GSM Core Network: Base Station Subsystem

As discussed in one of the last posts, the GSM network can be broadly divided into 3 parts:

- BSS: Base Station Subsystem
- NSS: Network Switching Subsystem
- NMS: Network Management Subsystem
Today we would be covering Base Station Subsystem. So this system takes care of all the radio related functions between a mobile and the network.It consists of Base transceiver stations (basically the tower) and a base station controller (a BSC)
We have already covered Base Transceiver Station or BTS. You can read the same here
Just to give you a brief, a base station is that part of the network which is accountable for handling traffic and managing the signals between a mobile phone and other components in the network switching subsystem. 
A Base station contains the equipment for transmitting and receiving radio signals i.e. transceivers, antennas, and the equipments for encrypting and decrypting communications with the BSC
Base Station Controller:
All the BTS needs something to manage them. And that’s where the role of BSCs comes; they manage the intelligence behind the BTSs. And that’s the role of BSC. Its basically a combination of server and software, it’s a high-capacity switch which controls all the radio communication such as handover, management of network resources and handling of cell configuration data. Controlling the radio frequency power levels in the mobile phones is also the job of a BSC. In short, the device enables the base station to register mobile phones in the cell to perform handover, call setup and call termination. Base station controllers also set transceiver configurations and frequencies for each cell. It also provides all the required data to the operation support subsystem (OSS) as well as to the performance measuring centers.

Confused?? Even, I was in the same condition while penning all this down:( Don't worry, read once more and everything will be clear:)
Get it now?? So, lets carry on...

One more thing, the no of BSCs depends on the complexity and capacity of a carrier's system. Typically a BSC has tens or even hundreds of BTSs under its control.
Other entities:
As the name suggests, the transcoder is responsible for transcoding the voice channel coding between the coding used in the mobile network, and the coding used by PSTN (would be covering that soon again). In a very layman’s term, PSTN can also be called as the landline or wireline phones that we use.
Packet control unit
As the name says, It performs all the processing tasks for the for packet data. The PCU takes full control over data channel once the same is handed over to it by a BSC
Guess its enough gyaan for today:)
Keep smiling and keep learning


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