Magticom GSM / GPRS Network Evolution, Georgia
In July 2001, Magticom Limited announced that it had successfully completed the first general packet radio service (GPRS) call within its wireless network. This happened in the Republic of Georgia, using a Motorola system. Magticom is a joint venture between Magti Limited of Georgia, Matromedia International Telecommunications, Inc and Western Wireless International, Inc in the USA. Magticom is the leading GSM operator in delivering integrated voice, data and services in Georgia.
Initially, Magticom plans to make the Motorola/Cisco end-to-end GPRS commercial services available on a limited basis, with full commercial deployment occuring in the near future. Motorola, through its alliance with Cisco Systems, supplies complete end-to-end GPRS network solutions for commercial service. Magticom, which has more than 124,000 mobile subscribers, is the first operator in Georgia to have announced GPRS technology.
WAP equipment was installed on the Magticom network in 2001 and the GPRS infrastructure, which was manufactured in Swindon, UK, was installated the same year.
GPRS technology is the latest development in the world's communication industry. Using GPRS, users will be able to connect to the internet, in an online mode, with data transmission rates of up to 115Kbps second. These data speeds significantly exceed current mobile rates of 9.6Kbps and also are faster than data speeds over fixed-line networks. In addition, GPRS encourages the development of value-added services such as e-commerce, m-commerce and m-banking.
As a packet-switched technology, GPRS supports the internet protocol (IP) and X.25, the packet-switched standards currently used in wireline communications. As such, any service that is used on the fixed internet today will be able to be used over GPRS. Because GPRS uses the same protocols as the internet, the networks can be seen as subsets of the internet, with GPRS devices as hosts, potentially with their own IP addresses.
GPRS is based on a modulation technique called Gaussian minimum-shift keying (GMSK). This is where the rectangular pulses corresponding to the bitstream are filtered using a Gaussian-shaped impulse response filter, producing lower sidelobes than would otherwise be the case. This modulation technique does not allow as high a bit rate across the air interfaces as an eight-phase-shift keying (8PSK) modulation, which is being introduced in EDGE systems.
Enabling GPRS on a GSM or TDMA network requires the addition of two core modules, a gateway GPRS service node (GGSN) and the serving GPRS service node (SGSN). The GGSN acts as a gateway between the GPRS network and the public data networks such as IP and X.25. They also connect to other GPRS networks to enable roaming. The SGSN provides packet routing to all of the users in its service area.
As well as the addition of these nodes, GSM and TDMA networks have to have several extra upgrades to cope with the GPRS traffic. Packet control units have to be added and mobility management, air interface and security upgrades must also be performed.
Because the basic infrastructure interfaces with the existing GSM or TDMA infrastructure, the major vendors are the incumbent GSM suppliers such as Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola and Alcatel.