Signaling Plane

The protocol architecture of the signaling plane comprises protocols for control and support of the functions of the transmission plane, e.g., for the execution of GPRS attach and detach, PDP context activation, the control of routing paths, and the allocation of network resources.

Between MS and SGSN (Figure 11.11), the GPRS 'Mobility Management and Session Management (GMM/SM) protocol is responsible for mobility and session management. It includes functions for GPRS attach/detach, PDP context activation, routing area updates, and security procedures.

Gprs Attach
Figure 11.11: Signaling plane: MS-SGSN

The signaling architecture between SGSN and the registers HLR, VLR, and EIR (Figure 11.12) uses protocols known from conventional GSM (Section 7.3) and partly extends them with GPRS-specific functionality. Between SGSN and HLR as well as between SGSN and EIR, an enhanced Mobile Application Part (MAP) is employed. The exchange of MAP messages is accomplished over the Transaction Capabilities Application Part (TCAP), the Signaling Connection Control Part (SCCP), and the Message Transfer Part (MTP).

The BSS Application Part (BSSAP+) includes functions of GSM's BSSAP. It is applied to transfer signaling information between the SGSN and the VLR (Gs interface). This includes, in particular, signaling of the mobility management when coordination of GPRS and conventional GSM functions is necessary (e.g. for combined GPRS and nonGPRS location update, combined GPRS/IMSI attach, or paging of an MS via GPRS for an incoming GSM call).

Figure 11.12: Signaling plane: SGSN-HLR, SGSN-EIR, and SGSN-MSC/VLR
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