Mobile Phone "Handshake" information

Posted on 2010-09-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-09

I'm looking for information on the mobile phone handshake. I.e, when a phone is near a radio or other speaker / amplifier setup, you occasionally hear a series of pulses as the devices "checks in" with local masts.

Does anyone have any more detailed information on this? What data is being transmitted, how often is it?, details of the protocol, or anything where I can find out more information about it would be great.

Question by:i-CONICA
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Expert Comment

ID: 33651224
The question is very general, and there is no concise answer to it.
There are various mobile phone communication technologies out there.
GSM, UMTS, LTE,CDMA and so on...

For the GSM and UMTS etc you can find specifications here --> http://3gpp.org/specification-numbering 
Sorry, couldn't be of much help. If you have specific questions, please follow up.

Author Comment

ID: 33657355
Thanks for the response. The sound seems to be the same  and quite universal. A dash then two beeps repeated fast. Regardless of the protocol I'm wanting information about this handshake its doing with the masts.

LVL 20

Accepted Solution

Silvers5 earned 2000 total points
ID: 33682276
Usually it is standard..A wireless/mobile device does location updates on a permanent basis in the background:
- A Cell handover, which is migrating from a cell to another cell within the network;  the Cell towers/mast you see are Base transmitting stations (BTS), where each 2 or more such towers cover an area called a cell (usually 3 BTSs).. whenever you start moving out of a cell coverage area and the signal attenuates, your device tries to detect the strongest signal of a BTS, if it is from another Cell Area (CellID) then it requests to attach to that cell and a handover occures with a location update. what we hear near a micro is usually those frequent signal checks..
- A location update every while, the device does a location update everywhile also to confirm to the core network that it is alive, otherwise it will be purged from the VLR and won't be able to receive mobile terminating traffic.

The above are simple examples... in General it is more complex.. you can check further wikipedia that has lots of links and pointers, the 3gpp link above and the GSM assosiation materials.


LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 33682289
As for the protocols used, those are vendor specific, however the mostly the CellID is passed, the device IMEI and the sim card IMSI in a GSM standard... as much as the device timestamp

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33683244
That's exactly the information I wanted. Thank you.

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