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GSM Interfaces

(Um) Air interface - MS to BTS

A bis interface - BTS to BSC
A Interface - BSC to MSC
B Interface - MSC to VLR
C interface - MSC to HLR

GSM Interfaces

D Interface - VLR to HLR
E Interface - MSC to MSC
F Interface - MSC to EIR
G Interface - VLR to VLR
H Interface - HLR to AUC

A Interface
A bis Interface
Air Interface
B Interface

C Interface
F Interface
D Interface
H Interface
To other
GSM Interfaces
The interfaces between MSC and MS is
called A, Abis and Um interfaces.
On these interfaces only three layers are
defined.They are not corresponding to the
OSI (Open System Interconnection) model.
A Interface
A interface between the BSC and the MSC
The A interface provides two distinct types of
information, signalling and traffic, between
the MSC and the BSC.
The speech is transcoded in the TRC and the
SS7 (Signalling system) signalling is
transparently connected through the TRC or
on a separate link to the BSC.
Abis Interface
The A-bis interface responsible for transmitting traffic
and signalling information between the BSC and the
The transmission protocol used for sending signalling
information on the A-bis interface is Link Access
Protocol on the D Channel (LAPD)

(Um) Air Interface
This is the interface between the mobile station and the
Base station.
The Air interface uses the Time Division Multiple Access
(TDMA) technique to transmit and receive traffic and
signalling information between the BTS and MS.
The TDMA technique is used to divide each carrier into
eight time slots.These time slots are then assigned to
specific users,allowing up to eight conversations to be
handled Simultaneously by the same carrier.
7 5 6 3 4 1 2 0
1 2 4 3 5 7 6
Down Link
Up Link
Time Slot

This interface is the radio interface between the
mobile station and the network and uses layer
Three messages.
On Layer three messages we have the division
of message types into CM (communication
Management), MM (Mobility Management), and
RR (Radio Resource Management).
Connection Management
There are three entities within CM:
Call Control(CC) Which handles the procedures
concerning call control. e.g. setup,Change of bearer
Supplementary Service (SS) Which handles such as
call bearing, call waiting , call forwarding etc.
Short Message Service (SMS) Enables the MS to
handle short message transfer to and from the network.

Mobility Management (MM)
Mobility management handles functions for
authentication, location updating, identification and
others concerning the mobility of the mobile station.
Radio Resource Management

It contains the functions concerning the radio link.
Here we find the capability to establish,maintain and
release the radio connection between the network
and the mobile station, which includes the handover
B Interface
The B interface between the MSC and the VLR uses
the MAP/TCAP protocol.
Most MSCs are associated with a VLR, making the B
interface "internal".
Whenever the MSC needs access to data regarding
a MS located in its area, it interrogates the VLR using
the MAP/B protocol over the B interface.

C Interface

The C interface is between the HLR and a MSC.
Each call originating outside of GSM (i.e., a MS
terminating call from the PSTN) has to go through a
Gateway to obtain the routing information required to
complete the call, and the MAP/TCAP protocol over
the C interface is used for this purpose.
Also, the MSC may optionally forward billing
information to the HLR after call clearing.

D Interface
The D interface is between the VLR and HLR.
It uses the MAP/TCAP protocol to exchange the data
related to the location of the MS and to the
management of the subscriber.

E Interface
The E interface interconnects two MSCs.
The E interface exchanges data related to handover
between the anchor and relay MSCs using the -

F Interface
The F interface connects the MSC to the EIR.
It uses the MAP/TCAP protocol to verify the status of
the IMEI that the MSC has retrieved from the MS.

G Interface
The G interface interconnects two VLRs of different
It uses the MAP/G protocol to transfer subscriber
information, during e.g. a location update procedure.