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Cell Broadcast » History » Version 4

laforge, 05/29/2017 06:37 PM

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{{>toc}}
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h1. Cell Broadcast
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Normally, all user plane data in GSM/GPRS networks are sent in point-to-point channels from the network to the user. Those are called "dedicated" radio channels whcih exist between the network and one given phone/subscriber at a time.
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Cell Broadcast is an exception to that rule.  It permits user data (so-called SMS-CB data) to be broadcast by the network in a way that can be received by all phones in the coverage area of the given [[BTS]] simultaneously.
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More high-level information can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_Broadcast and the related specification is found at "3GPP TS 23.041 Technical realization of Cell Broadcast Service (CBS)":http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/html-info/23041.htm
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h2. Use Cases
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Cell Broadcast was used for various different use cases primarily in the 1990ies and early 2000s, including
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* advertisement of the GPS position of the cell tower you're currently camping on
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* advertisement of the calling codes of your current "home zone", i.e. a "lower cost short distance" call zone travelling with you as you roam around.
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More recently, SMS-CB is seeing some uptake by various desaster warning systems, such as
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* CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert System), later renamed to WEA ("Wireless Emergency Alerts":https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Emergency_Alerts) in the US.
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* EU-Alert in the European union
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* Messer Ishi (Rocket Alert) in Israel
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* ETWS (Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System) in Japan
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* KPAS (Korean Public Alert System)
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h2. Osmocom Cell Broadcast support
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* [[OsmoBTS:]] implements the "SMS BROADCAST COMMAND" Message in RSL according to Section 8.5.8 of 3GPP TS 08.58
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* [[OsmoNITB:]] and [[OsmoBSC:]] implement a VTY command @bts <0-255> smscb-command <1-4> HEXSTRING@ to send a given hex-formatted cell broadcast message to a specified BTS
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!osmocom-cbs.png!
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This is sufficient for manual transmission of cell-broadcast messages in a lab environment or in small networks.  The functionality has been developed and "used at the 31st annual CCC congress (31C3) to deliver spoofed _Presidential Level Alert_ messages":https://twitter.com/2b_as/status/549695235207737344/photo/1
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h3. What's missing (for production operation in larger networks)
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* mechanism to broadcast one (set of) cell broadcast messages from the BSC to multiple/all BTSs, rather than one BTS individually
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* BTS reporting of current CBCH load
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* BSC scheduler scheduling multiple alternating sets of CBCH messages based on the current CBCH load reported by BTS
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* external interface from BSC to a Cell Broadcast Center (CBC), e.g. according to 3GPP TS 48.049
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* an Osmocom implementation of the Cell Broadcast Center (OsmoCBC) which can manage and dsitribute messages to multiple BSCs and which has an external interface by which cell-broadcast can be entered into the network
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h2. Message Structure
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* Message has maximum 15 pages
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* Each page is 82 bytes of data, resulting in 93 characters in GSM 7-bit default alphabet
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* Messges are broadcast on logical channels (more like an address)
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* Subscribers can activate/deactivate selective addresses
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h2. Further Reading
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* ITU-T SG2 (Standardization of CB Channels)
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* 3GPP TS 23.041 Cell Broadcast
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* ETSI 102 444
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* "3GPP TS 22.268 PWS: Public Warning System (PWS) requirements":http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_ts/122200_122299/122268/14.00.00_60/ts_122268v140000p.pdf
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h3. EU-Alert
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* ETSI/EMTEL TS 102 900
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h3. CMAS
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* ATIS/TIA Standards J-STD-100, 101, 102
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h3. ETWS
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