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How We Help : Systems : Network Elements

HLR’s/MSC’s/VLR’s: The switches in a wireless environment form the heart of the entire system. The components of a wireless network are as follows:

HLR: Home Location Register: Most often controls the translations, and routing of call traffic for calls that originate outside of the network (landline) or inside of the network (mobile.) All cell sites connect to the HLR, for routing and delivery of calls and services. The HLR is used to provision subscribers within the network for services and features such as call forwarding and call waiting.

MSC: Mobile Switching Center: The MSC records the billing and traffic call events. This data is used to report on traffic patterns within the network, and invoice customers for airtime usage via a downstream processor (billing system).

VLR: Visited Location Register: The VLR interacts with the HLR to exchange information on valid customers within the network. The VLR acts as a checkpoint to authorize customers who are roaming onto other switches. The VLR assigns codes for non-home mobiles within the network in order to allow mobile terminated calls.

Some of the switch manufacturers QuBX has worked with are Ericsson, Motorola, Northern Telecom, Siemens, Lucent and Nokia.

Voice Mail: Voice mail systems are normally set up stand-alone from the HLR, but are integrated with the HLR for call processing purposes. Voice mail can be offered to subscribers in some cases even without them having a wireless phone.

Short Message: Short Messaging is exclusively a service of digital networks. Short Messaging allows callers to receive text or alpha messages directly on their wireless handsets. If a customer is not available to take the message immediately, the Short Message system will store the message for later pickup by the customer. News, stock quotes and weather can be broadcast to a handset using Short Messaging.

Data Services: Data services in wireless utilize the same frequencies and communications links as voice; however, voice is not transmitted. Data services can be utilized to send or receive e-mail, faxes, files or access the internet.

Dispatch: (Wireless Local Loop, SMR, iDEN): Dispatch is two way voice service. Dispatch allows multiple users to speak to each other or in a group over a wide coverage area. In order to speak to someone using dispatch, all users must be in the same talk group. It allows a service such as a limousine service to broadcast where a customer pick up might be to all units with their dispatch radios on. Dispatch is also utilized in the Public Sector with Police, Fire and Emergency personnel.

Prepaid Platforms: Prepaid platforms allow carriers to extend service to those customers who might otherwise be denied service due to bad or low credit. With prepaid service, customers pay in advance for the minutes they will use. Prepaid solutions have a distinct advantage for wireless carriers, as funds for service are received up front. As subscribers initiate phone calls their usage is subtracted from the available balance. Once the balance is at zero no further calls can be made unless the prepaid amount is replenished.

Network Management Systems: Network Management Systems monitor the status of all the wireless network components. This could include Cell Sites, Cellular Base Stations, MSC, HLR communications, Voice Mail servers, links to the Public Switched Telephone Networks or any other network component. Most Network Management Systems provide reporting on the utilization of network facilities such as trunk groups, and voice channels. NMS systems also provide a means for equalizing the load on the network, by using alternate trunks or routing when one route is overly utilized. Reports from NMS systems are used by engineering to design future network enhancements which assists in clearing up busy areas of the network.

Intelligent Networks: All modern telecommunication networks either support or plan to support one or more Intelligent Network (IN) based solutions. IN platforms are usually network elements separate from the switch which allow rapid development and deployment of new services. These services may range from simple solutions as Voice Dialing to more complex solutions like Pre-payment, Single Number Reach, etc.

An IN platform, otherwise referred to as a Service Node (SN), is connected to a switch via signaling links and/or voice trunks and takes control of the call when the particular IN service is invoked. In a Prepayment scenario for example, when a subscriber is identified as a prepay, the switch recognizes the presence of that feature and automatically hands control of the call to the IN peripheral. The IN peripheral then checks for available balance for the subscriber and if a positive balance is detected, it completes the call while decrementing the available funds. When the funds are depleted the IN peripheral will switch the subscriber to an Interactive Voice Response unit (IVR) so the subscriber can use his/her credit card to increase their balance.

QuBX Consulting has managed the integration of such solutions to already deployed Operation Support Systems for the collection of Call Detail information for Billing purposes as well as for Service Provisioning purposes through a single point service provisioning interface.

QuBX Consulting has also managed the integration of Service Control Points (SCPs) to a Wireless Network. In this effort a single service provisioning interface was created to handle the provisioning of the SCP as well as the rest of the wireless network.

AUC/EIR: The AUC is the Authentication Center, the EIR is the Equipment Identity Register. Each of these items has a specific task within a network. AUC's are used as part of the switching elements to store the Authentication keys for each piece of subscriber equipment on the network. As a subscriber attempts to make or receive calls, the AUC sends out a challenge to the phone, which the phone has to send back the response. The AUC matches the phone response with the challenge and if the two match, the phone is permitted to make calls. The EIR is essentially a file in the HLR, which stores the serial numbers of all valid and invalid equipment in the network. There are three separate lists in an EIR:  the White List is used to store all valid equipment serial numbers, the Grey List which is used to store serial numbers which may require monitoring, and the Black List, which is used to store serial numbers which are no longer authorized for service. Each time a subscriber attempts to use the network, the serial number is transmitted and validated against the EIR listings. Subscribers in the white and grey lists are permitted service, where subscribers in the black list are denied service.

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