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GSM Communication Architecture

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GSM means Global System for mobile, and GSM is used to send and collect data from a central unit through a data call. Global System for Mobile (GSM) is an open and digital cellular technology used for transmitting data services and mobile voice that operates at the 850 MHZ and 1900 MHZ frequency bands. GSM communication architecture system is widely using for modern communication purposes.

GSM Architecture Module

GSM architecture module consists of four main interconnected subsystems they attract with themselves and with Global System for Mobile users through a specific network interface. GSM network comprises many functional units. The GSM network can be broadly divided such as

  • Mobile Station
  • Base Station Subsystem
  • Network Switching Subsystem
  • Operational Support Subsystem

Mobile Station

The mobile station consists of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) and mobile equipment (ME), which stores all the individual user data. The Mobile Station (MS) refers to the user and software equipment needed to communicate with other Mobile Station network.

Base Station Subsystem

The Base Station Subsystem (BSS) is the part of the Global System for Mobile network and taking care of electromagnetic wave or radio signal resources, that is, microwave channel apportionment and quality of the wave connection.

Network Switching Subsystem

Network Switching Subsystem is one of the most important parts of GSM communication architecture. The major components of NSS are Mobile Switching Centre (MSC) and the database, which includes Home Location Register (HLR).

Operating Support System

An operating support system is a Global System for Mobile communication software component that enables a service provider to control, analyze, monitor, and manage all GSM network services.

GSM Network Architecture

The European telecommunication standards institute developed the GSM communication network system (ETSI) to describe the protocols for second-generation digital cellular networks used by mobile devices like mobile phones and tablets.

The additional components of the GSM communication architecture comprise databases and messaging systems. GSM network architecture developed as a digital communication system using Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technique for communication purpose.

The GSM network architecture consists of some other important interconnected subsystems that attract themselves and owners through a particular network interface.

  • Home Location Register (HLR)
  • Visitor Location Register (VLR)
  • Equipment Identity Register (EIR)
  • Authentication Center (AC)
  • Base station Switching Center (BSC)
  • Mobile Switching Center (MSC)
  • Base Station Subsystem (BSS)

The MS and BSS communicate across the equipment interface. MS and BSS are also known as the air interface or the electromagnetic wave link. The BSS communicates with the network service switching center across the interface. The most advantage of the Global System for Mobile communication is widespread use throughout the world.

Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication has a harmonized spectrum, which means that different countries may operate on various frequency bands.

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GSM Architecture in Mobile Communication

Network Switching Subsystem (NSS) manages the switching functions of the system. It allows MSCs to communicate with other networks such as Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). It consists of

Mobile Station (MS)

  • Mobile Station (MS) consists of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), and Mobile Equipment (ME)
  • Mobile Station is the heart of the network. MS manages communication between GSM and other systems.
  • MS controls call to set up function, routing, and basic switching.
  • Mobile Station performs mobility management including registration, location updating, and inter Base Station Subsystem and Mobile Switching Center call handoff.
  • Mobile Station provides billing information.
  • Mobile Switching Center (MSC) does gateway function while its customers roam to other networks by using Home Location Registers or Visitor Location Registers.

Home Location Registers (HLR)

Home Location Registers (HLR) is a permanent database about mobile subscribers in a large service area. HLR database contains IMSI, IMSISDN, prepaid, and post-paid, roaming restrictions, and supplementary services.

Visitor Location Registers (VLR)

Visitor Location Registers (VLR) is an impermanent database that updates whenever a new Mobile Station (MS) user enters its HLR database area. VLR controls mobiles roaming in its place. Visitor Location Registers reduces the number of queries to HLR.

Authentication Centre (AC)

Authentication Centre (AC) protects against intruders in the air interface. Authentication center maintains authentication keys and algorithms and delivers security triplets (RAND, SRES, Ki)

Equipment Identity Registry (EIR)

Equipment Identity Registry (EIR) is a database used to track handset using the IMEI number. It comprises three subclasses- the white list, the blacklist, and the gray list.


PSTN/ISDN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network and Integrated services digital cellular network. The PSTN lines are analog network systems, whereas ISDN lines are digital network systems.

The PSTN lines used for small companies’ network purposes, and ISDN are used for bigger companies’ network purposes. ISDN is very popular than PSTN for businesses that want to transmit voice, data, video, and fax and caters to large organizations.


The main objective of GSM communication architecture systems is the digital cellular technology used for transmitting mobile voice and data services. The Global System for Mobile communication sends the information to the user mobile phone. Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and GSM are shorthand for two older radio systems like 2nd generation and 3rd generation (2G and 3G) used in cell phones.

GSM network architecture developed as a digital communication system using Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technique for communication purpose. This communication System is the world’s first modern

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