Roaming: Basics

Dheeraj Kumar
12/03/2009

Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs

send and receive data. 2 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . or access other services when traveling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network. > Roaming is defined as the ability for a cellular customer to automatically make and receive voice calls.What is Roaming? > Roaming is a general term in wireless telecommunications that refers to the extending of connectivity service in a location that is different from the home location where the service was registered. by means of using visited network.

this is known as National Roaming.Types of Roaming > National Roaming: If the visited network is in the same country as the home network. > International Roaming: If the visited network is outside the home country. 3 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . this is International Roaming (the term Global Roaming has also been used).

> An agreement between two or more wireless telephone companies outlines the terms and conditions under which the participating companies will provide wireless service to each others subscribers.Roaming Agreements > Roaming is technically supported by mobility management. 4 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . authentication and billing procedures. > The legal roaming business aspects negotiated between the roaming partners for billing of the services obtained are usually stipulated in so called Roaming Agreements.

> If there is no roaming agreement between the two networks. maintenance of service is impossible. this new "visited" network sees the device. notices that it is not registered with its own system. and service is denied by the visited network.Roaming process > When the mobile device is turned on or is transferred via a handover to the network. and attempts to identify its home network. 5 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs .

the home network updates its information to indicate that the mobile is on the host network so that any information sent to that device can be correctly routed. Likewise. > If successful. 6 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . the visited network begins to maintain a temporary subscriber record for the device.Roaming process contd. > The visited network contacts the home network and requests service information (including whether or not the mobile should be allowed to roam) about the roaming device using the IMSI number.

user¶s current location. etc. and CDMA networks. features subscribed to by the user. TDMA. > HLRs are used by the Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs) to originate and deliver arriving mobile calls. user preferences. used in mobile (cellular) networks.HLR > A Home Location Register (HLR) is a database of user (subscriber) information. > It is a key component of mobile networks such as GSM. account status..e. 7 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . A HLR contains user information such as account information. customer profiles. i.

> MSCs use a VLR to handle roaming users. > This VLR data is based on the user information retrieved from a HLR.VLR > A Visiting Location Register (VLR) is a database. which is used by the mobile network to temporarily hold profiles of roaming users (users outside their home area). 8 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . similar to a HLR.

it is also recorded in the VLR. it first checks a database to determine if the user is in his/her home area or is roaming. the user is a visitor. > The user¶s location is recorded in the HLR. or receiving a call.e.. terminating. > User in Home Area: HLR has the necessary information for initiating. When a MSC detects a mobile user¶s presence in the area covered by its network.How are the HLR and VLR used? > Each mobile network has its own HLRs and VLRs. > User is Roaming: VLR contacts the user¶s HLR to get the necessary information to set up a temporary user profile. 9 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . and in case the user roaming. i.

Making and Receiving a call > The user wants to make a call: > User in Home Area: MSC contacts the HLR prior to setting up the call. > User is Roaming: MSC contacts the VLR prior to setting up the call. 10 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > User is Roaming: Home MSC contacts the VLR to determine the appropriate switch in the roaming area to handle the arriving call and then transfers the call to the roaming area MSC. > There is a call for the user (call goes to the home MSC): > User in Home Area: Home MSC delivers the call immediately.

Billing > The usage by a subscriber in a visited network is captured in a file called the TAP (Transferred Account Procedure) for GSM / CIBER (Cellular Intercarrier Billing Exchange Roamer) for CDMA. calling party. location.. time of call and duration. etc. 11 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > A TAP/CIBER file contains details of the calls made by the subscriber viz.. file and is transferred to the home network. called party. AMPS etc.

> The TAP/CIBER files are rated as per the tariffs charged by the visited operator.Billing contd. 12 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > The home operator then bills these calls to its subscribers and may charge a mark-up/tax applicable locally.

Thank you Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs .

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