Private LTE and eSIM technology

What is eSIM technology?

The term “eSIM” simply means an embedded SIM card. There are no physical SIM cards involved and no physical swapping over required by you.

An embedded-SIM (eSIM) or embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC) is a form of programmable SIM card that is embedded directly into a device. The surface mount format provides the same electrical interface as the full size, 2FF, 3FF and 4FF SIM cards, but is soldered to a circuit board as part of the manufacturing process. The eSIM format is commonly designated as MFF2. In machine to machine (M2M) applications where there is no requirement to change the SIM card, this avoids the requirement for a connector, improving reliability and security. An eSIM can be provisioned remotely; end-users can add or remove operators without the need to physically swap a SIM from the device.

eSIM plus SIM card?

Phones that have eSIM support alongside a standard SIM are basically using it as a substitute for a second SIM. These still have space for a traditional micro SIM that you can use in the normal way, but you can add a second number or data contract via the eSIM – read on for more details on how this works. 

Applications

The use of eSIM brings a number of advantages to device manufacturers and networks, but there are also some advantages for you, too, since you can have plans from more than one network stored on your e-SIM. 

So you could use one number for business and another number for personal calls or have a data roaming SIM for use in another country. You could even have completely separate voice and data plans.

e-SIM is a global specification by the GSMA which enables remote SIM provisioning of any mobile device, and GSMA defines eSIM as the SIM for the next generation of connected consumer device, and networking solution using e-SIM technology can be widely applicable to various Internet of things (IoT) scenarios, including connected cars (smart rearview mirrors, on-board diagnostics (OBD), vehicle hotspots), artificial intelligence translators, MiFi devices, smart earphones, smart metering, car trackers, DTU, bike-sharing, advertising players, video surveillance devices, etc

eSIM card and SIM card for mobile cellular networks and devices

For Further Information

Please Contact Us

LTE Quality of service, charging and policy control (PCC)

What is PCC in LTE?

The purpose of PCC in LTE is policy and charging control. Policy control is a very generic term and in a network there are many different policies that could be implemented, for example, policies related to security, mobility, use of access technologies etc. When discussing policies, it is thus important to understand the context of those policies. When it comes to PCC, policy control refers to the two functions gating control and QoS control:1.

Gating control is the capability to block or to allow IP packets belonging to IP flow(s) for a certain service. The PCRF makes the gating decisions which are then enforced by the PCEF. The PCRF could, for example, make gating decisions based on session events (start/stop of service) reported by the AF via the Rx reference point.2.

QoS control

QoS control allows the PCRF to provide the PCEF with the authorized QoS for the IP flow(s). The authorized QoS may, for example, include the authorized QoS class and the authorized bit rates. The PCEF or BBERF enforces the QoS control decisions by setting up the appropriate bearers. The PCEF also performs bit rate enforcement to ensure that a certain service session does not exceed its authorized QoS.

Charging Control

Charging Control includes means for both offline and online charging. The PCRF makes the decision on whether online or offline charging shall apply for a certain service session, and the PCEF enforces that decision by collecting charging data and interact with the charging systems. The PCRF also controls what measurement method applies, that is, whether data volume, duration, combined volume/duration or event-based measurement is used. Again it is the PCEF that enforces the decision by performing the appropriate measurements on the IP traffic passing through the PCEF.

With online charging, the charging information can affect, in real-time, the services being used and therefore a direct interaction of the charging mechanism with the control of network resource usage is required. The online credit management allows an operator to control access to services based on credit status. For example, there has to be enough credit left with the subscription in order for the service session to start or an ongoing service session to continue. The OCS may authorize access to individual services or to a group of services by granting credits for authorized IP flows. Usage of resources is granted in different forms. The OCS may, for example, grant credit in the form of certain amount of time, traffic volume or chargeable events. If a user is not authorized to access a certain service, for example, in case the pre-paid account is empty, then the OCS may deny credit requests and additionally instruct the PCEF to redirect the service request to a specified destination that allows the user to re-fill the subscription.

PCC also incorporates service-based offline charging. With offline charging, the charging information is collected by the network for later processing and billing. Therefore, the charging information does not affect, in real-time, the service being used. Since billing is taking place after the service session has completed, for example, via a monthly bill, this functionality does not provide any means for access control in itself. Instead policy control must be used to restrict access and then service-specific usage may be reported using offline charging.

Online and offline charging may be used at the same time. For example, even for billed (offline charged) subscriptions, the online charging system may be used for functionality such as Advice of Charge. Conversely, for prepaid subscribers, the offline charging data generation may be used for accounting and statistics.

LTE Quality of service, charging and policy control (PCC)

For Further Information

For more information, please Contact Us

Contact Us

PLMN: What is a Public Land Mobile Network ?

A public land mobile network (PLMN) is any wireless communications system intended for use by terrestrial subscribers in vehicles or on foot. Such a system can stand alone, but often it is interconnected with a fixed system such as the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The most familiar example of a Public Land Mobile Network end user is a person with a cell phone. However, mobile and portable Internet use is also becoming common.

Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN)

PLMN code

A Public Land Mobile Network is identified by a globally unique PLMN code, which consists of a MCC (Mobile Country Code) and MNC (Mobile Network Code). Hence, it is a five- to six-digit number identifying a country, and a mobile network operator in that country, usually represented in the form 001-01 or 001-001.

A PLMN is part of a:

  • Location Area Identity (LAI) ( Public Land Mobile Network and Location Area Code)
  • Cell Global Identity (CGI) (LAI and Cell Identifier)
  • IMSI (see PLMN code and IMSI)

PLMN code and IMSI

The IMSI, which identifies a SIM or USIM for one subscriber, typically starts with the Public Land Mobile Network code. For example, an IMSI belonging to the PLMN 262-33 would look like 262330000000001. Mobile phones use this to detect Roaming, so that a mobile phone subscribed on a network with a Public Land Mobile Network code that mismatches the start of the USIM’s IMSI will typically display an “R” on the icon that indicates connection strength.

PLMN services

A Public Land Mobile Network typically offers the following services to a mobile subscriber:

The availability, quality and bandwidth of these services strongly depends on the particular technology used to implement a Public Land Mobile Network.

For Further Information

Our team of experts has a wealth of experience and knowledge of designing, dimensioning, implementing and supporting Private LTE 4G & 5G networks for a diverse range of applications. Please feel welcome to contact us.
Please Contact Us

Contact Us

Diameter Protocol in 4G LTE

What is Diameter in LTE?

Diameter is an AAA (Authorization, Authentication and Accounting ) protocol which works at the application layer in OSI model over TCP/SCTP or TLS/DTLS (for security) protocol. Diameter is the successor of RADIUS (Remote Remote Authentication Dial In User Service) protocol that runs over UDP.

This AAA technology is a message based protocol, where AAA nodes exchange messages and receive Positive or Negative acknowledgment for each message exchanged between nodes. For message exchange it internally uses the TCP and SCTP which makes diameter reliable. Its technical specifications are given in RFC-6733 Diameter Base Protocol. (Please refer to this link to RFC-6733 for the original definition)

Advantages of Diameter compared to Radius

This AAA technology has following improvements over RADIUS:   

a) More Reliable
b) Transport Layer Security                   
c) Fail-over Mechanism
d) Server Initiated Messages
e) Agent Support
f) Audit-ability
g) Transition Support
h) Capability Negotiation
i) Roaming Support
j) Peer Discovery & Configuration

Defaults Ports                      

The default port is 3868 for TCP/SCTP and 5868 for TLS/DTLS.

More details on AAA in LTE

LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC) generally have 5 nodes:

1) Mobility Management Entity (MME)
2) Home Subscriber Server (HSS)
3) Serving Gateway (S-GW)
4) PDN Gateway (P-GW)
5) Policy and Charging control entity/Function (PCRF)

These nodes interact then uses diameter based interfaces. Please see the diagram below for more detailed information on this topic:

Diameter Protocol in LTE

The Dark Lines in the diagram show the major Interfaces in the LTE EPC (Evolved Packet Core). Sometimes the CSS data is not stored at HSS then S7a interface is used to communicate with the MME. S7a is also a diameter based interface.

For Further Information

Our team of experts has a wealth of experience and knowledge of designing, dimensioning, implementing and supporting Private LTE 4G & 5G networks for a diverse range of applications. Please feel welcome to contact us.
Please Contact Us

Contact Us

Private LTE Market could grow to $31B by 2022

Private LTE Market

The Private LTE Market is expected to grow to around $31 billion by 2022, say some market analysts. Market growth will occur in several vertical markets with a wide area of industries likely to take advantage of new 4G and 5G LTE technologies.

Private LTE Market for 4G & 5G devices expected to grow

Specific sectors for the growing Private LTE Market include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitals
  • Laboratories
  • Power Generation
  • Oil & Gas Rigs, Distribution, Transport
  • Water Treatment
  • Surface and Underground Mining
  • Distribution Warehouses
  • Shipping Ports
  • Transportation
  • Security, CCTV, Safe City
  • Smart Cities

Additional Markets for Private LTE

In addition, there are expected to be future markets created to exploit growing demand for always-on, connected devices, IoT, Machine Vision and Robotics and more.

Equipment needed for Private LTE

Organisations intending to build a Private LTE network will need LTE Base Station (eNodeB, gNodeB), Core Infrastructure (EPC, HSS), Custom private SIM cards and CPE devices. Some vendors offer a complete range of products for end-to-end solution with proven interoperability between devices.

Software and Services required for Private LTE

Some vendors provide all required software for LTE, which can include:

  • RF planning software
  • Dimensioning Tools
  • Device Management Software
  • Network Management Software
  • LTE Billing Systems
  • EPC core software
  • HSS core software

For Further Information

Please Contact Us

Contact Us

Private LTE introduced: 4G & 5G

Private LTE 4G & 5G Networks

Private LTE is growing in many sectors: Modern corporations, government, enterprises, and cities are run is being transformed by rapidly advancing mobile communications technology.

One advance is in the area of Private LTE: deploying their own high capacity, high speed 4G mobile communications capability in the shape of a Private Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, organisations can enhance their operational efficiency, innovate more quickly, get closer to their customers and reduce their energy footprint.

Private LTE 4G & 5G Networks
Privately-owned LTE 4G & 5G Networks

Private LTE networks free enterprises from the restrictions of conventional connectivity technologies such as Ethernet, which is secure and reliable but high cost and inflexible, and Wi-Fi, which offers low cost but also lower reliability.

A Private 4G or 5G LTE network can support both human and machine communications on a single, reliable network that offers mobility without cumbersome portable radios and that opens up the world of the Internet of Things (IoT).

By complementing existing Ethernet and Wi-Fi, building your own LTE will help to enable digital transformation in many industries and pave the way towards the adoption of even more capable 5G mobile technologies.

Most LTE networks are considered public, serving the general public or enterprise subscribers. An LTE network is considered to be private when its main purpose is to connect people/things belonging to an enterprise (normally in an enterprise campus), and where data needs to be kept totally secure by avoiding sending it through the core network of a mobile operator.

Advantages of Privately-owned LTE:

Enterprises can deploy by building their own LTE network using technology like MulteFire or Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) which run on unlicensed spectrum not tied to mobile operators. Various vendors support this option with their own end-to-end solutions.

LTE for any industry

Many industries are eager to use their own LTE to connect people and IoT devices:

Industry Areas for Private LTE

  • Utilities can benefit by converging legacy networks into a single, smart grid network
  • For Mining and Minerals, LTE can be used to automate remote facilities using a SmartMine concept
  • Oil and Gas
  • Ports are getting smarter, with LTE-based networks meeting their needs. Licensed bands, unlicensed MulteFire, or shared spectrum CBRS are all possibilities to build private LTE networks and take advantage modern technology solutions
  • For Aviation, LTE boosts efficiency by enabling secure control of operations over a single intelligent airport communications network

For Further Information

Please Contact Us

Contact Us