call data. These channels also aid network management. Logical channels replace physical channel slots and carrier frequencies. Broadcast, standard, and user-defined logical channels exist.

GSM networks use traffic channels. GSM networks have traffic, control, and logical channels. Global System for Mobile Communication system uses various types of channels to facilitate communication between mobile devices and the cellular network. Here are the different types of GSM channels used in the GSM network architecture.

Traffic Channels (TCH)

Traffic channels are used for carrying voice or user data during a call or data session. There are two types of traffic channels:

Full Rate (TCH/F)

This channel provides the highest voice quality in GSM. It uses a data rate of 13 kbps and is primarily used for voice calls.

Half Rate (TCH/H)

This channel uses a lower data rate of 6.5 kbps, allowing for more efficient use of network resources. It is used when the voice quality can be slightly reduced without significantly affecting user experience. TCH/H is typically used during periods of high network congestion.

Control Channels

Control channels are used for signaling and control purposes. They include:

Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH)

The BCCH carries essential system information that is broadcasted by the base station. Mobile devices use this channel to identify and camp onto a GSM network.

Common Control Channel (CCCH)

Common Control Channel (CCCH) includes channels such as Random Access Channel (RACH), Paging Channel (PCH), and Access Grant Channel (AGCH). RACH is used by mobile devices to initiate a call setup, PCH is used for incoming call notifications, and AGCH is used to assign a traffic channel to a mobile device.

Standalone Dedicated Control Channel (SDCCH)

SDCCH is used for dedicated signaling between the mobile device and the network. It is typically used for call setup, authentication, and short signaling messages.

Slow Associated Control Channel (SACCH)

SACCH is a control channel that runs in parallel with a traffic channel. It is used for transmitting control information related to the ongoing call, such as signal quality measurements and power control instructions.

Fast Associated Control Channel (FACCH)

FACCH is used for carrying control information during voice calls. It temporarily replaces the traffic channel to transmit urgent control messages, such as handover commands.

What is Mobile Station (MS)?

The Mobile Station (MS) is the device via which mobile users connect to the GSM network and utilize the network’s mobile communication services. Users using mobile devices may also have access to these features. This portion is crucial to the operation of the GSM system as a whole due to its central role in the GSM standard. People use mobile station in wireless communication systems also. The MS consists of a mobile device like a cell phone and a Subscriber Identity Module card, commonly known as a SIM card.  

A SIM card is another name for a mobile phone or subscriber identification module. The SIM card stores the subscriber’s information, including their phone number and other personal details. You can get this data whenever you need it. The Mobile Station (MS) communicates with the GSM network via the Base Station Subsystem (BSS). It is sometimes called the Base Transceiver Station (BTS). In order to carry out its functions, the MS must send radio signals to the BTS and receive signals from the BTS.

Besides a screen, a display screen, a microphone, a speaker, and various buttons and functions for input and output, a mobile device consists of a number of other parts. A microphone, speaker, display screen, and display screen are all part of this setup. The MS also has a battery for electricity and other sensors such as a global positioning system (GPS) and accelerometers for tracking movement and gathering additional data. The device may be utilized with the battery still providing power.

What is Base Station Subsystem (BSS)?

The “Base Station Subsystem” (or “BSS”) is a part of the ” GSM architecture in mobile communication” (or “GSM”). The Base Station Subsystem (BSS) of the GSM network transmits and receives mobile device signals. This function is done between the mobile device and the network. One example of a portable electronic device is a cell phone. The Base Transceiver Station (BTS) and the Base Station Controller (BSC) are the two most important parts of this system.

The BTS is part of a cellular network responsible for sending and receiving radio signals between mobile devices inside a certain cell. Each Base Transceiver Station (BTS) covers a cell, and many cells together cover a Location region (LA). The BTS is linked to the BSC, which manages the network of BTSs and keeps the link between them operational. The link to the BTS is likewise managed and maintained by the BSC.

It is responsible for managing a broad variety of critical operations, such as radio frequency allocation, decision-making during handovers, call setup and teardown, and more. The Network Switching Subsystem (NSS), which is in charge of rerouting calls between various cell networks and types of networks, is in constant communication with the Base Station Subsystem (BSS).

The BSS is linked to the Operation Support Subsystem (OSS), which is part of the system responsible for both network upkeep and invoicing. Radio signal transmission and reception between mobile devices and the network are primarily governed by this component.

What is Network Switching Subsystem (NSS)?

The GSM network’s nerve center (NSS) handles call distribution and mobility. NSS is also known as PSTN. PSTN is a Public Switch Telephone Network. Activity is carried out in a coordinated fashion. The MSC, VLR, and HLR are the backbone of the National Switching System (NSS). There are several subsystems inside NSS. In order to function, the NSS requires energy from a Mobile Switching Center (MSC) or Mobile Switching Service (MSS).

It initiates, manages, and terminates connections to mobile networks. To reach the BSC, use the A interface. The PSTN and other operator networks can be accessed using Gateway Mobile Switching Centre (GMSC). Connect to other MSCs using Inter-MSC (IMSI) routing.

In a certain service area, data from mobile devices is briefly stored by the VLR. There are no barriers to accessing these records. This information is easily accessible to the VLR. From the HLR, it takes in and saves information on subscribers and their devices. Once in a while, the MSC will get this information.

The HLR is where mobile network subscribers’ permanent information is stored. Users may sign up, verify their identities, and have their services delivered. It stores subscriber information and shares it with the VLR and MSC when asked to do so. The Network Support System (NSS) of a GSM network is responsible for providing subscribers with communication services, including call routing, mobility management, information transfer, and data transmission. The NSS answers phone calls.

Operation Support Subsystem (OSS)

An “operational support system” (OSS) helps manage and operate telecommunication networks. This aspect, which assists network servicing and maintenance, focuses on automation. OSS provides several services, such as network data collection, analysis, service providing, issue detection and troubleshooting, performance management, invoicing, and customer support are among these services.

An OSS usually consists of many software packages that work together to deliver a wide variety of features and functions. This platform supports network inventory, service assurance, fault management, and service management. Communications networks cannot function without operations support systems. Today’s complex and large networks need a sophisticated and comprehensive OSS system to operate efficiently.  

A list of some of the most essential qualities of an OSS system is provided below:

  1. Conducting an audit of the network and being responsible for its management Keeping tabs on and exercising control over numerous components of the network, such as its devices, interfaces, and circuits, are required to accomplish this task.
  2. Service management involves monitoring and maintaining the service level agreements (SLAs) that are in place between the network operator and its subscribers, in compliance with the standards that are presently in effect.
  3. The act of regulating the faults that are present inside a network is referred to as fault management. Fault management also involves creating thresholds, monitoring performance in real time, and taking remedial measures in the event that the network fails.
  4. Performance management is the process of monitoring and managing the performance of the network, as well as ensuring that the network complies with the standards that have been established. In addition to that, it requires controlling the efficiency of the network.

An operations support system, often known as an OSS, is typically considered to be an essential component of a communications network. This is due to the fact that it helps to ensure that network operations function smoothly and efficiently, which in turn allows service providers to give their consumers services of high quality.

Home Location Register (HLR)

The Home Location Register (HLR) is a database that is used by GSM. It’s where they keep track of their service packages and how calls are routed. Each mobile device has its own HLR record. The HLR staff is in the know. For call management and routing purposes, the MSC and VLR may access subscriber data from the HLR. Being able to use the HLR is a “capability.”

Mobile roaming is made possible via the HLR. Customers who use mobile devices must have these capabilities. When a user roams across networks, the visiting network may collect subscriber data from the HLR. With this information, the host network may enable phone calls and Internet access for roaming customers. The ability to send and receive texts could be available. Also, there’s texting. The HLR is charged with the following key duties, which are listed below:

  1. The provisioning of subscribers: The HLR is responsible for creating new subscriber records in addition to updating and deleting data that already exists. This responsibility falls under the umbrella of the provisioning of subscribers.
  2. Call Routing: The HLR is responsible for storing information on the current location of the subscriber, and the network uses this information to decide how to route incoming calls in the most efficient way possible.
  3. Roaming management: The HLR supports roaming by transferring information about a subscriber’s home network to the network that the subscriber is presently using. This allows the subscriber to continue using their home network while traveling.
  4. Service control: The HLR is in charge of keeping and maintaining information that is specific to a subscriber on the services that are provided to that particular subscriber. This information pertains to the services that are delivered to that subscriber.

The home location record (HLR) contains vital subscriber information and aids in the routing of calls and other services in a mobile network. HLRs protect mobile networks as well.

Mobile Services Switching Center (MSC)

The Mobile Services Switching Center (MSSC) is a crucial component of the Network Switching Subsystem (NSS) in both GSM and CDMA mobile networks. In addition to audio conversations, the Mobile Switching Center (MSC) manages data services such as SMS, MMS, and mobile data traffic. Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs) are optimally suited for providing services to mobile devices. Its primary purpose is to direct information and media to its intended recipients.

Among the most crucial functions of an MSC are the following:

The MSC involves with directs all incoming and outgoing communications, MMS, SMS, and other data services to their respective network locations. Possible participants include the Home Location Register. The Short Message Service Center and the Guest Location Register enable the transmission and reception of data through multiple networks.

The MSC enables communication between mobile networks by relaying conversations between them. Thirdly, the MSC administers the services that end users can access, such as voice communications, text messages, and mobile web perusing. Upon the presence of a roaming subscriber, the visiting network’s mobile switching center (MSC) contacts the home network’s MSC to authenticate and authorize the subscription. This facilitates voice and data communications for consumers while they are away from home.

Call control, which involves the monitoring and distribution of communications across the network, is the MSC’s fifth function. If necessary, voice and data transmissions may be intercepted. The MSC is responsible for intercepting voice and data communications in accordance with the law upon request from law enforcement.

The mobile switching center (MSC) is a crucial component of any mobile network because it regulates the passage of voice and data across networks and ensures the quality of service for mobile users.

Visitor Location Register (VLR)

Unquestionably, the Visitor Location Register (VLR) is standard in GSM networks. It is a database used in mobile networks. The VLR replaces the Home Location Register (HLR) when a mobile device departs the coverage area of its home network, allowing the device to continue functioning ordinarily while the user is roaming.

Information about a roaming subscriber is stored in a VLR so that the visiting network can provide services, such as voice and data communications, to the user while they are within that network. The VLR relays subscriber location information to the Mobile Services Switching Center (MSC) as an integral component of the MSC.

The VLR is responsible for several crucial responsibilities, including:

  • The VLR maintains a subscriber database that contains the location information and current service profile of all roaming customers within its coverage area.
  • Second, the MSC utilizes the VLR’s location data to reroute incoming and outgoing calls based on the current location of the subscriber.
  • Thirdly, the VLR manages mobility by informing the main network HLR of the visited network.
  • Fourthly, the VLR regulates which services roaming consumers may utilize, such as mobile data, text messages, and phone calls.

Equipment Identity Register (EIR)

In mobile networks, particularly GSM networks, the Equipment Identity Register (EIR) stores information about mobile devices. The EIR is a centralized database that contains an inventory of all mobile stations (MS) permitted in the network, as well as stolen, prohibited, or defective equipment. The primary responsibility of the EIR is to register the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of all mobile devices authorized to access the network.

Each mobile phone has a unique identification number known as an IMEI. Some devices have only one IMEI number, while others with multiple SIM card slots may have several. The EIR is essential for regulating network access and reducing fraud rates, as it verifies the legitimacy of mobile devices. It indicates whether a device is authorized to connect to the network or whether it has been marked as stolen or prohibited.

Additional crucial aspects of the EIR include:

  • Firstly, Device recovery following loss or theft The EIR may aid in device recovery by blacklisting the device’s IMEI number, rendering it inoperable on all networks.
  • Secondly, before permitting device access to the network, the EIR verifies the legitimacy of the device’s IMEI to help prevent deception.
  • Thirdly, the EIR can accelerate the process of introducing new devices to the network by automating device provisioning and configuration.
  • Fourth, the EIR can be used to monitor network performance by tracking device usage and status.

The EIR is indispensable to a mobile network due to its responsibilities in regulating user access, minimizing fraud, and ensuring optimal performance.

Authentication Center (AUC)

Mobile networks, especially GSM (Global System for Mobile) networks, rely on the Authentication Center (AUC) for authentication and other security tasks. It verifies the mobile device and its user to protect network transmissions. The AUC creates and saves subscriber authentication data for network user verification.

The SIM card in the mobile device sends the AUC the random challenge (RAND), Signed Response (SRES), and Subscriber Authentication Key (Ki). The AUC generates a new RAND value and Ki to create a new SRES every time a mobile device connects to a network. AUC checks mobile device authenticity if SRES matches Ki and RAND.

The AUC handles authentication, making it essential to mobile network security. AUC factors include:

  • The AUC checks users’ credentials to ensure that only authorized users may access the network.
  • The AUC’s key (Ki) generates subscriber authentication credentials for each connection attempt.
  • The AUC ensures subscribers’ data and network assets’ secrecy, authenticity, and accessibility.
  • It authenticates users before giving network access.
  • Mobile networks need the AUC to secure and approve mobile device-network communications.

Final Thought

GSM architecture in mobile communication is a digital cellular technology that is widely used for cellular communication systems. GSM uses various frequency bands: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz. It uses the combination of Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA). GSM improves spectrum efficiency. Basically, GSM offers basic to advance data and voice service, such as roaming. It is noted that GSM in wireless communication is well-suited and includes High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD). So, it can be used in wire or wireless communication systems.

Leave a Comment