What is YateBTS?
YateBTS is a radio GSM server that is compatible with both the 2.5G and 4G architecture. The solution is deployed in two forms:
- An open source under the AGPLv3 Creative Commons License Agreement, intended to help academic researchers to study and perform scientific investigations in the field of mobile technology.
The YateBTS Lab Kit offers the complete functionality of a 2.5G network in a single, small size box. It is addressed to serve the needs of network operator laboratories, M2M applications development, mobile phone vendors, academics and security researchers.
- A commercial version, that will help operators make a much smoother transition to the modern 4G technology.
The commercial version, called YateBTS SatSite is intended for rural networks, M2M applications, remote locations or private networks. YateBTS SatSite is a simplified solution that implements both the radio access network and the core network, offering the complete functionality of a 2.5G network.
SatSite is customized with a 3G backhaul modem, supporting the easy extension of mobile coverage into remote areas. Using local call switching and low-rate speech encoding to reduce backhaul loading, SatSite is ideal for areas with sparse infrastructure. It is also highly power efficient, and can be charged by solar panels. SatSite cand be operated as a 2.5G network with VoIP trunks, or be integrated directly into existing 2.5G/3G SS7/MAP IMS mobile infrastructure. YateBTS SatSite accelerates the deployment of M2M applications such as: smart metering, fleet management and public health to areas where these could not be performed in a cost effective manner.
YateBTS has been created with the purpose of delivering an enhanced and combined solution between OpenBTS' L1 PHY, L2 Link Layer and L3 Radio Resource Manager, also know as mBTS, and Yate's multiple features, such as the IAX over satellite, SS7 and Diameter, USSD, RManager, roaming or local phone switch. YateBTS is a fundamental element in the Unified Core Network™, a core network in which 2.5G and 4G radio access products can be used together by mobile operators.
YateBTS transmits call traffic from the 2.5G mobile stations, as SIP, to OpenVoLTE. In a 2.5G network, OpenVoLTE acts as an MSC/VLR.
OpenVoLTE then communicates through SS7/MAP to OpenHSS, which is both an HSS and an HLR. The same SS7/MAP interface is used to perform roaming with outside partners.
For the transmission of data, through GPRS, the YateBTS base station communicates with OpenSAE, which acts as a typical 2.5G GGSN element, over a GTP interface, thus routing traffic to and from the Internet.
In this section we explain the architecture of YateBTS, and why it's so efficient at what it does.
YateBTS is comprised of two main parts:
- the lower layer - that is managed by MBTS, that deals with the GSM part of the system, up to Radio Resource Control, much like a 4G EnodeB.
- radio trasceiver
- MBTS, a fork of OpenBTS® L1 PHY, L2 link layer and L3 radio resource manager.
- the network layer that is done by Yate.
- YBTS, a Yate module, is connected to the lower layers, namely Layer 1, 2 and 3, by a hard socket. YBTS replaces much of the L3 functionality of OpenBTS®
Advantages of YateBTS architecture
YateBTS makes use of the great GSM implementation from OpenBTS® and Yate's powerfull telephony engine. This architecture offers many advantages over the original OpenBTS® design, including:
- dramatically improved stability
- direct support for the all of the protocols already supported by Yate (SS7/MAP, SIP/IMS, MGCP, XMPP, H.323, IAX, ISDN, and others).
- various existing management and monitoring modules and the possibility to easily develop your own
Yate and YBTS
YBTS is a Yate module that implements the majority of the GSM Layer 3 functionality. YBTS uses MBTS as a modem. MBTS supervises the psyhical and link layers and also does radio resource mananagement. MBTS forwards all received frames to YBTS that implements control functions.
Another way of saying this is that MBTS sets up the radio channel and forwards all information received on that channel to YBTS. YBTS then sees if it's a call/SMS/USSD/registration/etc request and sends a specific Yate message for that type of request. Other Yate modules or custom applications handle this messages. An example of this is the Network in a Box application that comes by default with YateBTS.
YBTS is the link between MBTS and Yate and its many functionalities.
The YateBTS design is derivated from one of Yate's main design mantras: "Holding the code base as simple as possible and adding functionality as needed allows one to find the best balance between desired functionality, performance and stability."
The architecture of Yate is based on a message passing system and can be divided into four main parts as you can see bellow:
- Core -- The Core where encapsulations for sockets, threads and others primitives can be found
- Engine -- The engine holds the base C++ classes of Yate and connects together all components.
- Modules -- Most real functionality is provided by modules loaded at runtime. Modules are:
- dynamic libraries loaded as plugins in the engine (YBTS is one such module)
- or external applications started by a specific module (extmodule) that allows them to talk to the engine and other modules. External applications can be written in a multitude of scripting languages such as PHP, Python, Perl etc and Yate comes by default with libraries in this languages that help you develop custom functionality.
- Messages -- The signaling between Yate modules (either plugins or external modules) is performed by using messages. They provide extensibility, customization and technology independence. Each module that needs something from another or tries to notify about some event creates and emits a message. The message flows through the Engine which delivers it to the proper target which handles it.
Reviewing the richness of protocols and methods implemented in Yate, you begin to understand how versatile this software can be. It is worth mentioning that, VoIP or PBX are just one of the implemented modules and not the core functionality. In fact Yate is a many in one type of product, that can be used in many situations, where distance communication is to take place. Some types of modules that could bring great value when used with YateBTS are billing, monitoring and the various software drivers that Yate offers like: SIP, IAX, Jabber(public version) and SS7(in the commercial version of YateBTS)
For a more in-depth description of Yate modules functionalities please see:
As stated above MBTS acts as a modem. MBTS supervises the psyhical(L1) and link layers(L2) and also does radio resource mananagement(part of L3). After the radio channel is established it forwards the received frames to YBTS.
Layer 3 Radio Resource Management
The Um network layer, or Layer 3 is defined in GSM 04.07 and 04.08 and has three sublayers. A subscriber terminal must establish a connection in each sublayer before accessing the next higher sublayer.
Layer 2 Functions
The layer 2 functions, also known as Um data link layer, LAPDm, is defined in GSM 04.05 and 04.06. LAPDm is the mobile analog to ISDN's LAPD.
Layer 1 Functions
The Um physical layer is defined in the GSM 05.xx series of specifications, with the introduction and overview in GSM 05.01. For most channels, Um L1 transmits and receives 184-bit control frames or 260-bit vocoder frames over the radio interface in 148-bit bursts with one burst per timeslot.
These are the main functions:
- Radiomodem. This is the actual radio transceiver, defined largely in GSM 05.04 and 05.05.
- Multiplexing and Timing. GSM uses TDMA to subdivide each radio channel into as many as 16 traffic channels or as many as 64 control channels. The multiplexing patterns are defined in GSM 05.02.
- Coding. This sublayer is defined on GSM 05.03.
- Closed Loop Power Control
GSM uses GMSK or 8PSK modulation with 1 bit per symbol which produces a 13/48 MHz (270.833 kHz or 270.833 K symbols/second) symbol rate and a channel spacing of 200 kHz. Since adjacent channels overlap, the standard does not allow adjacent channels to be used in the same cell. The standard defines several bands ranging from 400 MHz to 1990 MHz. Uplink and downlink bands are generally separated by 45 or 50 MHz (at the low-frequency end of the GSM spectrum) and 85 or 90 MHz (at the high-frequency end of the GSM spectrum). Uplink/downlink channel pairs are identified by an index called the ARFCN. Within the BTS, these ARFCNs are given arbitrary carrier indexes C0..Cn-1, with C0 designated as a Beacon Channel and always operated at constant power.
GSM has physical and logical channels.The logical channel is time-multiplexed into 8 timeslots, with each timeslot lasting for 0.577ms and having 156.25 symbol periods. These 8 timeslots form a frame of 1,250 symbol periods.Channels are defined by the number and position of their corresponding burst period. The capacity associated with a single timeslot on a single ARFCN is called a physical channel (PCH) and referred to as "CnTm" where n is a carrier index and m is a timeslot index (0-7).
Each timeslot is occupied by a radio burst with a guard interval, two payload fields, tail bits, and a midamble (or training sequence). The lengths of these fields vary with the burst type but the total burst length is 156.25 symbol periods. The most commonly used burst is the Normal Burst (NB).
Multiplexing and Timing
Each physical channel is time-multiplexed into multiple logical channels according to the rules of GSM 05.02. One logical channel constitute of 8 burst periods (or physical channels) which is called a Frame. Traffic channel multiplexing follows a 26-frame (0.12 second) cycle called a "multiframe". Control channels follow a 51-frame multiframe cycle. The C0T0 physical channel carries the SCH, which encodes the timing state of the BTS to facilitate synchronization to the TDMA pattern.
GSM timing is driven by the serving BTS through the SCH and FCCH. All clocks in the handset, including the symbol clock and local oscillator, are slaved to signals received from the BTS, as described in GSM 05.10. BTSs in the GSM network can be asynchronous and all timing requirements in the GSM standard can be derived from a stratum-3 OCXO.
The coding sublayer provides forward error correction.As a general rule, each GSM channel uses a block parity code (usually a Fire code), a rate-1/2, 4th-order convolutional code and a 4-burst or 8-burst interleaver. Notable exceptions are the synchronization channel (SCH) and random access channel (RACH) that use single-burst transmissions and thus have no interleavers.For speech channels, vocoder bits are sorted into importance classes with different degrees of encoding protection applied to each class (GSM 05.03).
Both 260-bit vocoder frames and 184-bit L2 control frames are coded into 456 bit L1 frames. On channels with 4-burst interleaving (BCCH, CCCH, SDCCH, SACCH), these 456 bits are interleaved into 4 radio bursts with 114 payload bits per burst.On channels with 8-burst interleaving (TCH, FACCH), these 456 bits are interleaved over 8 radio bursts so that each radio burst carries 57 bits from the current L1 frame and 57 bits from the previous L1 frame. Interleaving algorithms for the most common traffic and control channels are described in GSM 05.03 Sections 3.1.3, 3.2.3 and 4.1.4.
Closed Loop Power Control
The CLPC is a Layer 1 function, and it is manages the power level at which the handset has to transmit according to the Received Signal Strength indication (RSSI) parameter of YateBTS. The reason that you have such a function is because the power level is a critical component for communication. Without a power level management, the nicest thing that can happen is the voice call will have a poor quality. What it usually happens is that the voice call will be dropped or you cannot establish one dew to saturation of the YateBTS receiver. It's called a loop because twice a second there is a message exchange between the mobile station and YateBTS in the following order:
- The handset declares that it transmist at certain absolute value -- usually between 5 to 33dBm (Ptx)
- YateBTS acknowledges this, and it compares this value with the power at which the message has been received -- usually between --50 to --110dbm (Prx).
The difference is dew to path loss, (Lpath) and this is usually between 120 to 170 dbm.
- Then, according to the set RSSI parameter value in YateBTS, and specific antenna gains (Gax) it gives a comand to the mobile station to either raise or lower the power at which it transmits.
- The formula is the following: Prx= Ptx - Lpath + Ga1 + Ga2 . This is expressed in decibels, so this is actually a logarithmic equation.
For a correct setup of the RSSI parameter please see the subsection about "RSSI parameters" in the Configuration section.