GPRS—General packet radio services

Written by: Håkan Granbohm and Joakim Wiklund

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By adding GPRS to the GSM network, operators can offer efficient wireless access to external IP-based networks, such as the Internet and corporate intranets. What is more, operators can profit from the rapid pace of service development in the Internet world, offering their own IP-based services using the GPRS IP bearer, thereby moving up the Internet value chain and increasing profitability. End-users can remain connected indefinitely to the external network and enjoy instantaneous transfer rates of up to 115 kbit/s. Users who are not actually sending or receiving packets occupy only a negligible amount of the network’s critical resources. Thus, new charging schemes are expected to reflect network usage instead of connection time.

Ericsson’s implementation of GPRS enables rapid deployment while keeping entry costs low—the two new nodes that are added to the network can be combined and deployed at a central point in the network. The rest of the GSM network solely requires a software upgrade, apart from the BSC, which requires new hardware. The authors describe Ericsson’s implementation of GPRS. In particular, they explain the role of the two new GPRS support nodes and needed changes to Ericsson products in the PLMN.

[First published in Ericsson Review no. 02, 1999]