Tutorial: Mobile Networks

Tutorial on basic components and operation of a mobile telecommunications network.

mobile network components
Mobile Network Components

A mobile cellular radio network consists of the following components:

  • Mobile terminal
  • Airlink
  • Base stations: antennas and their physical supports, and enclosures containing controllers and radios, called Base Station Transceivers (BST), or Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and Base Station Transceiver Subsystem (BTS)
  • Home Location Register (HLR) and Visitor Location Register, or in general, Location Register
  • Mobile Telephone Switch
  • Connection to PSTN

Mobile network is the term we give to distributed radio systems designed so that many users who may or may not be moving around can share a radio band and communicate amongst themselves and to the PSTN.

Such network service providers construct networks by purchasing network components from vendors and deploying and integrating the components.

This includes the physical antennas on towers or on top of buildings, racks of radios in an enclosure at ground level called the Base Station Transceiver Subsystem (BTS), a controller and connection to a mobile telephone switch.

The mobile communication network service provider's switch is connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), so that you can call someone on a landline from a cell phone.

The Location Register is a database that keeps track of who is on the air and where they are (or last were) via radio control channels, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (a number identifying the customer) and the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a type of Electronic Serial Number (ESN) identifying the phone.

To continue this tutorial - with an animated graphics + on-screen instructor explanation of how this all works - watch CWA Course 2232 Lesson Mobile Network Components and Operation, also available on the Teracom Training youTube channel.

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