GPRS, General Packet Radio Services

GPRS, General Packet Radio Services, is a standard for packet switched data in GSM. The gross bit-rate is 33-270 kbps, depending on the number of time slots used. The standardization is ongoing under the management of ETSI, with the Point-to-Point service standard fixed in spring of 1998. The biggest news is that you don't establish a connection, but only use the channels when data is transmitted. It's possible to use more than one time slot to increase the users bit-rate. The great advantage with GPRS compared to circuit switched computer communication is that the data communication will be cheaper for the user, and at the same time more profitable for the network operator. Today the GSM computer communication is debited for the time the connection is established. If several users share the channel, a lower price could be given to each user, based on the amount of data transmitted. The network operator can earn more money from the packet switched channel than from a circuit switched computer communication.

The intention of the GPRS was that it should support all the possible network protocols like IP, X.25, etc. In phase one of the standardization only X.25 and IP are supported. For the support of GPRS, two new switching nodes are introduced: a "Serving Node", called SGSN, and a "Gateway Node", called GGSN. The terms SGSN and GGSN have already been explained in the lesson "GSM and GPRS". Even though the GPRS standardization procedure is not complete, Ericsson has started work on the implementation of these nodes.

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