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Layer 3 Message in GSM

GSM Layer III Messages

Signaling Protocol in GSM

In telecommunication system, signaling is required to coordinate the distributed entities of the


The signaling protocol in GSM is structured into three general layers as shown in the following figure.
•        Layer 1 (Physical layer)
 It uses the data channel structures over the air interface
•        Layer 2 (Data link layer)
It provides error-free transmission between adjacent entities, based on the ISDN’s LAPD protocol for
the Um and Abis interfaces, and on SS7’s Message Transfer Protocol (MTP) for the other Layer
•       Layer 3 (Networking or messaging layer)
Responsible for the communication of network resources, mobility, code format and call-related
management messages between various network entities

 Layer III is the GSM signaling protocol, which is divided into 3 sub-layers:
Radio Resource Management to control the setup, maintenance, and termination of radio and fixed
channels, including handovers;
Mobility Management to manage the location updating and registration procedures, as well as security
and authentication; and
Connection Management to handles general call control and manages Supplementary Services and the
Short Message Service.

System Information Type 1

When MS need to know which frequency band to use and which frequencies within the band it should
use during frequency hopping
The ARFCN for all frequencies used in the cell.

RACH control parameters

Information is also provided instructing the MS how to perform access to the system. This information is
provided in the RACH control parameters information element 

Cell Bar access (CBA, CELL_BAR_ACCESS)

Cell barred for access is denoted by using one bit only (yes/no).
Call reestablish permitted (RE)
MAXRET (Max retransmissions)
Access control class ( ACC) is described using a bit map with 16 bits. All MSs are spread out on ACC 0-9.
Priority group MSs use ACC 11-15. A bit set to 1 indicates that the class is barred for access.
Emergency calls EC=0 means that all MSs are allowed to make emergency calls, while EC=1 means that
only  MSs belonging to priority classes 11-15 are allowed to make emergency calls. 

System Information Type 2

The neighbor cells description information element denotes the frequencies of the BCCH carriers to be
monitored by the MSs in the cell.
This is a BCCH allocation sequence number indication. BAIND can have the value 0 or 1. When the
operator changes the frequency list, the BA-IND changes from 1 to 0 or vice versa.
These are absolute RF channels on which the MSs should signal strength  perform measurements.

System Information Type 3

SI3 msg are showing the information of CGI, Cell selection and basic idle mode parameter.
Location Area Identification (LAI)
MCC Mobile Country Code (3 digits)
MNC Mobile Network Code (2-3 digits)
LAC Location Area Code (2 octets: 0-65535 different LACs)
Cell Selection Parameters
Maximum power level of control channel (MS_TXPWR_MAX_CCH)
Minimum receiving level of MS permitted to access (RXLEV_ACCESS_MIN)
Additional reselection parameter indicator (ACS)
Half-rate supported(NECI)
Power control indication (PWRC): The power control indicator equal to 1 means set
Discontinuous transmission (DTX)
Radio link timeout (RLT)
ATT Attach/Detach allowed 
AGBLK (BS_AG_BLKS_RES) This is the number of CCCH blocks reserved for the AGCH
CCCH_CONFThis is the number of Basic Physical Channels used for the CCCH
CCCH-CONF : (0) 1 basic physical channel used for CCCH, not combined with SDCCHs
MFRMS (BS_PA_MFRMS) This is the number of 51 multiframe periods for transmission of Paging Request
messages in the same paging group (2-9).
T3212 This is the time-out value for MS periodic location updating. T3212 has values from 0 to 255. 
(Time for periodic LU = 6min * T3212 value)

System Information Type 4

In system information type 4, MSs are informed if the cell broadcast function is used in this cell and on
what frequency the CBCH is found.
The LAI, the cell selection parameters, the RACH control parameters and rest octets are also included
in the type 4 message.
CBCH Channel Description (Optional)
In this information element, the channel used for SMS cell broadcast is described.
This is the channel combination and sub-channel used for CBCH. For example, SDCCH/4 + SACCH/C4 or
CBCH,  sub channel 2
TN : This represents the time slot number
TSC : This is the training sequence code. BCC part of BSIC is recommended.
H : This is the hopping parameter, where H=0 means single RF channel and H=1 means RF hopping
type 3 rest octets. These are PI, CBQ, CELL_RESELECT_OFFSET, TEMPORARY_OFFSET, and

System Information Type 5

It describes the neighbor cell BCCH frequencies(BA2 list). It is mandatory and is transmitted on SACCH.
MS can read the frequency described in SYS INFO 5 in dedicated mode, report the relevant information
of neighbor cells in measurement report, and use it as the basis for handover.
Neighbor Cells Description
The neighbor cells description information element denotes the frequencies of the BCCH carriers to be
monitored by the MSs in the cell.

System Information Type 6

When in active mode, the MS needs to know if the LAI changes. In case the LAI changes the MS must
perform location updating when the call is released.
 If the MS changes between cells (within the location area) where RDLINKOUT or DTX conditions differ
the new cell options must be reported to the MS.
NCC permitted information element is also included

System Information Type 7 & 8

System information type 7 & 8 are optionally sent on BCCH extended if system information type 4 does
not contain all information needed for cell re-selection. 

Measurement Report
The mobile unit always scans BCCH of up to 16 neighboring cells, and forms a list of the six best
candidates for possible handover. This information is transmitted to current Base Station at least once
per second. BSC and MSC use this information for handover algorithm.